One of Marvel's weirdest heroes, Doctor Strange, the neurosurgeon turned Sorcerer Supreme, protects the earth from all threats mystical and magical. With his new movie due out soon November 7, it's time to brush up on your Doctor Strange knowledge.. But what are the top, must read Doctor Strange stories?
In an effort to make you the cool know-it-all in the office who all the attractive people fawn over, here is a reading list to make you the resident expert on Marvel's very own Sorcerer Supreme.Please note, this is not a "best of" list; rather, it's a list of "must reads" to understand who Doctor Strange is, where he comes from and how he fits into the greater picture over at Marvel.
Found in: Doctor Strange: The Oath #1-5 (2006)
Written by: Brian K. Vaughn
Drawn by: Marcos Martin
This is a quintessential book for launching Doctor Strange into the modern era of Marvel. It starts with Doctor Strange's loyal valet, Wong, carrying a shot and bleeding Doctor Strange into the private offices of the Night Nurse, who acts as a doctor exclusively for superheroes. They are able to nurse him back to health, only to find out that the injuries were sustained trying to protect an elixir that could cure Wong of an inoperable brain tumor, which has now been stolen from him.
Doctor Strange uses the Eye of Agamotto to track down the man who shot him, only to find that the elixir he found in that dimension is not just a cure for cancer, but the much fabled "Panacea," the cure for everything. Before Doctor Strange can salvage all of it from the villains who stole it, they destroy a majority of it, leaving the decision up to Doctor Strange: save Wong or possibly cure the entire world?Other than just being a great story and fun read, this book showed, in a lot of ways, how Doctor Strange could be written in a fun, relatively self-aware way that fits in perfectly with the current Marvel universe.
The Crypts of Kaa-U & Time Doom
Found in: Marvel Premiere #4-14 (1973)
Written by: Steve Englehart
Drawn by: Frank Brunner
Talk about EPIC! This run of Doctor Strange is actually two completely different story arcs, but back to back, they tell the complete story of the death of the Ancient One and how Doctor Strange took his place as the Sorcerer Supreme.
Issues 4-10 see Doctor Strange fighting against some ancient, Lovecraftian horrors named Sligguth and Kathulos, then finally against the ultimate evil of Shuma-Gorath, one of the biggest bads that Strange has ever had to face. While he was able to dispatch the first two without much loss, Shuma Gorath entered our dimension through the mind of the Ancient One, leaving Strange no choice but to sacrifice his old Master in order to defeat the cosmic evil.
The Ancient One appears to Doctor Strange and bestows upon him the title of Sorcerer Supreme. Doctor Strange seeks out Baron Mordo, hoping that peace can now be forged. However, he quickly discovers that Mordo stole the Book of Cagliostro because it has a spell allowing him to travel back in time and destroy the future. Strange follows him, only to discover that the ancient sorcerer, Cagliostro, plans the same thing. Strange then follows he and Mordo through time, keeping them from destroying our reality one jump at a time. They end up traveling to the very beginning of creation where Cagliostro becomes godlike and, in his infinite wisdom, sees the follies of his plan, returning everything to normal.So, in ten books, we see Doctor Strange fight ancient cosmic horrors to become the Sorcerer Supreme, then go back in time, to the very beginning of creation, to defend the reality of the entire universe as his first feat in this esteemed, mystical office.
The Domain of the Dread Dormammu!
Found in: Strange Tales #126-127 (1964)
Written by: Stan Lee
Drawn by: Steve Ditko
There are a lot of firsts in this story: it's the first time Doctor Strange tangles with Dormammu, it's the first time he has a run in with "The Mindless Ones" and it's the first time Doctor Strange meets Clea, who will come to be his girlfriend for a long time.
In it, the Ancient One discovers that the Dread Dormammu is planning to invade our dimension from that of his (the Dark Dimension). Doctor Strange goes as an emissary for the Ancient One, only to learn that the only true way to keep Dormammu from invading is to fight him himself.Up until now, Doctor Strange was rocking a simple blue cape with his blue tunic, but once he defeats the dread Dormammu, Lord of the Dark Dimension, the Ancient One sees fit to bestow upon his brightest pupil the Cloak of Levitation and the all-powerful Eye of Agamotto, two badges of the Sorcerer Supreme's office.
The Eternity Saga
Found in: Strange Tales #130-146
Desiring an end to Doctor Strange, Dormammu and Baron Mordo team up, with Dormammu endowing all of his power onto Baron Mordo, who then wounds the Ancient One, putting Doctor Strange on the run, both to protect his injured master and himself. After a few trials and false leads, Doctor Strange finally learns that the only way to truly defeat Dormammu and Baron Mordo's combined might is to seek out an entity known only as Eternity.
Doctor Strange probes the mind of his unconscious and ailing master to discover where Eternity resides and how to get to him. Turns out, Eternity is a cosmic being and is literally the living embodiment of - eternity. Like the Wizard with Dorothy, Eternity tells the good Doctor that he's had the power to defeat Mordo and Dormammu this entire time, within himself.While there are not a lot of "firsts" with this story arc, it is the first real epic that he engages in and, according to Comic Book Resources, this is considered by some to be the first true American Graphic Novel. We get to see Doctor Strange, on his own, fighting every last grunt and demon across multiple dimensions; in some ways, this is the first time we really, truly see just how powerful Doctor Strange is.