Neilalien : A Doctor Strange Fansite : A Comic Book Weblog  



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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
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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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Was the Ancient One whitewashed into a Celt played by Tilda Swinton in the Doctor Strange movie to avoid China political upset over Tibet and risk exclusion from its large movie market?
> 'Doctor Strange' Writer Explains Casting of Tilda Swinton as Tibetan ["There is no other character in Marvel history that is such a cultural landmine... if you acknowledge that Tibet is a place and that he's Tibetan, you risk alienating one billion people..."]
> 'Doctor Strange' Screenwriter C. Robert Cargill Clarifies Comments About Tibet And The Ancient One
> Marvel Denies Whitewashing 'Doctor Strange' to Appease China
> Marvel defends 'Doctor Strange' casting with new character info
> Doctor Strange's Erasure Of Tibet Is A Political Statement
> Jigme Ugen: "kowtowing to China to twist history... Something the Ancient One would forbid."
> Discuss: The Ancient One in the comics is a racist mystery-guru Asian stereotype no modern movie should want to use anyway
> 'Doctor Strange' co-writer unintentionally provides further evidence of deep-seated Hollywood racism [it is possible to acknowledge in film in China that Tibet exists, without declaring its sovereignty; it is possible to portray an inoffensive, yet still Asian, version of The Ancient One]
> Tilda Swinton on Doctor Strange Whitewashing: The Script Didn't Have an Asian Character for Me to Play
> What Tilda Swinton's Role as the Ancient One in 'Doctor Strange' Means to a Tibetan
> Update: George Takei: "You cast a white actress so you wouldn't hurt sales... in Asia?"
> Discuss: Was the Ancient One really so originally established as Tibetan as to headache filmmakers? [Strange Tales #115 Doc origin: "Come with us to India..."] [Strange Tales #169 Doc origin: "the timeless, trackless wastes of the Himalayas..."] [Strange Tales #148: AO is from "Kamar-Taj, a hidden land high in the Himalayas!"]
> Discuss: The original whitewash: Dr. Strange looks Asian in his first appearance, and then becomes Caucasian in his origin a few issues later as he becomes popular
> Wikipedia: [The Ancient One] [Whitewashing in film]
> Tibet links: [History of Tibet (1950-present)] [Tibetan independence movement] [Tibetan sovereignty debate] [Human rights in Tibet] [Free Tibet]
[2 May 02016]

Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday 7 May! [1 May 02016]

Doctor Strange #7 and Last Days of Magic are out!

Updating reviews as found: [Comicosity]

[28 April 02016]

Doctor Strange first teaser trailer!

Update: Awesome teaser trailer mashup with the Doc 70's TV movie!

[13 April 02016]

The Spider-Man newspaper comic strip since 21 February has featured Dr. Strange and Xandu [29 March 02016]

Dr. Strange uberfan Howard Hallis has a new website for his collection! [23 March 02016]

Marvel's June 02016 solicits include Doctor Strange #9
Stripped of all of his magic, Stephen Strange scours the globe for any weapon he can use against the Empirikul.
32 PGS./Rated T+ $3.99 [22 March 02016]

MoCCA Fest is 2-3 April in NYC! 11am-6pm [Official Tumblr] [Programming; located at Ink48 Hotel] [Exhibitors; located at Metropolitan West] [Directions/Map; everything's near the Intrepid] [12 March 02016]

Doctor Strange #6 is out! [The Last Days of Magic begin] [preview]

Updating reviews as found: [CBR] [Comicosity]

[11 March 02016]

It's Stan Lee's Universe: Why Is His Legacy In Question? [25 February 02016]

Marvel's May 02016 solicits include Doctor Strange #8
All of Doctor Strange's magic has been destroyed and our world is on the edge of disaster.
What on Earth can Stephen do?
32 PGS./Rated T+ $3.99

Also: Deadpool: Last Days Of Magic #1 ["From the pages of Doctor Strange... the Empirikul are waging a war on magic with the goal of wiping the fantastical from the pages of existence. This concerns Deadpool, because some of his best friends are magic. As the Empirikul forces batter the defenses of the Monster Metropolis ruled by his demonic wife, Deadpool wades into battle alongside his most spell-casting-est friends. And you know the old saying 'Nothing ever goes wrong in a war.' That's a saying, right?"]

