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Latest Weblog Post:

11 Is A Palindromic Number, and,
A Recusal

Please celebrate with Neilalien his 11th Blogiversary! Exclesior!

That's 1,111 in internet/weblog/dog years. You won't find a better combination of starting earlier and blogging longer in comics-blogging.

But alas, as of today, Neilalien is officially recusing himself from the news, entertainments, and expectations of the near-daily visitor to his website.

Now is a good time- 11 is a palindromic number, of course...

[25 Feb 02011: More...]

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Dr. Strange Information
 [Story List] [Powers/Items]
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More: OriginPre-Blog Links

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Overheard in a comic con bathroom:

"We have a new character... named Dr. Strange... Twas Steve's idea."
 - Stan Lee, letter to Comic Reader #16, 23 Feb '63, as quoted in Steve Ditko's 32-Page Package v.5 Tsk! Tsk!

"Is that the Eye of Yaphet Kotto?"
- A demon, Marvel Comics Presents #20

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Creators/Publishers: Neilalien would love to help, but he does not accept free comics or review submissions.

"Do not accept for review a book you are
predisposed to dislike, or committed by
friendship to like." - John Updike


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The 616 version of Dr. Strange dies standing up to God Doom in Secret Wars #4 [Shocking Twist Shakes Up Marvel's Secret Wars] [Secret Wars 02015: Part 4- Doctor Strange] [Deadshirt] [Outhousers] [CBR] [IGN] [Comicosity] [mostly very positive reviews for the event at the halfway mark, and selling well] [Doc should have been more a fifth column than a Doom kool-aid drinker, and there until the very end with a more meaningful, potent, and shocking betrayal of Doom] [17 July 02015]

An 8-year-old fan wrote Steve Ditko a letter, and here's how Ditko responded [5 July 02015]

Marvel announces Doctor Strange comic series [Marvel Announces "Doctor Strange" Series] [written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Chris Bachalo] [links contain concept art] [he will have weapons, like the axe; "a very active superhero version"] [he will be Sorcerer Supreme] [he will have Wong around] [one of many all-new #1's launching this fall as part of Marvel's "All-New, All-Different" post-Secret Wars initiative] [some cool-sounding ideas here- "a redefinition that rebuilds him from the ground up"- sigh, wary- but at least it's not another origin story- we shall see] [CR update: "There's a lot of untapped potential there which is really odd considering how exhausted most Marvel/DC characters seem these days."] [22 June 02015]

Kimble v. Marvel: Justice Kagan's top Spider-Man jokes in a big patent case [22 June 02015]

Teaser image for the Marvel Universe after Secret Wars shows Doctor Strange with a battle axe and mostly returning to his classic 80's look of blue shirt and black pants but odd belt and no Cloak collar [5 June 02015]

Marvel Legends summons SDCC-exclusive Doctor Strange set [in a package designed like the Book of Vishanti, 6-inch figures of Doc in astral form, Brother Voodoo, Magik, the Asgardian goddess Hela, and Dormammu, and a wearable Eye of Agamotto; no Clea or Baron Mordo] [4 June 02015]

Secret Wars #3, out today, has a "Doctor Gwenge" Doctor Strange/Gwen Stacy mashup variant cover by Nick Bradshaw [update: retailers can tire of telling customers the variant cover subject is irrelevant to the book's content] [3 June 02015]

Recent issues of SHIELD have been Marvel-Mystic-oriented; based on the TV series, written by Mark Waid; fun creative stuff here overall, but no glory for Dr. Strange

> In SHIELD #3, drawn by Alan Davis, Colonel Myrrden and mercenaries with guns that shoot Sapphire Bands of Storaan and Demon-Claws of Denak break into the Sanctum Sanctorum to steal the Book of Morphesti, only to be foiled by Agent Coulson, Spider-Man, and an in-custody looking-to-get-charges-dropped old-school Dr. Strange rogue Mr. Rasputin (!) [the Sanctum is the star here; unfortunately Doc is absent so the others can bumble around it, and he doesn't return when its defenses are breached] [Spidey makes a great quip that Doc eats "onion rings of Raggadorr"]

