Neilalien : A Doctor Strange Fansite : A Comic Book Weblog  

Recent Dr. Strange Sightings

Marvel Team-Up #3 & #4

Part of an ongoing story arc (chapters 3 and 4 of "Golden Child"). Doc detects a massive intrusion into the universe. After discovering a spell to follow the trail, he meets up with the Fantastic Four, who've just been attacked by Dr. Doom, and are about to be attacked again. Battle ensues. Turns out the Dr. Doom from the other dimension is a Human-Torch-scarred Tony Stark. StarkDoom escapes. Strange goes home to read more tomes.

Neilalien's a Robert Kirkman fan. Good stuff. Invincible has been a very satisfying superhero book, and the youthful, bright-color boy-meets-girl Zot! of the age. The Walking Dead has been fantastic, although it seems to be limping lately, it needs a shakeup oomph or some faster pacing or some 'progress' (they don't have to start investigating why the zombies appeared or anything; and maybe come to think of it the horrible lack of 'progress' might be part of the book's hopeless-survivor theme). Still, the book's feeling droppable of late (or at least Neilalien will move to just TPBs), but we'll see how the prison storyline plays out. Haven't gotten around yet to checking out some of his other work, like SuperPatriot.

But these big Marvel gigs he's snagged up to now- the mojo didn't feel there while perusing Captain America in the shop, and for the luvvamike who really wanted more 2099's. Maybe Kirkman held himself back playing with someone else's toys and those big paychecks. But the Kirkman pedigree's still good with Neilalien, Marvel Team-Up was always an old fave, and when Doc's in #3 of a series, Neilalien's a sucker for checking out the series from #1, as he did with She-Hulk (which paid off). And this Marvel Team-Up has paid off too. Kirkman's weaving a good yarn through the Marvel Universe so far (and it might be the only way to get your fix of characters like Moon Knight).

Doc powers: Doc does a nice disappearing trick when StarkDoom's about to punch. StarkDoom's armor has anti-magic properties (like Juggernaut's helm), which is a good idea for limiting what Doc can do to him. He spins a Crimson Bands of Cyttorak, but can't fully envelop StarkDoom before he explodes the whole city block. But even then, Doc teleports everyone to safety.

Kolins' art is pretty sweet. Neilalien thought the pencils would be a little too slight and choppy for his tastes, but there's some fun storytelling here.

So it's a good Doc appearance. Overall, Neilalien's been enjoying "Golden Child" and will be reading the arc to its conclusion. Maybe Doc will return from reading his books.

Ultimate Spider-Man #70 & #71

Ultimate Dr. Strange comes back, after his introduction in Ultimate Marvel Team-Up. If you recall, this Doc version is a kiddie version just starting out in his mystical career, the son of a white-trashy Clea and a missing Dr. Strange that's pretty much the standard Doc. (There's a three-page origin story here that's just the right length.) Peter and kiddie Ben Urich visit Doc for a Bugle interview- Wong brushes them away mysteriously as spidey-senses tingle. Spider-Man investigates, and interrupts Wong trying to save an unconscious Doc. Doc was under the spell of the Ultimate version of Nightmare, one mean lady- and now that's his trip's been interrupted, Spidey's in the wacky nightmare realm now, until Doc goes back in to rescue him.

This story has a couple things going against it from Neilalien's perspective. He's got very little interest in the Ultimate Universe or this kiddie Doc or seeing another goddamn origin or revamp for this character. Plus, spells that are just mumbo-jumbo words aren't compelling. It doesn't have to be a long Stan Lee poem that could never be said while in full combat. It can be a neat involved magical language, like Harry Potter's Latinesque wand spells at least, but we don't have the time or Grant Morrison or Alan Moore around to build it. And let's just forget Zatanna's backwards-speak. The quick simple spells with funky speech-balloon font from Flight of Bones was great. What we got here, is random ahsldfjkh googlyspit- the cat running across the keyboard. And the battle magic here is just boring energy blasts and shields, and you know how much Neilalien loves that if it's not the Ditko originals (though there are a couple illusions of loved ones used to emotionally manipulate). Eh.