Also: Doctor Strange Omnibus Volume 1
The complete Lee/Ditko Doctor Strange run in hardcover color goodness: STRANGE TALES #110-111 and #114-146, and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #2.
Direct market variant uses Ditko's Strange Tales #146 cover as its cover. (Bumped up from original 4 October release date?)

[20 February 02016]

Doctor Strange #5 is out!

Updating reviews as found: [Geeked Out Nation] [Comicosity]

[6 February 02016]

Marvel's April 02016 solicits include Doctor Strange #7
As all of his magic dissipates, Doctor Strange is at the mercy of THE IMPERATOR!
The powerless sorcerer is no longer supreme and can't possibly best a super-powered foe hell-bent on his destruction.
32 PGS./Rated T+ $3.99

Also: Doctor Strange: Last Days of Magic #1
"This companion to the LAST DAYS OF MAGIC epic! THE EMPIRIKUL, led by The Imperator, are destroying all magic and magic users in the Marvel Universe. Jason Aaron brings you Doctor Strange and Wong's secret history and the ultimate sacrifice that Wong makes! Gerry Duggan shows Brother Voodoo's stand against the evil magic-eaters. James Robinson introduces a new magic figure in the Marvel U just in time for her last stand!"
56 PGS./ONE-SHOT/Rated T+ $5.99

Also: All-New X-Men #8; cover and story
"As young Beast continues to struggle with his new life in the present day Marvel Universe, he turns to another man of science for guidance- former surgeon and present day sorcerer supreme, Doctor Strange!"

Also: Doctor Strange Omnibus (and "Prelude"), collecting 450 pages of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Doctor Strange pages from the very beginning for $75, out on October 4th just ahead of the movie.

[26 January 02016]

Doctor Strange #4 is out! [Deadpool hilariously crams brains into Mindless Ones and turns them into intelligent Mindful Ones (Spidey: "No. It does not work like that.") in Spider-Man/Deadpool #1] [6 January 02016]

The Pulp Magazine Archive [Internet Archive has started collecting pulps published from 01896 through the 01950s] [4 January 02016]

Entertainment Weekly's First Look issue this week has Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange on the cover
> Exclusive Photos of Marvel's Most Mystical, Magical Movie Ever
> Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige explains the powers of Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange
> Benedict Cumberbatch says there is going to be 'crazy shit' in Doctor Strange
> Find out who Rachel McAdams plays in Doctor Strange; a fellow surgeon from Doc's pre-mystical days; possible Night Nurse
> Mads Mikkelsen is playing the main villain in Marvel's Doctor Strange; 'turncoat sorcerer' sounds like Mordo
> Doctor Strange Movie Won't Shy Away From The Hero's Magical Powers, Artifacts
> update: Tilda Swinton says her Doctor Strange character's gender is 'in the eye of the beholder'; she is The Ancient One
> update: Is Chiwetel Ejiofor's Doctor Strange character good or evil? He says...; he is Mordo
[29 December 02015]

Happy Birthday today to Stan Lee! [Wikipedia] [28 December 02015]

Marvel's March 02016 solicits include Doctor Strange #6
The Emperikul have arrived, leaving universes purged of magic in their wake. Their next target? The Marvel Universe. And with Doctor Strange weakened beyond measure? We don't have a chance!
32 PGS./Rated T+ $3.99 [27 December 02015]

Doctor Strange #3 is out! [previews: CBR; Continuum] [Midnight Sons variant cover!] [3 December 02015]