> In SHIELD #5-6, Asgardian-troll-made guns and Black Dechantment bullets take out Earth's magic-users so Dormammu can launch a plague turning people into Mindless Ones [Dr. Strange punked again, held captive by Dormammu; Scarlet Witch in the role Doc should be in again; science used to cast (and completely nuke all wonder out of) magic again, this time a "laptop pentagram"; Dormammu looking pathetic again, beaten up by The Absorbing Man and the Howling Commandos (Man-Thing, Living Mummy, Frankenstein's Monster, Zombie (Simon Garth)); but it's all slightly palatable since the Black Dechantment's power is hyped, as something no wizard or spell can withstand]

[31 May 02015]

Punisher 2099/Doctor Strange "Soldier Supreme" (or "Sorcerer Extreme") very fun mashup in Secret Wars: Battleworld #1 complete with summoned mystical weapons, Rocket of Raggadorr, Weapon of Watoomb [review: a winner that leaves you wanting more] [shocker: Dr. Strange might play actual major role in major Marvel event, as Doom's Sheriff Strange in Secret Wars (he looks 1602-ish)] [no Clea in heroine-oriented A-Force #1] [update: Baron Mordo is Baron of Battleworld territory Killville, with Clea, in MODOK: Assassin #1] [24 May 02015]

The Doctor Strange movies that nearly happened [will Scott Derrickson break the curse that befell Doctor Mordrid, Bob Gale, Alex Cox, David S Goyer, Guillermo del Toro and Neil Gaiman?] [18 May 02015]

Critics: MCU Black Widow exists solely to serve male superhero stories; Avengers: Age of Ultron sterilization-angst reveal means yet another woman reduced to baby-making; sloppy line equates infertility with being a 'monster'; Smurfette Principle in play (also Damsel In Distress); Marvel failing to provide female-led movie; no Black Widow toys in the stores
> A guide to the growing controversy over Joss Whedon's Avengers and Marvel's gender problem
> The strong feminism behind Black Widow, and why the critiques don't stand up
> Black Widow: This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
> The Avengers' Black Widow Problem: How Marvel Slut-Shamed Their Most Badass Superheroine
> 'Avengers: Age of Ultron's' Black Widow Disgrace
> 'Age of Ultron's 'Black Widow Problem' Isn't a Problem: It's What the Movie Is About
> related: Invisible Women: Why Marvel's Gamora & Black Widow Were Missing From Merchandise, And What We Can Do About It [a peek inside the industry; Disney thinks it has girls locked up with Frozen princess crap and does not care about Marvel's female market; contact the licensees]
> related: Leaked Email From Marvel CEO Is A Listicle About Why Women Can't Be Superheroes [Supergirl flop three decades ago still used to justify no female-led superhero movies]
> related: did you know Johansson's Lucy made $458 million?
[11 May 02015]

Free Comic Book Day is Saturday May 2nd tomorrow! [1 May 02015]

Legendary Marvel creator Herb Trimpe died earlier this month [Mark Evanier] [Comic Book Resources] [when Trimpe drew like Rob Liefeld] [when Trimpe wrote in the NY Times about being fired from Marvel] [Johnny Bacardi] [Progressive Ruin] [Comics Reporter] [Comics Journal] [Wikipedia page] [seven-year run on The Incredible Hulk in the 70's] [26 April 02015]

Are Marvel's 'Secret Wars' And DC's 'Convergence' The Exact Same Story? We Look At The Similarities [Marvel and DC's big summer event concepts this year really seem similar: past stories, characters, and continuities are mashed together on one world and battle each other] [The Ultimate Problem With Secret Wars and Convergence: virtually indistinguishable events; continuity mongering] [Graeme McMillan: "What's the difference between Convergence and Secret Wars?" "About two months and $800."; "Remember these old stories? They're back, and now they get to fight each other!"] [Neilalien calls these types of mixup mashup recursive recombination stories like Earth X and Old Man Logan "Prime Minister Electro": rearrangement of hardcore-fandom deck chairs on the Titanic] [25 April 02015]

P. Craig Russell What Is It That Disturbs You Stephen? signed cover print for sale until 1 May to fund original art preservation [23 April 02015]

