It’s that time again, boys and girls! That’s right ACB’s Comic Book Monsters has returned! This year, I’ll be looking at a slice of some of the creepiest comic book series of all time! I’ll be covering a series a day in reverse chronological order. So, check under your beds and lock the doors and windows. It’s time to take a look at today’s featured series…
Comic Book Monsters – October 27th: Doctor Strange
Doctor Stephen Strange was a respected surgeon, but after an accident left severe nerve damage in his hands, he was left a shadow of his former self. He eventually started drinking and working in back alleys to perform shady procedures. Broke and defeated, he started a journey to find “The Acient One” and receive a mystical cure. When the Ancient One refused, Strange learned of the forces that hoped to plunge the world into darkness. After acting selflessly to assist the Ancient One, Strange pledged himself to learn how to wield magic. After years of study and discipline, Dr. Strange would become a Master of Mystical Arts.
Dr. Strange originally appeared in Strange Tales #110 as one of the two co-features. Strange was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and thanks to the “Marvel Method” of producing comic books, Ditko would pretty much be the sole plot creator. During Ditko’s mid-60s run, the artist would introduce several stories and concepts that would best be described as psychadelic and bizarre. There was a cosmology created for the Marvel Universe that made Dr. Strange comics one of the most original looking and feeling books on the shelves.
Some of the characters that Strange fought in the early days, like Nightmare and Dormammu, were designs by Ditko but given character by Lee. These earlier days also introduced the future romantic lead for Strange, and future apprentice, Clea who is much more like Doctor Strange than you would suspect from her earliest appearances. Clea hasn’t been seen in a while, but that’s because she’s serving as the Sorceress Supreme of the Dark Dimension.
And speaking of the title of Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange actually didn’t receive his famous title until the 1970s. Strange received this title when the Ancient One died and merged with the celestial entity Eternity – a being that was the personification of the universe. Strange was actually the one who had to shut down the Ancient One’s mind to effectively put his mentor to death. The Ancient One knew he was being used to allow Shuma Gorath access to our reality. Shuma Gorath was a giant demonic octopus-like character that actually first appeared in a Kull story, but would become much better known as one of Dr. Strange’s toughest foes.
While Dr. Strange is one of the more popular characters from Marvel, he’s not had a regular series since the 90s. He has been used as a member of the secret “Illuminati” group along with Namor, Professor X, Iron Man, and Black Bolt. He did return later in the pages of New Avengers. His time as Sorcerer Supreme has passed (for reasons I’m not sure why other than to give The Hood something more to do) and it was time to choose a replacement. Eventually, Brother Voodoo was chosen. In a recent New Avengers story, Agamotto, the being whose eye adorned the medallion Strange used for years, returned looking to reclaim his eye. Brother Voodoo, along with the help of the Avengers and Dr. Strange, sacrificed himself to save all of reality from the threat. Strange is still part of that Avengers team.