Neilalien : A Doctor Strange Fansite : A Comic Book Weblog  

Massive bloggage today... No link a dud!

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From 01974 APAzine: "Dr. Strange under Steve Ditko" by Dr. Christopher Melchert [Ditko Looked Up]

Review of The Action Heroes Captain Atom Archives Volume 1 [Ditko Looked Up]

Blake Bell suggests a lineup for the Marvel Visionaries: Steve Ditko collection [Ditko Looked Up]

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Fantastic Dr. Strange original art gallery by John Sisson [Comic Art Fans] [thanks to Bloggity]

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Going Underground: Interview with Dan Clowes [AlterNet] [via Egon]
Eightball #23 explained, the anti-humanism of superior power and its abuses, the unlikeliness that an unformed teenager like Peter Parker would fall into such a selfless attitude, how powers and money just change situations but not people, and the frustrations of trying to find a criminal act in progress.

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Webcomics Are the New Small Press [Joey Manley]

Mini-Comics as Objects d'Art [Sequential Tart]
Neat item. The writer probably wants to say "objets" d'art, non?

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Marvel licensing powerhouse: more theme park rides and attractions via deal with Sally Corp. [World Leisure Jobs & News] [via WFC News]
"Marvel Enterprises controls a library of over 4700 proprietary characters, of which 1400 are considered 'active'." This '1400 active' boilerplate item is new, isn't it?

MTV begins casting for Stan-Lee-affiliated superhero reality show [Newsarama] [Who Wants To Be A Superhero? official website]
Each week on the show, contestants will be pitted against villains in tests of their 'super powers'.

Checking's Rick Veitch's Pulse [The Comics Journal (interview from #264)] [via Fanboy Rampage]
"We've arrived at the point where we all custom-create our own magazine about comics and read it every day online for free!" Sounds like TCJ #265 will be taking a closer look at online comics journalism too.

October sales month-to-months at Pulse [Marvel] [DC, others]
"Bit of a steep drop, but 48K isn't bad for a Dr Strange origin series."

Super Prose: How Comics Can Make You a Better Writer [Poynter Online (Flash presentation)] [via Comics Reporter]

We need creators who want to evolve, who believe that their best work lies ahead of them [Brill Building]

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Women dig boy-on-boy-love yaoi manga [] [via Bookslut]
"Heterosexual romance, by comparison, is distinctly more threatening."

Marvel bands characters together [] [via WFC News]
Bendis tries really hard to sell The New Avengers as anything other than a book to get Wolverexposed, Spider-seller, and future movie properties together.

He-Man needs Team Comics help: An Open Letter from Val Staples, MVCreations President [Silver Bullet] [via Franklin's Findings]
CrossGen never paid. Interesting stuff about licensed books here. "Imagine telling a story where you cannot travel to any new places in a world or encounter any new characters..."

Mike Allred's The Golden Plates, comic book depicting the origins of the Mormon faith, is selling well [] [via WFC News]
Church-owned Deseret Book has picked it up- "a sure sign of church approval".

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The Longview, WA Public Library has many graphic novels [The Daily News Online] [via WFC News]
"The biggest thing these days in young adult publishing is the graphic novel."

Fewer kids, more adults buying comics [] [via WFC News]

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Superheroes helped man read [] [via WFC News]
Is there anything they can't do?

The Top Ten Graphic Novels for Superhero Stories [ (watch out for website hoozits and whatzits)]

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Progressive Ruin's Cavalcade of Stars! [more]
Includes the Amy Grant from Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #15.

Jim Shooter's Fascination with Omnipotence to be explored [I Love Comics]

Sleaze Science Fiction Covers [Vintage Paperbacks] [via Boing Boing]

The Riddler announces his retirement [McSweeney's]

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When people start apologizing to *Neilalien* for not liking Dr. Strange... either he's made it, or he's been bloggin' for way too damn long...

Posted 30 November 02004 - Permalink

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"This Godless Communism": Anti-communist Treasure Chest comic book from the 01960's [Authentic History Center] [via Boing Boing]

Baron Mordo weighs in on recent controversies!:

Baron Mordo says there's chaos magic

(Big thanks to a reader for getting this illo and letting it be posted here- and to main man Jim Salicrup.)

Posted 28 November 02004 - Permalink

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Funny: Marvel Sues Makers of Pens, Pencils [BBspot] [via Metafilter]

"It's the same principle," Marvel's lawyers explained. "Just as NCSoft's and Cryptic's game, with its excessively customizable character editor, allowed players to create accurate renditions of our trademarks, so too, do pens allow for pictures of our characters to be drawn and keyboards allow the names of our characters to be typed."

Happy Turkey Day, Neilalienistas!

Posted 24 November 02004 - Permalink

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Artist Michael Cho appreciates Steve Ditko [Filterless; Ditko samples 1, 2, 3, 4; website was last updated in March 02000 tho]

Jack Kirby interview clips from 01985 (RealPlayer format, unfortunately) [TV Party] [via Mark Evanier]

Clark Kent: Sultan of Song [absolutely hilarious Progressive Ruin]
Related: Superman's Fat Girlfriend [Dimensions Online] [via Pop Culture Gadabout comment to above]

Posted 23 November 02004 - Permalink

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Doc Sighting: Spectacular Spider-Man #21

Dr. Strange is in this issue as one of the Marvel NYC-based heroes who meet every year for a small private low-stakes winnings-go-to-charity poker night, which this time gets crashed by the Kingpin.