Wikileaks has released the Sony email hack as a searchable database
> Drew Goddard: "What does Dr. Strange have? Magic tricks? Fuck you, magic tricks - we've got a skyscraper Tom Hardy knocking down buildings!" [presumably as Hardy playing Sandman in Goddard's Sinister Six movie, which was slated to compete with Dr. Strange, but now postponed after the Spider-Man deal between Sony and the Marvel Cinematic Universe] [interesting Dirty Dozen brainstorm about Sinister Six here] [with Goddard's pedigree (Buffy, Angel) the above was surely just competitive bluster- Dr. Strange might have been good in his hands]
> concern that Dr. Strange's release date was set for one week before Sinister Six: "not good"; "ultimate asshole move"
> this email looks like Scott Derrickson doing Dr. Strange being a big secret just before the June 02014 announcement
> this email looks like they're competing against Dr. Strange to land Tom Hardy for Sandman (Hardy Googled Sandman?) in Sinister Six, but he's already booked for The Revenant by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Splinter Cell (Hardy was under consideration for Doc before Cumberbatch was cast)
> meta/equal time: Wikileaks defends the release as a fair-game pulling-back of the curtain on a large secretive influential corporation with ties to government and the military-industrial complex embroiled in a geopolitical event; many others see it as an ethically-challenged perpetuation of a criminal act and foreign attack by a totalitarian regime- and no one wants their private emails in the public domain trolled for gossip [Neilalien's 10' pole is only touching the Dr. Strange industry news]
[18 April 02015]

MoCCA Fest is 11-12 April in NYC! [new venue! Center 548, not the Armory] [Programming] [Exhibitors] [30 March 02015]

R.I.P. The Eltingville Comic Book, Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Horror & Role-Playing Club (01994-02015) [personal Evan Dorkin note about the end of Eltingville, post-project blahs, and the many challenges creators (and we all) face, many self-imposed] [best wishes for future projects, heal up the hand, and happy big 5-0 birthday next month] [via LMG] [28 March 02015]

Steve Ditko's Thugs and Mystics ["Two new books - Dripping With Fear: The Steve Ditko Archives Volume 5 (Fantagraphics/Blake Bell) and Ditko's Shorts (Yoe Books/IDW Publishing) - reinforce the notion that Mr. Ditko, more than any other comic book artist, was a master of Cold War paranoia."] [25 March 02015]

Neilalien enjoyed Brooklynite tonight, a new fun superhero-themed Off-Broadway musical at the Vineyard Theater in NYC [Brooklynite review trailer on YouTube] [a couple song clips on YouTube] [NY Times review] [very limited shows and tickets remain] [24 March 02015]

Groovy Dr. Strange and Dormammu posters by We Buy Your Kids [via Robot 6; Super Punch] [recused Neilalien probably too late for the hand-numbered limited editions via Mondo?] [23 March 02015]

Will Dr. Strange have an American or British accent? Watch Cumberbatch dodge the question [22 March 02015]

All of the upcoming Marvel Secret Wars/DC Convergence big events, miniseries, reboots, new #1's, transient ideas like a Secret Wars miniseries about the Inferno crossover from 25 years ago, both Marvel and DC big events happening at the same time, etc., is a challenging ordering situation for the Diamond nonreturnable comic shop retailer [Brian Hibbs Tilting @ Windmills] [21 March 02015]

Batgirl #41 variant cover evoking her vicious assault by Joker in Killing Joke is quashed [we can still put women in danger in comics; the cover is contrary to the book's fun, strong-female-character, appeal-to-girl-readers tone; witheringly defines Batgirl by only her past trauma] [Entertainment Weekly] [CBR] [ petition to get the cover released; many comments in support] [update: why wave a disavowed cover in tribute to a disavowed comic like a Gadsden flag?] [past Batgirl hubbub evoked: classic comics can't-win: folks were upset when Barbara Gordon stayed paralyzed while Batman's Bane-broken back healed; then when they restored her mobility, folks were upset Oracle, an icon for the disabled, was lost] [the last Batgirl hubbub: bad transgender trope usage in #37] [the last cover hubbub: Spider-Woman's butt] [20 March 02015]

Links that remind of the comics blogosphere of old:

Why do you hate autobio comics? ["too many tedious misunderstood sensitive self-absorbed privileged males seem to be making them"]

They're still just fucking superheroes ["If they really don't like superheroes that much, why the hell do they spend so much time and effort talking about them?... I stopped getting upset about the tastes of the general public not matching my own when I was a goddamn teenager..."]

