Sunday, December 19, 2010

Marvel Treasury Edition #8: Doctor Strange in "Eternity, Eternity"

Download Marvel Treasury Edition #8

A character who combines the best qualities of Zatara and Dr. Fate, Dr. Strange began humbly as a backup character in somebody else's comic book in the early 1960s. Gradually, though, the popularity of the Master of the Mystic Arts increased, and by the late 1960s he had a title of his own. He was able, with a layoff now and then, to keep working for several decades.

Dreamed up and initially drawn by Steve Ditko, with scripts by Stan Lee, the scholarly sorcerer entered comics by way of a five-page story in Marvel's Strange Tales #110 (July 1963). Lee cited as one of his sources of inspiration the radio serial Chandu the Magician, which first aired in the early 1930s. The show, years earlier, also inspired the funny paper magician Mandrake. In the radio serial, American Frank Chandler learned the secrets of magic in the mysterious East. Similarly, the eminent and arrogant Dr. Stephen Strange found his way to India after an accident ended his medical career. There he studied with a world-class mystic known as the Ancient One.

Back in America, Dr. Strange set up shop as a sort of freelance ghostbuster. Among his frequent early opponents were Baron Mordo, a turncoat pupil of the doctor's own mentor, and Nightmare, a nasty strangler from the realm of dreams. Ditko rendered the doctor's supernatural adventures in inventive ways, assimilating some of the techniques of the psychedelic posters of the sixties.

Strange's popularity continued to grow. He became the star of Strange Tales. Then the magazine title was changed to Dr. Strange with #169 (June 1968). Except for one hiatus, that title continued until 1987. From 1988 through 1996, the magus was seen in a new title Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme.

Among the other artists and writers who contributed to the doctor's mystical saga were Frank Brunner, Gene Colan, J. M. DeMatteis, Dan Jolley, and Tony Harris.


Script: Roy Thomas
Pencils: Gene Colan
Inks: Tom Palmer

  • from Doctor Strange (Marvel, 1968 series) #180 (May 1969), which is pictured inset.
  • in Marvel Treasury Edition (Marvel, 1974 series) #8 (1975) [16 pp.]
  • in Marvel Masterworks: Doctor Strange (Marvel, 2003 series) #4.

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