Doctor Strange is a fictional character, a comic book sorcerer and superhero in the . Created by writer/editor Stan Lee and artist/co-plotter Steve Ditko, he first appeared in Strange Tales #110 (July 1963). Additionally, the name had been used for a different Marvel character two months earlier.
Dr. Stephen Vincent Strange is the Sorcerer Supreme of the Marvel Universe, responsible for defending it from mystic threats. He is a master of the mystic arts, using his abilities to battle evil magicians and other supernatural villains. He is also often consulted by other superheroes on supernatural matters.
After debuting in Strange Tales
#110 and returning in the next issue, the nine to 10-page feature "Dr. Strange" skipped two issues and then returned permanently with #114 (Nov. 1963). Steve Ditko's surrealistic
mystical landscapes and increasingly head-trippy visuals helped make the feature a favorite of 1960s college students, according to accounts. Ditko, as co-plotter and later sole plotter, in the "Marvel Method
", would eventually take Strange into ever-more-abstract realms that nonetheless remained well-grounded thanks to Stan Lee's reliably humanistic, adventure/soap opera
dialog. Doctor Strange shared the "split book" Strange Tales
with solo adventures of Fantastic Four
member the Human Torch
(whose feature had begun in issue #101), and, beginning with #135, with its replacement feature, Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
During Ditko's run on the feature, many enduring elements were introduced. His mentor the Ancient One and enemy Nightmare both debuted along with Strange in issue #110, and his nemesis Baron Mordo debuted in #111. An even more powerful adversary, the Dread Dormammu, was introduced in #126. In issue #138, with what historians consider one of modern comics' great moments, Doctor Strange first encountered Ditko's grand and enduring conception of Eternity, the personification of the universe, depicted as a majestic silhouette whose outlines are filled with the cosmos. It was a groundbreaking creation at a time before such cosmic conceits were commonplace.
While Lee and Ditko themselves interacted less and less as each went their different creative ways, Ditko took his final bow on the feature in issue #146 (July 1966) with the culmination of Strange's long-running conflict with Dormammu, in which Dormammu takes on Eternity single-handed.
"Doctor Strange" continued to the end of the book's run, when the "Fury" feature was spun off into its own title and Strange Tales was renamed Doctor Strange with issue #169 (June 1968). Note: This is the title as given in the book's postal indicia; Dr. Strange's various series, confusingly, have changed their cover-logo titles much more so than most series. See the Bibliography for details.
Doctor Strange's first namesake comic book, written by Roy Thomas with art by penciler Gene Colan, lasted only until issue #183 (Nov. 1969), by which point Strange had been given, separately, both a new secret/civilian identity as "Dr. Stephen Sanders" and, previously, making that possible, a full-face cowl in an effort to more resemble a Marvel superhero and help low sales. These changes were unsuccessful and the series was subsequently abandoned. The cancellation was abrupt (there was a "Next Issue" blurb in the last edition), and loose ends were tied up in Sub-Mariner #22 (Feb. 1970) and The Incredible Hulk #126 (April 1970).
Strange's next appearance was a backup solo tale in the showcase title Marvel Feature #1 (Dec. 1971) This story not only tied into the issue's lead feature, the creation of the loosely affiliated antihero team the Defenders, but also led into a new ongoing feature for the sorcerer in Marvel Premiere #3-14 (July 1972 - March 1974). This series continued into a solo book generally titled as Doctor Strange: Master of the Mystic Arts, which ran 81 issues (June 1974 - Feb. 1987). An acclaimed early arc by writer Steve Englehart and penciller/co-plotter Frank Brunner, featured the death of Strange's mentor, the Ancient One, followed by a storyline in which Strange witnessed the creation, or re-creation, of the universe. Reflecting that era's trend toward "cosmic" characters and stories — a trend ironically begun in the Lee-Ditko '60s stories — this turn away from more traditionally occult, supernatural stories helped propel for 15 years under various teams.
Following this solo title's cancellation, the character continued uninterrupted in Strange Tales vol. 2, #1-19 (April 1987 - Oct. 1988), appearing in 11-page stories in this "split book" he shared predominantly with the feature "Cloak and Dagger". (The final issue's co-feature was "The Thing and Mayhem", although the other pair's logo still appeared on the cover.) This in turn was followed directly by Strange's third solo title, generally listed as Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme, which lasted 90 issues (Nov. 1988 - June 1996) Writer Peter B. Gillis and artists Richard Case & Randy Emberlin were the creative team for the last few issues of the second self-titled comic, the entire Strange Tales run, and the first few issues of this new solo comic). Doctor Strange also appeared in various miniseries and two graphic novels, and had major recurring roles both in the 1970s feature and later comic book The Defenders and the 1990s comic book Nightstalkers.
Fictional character biography
Stephen Vincent Strange was born on November 18
to Eugene and Beverly Strange. A few months later, the Stranges move to a farm in Nebraska
where Stephen is brought up alongside his brother Victor (who later became the second Baron Blood
) and sister April.