Related: The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Women of Marvel 02005

Notable entries for us Dr. Strange surrender-monkeys and Defenders completists:
Clea: Busiek/Larsen Defenders series info is added
Gaea: Busiek/Larsen Defenders series info is added
Hellcat: info from the Hellcat mini and the Busiek/Larsen Defenders series is added; does "Hellstorm fed her a series of falsehoods" explain away the continuity errors in the Hellcat mini?
Jennifer Kale: Witches-ified
Satana: Witches-ified
Scarlet Witch: "chaos magic" was just her mutant hex powers out of control
Topaz: Witches-ified; "She has taken two separate forms, one Caucasian, one Indian"- that's rich!
Valkyrie: Busiek/Larsen Defenders series info is added, Samantha-Parrington-ized; Brunnhilde dead from recent big Thor events

Posted 28 January 02005 - Permalink

- -

Dr. Strange not obviously in Ultimates 2 #6 variant cover featuring the Ultimate Defenders [Newsarama]
Looks bad, Doc fans. But if, as rumored, the Defenders are laughingstocks in the Ultimate Universe, than maybe it's okay if Doc's not a part.

Marvel December 02004 month-to-month sales [Pulse] [DC]
Strange sinking like rock, drifting off radars. Neilalien predicts another 15% drop among the people who picked up #3 and thought 'Matrix'.

Big interview with Marvel vice chairman (and former CEO) Peter "simple paper medium" Cuneo [Motley Fool Part 1 of 5; Part 2 of 5] [via Franklin's Findings]
With the money quote re: how the publishing is doing:

From a profitability point of view, about 20%, 15-20% of our earnings come from the comic book business. The comic book business of course is very important to us. Not only is it highly profitable. We have about a 35% profit margin on our comic book business and growing very nicely if you look at our track record. But also this is our R&D function. This is where we try out new characters, where we ... rework, re-cosmetize, if you will, other older characters, and try to see what kind of story lines work and so on. The nice thing about the comic book business is, and we publish over 60 titles every month, is we can experiment here and really actually lose very little or no money.

Great to see that the publishing is so profitable. But then, how much of that is due to short-sighted schemes and policies like no-overprint no-returnables. And it's a bummer that our beloved medium is seen as R&D for licensing and other bigger-cash media as opposed to something worthy in itself. Can what works in the direct market microscene right now really be a good indicator of broader success. And it's dubious that there's much going on at Marvel right now that can be called 'experimentation', when it's recosmetizing nostalgia.

Comics need simple concepts, time, money, patience, space, exposure in anthologies/miniseries/backup stories, etc. to develop and build audiences and generate word-of-mouth [Permanent Damage]
Looking at why Birds of Prey lives long in a see-what-sticks maximum-clonage quickie-cancellation market.

What Do Publishers Have To Do To Get You To Try A New Comic? [Pulse]
Sounds like the main factor here is price- the lower the cost the more likely to take a chance experiment on the unknown. Followed by anything that makes the new book less of an unknown (established creators, samples on websites, news/interviews/reviews, etc.), which makes sense.

Fantagraphics' frustration with breaking new alt-comix talent in the superhero boutiques attracts braintrust of retailing commentary [Pulse]

"It's not all Naughty Nurse Novels versus Great Works Of Self-Expression" [BeaucoupKevin]

Alan Moore interview by Clifford Meth from 01998, when magic became a main thrust and superhero work was a tonic [Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (whoops last page says 01997)] [via Technoccult]

Press hit for Invincible [Toronto Metro] [via Thought Balloons]

Furious Fist of the Drunken Monkey #2 preview pages [Pulse]

The Legion of Dogs [The Legion of Doom mixed with Reservior Dogs; Quicktime movie]

Posted 27 January 02005 - Permalink

- -


Starfish Starfish is a great mini-comic written by Marc Sobel and illustrated by Leigh Gallagher (now of The Witching fame at Vertigo) about a small group of people being treated for eating disorders in a claustrophobic underwater lab called The Egg- and about what strangely happens next after a nuclear holocaust destroys the surface world... Excellent creepy black and white art (the website makes it sound like Gallagher got the Vertigo job based on these pages). 12 pages, 8.5"x5.5", good paper, neatly lettered. There's clearly a lot more story to tell here- Neilalien and any other readers will be curious to see what happens next, and if more about the people and events of the Egg will ever be filled in. Released November 02004. [Autopsy Press] $2.50 Paypal shopping here.

