DOCTOR STRANGE — SORCERER… ER… SURGEON SUPREME!

KC Carlson. Art by Keith Wilson.

KC Carlson. Art by Keith Wilson.


A KC COLUMN by KC Carlson

Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko in 1963, Doctor Strange first appeared in Strange Tales #110 (cover-dated July) as the back-up feature to the Human Torch series (the cover feature). The mystic sorcerer would also appear in Strange Tales #111, 114, 115 (which was his origin story), and then every issue until #168.

Strange Tales #118 Doc's first cover appearance

Strange Tales #118 Doc’s first cover appearance


His first cover appearance was in a tiny blurb on the cover of Strange Tales #118; after that, his presence on the covers steadily expanded. Beginning in Strange Tales #146, Doctor Strange would alternate covers with Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Strange Tales #168 (May 1968) was the last issue featuring new Doctor Strange stories, but the character would soon get his own series.

Doctor Strange by Michael Golden

Doctor Strange by Michael Golden


Doctor Strange began a long run (or to be more accurate several long runs) published with occasional breaks. It was a series that that attracted many excellent artists and writers over the years, including Bill Everett, Marie Severin, Dan Akins, Gene Colan & Tom Palmer (as artistic partners), Steve Englehart, Frank Brunner, Peter B. Gillis, Richard Case, J. Michael Straczynski, Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin, Jason Aaron, and Chris Bachalo, among others. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Strange has been portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in a solo feature (soon to have a sequel) and a couple of Avengers movies.

Defenders #29

Defenders #29


Mention should also be made of Doctor Strange’s prominent position as a member of The Defenders (Marvel’s “non-team” of notorious loners, which also included the Hulk and Namor, the Sub-Mariner). Doctor Strange would often star in The Defenders during periods when his own series was on temporary hiatus.

CURRENTLY…

Doc faces his classic foe Baron Mordo on this cover for Doctor Strange #8

Doc faces his classic foe Baron Mordo on this cover for Doctor Strange #8


Over the past few months, in the currently running comic series, writer Mark Waid and artist Barry Kitson (one of a rotating gallery of contributors) have put Strange up against some of his classic foes, such as Dormammu, Galactus, Mephisto (with Umar and Clea), Nightmare, and Eternity, the Living Tribunal. There have also been cameos by the Supreme Intellegence, the Majestor of the Sh’iar Empire, the Watcher, and even Reed Richards and Odin. Waid has combined light humor with both known and unknown terrors. Doctor Strange (the comic book) is often one of Marvel’s historical prestige series (based on the excellent and often unpredictable work of its past creators), and over the decades, it has had several exceptional runs. I believe this current run will be looked back on as one of those worth remembering.

RECENT GOINGS-ON…

Doctor Strange #18

Doctor Strange #18


Doctor Strange #18 attempts to wind things down a bit after some recent cosmic stuff. Strange’s anger and aloofness in dealing with mystic danger seem a bit over-the-top considering he’s challenging this foe in the suburban home of the Stanton family, the father of which is a plumbing and heating contractor/repair man. It’s an entertaining contrast.

Things are only relatively strange until Doctor Strange actually shows up — and proceeds to mystically destroy the Stanton house piece by piece with minor spells. When barking orders at the Stantons, Strange actually replies “Did I stutter?” making me think he’s been watching endless reruns of The Office when he’s not fighting Dormammu.

Doctor Strange #19

Doctor Strange #19


Issue #19 starts setting things up for coming big changes in the series. In the middle of a mystic battle to save a mother and her young child, Strange starts flashing back to his origins… specifically the bits about his surgical career coming to a sudden (and seemingly permanent) stop.

We meet Channok — Keeper of the Forbidden Spells and, incidentally, a demon. I will strive to withhold all of my “Channok of the North” jokes. This issue also devotes a full-page panel to what must be a recurring nightmare for Dr. Strange that’s beautifully illustrated by artist Jesus Saiz.

Doctor Strange #20

Doctor Strange #20


Issue #20 (out this week) is functionally the final issue of this Doctor Strange series, and it’s by Waid and artist Javier Pina. It’s titled “The Secret of The Ancient One”. If you enjoy the beautifully illustrated mystic fights this series is known for, you’ll enjoy this. It also introduces a new character or two, who may or may not continue into the next Doctor Strange series (see below).

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KC CARLSON loves this bizarre statement about Doctor Strange from Wikipedia: “Not to be confused with Doc Strange, Doctor Stranger, Doc Savage, Dr. Strangelove, or Hugo Strange”

Doc Strange was a Golden Age superhero who first appeared in Thrilling Comics #1 in 1940. Sometime around 2000, he was revived in Tom Strong #1 (published by America’s Best Comics/DC/Wildstorm) by none other than Alan Moore and Chris Sprouse. (Hi Chris!) Recently he has appeared in The Terrifics, also from DC.

Doctor Stranger is a South Korean television series that doesn’t appear anywhere on my cable. Sorry. Photos make the series look like a South Korean version of St. Elsewhere (my favorite TV series ever.) That probably doesn’t help…

Doc Savage is a hugely popular pulp character created in 1933, who eventually became famous in paperback books (where the pulps were reprinted), inspiring new writers to create new pulp-inspired novels, and then eventually comic books (from Marvel) and movies (first in 1975). Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson is supposed to be starring in an upcoming Doc Savage film, but it seems that rights issues have stalled its forward motion.

Dr. Strangelove is a 1964 film (specifically a political satire of the Cold War), especially noted for actor Peter Sellers playing multiple roles (something he did with some frequency). Also starring in the film (directed by Stanley Kubrick) are George C. Scott and Slim Pickens. For more fascinating information about this film, read the “Satirizing the Cold War” section of the Dr. Strangelove Wikipedia page.

Hugo Strange is a DC Comics character, created for Detective Comics (1st series) #36 in February 1940 by writer Bill Finger and artist Bob Kane. Notably, he is one of the first Batman villains to discover the hero’s secret identity of Bruce Wayne. You may know him better from the TV series Gotham or Batman: The Animated Series.

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KC CARLSON: Also NOT Doctor Strange. This week, anyway…

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you.

Doctor Strange #1

Doctor Strange #1


OMG… there really is going to be a Doctor Strange: Surgeon Supreme comic book starting in December. It’s written by Mark Waid (same old writer) and Kev Walker (new artist — who drew an issue of Jason Aaron’s Doctor Strange run back in 2015). It says here that “Magic always has a cost…”; it looks like that cost will be $4.00, billed monthly, beginning in December. Medicare recipients may have to refile to keep getting this comic.

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  1. Jake Donald Palermo Says:

    I love how Mark Waid expands on characters who never really show their personal lives. https://gutternaut.net/2019/04/mark-waid-legacies-divisions/ It’s certainly nice seeing Strange being an actual doctor again.