Doctor Strange movie announces start of production, confirms cast [Marvel] [ScreenCrush] [CNET] [Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton] [also hitting the web: a Neil Gaiman tweet that allows people to infer the idle chat from a few years back between Gaiman and Guillermo Del Toro about doing a Dr. Strange movie might have been a real pitch or offer to Marvel that Marvel passed on before the MCU got rolling; Bleeding Cool] [30 November 02015]

Steve Ditko's first published story in Daring Love #1, "Paper Romance", dated September-October 01953 [with Nick Caputo commentary] [25 November 02015]

Marvel's February 02016 solicits include Doctor Strange #5
The Witchfinder Wolves are here and Doctor Strange is in trouble.
The Empirikul is coming, Magic's days are numbered and Strange is not ready!
32 PGS./Rated T+ $3.99 [24 November 02015]

Strong sales for Doctor Strange #1 as one of the "unprecedented (at least in recent memory) 14 titles with direct market sales over 100,000 copies in October" [Marvel relaunches gobble up October sales] [ICv2] [Comichron] [Dr. Strange Historical Sales Numbers] [23 November 02015]

Jessica Jones dark 13-episode first season released on Netflix to rave reviews [Screen Rant] [David Tennant moves on from his great Doctor Who to play the Purple Man; "magic"] [6 Ways "Jessica Jones" Changed the Marvel Universe: Bendis' Alias was one of the titles that launched Marvel's 'R-rated' MAX imprint in 02001] [22 November 02015]

New TPB Dr. Strange: Don't Pay The Ferryman is out! [Amazon] [reprints some good stuff from 01986-87 Doctor Strange #75-81] [21 November 02015]

Doctor Strange #2 out today!

Doc also appears in Howard The Duck #1, and Invincible Iron Man #3 (as "facial hair bros", sigh).

Marvel's January 02016 solicits include Doctor Strange #4; guest app in All-New Wolverine #4
Doctor Strange has gathered a circle of magic-using friends to try and best monitor magic in the Marvel Universe.
But this tactic is too late as forces are destroying all magical objects and beings in the multiverse and they are turning their sights on our dimension.
At least Strange won't have to die alone...
32 PGS./Rated T+ $3.99 [4 November 02015]

Happy 88th Birthday to Steve Ditko! [Wikipedia] [Javier Hernandez birthday wishes] [Arlen Schumer tribute] [2 November 02015]