Posted 25 January 02005 - Permalink

- -

Jet-Pack Jenny

Jet-Pack Jenny "The Flight of the Virginia Dare" #1 & #2 is a two-part story mini-comic 5"x5" by Jerry Stanford [bio], reprinting online comics that appeared on the Carpal Tunnel Press website in 02002 [and still appear there: "The Flight of the Virginia Dare"]. "The Threat of the Cybergirl" is a 4.5"x6.75" 8-page mini-comic by Jerry Stanford and Joel Carroll that reprints a story that appeared in the 02002 Small Press Expo and also on the Carpal Tunnel Press website in 02003 ["The Threat of the Cybergirl"]. Fun sci-fi adventure set in the 23rd Century with a great heroine who's dedicated her life to stopping terrorists like the ones who killed her parents. Printed in sweet full color. If you like what you see online, why not support the creators and get a hardcopy in your paws? $2 each. Shop at Carpal Tunnel Press [Paypal makes it spontaney-crazy!]. Or $3.50 for the Virginia Dare two-comic set or $10 for a Carpal Tunnel Press Grab Bag. Tell 'em Neilalien sent you. [Carpal Tunnel Press] Of interest: [Jerry Stanford's item-by-item breakdown of The Failure Comics Manifesto, 02001] [Jerry Stanford: Big Man on the Internet]

Posted 23 January 02005 - Permalink

- -

Superhero Comics- The Love/Hate Relationship [Thinking Comics]
We can enjoy the modern mythology of the superhero, and hate 35 market-and-creativity-smothering X-Spider-Bat titles, all at the same time.

Origin stories are boring; dispense with the background info in a couple panels, flashbacks [Yet Another Comics Blog]
If only the braintrust behind Strange had listened.

Mad Magazine's Don Martin: Master of the Silly-Ass Sound Effect [Filing Cabinet Of The Damned]
The Don Martin Dictionary
Includes: SKLISHITTY SKLOSHITTY SKLISHITTY SKLOSHITTY: Aquaman Walking Around In A Squishy Wetsuit [for Bloggity]

Warren Ellis talks the art of covers [Streaming at Pulse]

Comics critics are very bad at seeing comics from the perspective of those outside the superhero/altart clubhouses [Ninth Art]

WebcomicsNation is a suite of tools for cartoonists to launch, promote and profit from their webcomics [Joey Manley]

Need new names for the continuum-ends of comic art description: "realistic" isn't accurate, "cartoony" is disparaging [The Comics Journal Message Board] [via Motime]

Lack of new characters accelerates Marvel/DC's nostalgia black hole of doom [Howling Curmudgeons]

Why not come up with stories that can entertain anyone no matter what their knowledge of the characters are? [Brill Building]

Do's and don't's of message board posting hilariously explained [Posting And You (Flash movie)] [via Post-Crisis]

Jimmy Olsen: Drag Queen [Postmodernbarney]

The comic book genius of Stan Lee [BBC News] [via Franklin's Findings]
And apparently, contract-negotiation (or at least lawyer-picking) genius as well.

Five years of putting comics into pretty CGC coffins discussed [Newsarama]

Posted 21 January 02005 - Permalink

- -

NCSoft (the City of Heroes game folks) has filed a motion to dismiss Marvel's lawsuit against them, #2 pencils, Lego blocks, etc. [Terra Nova] [PDF of Motion] [Slashdot discussion] [via Thought Balloons]

Update: 4-Color Review quotes from Game Informer's Top Ten Disappointments of 02004:

Who is Captain Marvel? He's the guy in a suit who sucks dollars out of wallets and shoots lawsuits out of his eyes.