In adulthood, Stephen becomes an accomplished, but arrogant, surgeon until he suffers subtle, though profound, neurological damage in an automobile accident in 1963. His hands in particular are no longer able to make the precise, fine movements necessary for surgery, although their overall mobility remains. Unable to continue his profession and too proud to accept subordinate medical assignments, he becomes unemployed and destitute. He is reduced to being a derelict, performing shady medical procedures for little money. Learning of a hermit called the Ancient One who might possibly cure him, the desperate Strange ventures to the man's isolated Himalayan abode and asks him for aid. The Ancient One instead offers to take Strange on as an apprentice in the mystic arts. Strange refuses, but cannot leave immediately due to a sudden blizzard.
While staying for the duration of the storm, Strange witnesses the Ancient One's apprentice, Baron Mordo, secretly attack the teacher with mystically summoned skeletons, which the old man easily dispels. Strange, his skepticism eroding, confronts Mordo about the treachery but Mordo responds with restraining spells that keep Strange from warning the Ancient One or attacking Mordo physically. Amazed by these displays of magic, alarmed by Mordo, but frustrated by the mystic restraints, Strange undergoes a change of heart. Deciding that the only way to stop Mordo is to learn magic himself in order to challenge Mordo on his terms, Strange accepts the Ancient One's offer. Pleased by Strange's acceptance for unselfish reasons, the Ancient One removes the mystic restraints, explaining that he is well aware of Mordo's treachery but prefers to keep Mordo close by in order to control and possibly change him. Strange studies magic under the Ancient One for seven years and returns to the United States in the 1970s.
Silver Age Strange
Based in his Sanctum Sanctorum mansion in New York City's Greenwich Village neighborhood, Strange uses his new abilities to fight such mystic enemies as recurring nemesis Mordo; the flame-headed other-dimensional ruler Dormammu (and his sister Umar), with whom he clashes often; and Strange's first recorded foe upon returning to America, Nightmare. He also gains a valuable ally in Wong, a loyal servant who is part of a line trained to serve the current Sorcerer Supreme.
Doctor Strange encounters such cosmic beings as the Living Tribunal, and the personification of the universe itself, Eternity, as well as numerous superheroes and even, at one Times Square New Year's celebration, longtime family friend and author Tom Wolfe (who allowed his likeness to be used in Doctor Strange #180, May 1969). On one journey to Dormammu's realm, Strange meets and eventually falls in love with Clea, the tyrant's human-appearing niece.
When the demon Asmodeus briefly impersonates him, Strange dons a superheroic-looking full-face cowl and a "secret identity" as Dr. Stephen Sanders from #177 through the final issue, #183 (Feb.-Nov. 1969).
Death of the Ancient One
When the demonic entity Shuma-Gorath
(first mentioned in Marvel Premiere
#5, Nov. 1972) tries to cross into the Earth's dimension from within the mind of the Ancient One (#9, July 1973), Strange is forced to sacrifice his mentor in order to save humanity's collective soul (#10, Sept. 1973). After his mentor's death — in which the Ancient One becomes "one with the universe" and a lingering presence — Strange inherits the mantle and power of Sorcerer Supreme of Earth
After taking his lover Clea as his disciple (Marvel Premiere #12, Nov. 1973), one of his first tasks as Sorcerer Supreme is to confront the personification of Death. After proving himself worthy, Strange is granted the extended lifespan befitting his new role. His elderly predecessor, the Ancient One, had lived for over five centuries.
The Ancient One, much later, fought Dr. Strange in the five-issue miniseries X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl (March-July 2006), which played many of its characters and concepts for laughs. He was depicted as having been condemned to Hell, without a Marvel Universe-continuity explanation. In All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A - Z, select entries, including that of the Ancient One himself, state that this was probably an impostor.
Defenders and Nightstalkers
When fighting the undying ones, Dr. Strange manipulates the Hulk
and Namor the Sub-Mariner
to assist him in defeating them. When Baron Mordo returns the identity of Stephen Strange to Dr. Strange, Dr. Strange again recruits the anti-heroes
the Hulk, Namor the Sub-Mariner, and the Silver Surfer
to form the sporadically summoned superhero "non-team", the Defenders
In a 1982-83 arc (Doctor Strange Vol. 2, #56-62), Strange successfully invokes the "Montesi Formula" that eliminates all vampires in the Marvel Universe. Though this is considered permanent at the time, in the early 1990s Strange finds it necessary to organize, in Defenders fashion, a group of vampire hunters dubbed the Nightstalkers — Frank Drake, Blade and the vampiric private detective Hannibal King. The three are told they have been brought together to fend off supernatural threats, and only later learn it is in fact to prepare for the weakening of the Montesi Formula and the expected return of Dracula. By the time vampires do indeed come back, throughout various Marvel occult comics in the mid-1990s, Strange has been temporarily usurped as Sorcerer Supreme by the demonic Salome and replaced by his own creation Strange. In the Acts of Vengeance, Strange is attacked by the Hobgoblin, Enchantress, Executioner, and Arkon, all who are given the order to kill him. Fortunately, Strange manages to defeat them all.
His position restored shortly afterward, Strange, by the mid-2000s, serves chiefly as a supporting character to whom Marvel superheroes might turn for matters concerning magic and the supernatural. Other times, he directly intervenes in crises. In one instance, S.H.I.E.L.D. psionic personnel are hunting the Dire Wraiths with help of Rom the Spaceknight, but are being easily killed by the enemy's wizards. Strange appears of his own accord to give the psionic personnel improved resistance to the attacks.