Doctor Strange #1 Braindump

  1. -19: Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #90 has a cover date of June 01996. It has been over 19 years since the last issue of a Dr. Strange ongoing series.
  2. +1 for this book not being an origin retelling, updating, rebooting, reimagining, etc.
  3. +1 for starting right off with a house call, invoking Doc's first story (Strange Tales #110) helping a normal person in the trenches (it feels like a very long time since we saw that- it's been a lot of meta superhero drama, Illuminati, Sorcerer Supreme/Brother Voodoo, Secret Wars, etc.). While there's nothing new under the sun and nothing wrong with what we got- maybe the decision was made to make an accessible introduction- we could have gotten a slightly more creative idea than the standard 'exorcising a small child'.
  4. -1 for a child's life being on the line, and in the heat of battle, Doc casts Detect Flirt? Too cutesy. Didn't work for Neilalien. It minimized the seriousness of the situation too much. There are better ways to establish Doc as a 'dog' if that's the direction. Plus, if Doc is a 'dog', he wouldn't need to cast a spell to detect interest.
  5. -2 for the transmogrifying fire spell. While it's great to hear the Powers and Principalities and old-school spellcasting again- the Icy Tendrils of Ikthalon are used here against fire (reminding of the way the Flames of the Faltine were used to melt them in Doctor Strange #33)- these paragraph-long poems in the heat of battle just don't fly anymore. They bring the pacing to a screeching halt. Neilalien would have preferred if Doc had just said "The Icy Tendrils of Ikthalon!", or "Fire to Flowers!" in the spellcasting style used in Flight of Bones. Getting the Moons of Munnopor, or any spell, wrong? Did not work for Neilalien. Too cutesy. And then the spell still works? We're assuming magic takes discipline and focus, not stumbling through the words and cowering one's head.
  6. -1: Of course, no bleeding heart for child murderers here, but Doc should know better and be more heroic than to send the soul-eaters to Riker's Island. He shouldn't want the soul-eaters being strengthened by feeding on any souls, no matter who they are. He protects everyone on Earth. He wouldn't clean up a mystically-infested prison? He knows the Constitution's against cruel and unusual punishment. But maybe the soul-eaters have to feed on something, and no one's drowning rabbits anymore.
  7. 0: Black-and-white striped tentacles remind Neilalien of Beetlejuice.
  8. +1 for the payment. Neilalien wishes his own neighbors would bake their local despondent recluse a cake...
  9. +1 for the art choice during the passage of how Doc sees the world, with the mundane world black and white, and the mystical world in color. Very They Live. One of the women was in chains, again reminding of Doc's first story in Strange Tales #110.
  10. +1 for the soul parasites, interdimensional bacteria, soul eaters, psyche leeches, etc. Good stuff. Puts the doctor in Doctor Strange.
  11. +1 for the tweaks to Doc's look. It feels a little busier and less elegant than previous cleaner looks- but this Doc is a man of action with his dagger at his belt, chunky boots, and lots of steampunk pouches, perhaps filled with the material components of spells. Why keep all your goodies locked away in the Sanctum? The Cloak of Levitation really shines here. Used as steps, a scarf, etc. Really liking the draped-over look and not missing the large collar at all.
  12. Is the battle with the Free Rovers taking place on the astral plane? In the child's mind? Doc's body is obviously in the bedroom doing his astral thing, and the conflict is happening in some odd place where the bedroom is being incorporated into it. It looks like we have an art choice here to not do a ghostly astral form, include the Cloak, etc. Or at least the decision to not have the first sight of Dr. Strange be in his ghostly astral form, since that's how the story opens, which might be confusing to new readers.
  13. +1 overall for The Bar With No Doors and meetup group. +1 loved the tiki bar ambiance. +1 for the Algonquin Round Table social group idea. +1 that Doc's not an alcoholic here. -1 for including Scarlet Witch and not The Blue Hat Man. -1: The Sorcerer Supreme's body language in the bar is too schlubby, hunched over, head down. Even when Doc is depressed, pensive, burdened, etc., he's still a commanding presence (for examples, see Brunner's art run).
  14. +1 for the excellent "humanizing" part in front of the Sanctum with Zelma before she knew she was speaking to Doc.
  15. The Empirikul. Get it? The Empirical: scientists, anti-magic types. Perhaps lead by a new Scientist Supreme?

[12 October 02015]

Doctor Strange #1 is out to positive reviews (adding as found)
> CBR: "a perfect launching point for a bold new era"
> IGN: "It's high time Doctor Strange had his own comic again, and this new series certainly doesn't disappoint."
> Graphic Policy: "a really fun debut that exudes energy"; 8.5/10
> Comicosity: an introduction but not an origin-retelling; Bachalo's art sells the weird and differentiates the comic from the rest; 8.0/10
> Newsarama: "solid, if imperfect"
> Hannibal Tabu: "A pleasant surprise."
> ComicVine: "a strong start"
> Kotaku: "A Sorcerer Supreme Who's a Lot More Human"
> Bam Smack Pow: "the most fun, enchanting, just out and out enjoyable first issues I've ever read"
> Longbox Graveyard: "can't imagine a better reintroduction"

[8 October 02015]