Posted 20 January 02005 - Permalink

- -

Federal judge orders Marvel Enterprises to pay Stan Lee 10% of Marvel's profits from the Spider-Man movies [Newsarama] [AP Washington Post]
Woo hoo! Go Stan. His $1 million/year contract has this pretty straightforward item:

In addition, you shall be paid participation equal to 10% of the profits derived during your life by Marvel (including subsidiaries and affiliates) from the profits of any live action or animation television or movie (including ancillary rights) productions utilizing Marvel characters. This participation is not to be derived from the fee charged by Marvel for the licensing of the product or of the characters for merchandise or otherwise. Marvel will compute, account and pay to you your participation due, if any, on account of said profits, for the annual period ending each March 31 during your life, on an annual basis within a reasonable time after the end of each such period.

Now if only Steve Ditko at least had a contract like that (but would he have accepted it?). Merchandise not included (settled by jury?! Neilalien advises against- Marvel won't win with Handsome Stan on the stand!), but DVDs are. Marvel plans to appeal. "Profits" can be pretty fuzzy in Hollywood, but Marvel declared profits of $50 million on the first Spider-Man, so maybe that's $5 million for Stan.

Update: Mark Evanier answers the question, "What does this mean for Steve Ditko/creator's rights?"

Posted 18 January 02005 - Permalink

- -

Max aka Salgood Sam raising some cash, selling some original art online, includes Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #63, Ghost Rider, Midnight Sons; Terminator inks too [Ebay list of items] [more info]
He's also doing commissions. Or try out RevolveR [high praise].

Posted 16 January 02005 - Permalink

- -

02004 Neilalien Awards

Doctor Strange's head in 1602 #8 Best Dr. Strange Appearance: 1602

The talking decapitated head. Nuff said.

Other Notable Dr. Strange Appearance: Strange

The much-hinted long-awaited much-hyped mini-series by J. Michael Straczynski retelling and updating Doc's origin. After the three issues so far, this is looking like a huge disappointment.

Other Notable Dr. Strange Appearance: Avengers #503

The Avengers Disassembled finale. Not bad for the Dr. Strange fans, who get to see Doc kick a little Scarlet Witch butt. But why Bendis would take the big Avengers event of the year and let it be resolved in a total non-Avenger way is curious. Also notable for Doc fandom re: the whole "chaos magic" hullaballoo.

Worst Dr. Strange Appearance: Witches

Doc takes lip from petulant jailbait, does two boring energy blasts, lets the innocent die and the bad guys get away- and he gets knocked unconscious ~again~.

Best Appearance of a Dr.-Strange-Affiliated Character, Item, etc.: "Young Ancient One" in Epic Anthology

Worst Appearance of a Dr.-Strange-Affiliated Character, Item, etc.: Topaz has her ethnicity changed to Indian for the Witches mini-series

Biggest Insult to Dr. Strange Fans in 02004: Long-awaited J. Michael Straczyinski Strange mini-series looking like a huge honking Matrix rip-off; Doc playing cards like a childlike moron in Spectacular Spider-Man #21

Greatest Hope for Dr. Strange Fans in 02005: New Defenders mini-series by Giffen, DeMatteis and Maguire

Best Comic Book of 02004: Eightball #23 by Daniel Clowes

Whenever Neilalien has talked about this book with his friends (both non-comics and comics)- with the many different angles one could take and the superhero stuff and even technical things like the book's size, use of coloring, use of speech balloons, and the Death Ray very Ditko-esque in design- he's had to be shushed because he's getting too loud for the bar. With great power comes a whole lotta scary.

Some Comic Books That Brought Neilalien Much Joy in 02004:

Sleeper by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Invincible: best superhero book; by Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley (and great Bill Crabtree colors)
She-Hulk: best Marvel Universe book; by Dan Slott and Juan Bobillo (gots to be Bobillo)
Smax by Alan Moore and Zander Cannon
Runners by Sean Wang
Less Than Heroes by David Yurkovich
Wanted by Mark Millar and JG Jones

Posted 15 January 02005 - Permalink

- -

Retailer Brian Hibbs tells how December's orders sold [Tilting At Windmills]
Neilalien finds the arcane trials of comic book retailing fascinating.

