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Doctor Strange Stories to Read Before You See the Movie

Updated November 11, 2019 456 votes 206 voters 64.0k views6 items

List RulesDr. Strange stories that must be read, though not necessarily the best ones.

One of Marvel's weirdest heroes, Doctor Strange, the neurosurgeon turned Sorcerer Supreme, protects the earth from all threats mystical and magical. 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. 

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  • 1

    The Oath

    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.
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  • 2

    Sorcerer Supreme Once More

    Found in: New Avengers, Vol. 2 #1-6 & 31-34 (2012)
    Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
    Drawn by: Stuart Immonen & Michael Gaydos

    In World War Hulk, we saw that Doctor Strange could go too far when he used dark magic to defeat a rampaging Hulk. Thankfully, he realized what he'd done before it got too out of hand and he stopped, allowing The Hulk to crush his hands and causing him to relinquish his status of Sorcerer Supreme. 

    New Avengers starts with a demonic invasion that neither Strange, Hellstorm or the new Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Voodoo, can explain. It turns out, Agamotto himself wants his eye back as the Vishanti are at odds with one another. Voodoo gives his life, challenging Agamotto to fight for the Earth, leaving this dimension without a Sorcerer Surpreme. New Avengers #31-34, sees a wiser, more willful Doctor Strange, standing up to the spirit of Voodoo's deceased brother, using whatever means necessary to defend his dimension and reclaiming the title of Sorcerer Supreme.
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  • 3

    The Origin of Doctor Strange

    Found in: Strange Tales #115 (1963)
    Written by: Stan Lee
    Drawn by: Steve Ditko

    While Strange Tales #110 is the good Doctor's first appearance, it's not until #115 that we get Doctor Strange's origin story. 

    He was a self-centered doctor to whom financial gain was more important than his patients' health. However, when a car accident crushes his hands, ending his career as a surgeon, he uses whatever means necessary to recover, eventually turning to magic in the home of the Ancient One. 

    After witnessing the true power of magic, Doctor Strange is forever changed from surgeon to sorcerer and goes on to become one of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel Universe (and a fan favorite). 

    It should be noted, his origin story has been retold a few times, but always with similar tropes, as in Strange Tales #169 by Roy Thomas and Dan Adkins (1969) as well as Strange: Beginnings and Endings by J. Michael Straczynski, Samm Barnes, and Brandon Peterson (2005). 
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  • 4

    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. 
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