It's tough to be a Dr. Strange fan sometimes. Once again, we get no respect. Now, Neilalien doesn't mind- in fact, he prefers- a Dr. Strange who is too busy and otherworldly to watch TV or grok a pop culture reference about CSI. It's understandable if he doesn't know the rules of Monopoly or Risk. It's okay if, like a loveable out-of-touch old physicist, Doc doesn't know his own phone number because he never calls himself, nor fills his brain with things he can just look up, nor bothers with such mundane technology when he can use telepathy. An embattled mystic master who keeps a sense of childlike peace and wonder for the cosmos is cool. If written well it might even be okay if Doc's not a good bluffer- sure, he's bluffed Eternity and other near-omniscient entities, he's used illusions effectively- but hey, maybe bluffing Kingpin in poker *is* more difficult than bluffing Eternity- Kingpin's been around the block a few times and Eternity's not exactly up on the quirks of human psychology. But the doofus moron Doc we get in this ish? It's shameful. Geez, make the hothead teenager Human Torch the one who sucks at poker, make him the comic relief- not the Sorcerer Supreme. It's fun when "hard-luck"-type heroes like Spider-Man or The Thing are shown as incompetent at certain things, they can't fix the toilet, they don't get the girl at the end, etc. It's fun in that President-Bush-shocked-by-the-supermarket-scanner-scary-out-of-touch way when Black Panther can't use an ATM because a superrich king has never used one. But what would the fanboy rampage be if noble hypercompetent characters like Captain America, Nick Fury, Black Panther, Thor, etc. were written as a *completely naive dullard* at some task, or as Costello-type comic relief? Yet that's what we get with Dr. Strange more times than Neilalien can count. And writers- use your damn imagination when writing Doc- he's one of the few superheroes when you really can! Doc wouldn't bone up on the game by watching Celebrity Poker on ESPN like Foggy Nelson would: he'd consult the ghost of Stu Ungar or something interesting like that. Thumbs down, Jenkins!

Posted 23 November 02004 - Permalink

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Preview of Marvel Team-Up #3: Dr. Strange and the Fantastic Four by Kirkman [PopCultureShock] [via The Defenders Message Board]

Michael T. and Janet Gilbert make living dreaming up plots, characters for comic books, like Mr. Monster [Eugene, OR Register-Guard]

On the walls are original panels from the work of one of his comic book heroes, Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spiderman and Dr. Strange.

Runners #5 preview! Awesome! [Newsarama]

Publishers can no longer afford to let struggling titles (which is what, almost all titles now?) linger, so now we get relaunches and crossovers of questionable effectiveness (if not outright cancellation) [Ninth Art]

What's behind October's sales drop? [The Beat]
Fewer comics out, especially some big titles. And if a book was outside the top ten, it likely declined drastically.

Warren Ellis still fleshing out the interesting novella concept [Streaming at Pulse]

Marvel: Bumbling Villain [] [via Franklin's Findings]
The Motley Fool investing website, Marvel's #1 Fan, cautions about that City of Heroes lawsuit.

Listen up, Marvel: Hardcore comic-book fans may not provide your bread and butter now that you're a licensing powerhouse, but no one likes a bully, and everyone likes to see the heel get his comeuppance. You guys in the fancy suits need to spend a little less time with the law tomes. Devote a bit more time to thumbing through Marvel's comics, and reflect on the appeal of Spider-Man and Incredible Hulk movies. Remember good versus evil? Little guy triumphs over the rich, pompous supervillain?

The Journal of MODOK Studies gets huge press hit at this week's Lying In The Gutters
Neilalien's been enjoying and pimping this mini-comic for a couple years now, so now you have no excuse. The book needs a webpage [buy here]. Also in Gutters: funny Hulk heads selling hats on Ebay.

Studios sue Pixar, demand bad movie [Dateline: Hollywood] [via Bloggity]

Young Avengers kiddie book to include horrible character names like 'Iron Lad' and 'Hulkling'? [Newsarama MB] [via Fanboy Rampage]

John Byrne on the direct market [The John Byrne Forum] [via Fanboy Rampage]

It has been said that the Direct Sales Market "saved" the comicbook industry. Indeed it did. It came along at a time when sales were stumbling, falling, and it looked very much like the whole industry would soon collapse. Unfortunately, what was not realized by most people at the time was that this "salvation" took very much the form of saving someone's life by cutting off his gangrenous legs. Sure -- the problem has been "solved", but really by being replaced with a whole flock of other problems.
What's truly sad is the number of retailers (and people in high places, especially at DC) who resist any effort to fix the problem. There is a very vocal subset of retailers who squeal like scalded cats every time any mention is made of pushing the product back into those many venues we so foolishly abandoned. This is seen as "taking money away" from the shops -- and, indeed, it is just that, if the shops remain as they are and do not adjust to the changing marketplace.