Marvel donates $2 million to open Marvel Entertainment Pediatric Inpatient Unit at NYU Medical Center's Tisch Hopsital [The Beat]
'Marvel Entertainment' sounds so dry. Why not call it the 'Dr. Strange Pediatric Inpatient Unit'? ;)

Comics for girls may save biz [Washington Times] [via WFC News]
Manga, availability in bookstores, and new comic-executive blood are bringing back the once-majority female readers that grim-gritty-superhero content, Android-Dungeon shops and old-timer editors scared away.

A man after Neilalien's own old-fart heart: Filing Cabinet Of The Damned doesn't like the manga

From graphic novel to film: Fans say their comic books get lost in translation [Mississippi Clarion-Ledger] [via Progressive Ruin]

The Losers spared the cancellation axe for the moment [The Beat]
Human Target not so lucky. The direct market claims more victims. Neilalien's gotta pimp more.

Elektra opens today! Neilalien won't be seeing you at the movie theater: he'll likely either be too transfixed by Jennifer Garner's babeness to notice you or his eyes will be closed from wincing at how awful the flick is. Hope it didn't cost them too much to make!

Posted 14 January 02005 - Permalink

- -

Television commercials for Marvel Comics! [Newsarama]
For the first time since the early '80s. The ad will feature Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four and be part of the build-up to the FF movie.

A Sign Of The Times: Downloading Comics II: The Downloaders [Newsarama]

Two significant steps the industry needs to take re: comics filesharing [Popp'd]
Good books, and get into offering cheap electronic versions early.

DC and Marvel in creative freeze, eating each other like dinosaurs; time for the non-major-label mammals to start fucking [Warren Ellis Streaming]
"When you know you're not going to sell more than ten thousand copies no matter what you do -- then you can do anything."

November 02004 month-to-month sales analysis at Pulse [Marvel] [DC, others]

Wanted #6 out next week, discussed [Newsarama]
Neilalien's enjoyed the book, but the delays just kill all momentum.

Dirty Little Secret: Marvel's "Essentials" Line [Filing Cabinet Of The Damned] [via The Hurting]

Six Degrees of Snapper Carr [Howling Curmudgeons]

Posted 13 January 02005 - Permalink

- -

Barron's sees weak 02005 for Marvel [Reuters; Barron's Online is subscriber-only]
Marvel's two movies for the year, Elektra and Fantastic Four, are not seen as distinguishing against a slate of fantasy offerings including Batman Begins, the final Star Wars chapter, War Of The Worlds with Tom Cruise, etc. And we've already seen Fantastic Four- it was called The Incredibles. In fact, the general 'negative sentiment backdrop' about Marvel has turned so pessimistic of late (with shares down almost 10% and a huge number of shorts) that yesterday's Schaeffer's Daily Contrarian is beginning to sniff out Marvel as a contrarian play. Those shareholders want big growth every quarter, and we all knew that licensing/movie gold wasn't going to get squeezed out of each of Marvel's 1500 properties nor all in one year- but at least the company was able to survive that crushing debt.

Art comics publishers taking a beating because good art is scant and lots of art comics are crappy [Permanent Damage]
If a zombie comic is great/doesn't push the right buttons, it's just one good/bad zombie comic that doesn't elevate/doom the rest. But art comics are held to a higher group standard.

Spider-Man helps fight against cyberbullying [AP (Yahoo News)] [Westchester Journal News]
Because 'kids will listen to him' and 'he knows 'the web''. Neilalien saw a clip of the press conference announcing the 'the nation's first cyberbully summit' on the local news and the guy in the Spider-Man suit was good for a laugh. Unfortunately no pics accompany the news stories online yet.

