The Sorcerer Supreme is coming to do big-screen magic.
So just who is DOCTOR STRANGE With a movie on the way, Nick Setchfield casts the runes to reveal the secrets of Marvel’s weirdest superhero...
Doctor Strange wasn’t the first occult-flavoured superhero in comic books. Notable predecessors include Zatara, who debuted alongside Superman in
Action Comics #1 in 1938, fellow DC supernaturalist Dr Fate and dapper necromancer Mandrake the Magician, who starred in his own newspaper strip from 1934. He wasn’t the first master of the mystic arts in the Marvel Universe, either. Doctor Droom appeared in Amazing
Adventures #1 in 1961. Later renamed Doctor Druid, his origin story shared elements with Strange’s own. “I always liked [Doctor Droom], but I forgot about him,” confessed Stan Lee.
Doctor Strange wasn’t even Marvel’s first Doctor Strange.
Tales Of Suspense story “The Stronghold Of Doctor Strange” saw Iron Man battle a villainous scientist given mental powers by a freak lightning strike. This Doctor Strange appeared a mere two months before his sorcerous successor claimed the name.
Spider-Man artist Steve Ditko conjured the initial idea. “On my own, I brought in to Lee a five-page, pencilled story with a page/panel script of my idea of a new, different kind of character for variety in Marvel Comics,” the legendarily reclusive comics creator revealed in 2008. Back in 1963 Stan Lee admitted it was “Steve’s idea and I figured we’d give it a chance.”
Strange was named for the comic that birthed him. First published in 1951, Strange Tales traditionally delivered the kind of twist-packed, Twilight Zone style shockers that were Marvel’s forte before the Fantastic Four changed everything. Lee toyed with christening him Mr Strange but thought it was too close to the FF’s Mr Fantastic.
Tilda Swinton’s Ancient One clearly isn’t for the old folks’ home just yet.