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Everything Doctor Strange Basically Stole from The Shadow

Updated 13 Oct 2018 2.0k views12 items

Now that Marvel is rolling the dice on the American public falling in love with Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange, it’s important that we look at how creator Steve Ditko (and numerous Strange writers through the years) came up with the idea for the Sorcerer Supreme. We all find inspiration in things that we loved as children, so it’s no surprise that comic book writers of the '60s were drawing mucho inspiration from pulp comics and radio serials of the 1930s and '40s. One of the most popular pulp comics at the time was The Shadow, a story about a fabulously dressed mystery man with the powers of an Eastern mystic. Sound familiar? There are more ways The Shadow inspired Doctor Strange, and they’re going to change the way you look at the Marvel hero.

Of all the things Doctor Strange stole from The Shadow, the most important piece of the puzzle is his backstory. Admittedly, there’s nothing original about a rich playboy who is kind of a jerk traveling to Asia to learn how to do hero stuff, but in the case of Shadow v. Strange, it feels very familiar. In the 40-plus years since Doctor Strange was sprung from the skull of Steve Ditko, writers have been retconning the sorcerer in order to make him less pulp hero and more swinging '70s magic dude, but there are some character traits that can’t be erased. Keep reading to find out all the things that Doctor Strange and The Shadow have in common.

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