Posted 12 January 02005 - Permalink

- -

Ex-Clinton aide David Rosen indicted on federal charges of filing false documents that allegedly lowballed costs and hid generous assistance in putting on a star-studded Hollywood gala fundraiser [Metropolitan News-Enterprise]

The businessman who hosted the event, Peter Paul, has told federal authorities that it cost more than $1 million and that he had been surprised when he saw that most of the contributions were not reported... Paul, a former associate of famed comic book illustrator Stan Lee, has sued Rosen, Clinton, former President Bill Clinton, and the event's producer, Aaron Tonken, in Los Angeles Superior Court. He is represented by Judicial Watch, an advocacy group long at odds with the Clintons... Paul claims that he was encouraged to donate by promises of a future business relationship, which never materialized, with Bill Clinton. He alleged in his complaint that the defendants placed him at risk of prosecution by not reporting the donations.

Stan Lee writing about 'young pretty girl' Alexa, developing movie about bounty hunter Jay J. Armes [Pulse]
Tom Brevoort in the Comments: "Stan is doing FANTASTIC FOUR: THE END with John Romita Jr. for Marvel- a 48-page one-shot that should see print somewhere around November, if all goes well."

A Sign Of The Times: Downloading Comics [Newsarama]

Posted 11 January 02005 - Permalink

- -

Doctor Strange on the cover of fanzine Yancy #8

Yancy Street Journal (formerly Comic Caper) #8, May 01965; Ditko-drawn Dr. Strange used for cover
Fanzine published and edited by Marty Arbunich and Bill Dubay. Low print run (260 copies). Image taken from Ebay auction.

Posted 10 January 02005 - Permalink

- -

Doctor Strange in Youngbloods 60's concert poster

01967 concert poster by artist Greg Irons for Youngbloods concert at San Francisco's California Hall
Scanned from Arlen Schumer's excellent The Silver Age of Comic Book Art.

Posted 9 January 02005 - Permalink

- -

The Steve Ditko Reader Volume 3 has wrapped, expected out by end of February [Ditko-L Yahoo Group Message from the Editor (membership req'd)]
Here's the lineup!:

"Stretching Things" from FANTASTIC FEARS #5 (Jan. 1954)
"Avery and the Goblins" from THE THING #13 (Apr. 1954)
"Von Mohl vs. the Ants" from STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #20 (Aug. 1954)
"The Payoff" from STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #20 (Aug. 1954)
"What Happened" from OUT OF THIS WORLD #3 (Mar. 1957)
"The Supermen" from OUT OF THIS WORLD #3 (Mar. 1957)
"They Didn't Believe Him" from MYSTERIES OF UNKNOWN WORLDS #3 (Apr. 1957)
"A Forgotten World" from MYSTERIES OF UNKNOWN WORLDS #3 (Apr. 1957)
"The Man Who Could See Tomorrow" UNUSUAL TALES #7 (May 1957)
"The Man Who Painted on Air" from UNUSUAL TALES #7 (May 1957)
"The Flying Dutchman" from OUT OF THIS WORLD #4 (June 1957)
"Director of the Board" STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #33 (Aug. 1957)
"The Mirage" from MYSTERIES OF UNKNOWN WORLDS #5 (Oct. 1957)
"All Those Eyes" from OUT OF THIS WORLD #6 (Nov. 1957)
"Night of the Red Snow" from UNUSUAL TALES #9 (Nov. 1957)
"Free" from STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #35 (Dec. 1957)
"The Strange Case of Captain Fenton" from MYSTERIES OF UNKNOWN WORLDS #6 (Dec. 1957)
"The Most Terrible Fate" from OUT OF THIS WORLD #7 (Feb. 1958)
"The Cure-all" from OUT OF THIS WORLD #7 (Feb. 1958)
"Mystery Planet" from STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #36 (Mar. 1958)
"The Tenderfoot and the Outlaw" from BLACK FURY #17 (Jan. 1959)
"The Colt Born to Raise Trouble" from BLACK FURY #17 (Jan. 1959)
"The Shining Stallion" from BLACK FURY #17 (Jan. 1959)
"The Great Escape" from SPACE ADVENTURES #27 (Feb. 1959)
"A Living Doll" from OUT OF THIS WORLD #12 (Mar. 1959)
"With the Help of Hogar" from FANTASTIC GIANTS (Sept. 1966)

Posted 9 January 02005 - Permalink

- -

Isotope villain in Invincible #18

Funny: Invincible #18 has a villain in it called Isotope that looks like Isotope Comics' and Pimp James Sime

Posted 8 January 02005 - Permalink

- -

Strange #3

The Ancient One in Strange #3 Synopsis
Clea fights off the baddies (with curved weapons reminiscent of the Pincers of Power) and gets the car, so she and Stephen escape the bar. She tells Stephen the creatures were "low-level walkers", and something one of the creeps said to him during the encounter suggests that they are from Hell. They drive to a nondescript alley and enter a building that's bigger on the inside than on the outside.