He seemingly strayed from his good guy personality at times though. In one instance he attempts to steal a powerful Book of Shadows called the Tome of Zhered-na away from fellow magic user Jennifer Kale, insisting that her family book of magic can only be properly used by himself in the Witches storyline. Seeing the situation for what it is, his once disciple Topaz rejected his teachings and formed a coven with Jennifer and Satana Hellstrom to stop Doctor Strange from ever attempting to steal Jennifer's family book again.
Civil War and aftermath
It is revealed that Doctor Strange has been a member of the Illuminati
, a secret alliance of several prominent superheroes, since just after the Kree-Skrull War
. In the final known meeting of the group, Strange vehemently opposes the proposed Superhuman Registration Act
, and informs Iron Man
and Mister Fantastic
that they are never to call on him again. Some time later, Wong tells Hank Pym
and the Wasp
that Strange has no intention of supporting the Act and is in seclusion in the Arctic. The government declares Dr. Strange exempt from registration.He is then seen in the North Pole, fasting and meditating.
Following the Civil War, Doctor Strange joins the renegade team New Avengers, and houses the team in his Sanctum Sanctorum under the guise of a Starbucks under construction. The team's objectives are twofold; they are dedicated to 'saving people the way [they] want to', and finding out who is behind the recent events that have turned the world upside down (The Scarlet Witch's madness, the decision to banish the Hulk, etc.) When the New Avengers go to Japan to retrieve Maya Lopez (who has been killed, resurrected, and brainwashed by The Hand under Elektra's leadership) he is stabbed by Maya. He then contacts Wong through the Orb of Agamotto, who helps him release his Astral Form from the Hand's dark magic; he then uses his Astral Form to free Maya from the Hand's brainwashing. After the team has returned to the Sanctum Sanctorum, he casts a spell to reveal the true natures of the team to their teammates, apparently confirming that none of the current New Avengers team are Skrulls.
World War Hulk
Dr. Strange was among the members of the Illuminati
who, alarmed at the continuing destruction caused by the Hulk, agreed to exile the Hulk into space. Upon the Hulk's return to Earth, Strange declines Iron Man
's request to use magic to again banish the Hulk, arguing the Hulk would simply return again. Entering Hulk's mind, Strange attempts to reason with the Bruce Banner persona. Using this as a distraction, the Hulk crushes Strange's hands. His ability to cast spells hindered, a desperate Strange invokes the highly powerful demon Zom
. In semi-demonic form, Strange battles the Hulk but is defeated and held captive.
Post-World War Hulk
Although Strange and the other Illuminati members survive, Strange's use of darker magic than he would normally call upon — made even worse when he does so again during the New Avengers' rematch with the Hood
— prompts him to temporarily depart this plane to heal himself and to become sure he is worthy of being Earth's Sorcerer Supreme.
It has been recently revealed that since Strange has failed in his duties as Sorcerer Supreme, he no longer holds the title, and hence, is why he has not appeared in Secret Invasion so far. Bendis also said that in Dark Reign it will be revealed who the new Sorcerer Supreme is.
Powers and abilities
Dr. Strange is the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth's Universe, with the greatly extended lifespan befitting his station. He has unparalleled mastery of the mystic arts, which he uses to defend this reality from otherworldly threats. His primary magical patrons are a group of entities known as "the Vishanti", a trinity of godly beings composed of Agamotto, Hoggoth and Oshtur. He has, on rare occasions, called upon the power of the demon Dormammu, an arch-nemesis.
Strange holds an M.D. in neurosurgery, although his ability to perform such delicate tasks has been compromised due to his accident. He is also an accomplished martial artist, learning martial arts as part of his training to be a mystic, and possesses considerable strategic skills, which he has employed as leader of the Defenders.
Dr. Strange's powers are all mystical but take several forms. Main manifestations include:
- Personal abilities — As a result of his mystic training, Dr. Strange is capable of a manipulating the forces of magic as well as reality for a great many abilities such as astral projection, telepathy, hypnotism or mesmerism, thought-casting, illusion-casting, and several others. These are put in a separate category because he seems to perform these functions as a telepath would, not needing to manipulate magic to do it. These abilities can be exhausted through over-use but can be amplified by mystic energy (as against Moondragon) or the Eye of Agamotto (done countless times) to afford Strange powerful psychic abilities
- Universal sources — By manipulating the ambient mystical energy of this universe, Dr. Strange can perform a great many functions. Commonly this is seen as energy bolts that range from low power to planet destroying, transmutation, telekinesis, teleportation, protective shields, etc. He uses this mystical energy to cast spells of a near infinite variety. Dr. Strange has also been shown to amass as much wealth/gold as he desires using magic, as he has done to pay debts.
- Divine sources — Dr. Strange can channel the virtually unlimited extra-dimensional energy of nigh-omnipotent mystical and non-mystical beings in multiple dimensions (known as Principalities) to empower his spells, as many other sorcerers do. This can take the form of standard spells ("Crimson Bands of Cyttorak") or just stating what he wants to occur and channeling some being to make it happen. This ability to be a conduit to multiversal power sources has given rise to the phrase "Dr. Strange is as powerful as the god he invokes"
- In the miniseries "The Oath", it is said that he cannot use magic that can replicate anything discovered by human science.
