How To Get into Marvel Comics: A Beginner's Guide to Doctor Strange
Who is Doctor Strange?
Doctor Strange is the main magic man of the marvel universe and usually Earth's Sorcerer Supreme. In our reading list you'll often see him depicted as something of a lady's man, with personalities ranging from serious and brooding to lots of witty banter. He was once a normal guy, and a dick apparently. Now he's a badass mage who uses words like "verily" and "Tis'"
We can get the good doctor's origins in a number of ways, but my recommendations are:
- Watch the Doctor Strange animated feature (available on Netflix instant streaming at the time of this posting)
- Read Strange (2004) also known as Doctor Strange: Beginnings and Endings
Beginnings and Endings shows a nicer look at the doctor before turning him into the douche-bag surgeon he was. It also has the confusing inclusion of Clea, who is in actuality Strange's former apprentice (more on that in the next entry). Both depict the doctor's "fall from grace" as an accident humbles the arrogant jerk. He then seeks out someone to heal his injured hands, which eventually leads him to the Ancient One, the Sorcerer Supreme. Later, another apprentice betrays them both and this leads to Doctor Strange becoming Sorcerer Supreme.
Honestly, I recommend doing both if you can, but either one will do.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
This piece is more to establish the correct status quo in your mind if you read beginnings and endings. If you watched the animated feature, this is a direct sequel to that. Either way, it's not available for resale as it was packaged with an Iron Man animate feature that released just before the Doctor Strange one.
Thus, I have provided a download link below.
Doctor Strange: The Oath
Chronologically, this is a little out of order. But, it's an easier read to follow up on Beginnings and Endings. It's also one of the best Dr. Strange stories ever written. Seriously, this is a MUST-HAVE.
This also includes our introduction to the Night Nurse, who is going steady with Doc later on in the reading list.
Doctor Strange: The Flight of Bones
This one isn't collected into a trade yet, so you'll have to pick up the individual issues.
This is our introduction to Topaz, who later changes a lot physically for seemingly no reason.
Dormammu, a long time villain of the doctor and ruler of the Dark Dimension, shows up in this one as well.
X-Statix Presents: Deadgirl
This one is optional as it's pretty much just a humorous side quest. Worth the read for the laugh and if you don't snicker every time you see or hear about the ancient one in later stories, you're not human.
This is here to introduce you to the Defenders. Back in the day, Doctor Strange, Namor, The Hulk, and Silver Surfer were cursed to be summoned together whenever a large enough threat appeared on earth. Since they all pretty much hate each other this, eventually, lead to the four snapping and attempting world domination to stop such threats from occurring. (more on this in the extending reading)
In this story the four are not forced together, but are instead brought together to stop the unholy alliance of Dormammu and his sister Umar. Which, by the way, is hysterical. This story is amazing for how silly it is. The love-hate relationship between the siblings is great and the banter between the Defenders is hilarious.
New Avengers: Illuminati
Each of the individual issues take place over large time skips, mostly in major marvel events. These issues tie into Secret Invasion (prelude), the face-turn of Marvel Boy, re-introduces the Beyonder from the Secret Wars, and the last issue ties into the beginning of our New Avengers reading.
World War Hulk
This is very optional and is mostly included for a Badass Doctor Strange fight with the Hulk.
Also the measures he takes here impact him later on.
New Avengers Vol 6
New Avengers starts off just after the civil war and follows our boy strange with Luke Cage's outlaw avengers. Counting the good doctor among their number, they use the sanctum sanctorum as their base.
Plus our first look in this reading at brother voodoo!
New Avengers Vol 7
Who do you trust? This volume leads into Secret Invasion and is the source of the illuminati tie-in to that event. Also we get our first look at magical badguy The Hood.
Strange: The Doctor is Out
While working a case at a baseball game, Strange ends up teaching a girl, Casey Kinmont, a simple spell. Of course she abuses the spell almost as soon as he was gone. But, all magic comes with a price and it leads the good doctor into some wild messes.
The crime of this book is that it is, so far, the only appearance of Casey Kinmont
New Avengers (2005) vol 11
The eye of Agamatto has decided it is time for a new Sorcerer Supreme!
Reuniting with his team mates, Strange seeks out the successor to his mantle. Some big bads come out to play in this one and its up to the new avengers to keep them away from the Eye!
New Avengers (2005) vol 12
This one isn't terribly important for Strange. It's mostly to follow up on previous New Avenger stories.
Strange and Voodoo do some awesome stuff in the last two issues of the trade though. I recommend the story, even if it is mostly about Luke Cage.
Doctor Voodoo (optional)
Sets up the next entry nicely, also completely awesome.Doc Voodoo has to prove his mettle as the new Sorcerer Supreme which leads to some interesting plot and badass fights, including a throw down with Doctor Doom!
New Avengers (2010) vol 1
The new Avengers have set up shop in a surprising new base. Meanwhile, some serious mystic mojo is going on. Strange enlists the New Avengers to help combat an inter-dimensional threat that he, Hellstrom, and Doctor Voodoo cannot defeat alone.
Also: An Avenger dies!
New Avengers (2010) vol 2
This one is completely optional and is only really here to help complete the New Avengers stories.
Also, who doesn't love Wong? <3
Fear Itself: The Deep
When Attuma, one of Namor's oldest adversaries acquires one of The Serpents hammers and becomes one of the worthy, who else could he turn to but his oldest frenemy Doctor Strange to help him save Atlantis.
Using some magic defenders summoning spell we get a neat roster that alludes to some good old Defenders action.
Defenders (2012) vol 1
Spins out of Fear Itself
The last of the Worthy is on a rampage and the Hulk has no choice but to enlist some help. The greatest frenemies in Marvel, The Defenders, return! This time with an altered cast of:
- Doctor Strange
- Red She-Hulk
- Iron Fist
Defenders (2012) vol 2
When Immortal Weapons begin to turn up dead, Iron Fist and the Defenders investigate. This leads them into conflict with John Aman, the Prince of Orphans.
Then, with the purpose of the Concordance Engines revealed, the Defenders must defend the Universe!
New Avengers (2010) vol 5
The New Avengers are still dealing with the fallout from Avengers vs. X-men when a powerful enemy returns to exact vengeance on Doctor Strange and the rest of the New Avengers.
Plus: A new Sorcerer Supreme is crowned; But at what cost?
New Avengers (2013) [Ongoing]
The Illuminati has reassembled to deal with the immanent destruction of the multi-verse due to Dimensional Incursions. Impossible descisions loom around every corner and with dwindling options.
Doc is getting into some serious dark mojo here. He breaks out something called The Blood Bible, with the intent of selling his soul O.O
Doctor Strange, along with the rest of the Illuminati I assume, play a role in the current Marvel Event Original Sin.
Where to get your Doctor Strange Comics
In case you haven't read my Getting into Comics guide, I'll list here a few different ways you can get a hold of these comics.
- Your Local Comic Book Shop (If you have one, SUPPORT THEM)
- Your Local Book Store (IE. Books a Million, Barnes & Noble, Etc.)
- Amazon.com (Or other online bookstores)
- Your Local Library (Seriously, you'd be surprised just how many comics you can get there and save your wallet some heartache)
For questions comments or concerns, email firstname.lastname@example.org