Wong is there for a reunion. He keeps checking the cheap watch Stephen gave him back in Tibet even though it's been long broken.

Wong introduces Stephen to the Ancient One, a small old bald Asian man in a golden three-piece suit who drinks bottled water and quotes Paul Simon lyrics, and the man Stephen met previously on the mountain in Tibet. The Ancient One can't cure his hands, but he can heal him, and offers Stephen a chance to help people again. He explains that the world we see is not the real world. They've been watching Doc for a long time because he's special. Most people live in a delusional cell of what they want to see, but a sorcerer sees and walks all the worlds of reality and in between.

Stephen dismisses the whole thing as ridiculous parlor tricks and pop psychology.

As Strange leaves, the Ancient One touches his forehead, apparently opening Strange's third eye. Strange tells Wong he's wasting his time. Clea's suspicions that Strange isn't the one they're looking for are confirmed. Now is when we meet Baron Mordo, a student of the Ancient One who holds the door as Strange leaves ("The greatest students are given the lowest tasks. It encourages modesty.").

Now back out on his own, but with his third eye open, Stephen sees the world quite differently, as if he's Roddy Piper with the sunglasses from They Live: demons everywhere.

1. This mini-review at Savage Critic says it all. But Neilalien will add himself to the chorus anyway.

2. When Straczynski said that Dr. Strange should be more like the Matrix [Pulse interview 8/03] [Newsarama interview 8/04], wow, he wasn't kidding! This is the Matrix. The Ancient One is Morpheus. Clea is Trinity. Stephen is Neo. The whole real nature of reality stuff. The characters in this comic even look like their Matrix counterparts. Even the big room with the double stairs this issue is from the Matrix. It feels completely derivative.

3. Neilalien was very disappointed with the lame meeting between Stephen and the Ancient One. The reader can only agree with Stephen that the Ancient One's spiel is so weak and unconvincing. The Ancient One's been watching and waiting for years for the big opportunity to sell it and recruit the Chosen One, and the best he can come up with is ye olde Dancing Wu Li Masters quantum-physics-zen 'atoms are mostly empty space', 'what we see is just light hitting our eyes but it's not what's real', a Tardis building, and the walls disappearing to show a serene scene, which is from any movie with a scene inside a home of the future. Show, don't tell, right? Have the Ancient One show Doc the true nature of reality. And show the readers too, using the art of the comic book. Give us something, maybe shrinking him and Stephen down to have their chat while walking within the empty space inside atoms. Maybe have the Ancient One take Stephen to Hell (and not a fire-and-brimstone cliche one either) and show him the forces aligned against humanity. Let's see something, anything new or interesting to the reader that might be remotely convincing to Stephen. Let's have a fun mindfuck with this. We're in for three issues at $10.50 already, and this meeting just adds another unneeded cycle of encounters between all the players as Stephen sees more demons and then comes crawling back to the Ancient One.

4. This really undercuts Doc's original origin. Dr. Strange was originally about redemption. Now, Doc is preordained as The One. There's no choice if you're Chosen.

It's not so much anymore that Strange was just trying to fix that which wasn't broken- it's severely broken itself.

Posted 7 January 02005 - Permalink

- -

Fred Hembeck's Dateline:@#$! strips
"Strange Encounters" circa 01982
"In Search of Steve Ditko" from 01977
Also, congrats and thanks to Fred for joining us online two years ago.