- By force of will, Dr. Strange can "take" the power of another entity. This does not require the use of a spell. He uses this ability against Captain Universe as well as against Arioch and Shuma-Gorath in Strange Tales Volume 2. This is considered black magic and as such, he rarely employs this. Also, when taking the powers of omnipotent entities, he can absorb their mind and assume their duties and roles in the dimension in which they exist. But, if his will falters, he can lose all sense of self. (He used this in the recent animated movie to defeat Dormammu by draining its power)
- In the Black Magic saga in Strange Tales Volume 2, Dr. Strange also became proficient in Black Magic under the tutelage of Kaluu, including using the necromantic energy released in death for various effects. After he purged Shuma-Gorath from himself, he has since stopped using black magic.
- At a certain period, Dr. Strange became a receptacle of Earth's Gaia magic through the use of a forge built with the support of all his magical artifacts. This energy was exhausted in the War of Seven Spheres.
- For a brief period, research from the Vishanti library led Strange to tap into "catastrophe magic" by invoking a mystical alignment of all the planets, but this source of magic was limited and he ceased using it specifically as a source of his power.
In the Marvel Universe canon, virtually any human is capable of learning and harnessing magic — considered simply another form of energy within continuity — through training; however, each person has a different potential.
Strange's own power is often amplified by the numerous magical artifacts that are in his possession or by artifacts that he uses in the course of his adventures. The two artifacts he carries with him at all times are the Eye of Agamotto and the Cloak of Levitation:
- The Eye of Agamotto (which resides within the Amulet of Agamotto worn at Dr. Strange's throat) is a powerful and valued artifact that has many functions. Using the Eye, Strange can see through any lie, deception or illusion, send the eye out at light speed to intercept and absorb massive amounts of any type of energy and free others who are trapped in their own illusions. It is often used to amplify his mind's eye, giving psychic abilities that rival the most powerful of telepaths. It is also often used to play back an area's past events and open dimensional portals. When used offensively, no being can withstand its light for long; due to its lethal effect, it is often used as a weapon of last resort. The amulet can only be used by a being with a pure heart and a clean soul.
- The Cloak of Levitation allows him to fly, and responds to his thoughts. Strange has used it many times as a "third set of hands" to attack a foe when his own body has been incapacitated. The Cloak is nearly indestructible, often escaping damage during even the most violent confrontations. The cloak has acted independently from Strange as though it has a will of its own. The cloak has been nearly destroyed on at least three occasions:
- #Strange Tales vol. 1, #157 — During a battle with Zom at Stonehenge. Strange was able to reconstruct it in a display of power to prove to The Living Tribunal that Strange was worthy to set right the cosmic events recently unleashed
- #Doctor Strange vol. 2, #77 — During a battle with the demon Khat while Strange was in the slow decline of his white-magical powers. The cloak was repaired by Enitharmon the Weaver, the former master of Strange's second apprentice, Rintrah. While the damage to the Cloak on this occasion was not as severe as previously, Strange was unable to repair it himself
- #The third instance is convoluted. During his attempt to garner a new power-base for himself, after foregoing the powers and protections of the Vishanti, Strange went underground to create his new power forge, and when he was finished he was rejuvenated, younger-looking and wearing a new costume (including a mystical black body suit) and he had transformed the Cloak into something more resembling a Kimono or robe (Doctor Strange vol. 3, #76), however, soon he was drafted into the War of the Seven Spheres by the Vishanti. After battling for five thousand years in another dimension, Strange was returned to Earth (at a time mere months from when he was spirited away) a tattered shambles (issue #80). His magical abilities depleted and his new Robe/Cloak shredded. He soon incorporated elements of the cloak into what would be called the "Overcoat of Levitation"; a red trench coat with the Cloak's gold trim along the collar. He soon returned, however, to his traditional Cloak.
Other artifacts include the Orb of Agamotto, which he uses daily to monitor the surrounding dimensions for trouble; the Wand of Watoomb, which amplifies his power; and the Book of the Vishanti, which contains some of the multiverse's most powerful and secret spells and counter-spells. He owns countless other artifacts he can bring out in times of need. As a result of being a member of the Illuminati, he has also come into possession of the "Soul" gem of the Infinity Gauntlet.
Dr. Strange is functionally immortal, having the immortallity conferred upon him by the Ancient One after Strange assumed the title of Sorcerer Supreme. He does not age nor succumb to medical diseases, though he can be killed. His physical appearance is usually a man in his 40's even though he is chronologically in his 80's. He also survived five thousand years in the War of Seven Spheres but his memory of this period has magically faded so it may not count towards his chronological age.
The mansion where Dr. Strange lives, his Sanctum Sanctorum, is located at 177A Bleecker Street, Greenwich Village, New York City, New York, which in this universe was the actual address of the apartment building in which the series writer at that time actually lived. Strange has imbued the mansion with several spells (mostly protective, some proactive). In the comic, "Steven Sanders" was shown reading a telegram addressed to him there.