Why Neilalien has rarely linked to Invincible Super-Blog

[19 March 02015]

IDW's Orphan Black #1 is February's strong top seller with a Diamond-estimated 497K copies sold [Midtown Comics Times Square was sold out] [a quick survey of online reviews are mostly positive, but Neilalien sees a TV-show recap, flat art, and way too many variant covers] [great TV series! ten-episode third season premieres April 18th] [18 March 02015]

Marvel's June 02015 solicits: Doctor Strange in Zdarsky/Quinones Howard The Duck #4 [cover] [update: review of #1, mentioning some of the meta-politics of new Howard comics] [17 March 02015]

Secret Wars Battleworld map includes an "Eye of Agamotto" domain [no guarantee or word yet if this means we'll get much Doc-related; no Dr. Strange miniseries listed here] [comprehensive guide to Battleworld domains, continuities and miniseries] [is the domain the Eye of the multiverse-chaos storm?] [16 March 02015]

Doctor Strange in a Strange Land, or The Transnational Logics of Blockbuster Casting [Part Two] [by Lori Hitchcock Morimoto] [was Benedict Cumberbatch cast as Dr. Strange for international film revenues because Sherlock is huge in Asia?] [15 March 02015]

Marvel's May 02015 solicits mark the start of the next big event: Secret Wars [including Secret Wars: Battleworld #1 (of 4): "When a Dr. Strange-possessed Punisher goes on the run, only Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hulk and Ghost Rider can track him down!" what could that mean] [Marvel's new Secret Wars promises to change everything; essay by The Hurting [essay footnotes]; Marvel's own Crisis On Infinite Earths at long last?] [14 March 02015]

Doctor Strange meets Rabum Alal in this week's New Avengers #31 big reveal [if the "send everyone... possibly all" talk is literal, the Black Priests are all dead and Doc's tenure as their Great Eye leader was short and disastrous] [Doc looks good here; being defeated by a bevy of Black Swans when he was unable to talk doesn't offend; although he probably should have known the Priests might be vulnerable to a silence, 15' radius spell] [why would Doom be so surprised to see Strange? if there's one person who can traverse the worlds and universes, it's Dr. Strange; maybe this is a time-traveled Doom and something happened to Strange?] [Big Marvel Villain (Finally) Revealed in New Avengers #31; good short recap and Brevoort interview] [13 March 02015]

Steve Ditko used as an example of an unknown second banana on tonight's episode of The Big Bang Theory [update: Bleeding Cool] [update: YouTube clip] [12 March 02015]

Today marks fifteen years of goodies for fans of Dr. Strange, Steve Ditko, and comic books at this URL! [25 February 02015]

New Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios collaboration deal means Spider-Man can finally swing with the Avengers in the "Marvel Cinematic Universe" [Hollywood Reporter] [Deadline] [Marvel PR] [Variety] [Washington Post] [19 February 02015]

The Doctor Strange Spell Generator [18 February 02015]

How Peanuts got its first black character [more] ["Let's put it this way: Either you print it just the way I draw it or I quit. How's that?" - Charles Schulz] [17 February 02015]

"Steve Ditko is one of the best plot men in the biz. When it comes to dreaming up story ideas, putting them together intricately, panel by panel, and utilizing the best of cinematic techniques, the guy's a whiz." [Stan Lee's 01979 introduction to "The Wondrous World of Dr. Strange", in the paperback anthology Doctor Strange: Master of the Mystic Arts] [19 January 02015]

Digital Platforms Breathe New Life Into Comics Industry [ on YouTube] [websites, Kickstarter, Comixology, etc., undermine Diamond's distribution monopoly] ["Any time you don't have to ask permission is awesome. And now you don't."] [18 January 02015]

