I’m an admitted Spider-Man fan, and lover of most things Marvel. However, I spent most of my younger years living in the world of mutants and people swinging from the city skyline and not really paying much attention to what’s happening on Marvel’s astral plane. Therefore, my familiarity with Doctor Stephen Strange is a bit limited other than having read his origin story once, long ago.
With a brilliant looking movie opening today, I decided it was time I took a closer look to the “Master of the Mystic Arts” and “Sorcerer Supreme” of the Marvel Universe.
Stephen Strange was created by Steve Ditko, the artist responsible for Spider-Mans iconic appearance, and made his first appearance in 1963 in Strange Tales #110. He shared a split comic with the Human Torch and stayed for two more appearances in issues #111 and #114. It was later that Doctor Strange would be given an origin story of 8 pages in #115.
Dr. Strange was a brilliant and arrogant neurosurgeon who relied on his hands to perform very delicate surgery. Disaster strikes when his hands are badly injured in a car accident. Strange then traveled the world looking for a way to repair the damage to his hands so that he could resume his career. He finally heard tales of someone called the Ancient One, and he sought out his help. In the film, they’ve gender swapped the Ancient One, which has caused a few fans to question their motives. Another concern is that the Ancient One is supposed to be Asian, and the character has been white washed as well. But I’ll move on from this “controversy” and keep looking at the Marvel character from the outside.
The Ancient Once trained the good Doctor in the Mystic Arts and showed him ways to defend the world from more arcane threats. One such threat is Baron Mordo, to which Strange owes for allowing him a chance to show the Ancient Once his good side. When the Ancient Once had first met Strange, he refused to help him because of his egotistical ways. He needed proof that Stephen was a good man. Later Baron Mordo made an attempt on the Ancient One’s life and Stephen Strange came to his rescue. This proved to the Ancient Once that the good Doctor really was a good doctor and thus began his training.
Doctor Strange has two significant artifacts at his disposal, his Cloak of Levitation and the Eye of Agamotto, which augment his powers. He lives in New York City in his Sanctum Sanctorum with Wong, his assistant. Together they face many threats that the day-to-day citizens cannot see or defend themselves against.
Spider-Man has sought his help in a comic story that I enjoyed. Spider-Man finds himself facing a mystical foe called Shade and Doctor Strange casts a spell allowing Spider-Man to battle this threat on the astral plane. However, Spidey finds that he is stuck in astral form, incorporeal as a ghost when he was supposed to meet Mary Jane at the airport. Ghost Spidey shows up at the airport and tries to make his presence known but of course, Mary Jane can’t see him and leaves New York angry. This was part of a story where they had separated and she had moved to Hollywood to pursue a movie career. This lead to Peter and May Parker taking a trip to visit Mary Jane in Hollywood to explain the situation. This was also soon after Aunt May learned of Peter’s dual identity. It’s a good read.
That’s all the knowledge I really have of this character, but I plan to learn more on the next podcast. Stay tuned!