Marvel's "We make girl comics!" besieged on all sides
> With A Growing Female Audience, Marvel Hopes To Invite Everyone In
> More: How the Success of Marvel's Female Superheroes Heralds a More Inclusive Age of Comics
> Update: Marvel at NYCC: We've never been more diverse
> Harvard professor looks down her nose at girl-comic A-Force in The New Yorker: Looking at Female Superheroes with Ten-Year-Old Boys
> A-Force writer defends her book: Dr. Lepore's Lament
> Woman comic shop manager responds to The New Yorker piece: An Open Letter to Jill Lepore About A-Force
> Overview: Female Superheroes: A Historical Perspective
> Industry/Direct Market/Comic Prices Meta: Now dollar-voting supporting Marvel comics about or made by women is potentially a $70/month commitment
> Industry/Harassment Meta: Alex de Campi: "I am sick to death of corporate comics telling me they caaare about me and my lady-dollar as a reader, and then continuing to employ/protect known harassers"] [she writes Grindhouse and My Little Pony comics!]
> The Beat: New writer on Red Wolf is perfect storm of all of today's comics issues
> The worst comics industry in the world: The Beat: How a toxic history of harassment has damaged the comics industry
> Update: Harassment Meta/a different angle from March 02015: Progressive Comics Can Leave Me Behind: "Making a man in this industry look bad is nearly impossible."; harassers get nuance and a narrative-dominating rehab so we can all Move On (except the victim); lots of comments

[6 October 02015]

Ta-Nehisi Coates Writing Black Panther Is The Year's Biggest Comics News [Vulture; "the awful few months that Marvel has been having with regard to diversity"] [more big press: NY Times; Wired]
> On Marvel and Magical Thinking: Marvel's hiring of Ta-Nehisi Coates to write Black Panther doesn't magically fix a diversity problem Marvel doesn't acknowledge it has
> The Guardian: Marvel's hip-hop tribute embraces black metaphors but excludes black people
> Controversy clouds excitement for Marvel's 'All New, All Different' relaunch: failing to hire more writers and artists of color, more women, excluding LGBTQ
> The millionth Marvel boycott: until they can break Dwayne McDuffie's Rule of Three (three members of a marginalized community represented)

[5 October 02015]

New York Comic-Con is next weekend! [sold out] [Panels & Screenings] [Floor Plan] [Comic Guests] [Artist Alley] [party list by Bleeding Cool] [update: party list by Flavorpill] [4 October 02015]

Doctor Strange #1 preview [with all variant covers] [out this coming Wednesday 7 October] [2 October 02015]

Marvel's December 02015 solicitations include Doctor Strange #3
Dr. Strange wakes up, nearly naked with none of his magical tools or spellbooks and no memory of how he got there. Nor does he know where all the monsters chasing him came from.
32 PGS./Rated T+ $3.99
[and Fred Hembeck variant Secret Wars #9 cover] [1 October 02015]

MODOK: Assassin #5 series finale out today [far and away Neilalien's favorite of the Secret Wars event] [main Secret Wars event books getting very late] [30 September 02015]

A Problem For The Comics Snob is that superhero comics today have some more polish, more openness to different art styles, less earnestness, and more Matt Fraction, than they have had in the past (but you still gotta read a boatload of shit to be qualified to discuss the few too good to ignore) [enjoyable new R. Fiore (less earnest than usual himself with this essay)] ["It's the absurdity of saying, 'I don't read any of that superhero crap, what I like is Donald Duck.'"] [via CR] [a recent love-note meme-burst has been kinder to Fraction: 6 Reasons Why Matt Fraction's Hawkeye Is One of Marvel's Greatest Comics; Farewell, Bro: How Matt Fraction and David Aja's Hawkeye Changed Marvel Comics] [4 September 02015]

50 Summers Ago: Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2 [lovenote to "The Wondrous Worlds of Dr. Strange!" by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, with lots of info and trivia] [26 August 02015]

Marvel's November 02015 solicitations include Doctor Strange #2
Variant Cover BY ALEX ROSS
Take a tour of Doctor Strange's home-- the Sancto Sanctorum. It's the weirdest and most dangerous place in the Marvel Universe! A place where opening the wrong door can unleash hell on Earth.
Unfortunately for you and your fellow visitor, Zelma, Strange's house is infested with something far worse than bed bugs!
32 PGS./Rated T+ $3.99
[25 August 02015]