Stan Lee on To Tell The Truth in 01971 [YouTube] [via Sean Howe] [17 January 02015]

Superheroes Help Kids Get Through MRI Scans [kids wear superhero capes and feel braver during MRIs, reducing the need for riskier sedation] [MRI Heroes Kit: Information for Healthcare Providers] [6 January 02015]

The Secret Lair of Dr. Strange, His Creators, and a Ghost of Christmas Past [comprehensive history of 177 Bleecker Street via New York Times mentions and West Village historic district report, and a recap of Roy Thomas using 177A as Dr. Strange's address because he lived there with Bill Everett] [29 December 02014]

Happy Birthday today to Stan Lee! [Wikipedia] ["it's become fashionable to diminish Lee's contributions but read New Gods or Mr. A for the proof"] [28 December 02014]

Hurting essays: "Secret Wars II... is nothing but a series of unimpeachable highlights" [Bill Mantlo uses the Beyonder deus ex machina to tie up ROM loose ends like Rick Jones' awkward cancer ("There's an unwritten rule in superhero books that although exotic fantasy ailments can be easily overcome, real-world diseases must have real-world consequences.")] [the ignominious end of The New Defenders] [when Ben Grimm almost murders a drunk Dazzler-rejected Beyonder in the squared circle] [27 December 02014]

Are We Entering The Age Of The Practical Superhero Costume? [the superhero transition to live-action movies where such things must be considered (and cosplay culture?), and more female creators, are behind an evolution in the comic books towards more plausible costume designs: lots more leather jackets, and lots less crime-fighting in circus-strongman spandex, stiletto heels and bikinis] [update: Marguerite Sauvage's Wonder Woman And The Slowly Changing Face Of Comic Book Fashion; fashion matters; hire women to depict women] [26 December 02014]

Dr. Strange looking strong, re-emerging as the leader of the Black Priests in last week's New Avengers #27 [he disappeared with one of their helmets in #23]

Neilalien has been aloof with Hickman's run: Doc punked by Ebony Maw, trying to sell his soul, the Black Bible thing, etc., seemed like the same old miswriting of Doc; the Incursion/Game of Worlds storyline feels complicated and just incalculably more mass murder by "heroes"; but perhaps Hickman's ambition shouldn't be underestimated here?

Helpful Marvel Wikia entries: [Incursion] [Factions In The Game Of Worlds] [Black Priests]

Great theory/discussion of how Game Of Worlds factions might line up with Illuminati members

[7 December 02014]

Marvel Officially Confirms Benedict Cumberbatch As Doctor Strange [4 December 02014]

Comic Book Greats video from 01991 [while Todd McFarlane and Rob Liefeld create "Overkill" character based on the name, Stan Lee's constant joking about grabbing credit-ownership-merchandising is overkill] [a glimpse of what might have pissed off Kirby/Ditko? a glimpse of what moved McFarlane/Liefeld to found Image Comics a year later in '92?] ["The kids love chains!"] [via Topless Robot] [3 December 02014]

Esquire "O.K., You Passed the 2-S Test- Now You're Smart Enough for Comic Books" article from September 01966 [with art by Jack Kirby and Marie Severin] [Marvel's popularity on college campuses in the 60's; one of the earliest mainstream pieces on Marvel] [another bit of notorious comics history as Stan Lee is called "the author of Marvel Comics"; except for at least the credits/signatures on the article's illustrations, artists are NOT mentioned] [hat tip: The Comic Book History of Comics: Notes on Sources] [this is a newer link with better scans found at Barry's Pearls of Comic Book Wisdom; article last mentioned/linked on this weblog May 02007] [1 December 02014]

James Sturm's "The Sponsor" ode to cartoonist self-doubt stirs "old boys' club threatened by successful female/youth/internet" hubbub [Matt Bors collected responses] [Colleen Frakes: "all I see here are two white dudes complaining about a woman in comics"] [Alison Wilgus: "odd to see a young woman's success framed as a tragedy for older male cartoonists"] [TCJ 14 Responses] [The Beat] [Comics Reporter] [via Waxy] [17 November 02014]

Jeet Heer: How becoming a follower of Ayn Rand will likely cost Steve Ditko around $50-100 million [16 November 02014]