Dr. Strange often conjures specific magical effects for specific purposes. Among them are:
- Bolts of Bedevilment (as an offensive weapon)
- A Conjurer's Cone (to transport an enemy away to another realm)
- The Crimson Bands of Cyttorak (to bind someone)
- The Flames of the Faltine (as an offensive weapon)
- The Images of Ikonn (to create duplicate images of himself or others to confuse an enemy)
- The Seven Rings of Raggadorr (Seven blue energy rings that surround him and deflect attacks)
- The Light of the All-Seeing Eye of Agamotto (to disperse an assailant's spell, to reveal the truth or to destroy an enemy's actual soul)
- The Shield of the Seraphim (as a protective barrier)
- The Vapors of Valtorr (as an obscuring fog)
- The Winds of Watoomb (as an offensive weapon or transportation)
- Chains of Krakkan (constricts an enemy in strong chains)
- Seven Suns of Cinnibus (an energy blast that is as hot as seven suns)
- A Sorcerer's Sphere (a black-colored bubble that protects the Sorcerer inside, but absorbs all the mystical energy in the surrounding area. This absorbing-process normally takes one hour, but an adept sorcerer can make time go by faster so that it seems only minutes have elapsed.)
As deus ex machina
Marvel editor Joe Quesada
has commented that:
...you can place Dr. Strange in peril but it never really seems like much because at any moment he can cast a spell of crimson bands or what have you and he's out. There are no rules to his universe and from a storytelling perspective that's problematic. When you look at imaginary situations, worlds like the world of Toy Story or even Roger Rabbit have rules of their universe clearly defined. Heck in Roger Rabbit it's very clear how to kill a 'toon, so the viewer gets the feeling that the characters can be placed in peril and have their backs placed against the wall. This is exactly what I'm looking for in regards to our magic characters. Rules that govern them. How do you kill Doctor Strange? How do you hurt him?
In the Marvel canon, there are no clearly defined limits of what Dr. Strange can or cannot do. The stories themselves contradict one another: Dr. Strange is shown easily altering memories, or having complete mastery over time by either stopping it all together and rewinding it or traveling into the past in one story, then stating that his magic cannot do so in another instance. In some appearances he can stand against something as powerful as the Infinity Gauntlet, and in others he appears defenseless against simple physical attack by another person.
Some writers have ignored canonical evidence that Dr. Strange has enchantments that shield his body from physical harm, and that he virtually does not age and can not die unless under his own terms (having made a deal with the omnipotent being Eternity which grants Stephen life as long as he wishes it so), with his predecessor as Sorcerer Supreme, the Ancient One, having lived several centuries.
Dr. Strange is often used as a deus ex machina to stop, prevent or undo many world-altering events that occur in other characters' comic books. Prominent examples include:
- In Uncanny X-Men #190-191 (Feb.-March 1985), the wizard Kulan Gath magically transformed New York City into an approximation of his own ancient time. Everyone, save for Strange and a handful of others, forgot who they were and assumed roles appropriate to such a reality. Strange was held prisoner by Kulan Gath, his flesh warped to prevent him speaking aloud or making mystical gestures. Despite numerous characters dying, the spell was eventually broken and reality was restored by Dr. Strange and Magik.
- In Micronauts #35 (Nov. 1981), Dr. Strange was instrumental in helping the Micronauts defeat ancient demons from Earth's past. As he kept the demons at bay, Commander Arcturus Rann rushed the Keys to the Enigma Force to the tomb of Prince Wayfinder, the creator of the Microverse. After opening the Tomb, Strange and Rann encountered the Sword in the Star, who merged them into a single entity, Captain Universe, in order to save the rapidly deteriorating Space Wall between Earth and the Microverse.
- In the Infinity Gauntlet six-issue limited series, Dr. Strange recruited the heroes to stop Thanos, was one of the few heroes to survive Thanos' destruction of his opposition, and was responsible for rescuing the few survivors in the final battle against Thanos and Nebula. Strange was one of the few people to remember that these events had occurred, the others being the Infinity Watch, the Silver Surfer and Thor, Strange and the latter two having witnessed Warlock's soul during the crisis and Warlock being unable to erase such knowledge.
- In Guardians of the Galaxy #31-33, Dr. Strange aided the titular, time-traveling team against an alien Badoon named L'Matto that had been granted the Uni-Power, transforming him into Captain Universe. A duel between the Badoon and the Guardian Charlie-27, which was appearing to be in L'Matto's favor, was turned in Charlie's favor with the intervention of Strange and fellow Guardians Vance Astro and Aleta Ogord, the latter of whom had just become the new Starhawk. With Dr. Strange's help, Aleta defeated the Captain Universe-empowered L'Matto and then exorcised the Uni-Power from L'Matto's body; the Badoon was left with his people to recover, while Strange returned to his studies, the Guardians returned to their home in the 31st century, and the Uni-Power headed off to find a new host.
- In House of M #7-8 (Nov.-Dec. 2005), Dr. Strange and Emma Frost prevented the Scarlet Witch from imposing her will on the entire world. Driven insane by her powers, the Witch reverted to the alternate reality she had created but stripped the majority of the world's mutants of their powers. Only a few who were shielded by Dr. Strange's spell and Frost's psychic powers retained their memories of the House of M reality and of what had transpired.
- In The Amazing Spider-Man #500, Dr. Strange appeared during an invasion by Dormammu and the Mindless Ones on New York City. Reed Richards of The Fantastic Four inadvertently released Dormammu from his "prison" by making a gun to send the Mindless Ones back to their dimension. Doctor Strange appeared in time to fight Dormammu and, with the help of Spider-Man, Cyclops and other heroes, Dormammu and the Mindless Ones were sent back to their dimension. As a result of the dimensional tampering, Baron Mordo was resurrected and after the battle he kidnapped Strange; what happened between this event and Strange's reappearance in the Marvel Universe is thus far unrevealed.