Posted 22 November 02004 - Permalink

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Is Dr. Strange A Chaos Mage, and If so, why Is He Lying About It? [Clea's Cave]

Dr. Strange's "Master level" comment in Avengers #503 explored [Polite Dissent]
Also his comment about "earned powers" to a room of mutants and lucky accidents.

Blogger in retailing says "books like... Strange have had their sales hurt on second and third issues because we can't get any more copies of the first issue in" [Postmodernbarney]
Dang Marvel printing policies!

Future Comics closes shop; abandoning self-distribution plan for Diamond's monopoly and empty promises, resistant Direct Market mostly blamed [open letter from Bob Layton] [via Postmodernbarney]

Highwater Books also closes up shop [Comics Reporter]
They were the folks of, among other things, Coober Skeber #2, the Marvel Benefit issue from years back that was a lot of fun, with a hilarious send-up of Doctor Strange. Wired News article about Coober Skeber from 01997 that Neilalien's never seen before, also via CR.

How to get on retailers' radars in 18 issues or less [Tilting At Windmills]

Comic Dollars Skid 16% in October Vs. 02003 [ICv2]
Some Top Comic Titles Rebound from September [ICv2]
Strange #2: In the #25 spot, 48,410 copies sold to direct market [Top 300 for October at ICv2]

5Q with the ever clever Chris Allen [Newsarama]
He's going to be writing the comics soon, instead of just getting blurbed on the back cover.

Superman too super a role model [New Scientist] [via Die Puny Humans]

"[R]eading a series of rants on the sheer wastefulness of writing corporate comics characters in the same month that Ellis' Iron Man debuts can't help but feel a little sad" [Pop Culture Gadabout's been reading Ellis' Come In Alone]

Red-state-blue-state binary evokes comics' superhero-altindie binary; need less One-True-Path-ism [The Intermittent]

Main man Fred Hembeck is selling comic cover reinterpretations; he's available for commissions

Posted 19 November 02004 - Permalink

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From Imagination to Reality: The Art of Science Fiction [New exhibit at the New York Academy of Sciences; online article and slideshow]

The original Alien Legion Epic series, an old Neilalien fave, getting collected [Checker Book Publishing Group] [via press release email]

Posted 18 November 02004 - Permalink

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On The Chaos Surrounding Avengers #503 [Updated]

Prelude: Neilalien thought this was a neat Dr. Strange appearance, even if it started off a little mopey and arrogant. Doc seriously and easily spanks the Scarlet Witch, which Neilalien enjoyed- he never liked the Scarlet Witch character much, especially when writers give her enough power to even come close to Doctor Strange. Sorcerer Supreme vs. mutant hex bad-luck-oops powers? Pshaw. We see the fun spell script font again. Avengers fans shouldn't be all that pleased with Disassembled as a whole, and with having a non-Avenger (a Defender! an anti-Avenger!) Doc come into their house deus ex machina, lecture to them, and fix their problem while they sit there and watch the big finale.

While the issue seems to have created quite a stir in fandom for various reasons, Dr. Strange fandom is particularly stirring. Why? Because Bendis gives Doc this line of dialogue: "There's no such thing as chaos magic." And since Doc has used chaos magic himself in his own titles, then let the howling commence!

So let's just try to calmly, methodically, even-handedly figure this all out.

First off, the disclaimers. Neilalien's Doc sholarship and research isn't 100% complete and perfect, yadda yadda. Maybe he's having a brainfart forgetting something or missing an issue. Some uber-Doc-fan might write in with an item that renders this entire entry foolish. (But please note: Neilalien's already consulted a brain trust of uber-fans before writing this post.) We're only talking about Dr. Strange and the comic book record, yadda yadda. And even then, he probably doesn't have every craptastic issue of the Siege of Darkness storyline. We won't be scouring every appearance of Scarlet Witch and 'hex power'. Maybe Scarlet Witch or Agatha Harkness simply misnamed her mutant ability, or failed to consult Doc to see if they had accurately named it? The Marvel website says she can "channel chaos magic". Here's a Usenet post describing when Busiek first used the term 'chaos magic'. We won't be musing on the whole 'If chaos magic doesn't exist then Chthon (as in Wanda's using Chthonic magic by way of her Wundagore Mountain heritage) and the Lords of Chaos and Loki and Chaos-Man have no power source and they're powerless' waxball, for surely such powerful entities have power sources beyond our comprehension and ability to accurately name them...

The question: Is Doc inconsistently claiming that something he himself has used does not exist? Doc's sitting there noshing on a bagel, Brother Voodoo asks for a bite, and Doc says, "Dude, bagels aren't real." Imagine the uproar if Captain America said shields didn't exist. But is what Doc said on that scale?

Neilalien's Proposal: Going by the comic book record of Doc's own titles, this line of dialogue is not such a horrible Bendis blunder that warrants fandom's current great displeasure. Or, Bendis has given us fanboys a fun new picayune grey area to argue about, and Neilalien is on the side of the grey area that argues this line of dialogue is simply not a big deal.

Here is the comic book record for Dr. Strange and 'chaos magic' or even just 'chaos':

1. Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #76: Dr. Strange calls the ability to move a couple yards in the blink of an eye "abusing the art of chaos". Wong later calls this "that chaos trick". Not much here.

2. Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #78: There's a bit more meat to this item. Doc is trying to prevent the Screed from invading our dimension- a nanotech alien virus so perfectly orderly and uniform that they have no chaos. Doc tries to "scatter them with some chaos magick" but the Screed resist. He then attracts them by "us[ing] my chaos magick itself to suppress all chaos in my body", and when they are all inside him, he forces them back into their own dimension, and then seals the breach with a "chaotic magick barrier". The issue even goes so far as to equate magick and chaos: the woman the Screed are using to enter our dimension is mutantly "chaos-resistant" (making her a good candidate for a Screed beachhead) and Doc calls it "her natural anti-magick" effect, and adds that she cannot be tricked or manipulated with magick powers.

So yes, 'chaos magic' is flat-out referenced officially, it is in the comic book record. The point is conceded. Bendis sucks. David Quinn, the Sorcerer Supreme writer at the time, was clearly trying to do something new and grand with Doctor Strange, with an entire new philosophy of magic that might energize things, with many confusing and overlapping references and names like chaos, Earth Magic, Gaian Magic, Elemental Magic, etc. Neilalien will add more instances of 'chaos magic' to this list as he finds them.

But... Neilalien thinks that #78 can be devalued as great evidence of 'chaos magic'. Why? Because in this case, the 'chaos magic' is merely what Doc is calling it when he tailors his magic to fight a super-orderly enemy. It's as if Doc is fighting Green Lantern, so he changes the color of his energy blasts to yellow, GL's weakness, calls it 'using yellow magick', uses it once and specifically to defeat Green Lantern, and never uses it again because it has no other applications or any real meaning outside of a Green Lantern context. Doc is simply using 'the spells that are effective versus/opposite to super-orderly beings'. This is not worthy of a fandom heart attack. If you want Neilalien to really believe that there is all this 'chaos magick' that Bendis has denied, you'll need an instance when it isn't being used specifically against anti-chaotic beings. Which brings us to...

3. In Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #83, Doc is in a depowered state after the Seven Spheres War, using the catastrophe magic that he acquired through the syzygy- and even worse, he's devoting a chunk of it to creating a portal to the Dark Dimension to help Clea against Dormammu. So he's got very little power. His meeting with the mob at the Tempo goes badly, and he wants to use magic to calm the meeting down before bullets fly, but he doesn't have enough oomph. So he tries to tap into something else, which he calls chaos magic (more accurately, 'chaos maaaargghh!'). Instead, he gets sucked into an alternate realm where many different kinds of magic have embodiments- physical creature manifestations. The embodiment of catastrophe magic attacks Doc, he wants the power Doc stole from him back, and duh, Doc can't use catastrophe magic against an entity that *is* catastrophe magic, so he uses something different, which he calls chaos magic. Then when he returns to Earth, he uses what little chaos magic he has lingering to show the mob the future results of their violent ways.

So now one must concede there's been a ton of 'chaos magic' in the Doctor Strange comic book record.

But... Neilalien can devalue this appearance too. This time, for meta reasons. Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #83 was written by a guest (i.e. fill-in) writer, Todd Dezago. He 'co-wrote' one of the Ellis issues and the Spectacular Spider-Man reboot, but #83 is basically a one-shot. Editor Evan Skolnick has called it an "inventory issue" on Usenet. What is an "inventory issue"? To quote this Adelaide Comics page about a Warlock issue: "it'd become an inventory issue - one of those great Marvel creations. Inventory issues would be written and drawn and then put on the shelf. If an issue wasn't going to make deadline then the inventory issue, usually something that had no continuity within the Marvel Universe, would be slotted in and thus the regular book would continue to appear." It's barely in canon.

What Dr. Strange was using after #80 and the syzygy is *Catastrophe Magic*. It's clearly and consistently called catastrophe magic. Now, catastrophes and 'the power of change' may well be chaotic, but it wasn't 'chaos magic'. If we can use a little circular reasoning, we know they are distinct magicks from each other exactly because of #83, when Doc uses chaos magic on the catastrophe magic embodiment-creature in the alternate realm exactly because he can't use catastrophe magic.

So as far as Neilalien can tell, that's all there is, nothing much else about 'chaos magic'. Is this thin flawed record of two issues what everyone is remembering so profoundly and causing such Doc fan hysterics? Neilalien realizes that, as fanatics, we all remember the littlest shit and go nuts over it- it's part of the joy, he loves it too. But it sounds like a lot of people online are horribly confusing Ellis' catastrophe magic for 'chaos magic', and thinking about the catastrophe magic when they say 'chaos magic' now. Catastrophe magic does not equal chaos magic, and there's just not that robust a comicbook record about chaos magic otherwise. People are bludgeoning Bendis and peeing in their own Cheerios because of their own confusion and error.

Maybe some people think that Doc used chaos magic when he went evil in the Strange Tales Vol. 3 run. Well, granted, in the Marvel Universe chaos and evil have been used synonymously- chaos vs. order, Chthon and Chaos Lords and all that, but if you read that run it's definitely consistently called "dark magic". (Maybe this is what Chthon and others and evil and chaotic folks really use.)

