|> Marvel Masterworks Library|
Click panels for larger images_________________________
(Click panels for larger images.)
DOCTOR STRANGE'S WEBSITE STEVE DITKO: LOOKED UP DR. STRANGE: THE MOVIE
_________________________ PRINT HISTORY &
STEVE DITKO: LOOKED UP
DR. STRANGE: THE MOVIE
_________________________ PRINT HISTORY &
PRINT HISTORY &
Marvel Masterworks: Doctor Strange Volume 1
Reprints: Doctor Strange from Strange Tales #110-111, 114-141
(Vol. 23 in the Marvel Masterworks Library)
Current In-Print Edition: Second Edition, First Print
REGULAR EDITION ISBN: 0-7851-1180-8• List Price: $49.99 272 Pages PLEASE NOTE: Strange Tales covers are NOT included in Dr. Strange Masterworks Vol. 1. Scripted by Stan Lee Buy From:
REGULAR EDITION ISBN: 0-7851-1180-8• List Price: $49.99
PLEASE NOTE: Strange Tales covers are NOT included in Dr. Strange Masterworks Vol. 1.
Scripted by Stan Lee
By the power of the hoary hosts of Hoggoth!
In the name of the deathless Vishanti! By the twelve moons of Munnopor, the fury of the dread Dormammu,and the roving rings of Raggador! Here comes Doctor Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts!
Whew! Now that was a mouthful! Say it fast ten times in a row- it ain't easy! Now imagine yourselfas our mystic friend Dr. Stephen Strange, and you're cornered by a whole passle of spirit wraiths sent from the bowels of Dormammu's dread dimension, and they are there to send you to some sortof stygian damnation or another...I bet you'll find a way to say those words real quick! And why? Becausethose words- carefully crafted by Stan Lee and put into pencilled panoramas of psychedelic insanity bySteve Ditko- are the words that take care of business in the realm of mysticism and magic that Dr. Strangeand his ilk live in. A world of mystery and oddity...of strangeness! Where the rules as we know it simply do not apply! It's the world of "Black Magic", where if you're in trouble and you've called on 911 instead ofthe Omnipotent Oshtur, you've just made the wrong call, buster!
Premiering in the backpages of Strange Tales #110, theinitial tale starring Dr. Strange clocked in at only five pages, and was a modest story settled in behind "The Human Torch vs. the Wizard and Paste-Pot Pete" and a Larry Lieber monster/sci-fi five-pagercalled "We Search the Stars." The Human Torch (itself an oddity in the Marvel Universe!)was the lead feature at this time- July 1963- and would remain so for another two years. Dr. Strange rolled out slowly, with three five-pagers featuring very economical tales, settling in behind the Torchfeature and a sci-fi backup strip. In fact, after the two premiere stories in Strange Tales #110 and 111, therewas a two-month hiatus for ol' Doc, I guess to presume the fan reaction to the new hero. (In thosetwo months without Doc Strange, Steve Ditko turned in a couple sci-fi backups- hey Marvel! We want to see thosetoo someday!!!)
Well, the reaction must have been good, because by December of 1963, Dr. Strange was given eight pagesand the sci-fi/monster backups were phased out of Strange Tales for good. Eventually the page countswere upped to nine pages, and then ten, where he would stay until he inherited the title all on his own.This volume doesn't include any covers, simply because Dr. Strange was rarely on any covers whileserving as backup to Human Torch & the Thing and, later, Nick Fury. Only by Strange Tales #117 wasDr. Strange even mentioned on the front cover, and then was given either a "blurb in a box" or a smalldrawing advertising his backup story. His primary cover appearance was Strange Tales #130, the onlycover where he took up more than half the space (the infamous Torch and Thing "Beatles wigs" cover.)
Despite it being treated as ifa red-headed step-child, thecreative energy poured into Dr. Strange takes a back seat to no one. It could be argued that this isSteve Ditko's finest work of his career, with his rendering of the universe of magic and mysticismthat Strange inhabits being so fantastic and outlandish that it set the tone for years to come. After all,a comic about a magician could have been as formulaic as popping rabbits out of hats and wavingmagic wands at fleeing bank robbers. But no, Steve and Stan stretched the boundaries of reality to includewhole new dimensions and civilizations. Quite often, Dr. Strange is opening portals from the rigidconfines of Earth to faraway, or even very close, strange places, where the rules of reality as we know it do not apply. Certainly, the rules of comics art status quo did not apply, as Steve Ditkoabandoned expected forms of layout, sending his characters off into the far distance of psychedelic landscapsthat went as far as the eye could see.
The Rogue's Gallery wasrelatively static, with Baron Mordo, Nightmare, and the dread Dormammu being the consistent nemesis to the good doctor. Baron Mordo, inparticular, annoyed and vexed Dr. Strange, as he was also a disciple of the Ancient One, the wizened oldmystic who cares only to pass his knowledge of the "black arts" down to those who would use it for good-and "good" is exactly what Baron Mordo is not!
Dormammu certainly established himself as Doctor Strange's most brutal opponent (proven especiallyby the dread one's visceral emasculation of Baron Mordo in Strange Tales #141, an event that certainlycut the Baron down to size.) King of the dark dimension where he rules good people with evil intent, Dormammuis at least principled enough to make bargains and deals when he loses. Getting him to keep to the spiritof these bargains is a whole other story, though! The cagey despot craves nothing more than to destroythe man who has found more than one way to beat the supposedly unbeatable Dormammu!
Also premiering in this Masterworks edition is the lovely Clea, destined to become Dr. Strange's chief ally and love interest. Harried and held hostage by the cruel Dormammu, Dr. Strange rescues herand her race from the villainous king, and she is forever in his debt, forever admiring of him. Anoddity is that her name- Clea- is never uttered throughout the stories reprinted in this volume. Thatwould be saved for a later tale.
Dr. Strange is unlike any other Marvel comic of the day, and deserves a place on any complete Masterworks library shelf. The action is brisk, fun, and edgy, and Steve Ditko is achieving heightsof artistic greatness that would serve to inspire many artists who would later take on the Master of the Mystic Arts!
-- by Gormuu
Click on cover image to learn more about each issue.
All cover images are courtesy of the Silver Age Marvel Comics Cover Gallery.
Website design by Doug Roberts and John Thomas. All images on this site are copyright of Marvel Comics. This site is for reference purposes and promotion of the Masterworks line of books as well as Marvel Comics and their properties.
Reader Reviews and Commentary To contribute: Send to Gormuu!
Submit only with understanding your text may be edited by gormuu for
space, content and syntax/grammar considerations!