Major supporting characters
- Baron Mordo — A dark sorcerer and frequent threat.
- Dormammu — A fallen Faltinian being. When outcast, he chose to take a form of pure mystical energy to maintain most of his Faltine essence. He took over the Dark Dimension from the Mindless Ones and consistently tries to expand into other dimensions through conquest. Dormammu is a being of immense power and one of Strange's most frequent foes, perhaps even rightfully called his archenemy.
- Umar — A fallen Faltine. Sister of Dormammu, she chose to take a lesser and more conventionally human physical form in order to experiment with physical pleasures. She is the mother of Clea.
- Nightmare — Ruler of the dream dimension, father of Dreamqueen and inspiration for Gaiman's The Sandman. Though he is a threat to Strange and to humanity, his existence is necessary, since without Nightmare, humanity would go insane. Appeared in Doctor Strange's debut story in Strange Tales #110 (July 1963).
- Shuma-Gorath — A vastly powerful extra-dimensional being of chaos magic and the ruler of thousands of realms which ruled the Earth ages ago. Unable to be destroyed, its essence is taken on by its supplanter. Shuma-Gorath crossing over into our dimension would be disastrous, and Doctor Strange has been willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to stop it.
- Death — The personification of Death in Earth's dimension. It was in Doctor Strange's fight against Death that he proved himself worthy to be Sorcerer Supreme. Death has claimed that when Stephen finally fails in his duty she will take him; however, it is more likely that he will become one with Eternity, as have the Sorcerers Supreme before him.
- Satannish — One of the demon rulers of the dead. Strange's duties have occasionally led to conflict with this being.
- Mephisto — One of the demon rulers of the dead, originally introduced as a Silver Surfer foe, but who has since become a major entity in story arcs here and in Daredevil, Ghost Rider and other Marvel series. Strange's duties have occasionally led to conflict with this being.
Set in the Marvel 1602
universe. Sir Stephen Strange, both the court physician of Queen Elizabeth I
and a magician, senses that there are unnatural forces at work. He is the replacement in the 1602 universe for John Dee
and is married to a version of Clea. Here, he cannot use his 'Astral Projection' (which he refers to as a magic mirror) as well as the modern one could, lacking modern materials, and is often physically drained after it is finished, and lacks memory of what he saw in astral form. Eventually, when Elizabeth is dead, he allows himself to be executed for witchcraft and treason, having gone under a vow of silence "while he lived."
Set in the Marvel 2099
universe. The Sorceress Supreme of Earth is a young woman who calls herself "Strange". She secretly shares her body with a monstrous demon. She is very inexperienced in her powers and uses them recklessly. In one incident, she causes the death of her brother. Her main opponent is Garokk
who wishes to use her past torments and inexperience to gain the title of Sorcerer Supreme for himself.
Set in the Amalgam Comics
universe. Dr. Strange was combined with Charles Xavier
and Doctor Fate
into Dr. Strangefate
. As the only character aware of the nature of the Amalgam Universe, he was the chief opponent of Access
, who was attempting to separate the DC
and Marvel Universes
. Originally numbered as Earth-962.
In the mini-series Bullet Points
, Dr. Strange chooses to work for S.H.I.E.L.D.
, rather than seek out the Ancient One
, in exchange for them restoring his hands. Later he is seen possessing claws similar to Wolverine's.
Set in Howard the Duck
's home-world and home dimension. This version of Doctor Strange is Ducktor Strange, an anthropomorphic
Duck. In this reality, he is still a Sorcerer (the "Mallard of the Mystic Arts"), but is also a drunken derelict, who seems to live in alleys drinking "sorcerous sauce" (alcohol). He has appeared in Howard the Duck (magazine) # 6, wherein he sends Howard and Beverly back to Earth, and in She-Hulk
vol. 4 (a.k.a. "She-Hulk 2") # 20, wherein he helps Stu the Intern return to Earth (since Stu's extensive knowledge of Marvel Comics continuity reminded him that he could find the Ducktor and how he could be returned by the Mystic Mallard).
v. 2 #21, a non-powered counterpart of Dr. Strange from Earth-A comes to Earth-616 (aka Earth-B) and impersonates the 616 Dr. Strange. The impostor is revealed when he can't think of a rhyme for the word "Cyttorak".
Set in the Earth X
universe. Dr. Strange's astral form is murdered by Clea (this Earth's Sorceress Supreme) under the behest of Loki
. His astral form aids Captain Marvel
in his journey through Death's Realm as one of the few inhabiting heroes aware of his death.
An alternate Dr. Strange helped the Exiles
briefly. This character was not a mystic, but instead was still a practicing physician who specialized in superhumans. This version of Doctor Strange was killed by an alternate version of Deadpool
Fantastic Four: The End
In this series, Dr. Strange is now the Ancient One and had a daughter with Clea who is the new Dr. Strange.
Guardians of the Galaxy
In the alternate future of the Guardians of the Galaxy
, Dr. Strange assumed the title of the Ancient One (previously held by his mentor) and took on a disciple of his own, a Lem named Krugarr
. Strange/the Ancient One was eventually killed by Dormammu
, who was defeated by the combined efforts of Krugarr, his disciple Talon
and the Guardians.