So let's survey the interweb:

Gay League article:

Dr. Strange says there's no such thing as chaos magic? He started using it, specifically calling it chaos magic, years ago in his own book when he lost his Vishanti-based powers for awhile.

He used it twice. He never "started" using it in an ongoing way. When he lost his Vishanti-based powers for awhile, he used Earth Magic, and then Catastrophe Magic.

Cinescape review:

I have to give credit to Frank Gembeck of the GLA list [the above link -N.] for bringing to my attention two of the major problems underlying this issue... Then there's Dr. Strange's revelation to the group that, despite what Wanda has said all along she's tapped into, there is no such thing as chaos magic- despite the fact that, according to Gembeck, the good doctor himself used chaos magic, and specifically called it that, in his own book some time back when his usual powers fled for a bit.

Bad information spreads...

Ain't It Cool News:

But the real problem with this issue, and the entire run to this point, lies in four lines of dialogue. These four lines, four story elements to be exact, are the basis of the entire plot. All four lines are, unfortunately, erroneous... First is the statement from Dr. Strange that "there is no such thing as chaos magic", in reference to the source of Wanda's powers. This is a strange statement indeed, since the good Doctor has used chaos previously. The most recent account of this was in a Warren Ellis story from the 90's.

Ellis' stories used catastrophe magic, not chaos magic.

Captain Comics MB post:

And Dr. Strange's declaration that there is no chaos magic ignores the fact that in one of his own series he has both encountered and used chaos magic. Forums post:

There is no Chaos Magic? WTF?!?! Hmmm... you used chaos magic in your series.

These two are technically true. If all you say is that Doc has encountered and used chaos magic and keep it tight that way, then that's accurate, and Neilalien has no problem. He just disagrees then with you that it means so much displeasure for us fans.

Later, research from the Vishanti library led Dr. Strange to tap into chaos magic by invoking a syzygy of all the planets.

Now, this is just flat-out wrong. The Vishanti library and syzygy led Doc to catastrophe magic. Someone should correct this online encyclopedia.

Is this really from the Marvel Handbook?:

This falling out caused Strange to re-evaluate his role as Sorcerer Supreme and saw him change the sources of his powers for a time from his normal magic derived from his near-divine sources to Earth Magic and then to Chaos Magic.

Again, this is flat-out wrong. The entry should read "derived from his near-divine sources to Earth Magic and then to Catastrophe Magic".

Usenet rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe poster (whole thread):

You can get more recent than that. When Warren Ellis took over the book (Dr. Strange v3 #81 or so), the good Doctor needed a new power source, so he changed his _entire_ routine to tap and use chaos magic.


Avengers Message Board poster:

Doctor Strange switched to "chaos magick" in his own series (the last one, near the end of it) when creators tried to give him a new angle and a new look... Having spent her other-dimensional resources after the Seven Spheres War (was that it?) he resolved to resort to earth magic and chaos magick... But "There's no such thing as chaos magick"... ? Really?

Wrong. He resorted to Earth magic ~before~ he entered the War, after forsaking the Vishanti. He spent the Earth magic ~during~ the War. After the War, Doc switched/resorted to *catastrophe magic* for many issues. He used chaos magic briefly a couple specific times, he never "switched".

Further support for Neilalien: In Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #87 it says that Doc's been weighing the relative merits of Vishanti, Gaen and Catastrophic Magic. No mention of Chaos in this list. Why omit it if it's been his major tool? Because it lists his three major tools accurately. (There was an 'elemental magic' time too, IIRC. But no chaos magic.)

A No Prize wouldn't be too difficult here, really. It's not a huge continuity goof. Maybe Doc has learned since #83 that what he named 'chaos magic' was really something else. Maybe 'chaos magic' can only exist in alternate realms, like the one visited in #83, and when Doc engaged with the Screed dimension in the woman's body- he was able to use only a lingering effect when he returned to Earth. Or maybe Doc just knows, as Bendis has him dramatically state in Avengers #503, that the Scarlet Witch is off her rocker with absolutely no clue what she's doing or using for power.

Sure, the 'no chaos magic' line bugs Neilalien a bit. If Doc had said there's no such thing as ~catastrophe~ magic, then Neilalien would be howling angrily away with all y'all- he'd be leading the fanboy charge. Looks like Bendis has bigger continuity problems.

Conclusion: A lot of what's being said online is inaccurate. Fandom claims that Doc got handed a bungled line in #503 because he himself has used chaos magic 'extensively' are very misleading. Doctor Strange uses something he calls 'chaos magic' for a minute in one issue geared specifically towards an anti-chaos enemy, and then a minute in a one-shot second issue written by a guest writer. Neilalien celebrates all of our 'fandom memory'- but the flimsy record above didn't reduce this Doc-uber-fan's enjoyment of Avengers #503, and he argues, it shouldn't reduce yours.