Moronic Dr. Strange appearance in AXIS: Revolutions #1 [one would think a Sorcerer Supreme who is "inverted" into a bad guy or affected by a "hate wave" would be one of the most dangerous things in the multiverse, but Marvel went with a MAD-Magazine-style parody of Doc, but without the humor, instead] [it's bad enough Doc was pwned in Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #3 and Dr. Doom casts the "order" side of the inversion spell with Scarlet Witch's "chaos"] [update: Dr. Strange AWOL for the AXIS event after his pwnage] [update: noting here that Brother Voodoo is back: Doom made a "Faustian bargain with a demigod" to resurrect him and his brother to possess Scarlet Witch in Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #8] [3 November 02014]

Happy Birthday today to Steve Ditko! [Wikipedia] [update: A Bunch Of Marvel Wide-Panels On Steve Ditko's 87th Birthday] [2 November 02014]

Doctor Strange movie release date announced: 4 November 02016 [Benedict Cumberbatch is in talks to play Strange after talks with Joaquin Phoenix broke down] [30 October 02014]

Career Arc: Doctor Strange, Marvel's Uncastable Sorcerer Supreme [26 October 02014]

New York Comic-Con is this weekend! [Panels & Screenings] [After Parties] [Parties List at Bleeding Cool] [8 October 02014]

Marvel Comics and Jack Kirby Heirs Settle Legal Battle Ahead of Supreme Court Showdown [Comics Reporter] [NY Times] [Deadline] [Hollywood Reporter] [Variety] [4 Reasons We Shouldn't (And 4 We Should) Get Excited About the Marvel/Jack Kirby Settlement] [terms were not dislosed; hopefully they are acceptable to the Kirby family] [30 September 02014]

Big congratulations and best of luck to great comics blogger Progressive Ruin, who will be opening his own comic shop! [Sterling Silver Comics] [29 September 02014]

The New Teachers' Aides: Superman and Iron Man [Reading With Pictures] [22 September 02014]

List of comic book characters who fought cancer ["Yikes. Peter Parker killed Mary Jane with radioactive semen. Let's just move on... Foggy Nelson must be cured, and I don't care if it takes Dr. Strange making a pill out of Pym Particles and an Infinity Gem to do it."] [21 September 02014]

The Death of Adulthood in American Culture by A.O. Scott; New York Times Magazine] [Vulture: "Cultural essays about the death of adulthood are often Trojan horses for a different complaint: the death of seriousness."] [Salon: just capitalism at work; consumerism; the end of adult middle-class jobs] [A.O. Scott & Death of Adulthood: A Close Read by Jeet Heer; "we are not the men our fathers were" is as old as Homer; shoring up 'patriarchy/privilege'; the critic as beleaguered adult surrounded by idiots; childhood as special protected time is a relatively new thing; grim gritty comics are adults poaching on childhood] [20 September 02014]

Jon Spaihts is the writer of the Dr. Strange movie [Deadline Hollywood] [The Wire; "hard to get excited about"] [Wikipedia] [Spaihts has a writing credit for Prometheus, one of the worst movies Neilalien has ever seen, so he's wary- but from The Wire report: "And his contribution to Prometheus was the original script, which he wrote as a direct prequel to Alien. Damon Lindelof's heavy re-write gave us the muddled film we saw, so it's hard to judge Spaihts' talent based on that."] [5 August 02014]

Marvel 'Doctor Strange' Trademark Applications recently filed for everything in the multiverse [update: and more URL registrations like] [4 August 02014]

The only Dr. Strange mention at SDCC: Marvel's Avengers panel: "We have firm plans for Doctor Strange," Alonso said when asked about the character. "We have a writer, we more than likely have an artist, and more than likely have a target date. There's a reason Doc Strange has a huge role in 'Original Sin.'" No movie news or release date announced. [update: Variety guessing 8 July 02016] [update now that Original Sin has ended: was that a "huge role" in Marvel Editorial's mind? Dr. Strange did nothing] [2 August 02014]

Original Sin #5-6 reveal Nick Fury's watcher-on-the-wall secret history of Howard-Stark-recruited galactic wetwork protecting the Earth from alien invasion, Old Gods in the Netherworld, etc. [The Beat review]

