meet comic book writer supreme

SFX - - Doctor Strange -

What ex­cited you cre­atively when you were given Doc­tor Strange?

at that mo­ment, it was sim­ply a new place to play. I’d writ­ten Doc as part of the De­fend­ers, where he was mostly a su­per­hero who did mag­ickal things, and I liked the idea of get­ting deeper into the mag­ick stuff.

How much did your own in­ter­est in the oc­cult shape the sto­ries you were telling?

I had no in­ter­est in the oc­cult at that mo­ment. But I de­cided that, if I were go­ing to write a cred­i­ble Sorcerer Supreme, I should learn some stuff – and I found out that I liked what I was learn­ing, so as each is­sue un­folded, I was more and more con­ver­sant in the art of real mag­ick. Now, try­ing to in­cor­po­rate real mag­ick into a comic was tricky be­cause I wasn’t writ­ing a trea­tise, but it crept in wher­ever it could, and the themes moved from big spec­tac­u­lar comic book con­cepts to big spec­tac­u­lar mag­ickal con­cepts in comic book for­mat.

There were some mind-fry­ing ideas in your sto­ries. Who were you writ­ing for? Kids? Or the counter-cul­ture?

Comics in those days were still un­der the Comics Code, which man­dated that any­one from six to 60 could read them – and there­fore, peo­ple who wanted to deal with sub­jects like mag­ick, and drugs, and God, had to be oblique. That said, I was def­i­nitely writ­ing for any­one who could ap­pre­ci­ate a mag­ickal world, whether they were six or 60. Doc went places that no one else did so his comics had that unique ex­tra di­men­sion (so to speak).

What was your take on Strange him­self?

He was a guy who had re­tained a lot of his hu­man­ity (mi­nus the ego­cen­tric­ity), but he (a) had a lot on his plate, and (b) knew a lot more than any­one else about his cho­sen field, so some­times he had to be re­minded about the hu­man­ity. again, if the avengers missed a me­nace, the FF could pick up the slack, but there was no backup for Doc­tor Strange; all that weight was on his shoul­ders alone.

We’re fi­nally about to see Doc­tor Strange on the big screen. What does the movie need to get right to hon­our the comic strip?

It’s gotta be kozmik. This ain’t man­drake the ma­gi­cian. Frankly, I know next to noth­ing about the film, but Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch is a great choice, be­cause Strange has to be smart, and the trail­ers look suit­ably out there, and marvel re­ally seems to have got­ten this whole movie thing un­der con­trol, so I’m very hope­ful that the film will live up to the comic.

Now that’s a good cape. No, not the thumb!

Eeh, he looks a bit like that Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch. One from our se­cret light­bulb cam.

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