Posted 17 November 02004 - Permalink

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Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane covers inspire the question, "How did the comic industry even last until today?" [Allspark Forums] [via Blogdex]

Lando da Pimp reviews Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #106, when the machine turned her into a black woman [Millionaire Playboy] [via Oliver Willis]

Posted 16 November 02004 - Permalink

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The Scurvy Dogs of Comics Piracy [Comic Book Galaxy]

Some Thoughts Outside the Comics Shop, Waiting For It to Open [Comics Reporter]

A Tribute to Bill Mantlo [Howling Curmudgeons]

Disney picks at the CrossGen carcass [Newsarama]

Updated: The Incredibles: embraced by conservatives, labeled Nietzschean and Randian [The Beat] [Backwards City] [Armed Prophet] [The Corner blog at National Review Online] [IGN FilmForce] [Pulp Culture] [Slate (via Ghost In The Machine- huzzah on five years blogging!)] [New York Observer (dead link already and no obvious archives, so fuck whatever they had to say)] [Christian Science Monitor]

Comix and The Occult [Comic Book Galaxy]
Warren Ellis' long-lost Druid miniseries surprisingly shows up here as one of the works considered.

In Neilalien's mind, and possibly in the minds of many fellow Dr. Strange fans, lurks this paradox: OTOH, wishing that Warren Ellis had had a long, creativity-infusing, boundary-bending run with Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme, and OTOH, reading his lousy, miserable-contempt-for-the-superhero, his-dead-ashes-ended-up-in-a-garbage-can Druid work of the day and suspecting that maybe we dodged a bullet from Ellis' venting spleen.

Posted 15 November 02004 - Permalink

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Tales of the Mysterious Mr. Ditko (and the Not-So-Mysterious Mr. Lee...) [Fred Hembeck]

FYI Doc fans: The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Book of the Dead 02004 out this week, includes a major entry for The Ancient One
Looks like they've updated his past to make the events of the Epic Anthology's Young Ancient One canon. (BTW, Neilalien was reading the rest of this book, and say what you will about continuity re: new readers, re: creator's hands tied, re: nerd experts of minutia, etc.- Viva The Marvel Universe!)
Update: Young Ancient One's writer comments

The Afterburn's website music page includes "Dr. Strange"
Yay! Thought this tune was long gone after CNET acquired and gutted it. Neilalien can also recommend "UFO", of course.

The Origin of the Comics Direct Market: 01994 Interview with Ed Shukin [Part 1; Part 2]
Neilalien loves this shit.

Marvel sues producers of super-hero MMORPG City of Heroes [Newsarama]
Neilalien hates this shit. And they'll be suing Hero Games next because people can create and play characters with the Champions RPG that have powers similar to those of Marvel characters (which is all super powers)?
Update: Marvel Battles Role Players [Wired]

Marvel's Unseen Superheroes [Motley Fool]
More worshipful gushing about Marvel at by a writer who owns the stock? Say it ain't so!

Sean Wang interviewed [Newsarama]
Neilalien can't recommend Runners enough- great book!

Interview with Daniel Way and Steve Dillon re: Bullseye: Greatest Hits [Pulse]
Neilalien's noticed this book in the shop- looks beautiful. He'll probably pick up a TPB of it.

Posted 12 November 02004 - Permalink

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Advice columnist explores if comic book shops are good places to find good men [Amy Dickinson, Chicago Tribune; reg req'd, try BugMeNot] [via Thought Balloons]

Sad: Gene Colan's nipples in Essential Tomb Of Dracula covered up [Gutters]
Blame Janet Jackson. Blame Ashcroft.

She-Hulk falls to renumbering/relaunching shenanigans [Newsarama]
The book will be cancelled at #12, and brought back later on with a "Collector's Item #1!" marketing push. No sign of any more Bobillo art, either.

Serious questions seeking answers [Comics Reporter]
Are There Too Many Comics? Are There Too Few Stores? What is the Future of the Newspaper Market? How Much Do Comics' Bad Habits Cost Comics? Will Economic Justice Ever Matter?

The next four Dubya years will be tough on the comics creatives who lean left, and maybe tougher still for we who have to read their angry political works [Ninth Art]

The possibility of requiring DC to license Superman rights from the Siegels and Shusters [Ninth Art]

Dedicated customers: Marvel Zombies, Star-Wars-only buyers, Slave Labor's goth audience, creator groupies, etc.; did Chaos and Crossgen attract women customers? [Postmodernbarney]

Devil Dinosaur 1, Wonder Woman 0 [Comic Book Heaven] [via Progressive Ruin]

Posted 8 November 02004 - Permalink

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Strange #2

Strange #2

Stephen Strange is in the hospital with horrendous injuries from the skiing accident. Doctors aren't even sure if he'll ever wake up. But he does, only to hear that he'll never hold a scalpel again- he'll be lucky if prolonged physical therapy eventually allows him to turn doorknobs and eat.

Stephen proves the adage that doctors make the worst patients. He pushes everyone away- angry, stubborn, moody, proud. A real jerk. But also extremely determined to get the use of his hands back.

After recovery, Strange maxes out his fortune, traveling the globe, meeting doctors and specialists, staying in clinics, getting tests and operations, investigating every lead, riding the rollercoaster of new hope and then disappointment. To no avail.

Broken and sitting in the street, the man who was the worshipful fellow student to Stephen comes along. He works of Doctors Without Borders. He gives Stephen some money (Strange told him he lost his wallet). It turns out that the Wong boy grew up into the world's best hand doctor.