They gave Dr. Strange's lunch to Nick Fury, haven't they? This should have been Dr. Strange's secret history! At least against the mystical and other-dimensional threats. When Fury says he wants one of those assembled to replace him, Doc should have replied, "I literally already have this job", instead of the naive blah-blah. This cool idea- now given to superspy Nick Fury- "we don't know everything Dr. Strange has had to do to protect us as Sorcerer Supreme, and it wasn't all pretty"- Colonel Jessup on the mystical wall, an unfathomable greater responsibility, a grotesque and incomprehensible existence that saves lives- mines Strange's actual history, and is arguably better than anything that's been tried in the last ten years to darken-modernize Strange- from Chosen One origin revamps, to the entire there-and-back-again with Brother Voodoo, to brooding incompetent and Illuminati mass-murderer, to creep and jar-room mass-murderer, now to soul-seller for power.

Speaking of: New Avengers #20 reveals Doctor Strange was unable to sell his soul for ultimate power in #14- he "lacked the full measure of one" for sufficient payment (so we definitely have a 'soul-problem' for Doc- maybe related to Waid's item in his Strange miniseries?). The non-sale is a relief for Neilalien- four-color morality is not needed, but Doc selling his soul for god-like power felt too dark and stupid-risky; he's supposed to be a hero, and wise. But it's not like Doc smartened up- he just didn't have a soul to sell. But Doc still has other dark and mass-murderer avenues to pursue: It appears he's using the Blood Bible ("no spell in the Blu'Dakorr has ever not caused the death of the caster" [New Avengers #4]) to unleash Shuma Gorath (?- or something else from the genus Tentacles) ("through" him- paralleling how the Ancient One originally died?) on the Great Society's universe to save 616. [Hilarious: Norn reverted to Harry Potter- or DC's Books of Magic kid Timothy Hunter.]

[19 July 02014]

New Marvel publishing initiative Avengers NOW! promo image includes a female Thor (announced on The View talk show- using ABC/Disney/Marvel synergy for mainstream press), a black Captain America (Sam "Falcon" Wilson; announced on The Colbert Report), a new Superior Iron Man suit, an Agents-of-SHIELD-style Deathlok, and Ant-Man and Dr. Strange clearly getting some pre-movie attention [Entertainment Weekly] [update: temporary Thor/Cap diversity changes give starving hopeful non-white-male comics fans temporary sense of belonging] [18 July 02014]

New Avengers Annual #1 is a tour-de-force dark Doctor Strange story from writer Frank Barbiere and artist Marco Rudy [CBR review: "an insightful character piece focused on Stephen Strange... investigates Strange's compulsion to be successful from the sorcerer's pre-magical history and his current endeavors... gorgeous art that defies traditional layouts and style"] [CBR Forum discussion] [Outright Geekery review] [Geeked Out Nation review: 9.5 out of 10] [PopMatters review] [Comic Vine review] [IGN review] [Cosmic Book News review] [update: AV Club: New Avengers Annual shows why Dr. Strange could be Marvel's next big hero] [12 July 02014]

Drummer Tommy Ramone, last surviving original member of The Ramones, has died [12 July 02014]

Dr. Strange movie meta-commentary: Finally an intriguing superhero for a movie, or have we reached peak superhero/scraping bottom of the barrel? [Dr. Strange in a Movie? What Eldritch Blasphemy Is This? "But there's very little chance that a Dr. Strange film will have much of the particular charm, or the greatness, of the original comics."] [more: Are We At Peak Superhero?] [29 June 02014]

Scott Derrickson to direct the Doctor Strange movie [tweet/pic] [Wikipedia] [Derrickson has horror-supernatural-mystery chops: encouraging] [7 June 02014]

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His own hero's journey was already over: The Lee/Ditko Doctor Strange was very different from other Marvel heroes at the time, and Marvel's heroes of today, and the Doctor Strange of today [20 Feb 02011]

The Avenging Page (In Excelsis Ditko): massive missive re: Ditko's self-published work of recent years, by Jog, at Comics Comics [15 Feb 02011]

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