Comic Book Politics
"This blog is primarily for students in the Comic Book Politics class - for now - but everyone else out there is very welcome to join in." [via Unqualified Offerings]

How much could any one superhero reduce crime in a city? [Bradford Plumer] [via Comic Book Politics]
Response: Why Batman Matters: Deterrence [Pandagon]

Downloading comics: threat or menace? [Boing Boing]
Comic Downloading Survey Results [via above, open letter and thread on Newsarama]

Fresh geek-hate-on-a-plate from proud we-who-dislike-comic-books member Virginia Heffernan, in her rant against the Alias season premiere [New York Times (has their "love affair with comics" ended already?)] [via Gawker]

Let's be honest. Many of us don't like comic books and have feigned interest in their jumpy bif-bam fighting scenes and the way they redeem loser guys, only to impress and minister to those loser guys. And now we can admit that while the redemption dynamic - little X-Men boys finding in their eccentricity and loneliness a superpower - is touching, there's nothing duller than listening to someone explain, in all seriousness, the Syndicate and the Shadow Force and the Hard Drive and the Plutonium Lance. And the characters: lame. One is good and the other is evil, and then one is evil pretending to be good, and then one is good pretending to be evil...
[I]f she [Jennifer Garner] beamed after the stunts and didn't look so solemn, she might come off like Lynda Carter in the old "Wonder Woman." And then we who dislike comic books could dismiss this show as silly without the least compunction.

Maybe a guy into superheroes once dumped her for being a television critic?

Posted 6 January 02005 - Permalink

- -

Cultural wind blowing the pendulum too far in indie anti-genre comix direction? No women and no superheroes in notable 02004 Best Ofs [Bookslut] [via Thought Balloons]

Transformers publisher Dreamwave closes shop [Newsarama]
The glut of comics didn't sell after the initial 80's-cartoon nostalgiagasm.

Howard The Duck #33: An effeminate Walt Disney hits on Howard and offers him poppers as Howard insults him [Postmodernbarney]

Jimmy Olsen: Nazi [Progressive Ruin]

Ultimate Marvel Out, DC All-Stars In [Washington Post's What's Out And In For 02005] [via Progressive Ruin]
Wow, such a casual inclusion of something kinda industry-specific on a big-media-outlet pop-culture list.

Posted 5 January 02005 - Permalink

- -

02004 Polite Dissent Awards for the Best and Worst in Comic Book Medicine
Strange #1 lands a Worst Depiction of Medicine: Dishonorable Mention for Doc's inadequte education, but Strange #2 snags the Best Depiction of Medicine medal for the description of Doc's skiing injuries.

Posted 4 January 02005 - Permalink

- -

Will Eisner has passed away [Newsarama] [DC Eulogy] [Official Will Eisner site; biography]

Associated Press:

Eisner died Monday at Florida Medical Center in Lauderdale Lakes of complications from quadruple bypass heart surgery last month, according to Denis Kitchen, Eisner's agent and publisher for three decades.
"He was absolutely the greatest innovator the industry ever saw," Kitchen said.
Eisner started making comics in the 1930s and was the first to use "silent" balloonless panels to emphasize characters' emotions by focusing attention on finely wrought facial expressions.
He addressed subjects considered unthinkable in comic books and rarely seen at the time in newspaper comics: spousal abuse, tax audits, urban blight and graft.

Warren Ellis:

Will Eisner was one of America's few truly great pioneers in the comics form, and one of the originators of the literary modern graphic novel.

Update: New York Times obituary

Update: Official Correction! [via Gawker]:

An obituary of the innovative comic-page illustrator Will Eisner yesterday included an imprecise comparison in some copies between his character the Spirit and others, including Batman. Unlike Superman and some other heroes of the comics, Batman relied on intelligence and skill, not supernatural powers.

Update: Metafilter poster corrects correction:

Superman's powers aren't supernatural, they derive from the yellow sun of Earth, and the difference in gravity between Krypton and Earth! Now Dr. Strange, his powers are supernatural.

Neilalien loves the fan passion, and making sure Big Media gets Eisner's creations right too- but let's not get into a Crisis on Earth-Nerd over Batman's powers at the funeral, okay?

Posted 4 January 02005 - Permalink

- -