Set in the Marvel Zombies
universe, Dr. Strange is one of the last heroes in the alternate "zombie world" to be transformed into a zombie. He was last seen in living form as part of Nick Fury
's resistance to defeat the zombified Marvel superheroes in the spinoff Dead Days
before he and the rest of the surviving superheroes are later overwhelmed by the zombie Fantastic Four
and turned. In Marvel Zombies Vs. The Army Of Darkness
#5, he participates in the multi-zombie attack on Doctor Doom
's castle, in an effort to capture and devour the unaffected Latverian citizens inside. In Ultimate Fantastic Four
#22, while part of a multi-zombie chase of Ultimate Reed Richards
, he vanishes under a rain of cars launched by Magneto
Set in the MC2
universe. Dr. Strange is retired and the title of Sorcerer Supreme
has been passed to the younger Doc Magus
Set in the Mutant X
universe. Dr. Strange was the Man-Thing
. The title of Sorcerer Supreme had been taken by Baron Mordo
Set in the Larval universe
. The funny animal
version of Doctor Strange is Croctor Strange an anthropomorphic
Crocodile. Numbered Earth-8311.
Ultimate Doctor Strange
Set in the Ultimate Marvel
Universe. First appearing in flashbacks, Dr. Strange married his former student, Clea, and the two of them had a child, Stephen, Jr. He later vanished, and Clea decided to raise Stephen, Jr. away from magic.
As a college student, Stephen Jr. was approached by Wong, who told him about his father and took him on as a student. He supports himself as a new-age guru to the rich, powerful and famous, and is seen as celebrity, appearing on television and talk shows. He is known to the public as "Dr. Strange," although he does not hold a medical degree or doctorate. He has bemoaned his lack of knowledge in things mystical and usually, just barely saves the day with one last desperate, untried spell. Starting in Ultimate Spider-Man #107, this Doctor Strange is a member of Daredevil's team fighting against the Kingpin, the Ultimate Knights.
The title of "Sorcerer Supreme" was only self-proclaimed by the elder Strange as reported in the comics during a TV news broadcast.
Dr. Strange also exists in several What If?... multiverses
- In issue #18 (vol. 1), he becomes a disciple of Dormammu.
- In issue #40 (vol. 1), he does not become master of the mystic arts.
In other media
Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends
Marvel animated universe
- The TV-movie adaptation Dr. Strange premiered on CBS on Sept. 6, 1978. Written and directed by executive producer Philip DeGuere, it starred Peter Hooten as Dr. Stephen Strange, Clyde Kusatsu as Wong, Jessica Walter as the villainous Morgan LeFay, Eddie Benton (pseudonym of Anne-Marie Martin) as Clea Lake; Philip Sterling as Dr. Frank Taylor; and Sir John Mills as Strange's mentor, Sorcerer Supreme Thomas Lindmer; and Ted Cassidy as the voice of both the demon Balzaroth, as well as the comics' Dormammu. Magician Larry Anderson has a cameo appearance. Produced by Universal Television, it served as the unsuccessful pilot for a series. In an interview found in the January 1985 issue of COMICS FEATURE magazine, Stan Lee recounted largely positive experiences working on Doctor Strange, especially compared with other live-action Marvel Comics adaptations in the late 1970s:
Just as with the Hulk, Lee had few problems with the tv movie adaptation done of Dr. Strange. "I probably had the most input into that one. I've become good friends with the writer/producer Phil DeGuere. I was pleased with Dr. Strange and The [Incredible] Hulk. I think that Dr. Strange would have done much better than it did in the ratings except that it aired opposite Roots. Those are the only experiences I've had with live action television. Dr. Strange and the Hulk were fine. Captain America was a bit disappointment and Spider-Man was a total nightmare."
was listed as being in pre-production as far back as 1986, with a script by Bob Gale
. For unknown reasons the film never went further into production, but by December 1992, Wes Craven
signed to write and direct, with Savoy Pictures distributing
. The film was set for release in either 1994 or 1995. However, Savoy went bankrupt and Columbia Pictures
purchased the film rights. David S. Goyer
had completed a script in 1995. In April 1997, Jeff Welch
was working on a new screenplay, with Bernie Brillstein
and Brad Grey
Michael France was then commissioned to write a script. Despite interest from Chuck Russell and Steve Norrington as directors, Columbia dropped Doctor Strange entirely. By June 2001, Dimension Films acquired the film rights with Goyer back on board as writer and director. Goyer hinted scheduling conflicts might ensue with a film adaptation of Murder Mysteries, and promised not to be highly dependent on computer-generated imagery. By August 2001, Miramax Films acquired the film rights from Dimension, but by March 2002, Goyer dropped out of the project.
A 2005 release date was announced in March 2003, while in June 2004, a script still had yet to be written. Avi Arad was in search of an A-list writer. In April 2005, Paramount Pictures acquired Doctor Strange from Miramax, with a planned budget of $50—$165 million. Guillermo Del Toro was attached to direct in February 2008, approaching Neil Gaiman to write the script.