So Stephen returns to Tibet, looking for Wong, to find the Garden of Fountains monastery long burned down. But Wong left an address with the guide for an American who would one day be seeking him out. Wong's office is in Manhattan, two blocks from Stephen's apartment.

So back to New York at night, Stephen goes to the office. Wong even took the first name Stephen. Stephen goes to a nearby bar named Tibet for a drink. There, the woman who's been watching him approaches and tells him in her best Arnold Governator impression, "Come with me if you want to live." But they're surrounded by toughs with black eyes who say, "You're too late, Clea."

The Art
No new comments here. Brandon Peterson is doing a serviceable job telling the story; Neilalien remains 'Eh'. There are two wide panels on two sequential pages of Stephen bugged-eyed that look exactly the same- when he sees the monastery ruins, when he reads the Wong info. But Peterson does get big props for one thing. There's an excellent two-page spread covering Doc's search for a cure, that with a date-book background, Doc's facial expressions and body language, and in panels slowly ripping apart, shows the passage of time and gradual descent into despair.

This issue is a significant improvement over the first. It's still telling a story that doesn't need to be retold, and in six issues as opposed to the half-issue it took Lee/Ditko. But we do get a meaty sense of Stephen's intensity to fix the useless meat of his hands.

So the woman is confirmed to be Clea.

The issue feels like it breaks down at the end. Doc meets the guy on the street he used to know who tells him about Wong and gives him money, he finally returns to Tibet, he talks with the exact guy with whom Wong leaves his info, he finds out Wong is actually next door (but didn't find him in all his worldly travels to specialists), he travels back to NYC, he gets attracted to the bar named Tibet. It's just too much cute coincidence. The story's better when Stephen is calling his own shots, not getting led around by the nose by destiny and coincidence. The story had already committed to having Stephen return to Tibet, but how it played out, it was a kinda useless cycle of travel. And why does Stephen race out there anyway? Frank couldn't tell him where Wong is? Stephen couldn't have researched and called first instead? The greatest hand specialist in the world doesn't have a way to be contacted?

Posted 6 November 02004 - Permalink

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Dr. Strange is Dr. Deus Ex Machina in the latest crazy Comix Remix by The Hurting [PopCultureShock]

5Q for J.C. Glindmyer, involved in comics retailing since 01983 [Newsarama]

Sample some of Neilalien's porn: Official Elektra Movie Site

Posted 5 November 02004 - Permalink

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Strange #2: A Medical Review [Polite Dissent]

Charles Brownstein of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund on American Election Results and the Next Four Years [Comics Reporter]

No matter what happens, the one thing I'm confident saying is that protecting Free Speech isn't going to get any easier in the foreseeable future.

Joe Casey interviews David Michelinie [Newsarama]
Joe Casey interviews Tom Spurgeon [Newsarama]
Joe Casey interviews James Sime [Newsarama]

Do reviews [of Diamond Top 50 comics] matter? [Thought Balloons]

David Yurkovich: More Than Super-Heroes [Sequential Tart]

Xeric grant award winners announced [] [via Thought Balloons]
Congratulations to all the winners, but especially Neilalien Best of MoCCA 02003 winners Ryan Dunlavey and Fred Van Lente for Action Philosophers! (See the places a Neilalien Best of MoCCA award can take you? We're 1.5 years ahead of the curve here at this website, baby! ;) )
Reminder: Action Philosophers! #2, to be released at MoCCA 02005, will feature Thomas Jefferson, Saint Augustine, and Ayn Rand.

Jason Brightman interviewed; his Frayed Ends was a Best of MoCCA 02002 [Newsarama]

"The Final Revenge of Luthor": really bad song from World's Finest #190 [Comic Treadmill] [large scan]
Ookla The Mok should record this tune.

Posted 4 November 02004 - Permalink

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Marvel Collections info for January to May 02005! Woo hoo! [Masterworks, Archives and Collected Editions Fan Site Message Board] [big thanks to a reader for the FYI!]

Marvel Visionaries: Stan Lee (hardcover, color, 304 pp., $30)

"Captain America Foils the Traitor's Revenge," CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #3, Stan's first story, a two-page text piece!
"The Red Skull's Deadly Revenge," CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #16, the defining Golden Age Red Skull story!
"The Raving Madman," SUSPENSE #29, Stan's satire on Frederick Wertham and the comics witch hunts of the '50s!
"Your Name Is Frankenstein!" MENACE #7, a modern Frankenstein story, featuring many of the elements of the later Marvel books!
"Where Walks the Ghost," AMAZING ADULT FANTASY #11, a short, twist-ending story by Lee and Ditko!
Plus: "Spider-Man," AMAZING FANTASY #15; "A Visit With the Fantastic Four," FANTASTIC FOUR #11; "How Stan and Steve Create Spider-Man," AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1; "In Mortal Combat with Sub-Mariner," DAREDEVIL #7; "The Final Chapter," AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #33; "Bedlam in the Baxter Building," FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3; "And Who Shall Mourn for Him?" SILVER SURFER #5; "Brother, Take My Hand," DAREDEVIL #47; "And Now, The Goblin," "In the Grip of the Goblin," "The Goblin's Last Stand," AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #96-98; No More the Thunder God," "When Gods Go Mad," "One God Must Fall," THOR #179-181; "While the World Spins Mad," MARVEL PREMIERE #3; and "The Circle of Life," SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN SUPER-SPECIAL 1995

