We’re mere hours away from the premiere of “Doctor Strange” in theaters, which will finally bring magic to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The film is of course, an origin story, because I doubt anyone outside us comic geeks knows anything about the good Doctor. Now, there’s plenty of Doctor Strange out there, but not many well-known ones. However, if you look hard enough, you will find some great comics that will show you why Doctor Strange belongs in the MCU.
And so, it is time for my 5 Underrated Doctor Strange Stories. But first, a quick reminder: just like my previous posts about Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the X-Men, this list features a few stories you probably missed when they first came out. And just like the previous lists, these comic stories are by no means necessary to enjoy “Doctor Strange” in theaters.
They’re just good comic stories you might enjoy reading before or after seeing the movie this weekend. And away we go:
Doctor Strange (2nd Series) #56
“A Mystic Reborn!” was written by Roger Stern, and drawn by Paul Smith, with inks by Terry Austin. Ask any long time comic fans, and they’ll tell you: you can’t go wrong with anything drawn by Paul Smith.
Doctor Strange #56 was the first Doctor Strange comic I ever read. I fount this little gem during one of my early trips to New England Comics in Quincy Ma.
In it, Doc Strange allows a TV camera crew into his house to recount his entry into the world of the occult. The camera crew however, are not what they seem to be.
This issue is a retelling of the origin of Dr. Strange, and it was a great way for me to get to know the character. To lean what he did before becoming a sorcerer, and to see what he can do with his powers. Plus, issue #56 also introduced me to the work of Paul Smith and Roger Stern. Not bad for a comic I found in the dollar bins!
Doctor Strange vs. Dracula #1
This 48-page special pits the master of the mystic arts versus Dracula! I mean come on, what else do you need?
The reason I like this book is because it reprinted a bunch of comics I probably could never find, or afford. In this issue you get: Tomb of Dracula #44 and Doctor Strange (2nd Series) #14, as well as a story from Vampire Tales #9.
All this goodness is courtesy of writers Marv Wolfman, Steve Englehart and Doug Moench. And the art come from Gene Colan, Tom Palmer and Russ Heath. Furthermore, this comic has a nifty cover by Kyle Baker.
Silver Surfer #126
The Silver Surfer and Doctor Strange join forces in an attempt to save the life of their oft misunderstood friend, the Incredible Hulk.
Silver Surfer #126 may seem like an unlikely choice for a good Doctor Strange story, but keep in mind this issue features three iconic characters. Not to mention, it’s part of the highly underrated Silver Surfer run by J.M. DeMattis. Ron Garney, and Bob Wiacek.
This creative team gave the Surfer a new look and a new love interest in Alicia Masters. I will always be a Surfer fan thanks to the work J.M. DeMattis and Ron Garney. If you can find their run on this book, I highly recommend them.
Doctor Strange What is It That Disturbs You, Stephen? #1
In this comic, Doctor Strange finds that his servant Wong has been kidnapped, and he has but one choice: relinquish his mystic power to gain Wong’s freedom. From the arcane shadows of the Sanctum Sanctorum to the dizzying spires of the mystical city of Ditkopolis, Dr. Strange must risk all to maintain the title of Sorcerer Supreme.
The story written by Marc Andreyko is quite good. But the main reason to read this series is the art by P. Craig Russell. If you don’t know his work, look him up! This guy is one of the best in the business.
Doctor Strange (3rd Series) #50
The Secret Defenders are often used as a punchline. But I think the concept was solid, and it was the execution that failed.
Doctor Strange #50 saw the first appearance of the Secret Defenders as Doc recruits a new group of new Defenders–Silver Surfer, the Hulk, and the Ghost Ride. A weakened Doctor needs their help to battle Dormammu in the Dark Dimension.
My favorite moment in this issue is when the Doc Strange interrupts the Hulk while he’s watching “Terminator 2.” Later in the issue, the Hulk says to the Silver surfer something like “If you got time Surfer, have I got a movie to show you!”