Doctor Strange (2007 film)
- In the animated direct-to-DVD movie Doctor Strange, released August 14, 2007, gifted neurosurgeon Dr. Strange (voiced by Bryce Johnson) travels to Tibet after injuring his hands in a car accident, desperately seeking any means of healing them. Training with the Ancient One and his pupils, Dr. Strange faces the emergence of Dormammu.
- Doctor Strange acts as Spider-Man's advisor in cutscenes in The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin on the Sega Master System and Sega Game Gear.
- Doctor Strange has a cameo in Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems.
- Doctor Strange appears as a playable character and a supporting character in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance voiced by James Horan. His alternate costumes include his classic, Ultimate, Royal Seer, and Blue Mage. While traveling through Mandarin's palace, the player will meet Doctor Strange who claims that someone (most likely Mandarin) has stolen the Orb Of Agamotto. Doctor Strange then accompanies the player until the Orb is found, whereupon Doctor Strange is unlocked as a playable character and a locked door is unlocked, allowing the player to battle Mandarin. Doctor Strange has special dialogue with (among others) the Ancient One, Fin Fang Foom, Wong, Sif, Clea and Vision. A simulation disk starring Doctor Strange has him defending Clea from Baron Mordo while in Mephisto's Realm. Additionally, Act II of the game uses the Sanctum Sanctorum as the base of operations and is where a gamer can interact with Clea and Wong. If playing Dr. Strange, you can also interact with the Ancient One and enter Dr. Strange's bedroom.
Previous Doctor Strange
Two months before the debut of the sorcerer-hero Doctor Strange, Stan Lee (editor and story-plotter), Robert Bernstein (scripter, under the pseudonym "R. Berns") and Jack Kirby (artist) introduced a criminal scientist and Ph.D. with the same surname. He was later identified with the full name Carl Strange. This Dr. Strange was one of Iron Man's earliest antagonists in the story "The Stronghold of Dr. Strange" in Tales of Suspense #41 (May 1963). After gaining mental powers in a freak lightning strike, this Dr. Strange established a force field-protected island base staffed with corrupt scientists and mercenaries. He attempted world domination but was thwarted by Iron Man and his own estranged daughter, Carla.
This Silver Age story was reprinted in Marvel Collectors' Item Classics #4 (Aug. 1966), the hardcover collection Marvel Masterworks: Iron Man from Tales of Suspense Nos. 39-50, and Essential Iron Man Volume 1.
As well, the publisher Nedor Comics featured a character known as Doc Strange in the 1940s.
Note: The series' subtitles and the varying use of "Doctor" and "Dr.", is per both each series' indicia and their varying cover logos.
Series and miniseries
- Strange Tales #110-111 & 114-168 (July-Aug. 1963 & Nov. 1963 - May 1968)
- Doctor Strange vol. 1, #169-183 (June 1968 - Nov. 1969)
- Doctor Strange, also known as Doctor Strange: Master of the Mystic Arts #169-175; Dr. Strange #176-181; and Dr. Strange: Master of Black Magic #182-183
- Marvel Premiere #3-14 (July 1973 - March 1974)
- Doctor Strange vol. 2, #1-81 (June 1974 - Feb. 1987)
- Dr. Strange: Master of the Mystic Arts #1; Doctor Strange: Master of the Mystic Arts #2-50; and Doctor Strange #51-81 (Note: #30, 34, 36-37, 40, 42-46, 48 missing subtitle)
- Strange Tales #182-188 (Nov 1975 - Nov 1976; reprints only)
- Dr. Strange Annual #1 (1976)
- Doctor Strange Classics #1-4 (March-June 1984; reprints only)
- Strange Tales vol. 2, #1-19 (April 1987 - Oct. 1988)
- Doctor Strange vol. 3, #1-90 (Nov. 1988 - June 1996)
- Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme #1-4, and Dr. Strange: Sorcerer Supreme #5-90 (Note: Following issue #4, subtitle appears only sporadically)
- Dr. Strange: Sorcerer Supreme Annual #2-3 & Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme Annual #4 (1992-1994)
- Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme Special (1992)
- ''Secret Defenders (1993 series) #1-25 (March 1993 - March 1995)
- Doctor Strange: The Flight of Bones #1-4 (Feb.- May 1999)
- Witches #1-4 (Aug.-Nov. 2004)
- Strange #1-6 (Nov. 2004 - July 2005)
- X-Statix Presents Deadgirl #1-#5 — (Dec. 2005 - April 2006)
- Doctor Strange: The Oath #1-#5 — (Oct. 2006 - March 2007)
One-shots and graphic novels
- Giant-Size Dr. Strange #1 (1975; reprints only)
- Doctor Strange Special Edition #1, also known as Dr. Strange/Silver Dagger Special Edition #1 (March 1983)
- Marvel Graphic Novel #23: Doctor Strange: Into Shamballa (1986 graphic novel)
- Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment (1989 graphic novel)
- Doctor Strange & Ghost Rider Special #1 (April 1991; reprints only)
- Spider-Man / Dr. Strange: The Way To Dusty Death (no number; 1992)
- Dr. Strange vs. Dracula #1 (March 1994; reprints only)
- Dr. Strange: What is It that Disturbs You, Stephen? (no number; Oct. 1997)
- Custom: Lions Gate Dr. Strange #0 (prologue to the animated feature as well as 4-page story by the "The Oath" team; came with the animated "Iron Man" DVD; Jan. 2007)