Marvel Visionaries: Steve Ditko (hardcover, color, 336 pp., $30)

Collects: STRANGE TALES #94, "Help!"; STRANGE TALES #97, "Goodbye to Linda Brown"; TALES TO ASTONISH #42, "I Am Not Human!"; AMAZING ADULT FANTASY #12, "Something Fantastic"; AMAZING ADULT FANTASY #14, "The Man in the Sky"; AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1, "The Chameleon"; HULK #6, "The Metal Master"; STRANGE TALES #110, "Dr. Strange"; STRANGE TALES #115, "Origin of Dr. Strange"; TALES OF SUSPENSE #48, "Mister Doll"; AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1, "The Sinister Six"; AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1, "How Stan and Steve Create Spider-Man"; STRANGE TALES #126, "The Domain of the Dread Dormammu"; STRANGE TALES #127, "Duel with the Dread Dormammu"; AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #31, "If This Be My Destiny"; AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #32, "Man on a Rampage!"; AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #33, "The Final Chapter"; STRANGE TALES #146, "The End--At Last"; DAREDEVIL #162, "Requiem for a Pug"; HULK #249, "Jack Frost Nipping at Your Soul"; MARVEL SUPER-HEROES SPECIAL, "Iron Man and Squirrel Girl"; SPEEDBALL #1, "Origin of a Masked Marvel"; and more

Essential Doctor Strange Volume 2 (TPB, black & white, 592 pp., $17)

Collects: Doctor Strange #169-178 and #180-183, Avengers #61, Sub-Mariner #22, Incredible Hulk #126, Marvel Feature #1 (backup story), and Marvel Premiere #3-10 and #12-14

Essential Defenders Volume 1 (TPB, black & white, 544 pp., $17)

Collects: Doctor Strange #183, Sub-Mariner #22, #34-35, Hulk #126, Marvel Feature #1-3, Defenders #1-14, and Avengers #115-118

And just in case you missed last week's release: Marvel Visionaries: Jack Kirby (hardcover, color, 336 pp., $30) [Newsarama]

"Mercury in the 20th Century," RED RAVEN COMICS #1, Kirby's first work for Marvel;
"The Vision," MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS #13, Kirby's first regular Marvel series;
"Meet Captain America," CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1, the first Captain America story;
"UFO the Lightning Man," YELLOW CLAW #3, from a strip Kirby wrote and drew during the '50s;
"I Defied Pildorr, the Plunderer from Outer Space!," STRANGE TALES #94, from the monster era; the first time Joe Sinnott inked the King;
"I Am the Amazing Dr. Droom!," AMAZING ADVENTURES #1, the origin of Stan and Jack's first super-heroic character of the '60s;
"Beware the Rawhide Kid!," RAWHIDE KID #17, the first revamped Rawhide Kid story and the beginnings of the Marvel style;
Plus: "The Origin of the Hulk," HULK #3; "Spidey Tackles the Torch," AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #8; "Captain America Joins the Avengers!," AVENGERS #4; "The Fangs of the Fox," SGT. FURY #6; "The Coming of Galactus," FANTASTIC FOUR #48-50; "This Man, This Monster," FANTASTIC FOUR #51; "The People Breeders," THOR #134-135; "To Become an Immortal," THOR #136; "This Is A Plot?," FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #5; "The Inhumans!" AMAZING ADVENTURES v.2 #1-2; "America Will Die!," CAPTAIN AMERICA #200; "The Fourth Host," ETERNALS #7 and "What If the Original Marvel Bullpen Was the Fantastic Four?," WHAT IF #11

Posted 4 November 02004 - Permalink

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Doc Fans: You'll want to check out Avengers #503!
Out today that Neilalien also picked up: The Question #1, Sleeper: Season Two #5, and do his eyes deceive him?!, Rising Stars #22.

Stan Lee Plans Superhero Christmas Special, DVD [ICv2]

Marvel sues Disney again [Newsarama] [ICv2]
Marvel makes licensing deal with Fox to show Marvel cartoons on Fox Family Channel. Disney buys Fox Family Channel, keeps showing Marvel cartoons without a deal with Marvel. You see where this is going.

More pages and and bigger panels haven't yielded more story; we need to poach some storytelling techniques from 50's comics [Permanent Damage]

More press for the updated list of Marvel movies that doesn't include Dr. Strange [ICv2]

Tough times for comic book plots [Boston Herald] [via Franklin's Findings]

These are hard times to be a comic book reader. There are more deaths and resurrections than anything found in a year's worth of daytime soaps. Worse are the stories that are rewriting pivotal events in comics continuity and only making the stories more convoluted.

Posted 3 November 02004 - Permalink

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Happy Birthday to Steve Ditko today!

Posted 2 November 02004 - Permalink

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Election Day

Explore the intersection of comics and politics [Indy Magazine Autumn 02004]
Indy Magazine was named best new comics magazine by the Village Voice.

Some of comics' strongest political commentaries listed: satires, memoirs and fables that deal with power's realities [Ninth Art]

Posted 2 November 02004 - Permalink

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