Superhero films are American pop culture's most sustained response to 9/11 [9 August 02015]

Is it unofficial policy at Marvel to not create new characters in the Spider-Man and X-Men orbits for whom Sony and Fox would have movie first dibs? [7 August 02015]

The Secret History of Ultimate Marvel, The Experiment That Changed Superheroes Forever [via LinkMachineGo] [6 August 02015]

Ultimate End #4, out today, has a Dr. Strange variant cover by Karmome Shirahama [please note that Dr. Strange has absolutely nothing to do with the contents of Ultimate End #4 and does not appear within- another increasingly-more-common reason to dislike variant covers, but blogged here as always as news-completism for the completist-collectors] [Ultimate End ends the Ultimate Marvel Universe] [5 August 02015]

Kickstarter for Steve Ditko's 40th Anniversary edition of Mr. A #4 [the issue numbering is not pitfall-free- this must be "Count Rogue" (16 pages) and "Brotherhood Of The Collective" (16 pages)- originally published by Bruce Hershenson in 01975] ["Steve Ditko in 01975" article from Ditkomania #75] [update after the fact: hopefully nobody pledging only $10 expected differently: one had to have pledged $15 or more to get an actual copy of the book being supported] [4 August 02015]

Marvel/DC/Image/North American comics and graphic novel sales hit new 20-year high in 02014
Yay! You might have also heard that other comics are for sale and selling well too. Or maybe you haven't...:
> What Our Failure To Cover Attack On Titan Says About The Comics Industry [Marvel/DC superheroes still called "the mainstream", and Star Wars' fake one million sales still dominate North American comics industry press, while dwarfed by manga, kids comics, girl comics, webcomics]
> Comics212: Shifts And Living History [Marvel/DC comics industry still marginalizing anything not aimed at males 18-49, but real progress has been made]
> Comics212: New. Now. Next. [the system's hype/publicity cycle is more broken/divorced from the sales cycle than ever; retailers getting less info than ever to order books farther in advance; longer time-spans (and consumer attention-spans needed) between announcements and when books are actually on shelves; still as difficult as ever to get people talking about non-Marvel/DC/Image books; fewer good critics/curators talking about good comics actually on shelves than ever] [3 August 02015]

Writer Tony Isabella reports some peace-pipe smoking with DC, and a new Black Lightning collection in early 02016 [Trouble With Comics with some collected industry reactions] [via Progressive Ruin] [Robot 6] [Isabella has felt long-term disrespect from DC re: his creation Black Lightning, one of the first major black superheroes to appear in DC Comics]

[Update on a very old hubbub: A major part of said disrespect is DC's apparent nefarious unilateral for-money/lawyer-reasons muddying of the non-work-for-hire deal and creator-credit waters by giving artist Trevor Von Eeden a co-creator credit via costume design, as you'll see on Black Lightning's current Wikipedia page and almost everywhere else (notable exception Toonopedia). Von Eeden has disavowed co-creator status, but he has claimed BL's original visual design (but not the removable Afro mask). Neilalien absolutely supports Isabella vs. DC- but a kind of 'Isabella vs. Von Eeden' won't get the same pass. As a Steve Ditko fan and comics-are-words-and-pictures folk, he's just too wary of artists not getting their due, especially for their superhero visual-costume designs which are critical to the medium and sell those Underoos. Isabella's "A character isn't his costume" sounds a lot like what Stan Lee used to claim ("the person who has the idea is the person who creates it") when he gobbled up every credit in sight. Further reading: 20th Century Danny Boy: Original Art Stories: The (Sad) Saga of Black Lightning's Creation; Tony Isabella's 'FAQ of Recurring Animosity']

[2 August 02015]

Riverdale Punks Up With "Archie Meets Ramones" [series is expected to arrive in 02016 to celebrate both Archie's 75th anniversary and the Ramones 40th] [1 August 02015]

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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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