Doctor Strange Recommended Reading List

Version 1.4. Last updated: 4 October 2014.
This document is researched, under constant construction, and maintained by Neilalien.
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Terms of Use

  1. This is not a list of "Doctor Strange's Best Stories According To Neilalien." Monetary cost, and accessibility to the new Doc reader, have been factored in. Many awesome Doc stories are not included here.
  2. This is not a "Collector's And Speculator's Guide To Doctor Strange." This is a list of cheap reprints and TPBs for the comic book reader.
  3. Links to Amazon, Ebay, etc., are informational and not endorsements of those businesses. Neilalien gets no commission; no fancy affiliate links. Buyer beware. Support your local comic shop.
  4. Neilalien is neither morally nor financially responsible if you choose to follow these recommendations, buy the books, and then hate them.

Update: I've removed most of the Ebay links below. Ebay's listings have become more confusing, sellers are posting the wrong book covers, etc. It's too easy for someone to get confused and end up with Doctor Strange Marvel Masterworks Volume 4 instead of Volume 1. This is a page for the clueless. But by all means, if you know what you're doing, the below occasionally show up for cheaper on Ebay.

Now, let's proceed:

Doctor Strange Marvel Masterworks Volume 1

Reprints the core Stan Lee-Steve Ditko legendary run that started it all: Strange Tales #110, 111, 114-141. In full color. Hardcover or paperback.

Update 10/2014: Apparently, the in-print and collectibility status of this item has gone wonky, and both HC and TPB can go for over $100, which wouldn't meet the affordability criteria here.

Amazon listing, HC and TPB formats, grey cover

Amazon listing for a new HC printing to be released 26 May 2015

or, Doctor Strange Classics #1-4

In lieu of the above, you could look for Doctor Strange Classics #1-4, the 1984 John-Byrne-covered color reprints of Strange Tales #130-141, the classic Lee-Ditko confrontation between Doctor Strange, Baron Mordo and Dormammu (sometimes called "the first graphic novel" due to its extended storyline). They can still be found cheap on Ebay for $2 each, or $12 for the set.

Grand Comics Database cover gallery to know what you're looking for

Ebay search for "doctor strange classics"

or, Essential Doctor Strange Volume 1 TPB

The "bible" (or "phone book"). Reprints Strange Tales #110, 111, 114-168. This includes all of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's classic run (and more- Doc's first 57 stories (except for three crossovers))- it includes the Masterwork stories above. Note that this book is in BLACK & WHITE: most folks inside comicdom would say Ditko's art is revealed, but you might need the color.

Full capsule review from The Comics Journal #251 by Tim O'Neil:

Steve Ditko's work for Marvel during the early sixties set a benchmark for the weird. The direct opposite of Kirby's humanistic dynamism, Ditko's distorted alienation was distinctive enough to create in the character of Spider-Man one of the true classic concepts in the history of mainstream publishing.
Dr. Strange, while less an icon than Spider-Man, stands as no less an achievement for the team of Ditko and Stan Lee. It is perhaps even a testament to the character's unique makeup that no one after these initial creators has come close to replicating the (ahem) magic of this original run. While Spider-Man's (now cliched) "everyman" status enabled him to swing onto Underoos and (soon) movie-screens across the world, Dr. Strange is just too peculiar a proposition to succeed in the hands of anyone but Ditko.
This volume allows the reader to see a clear evolution of Ditko's peerless line. From the rough beginnings of the strip's genesis, Ditko's brushwork grows to allow for more control, more lyrically illustrative techniques juxtaposed against a firmer command of spotted blacks. This is a must-have volume for anyone interested in studying the artistic maturity of one of the form's masters.
There are, however, two major qualms with this volume as a whole. First, Stan Lee's scripting acts as a polarizing element: you are either born with an enthusiastic appreciation for his hyperbolically dense purple prose or not. Secondly, the final third of the book - bereft of either creator's presence - suffers greatly by the comparison, to the point of being unreadable in parts. It is notable, however, for the brief presence of comics pioneer Bill Everett's distinctive style - closer in spirit to the then-burgeoning underground scene than anything else produced by Marvel at the time.

Update 10/2014: Yikes! At $46.95 and out of print, this ain't going for cheap anymore either. (Neilalien's copy says $15.95 on the back.)

Amazon listing

Doctor Strange: A Separate Reality TPB

Reprints Marvel Premiere #9, 10, 12-14, and Doctor Strange #1, 2, 4, 5. Includes the death of the Ancient One, the finale of the Shuma-Gorath saga, the classic confrontation between Doc and Silver Dagger, and some mighty strong work by Englehart and Brunner. The entire Shuma Gorath Saga (Marvel Premiere #4-10), inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, is recommended but unfortunately not reprinted. This TPB is out of print, but still affordable.

Amazon listing

In lieu of the above, you can seek out Doctor Strange Special Edition #1, a 1983 comic with a Berni Wrightson cover which reprinted Doctor Strange #1, 2, 4, 5 only, for about $5.

Amazon listing

(For the curious: Doctor Strange #3 was a reprint issue. It had nothing to do with the story spanning issues #1-2-4-5.)

Doctor Strange: The Oath TPB

An excellent, more modern Doc tale from 2007 by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin.

Amazon listing

Doctor Strange: The Flight of Bones #1-4

This noirish Marvel Knights miniseries from 1999 represented the best Doctor Strange story in the ten-year span surrounding it. It hasn't been reprinted into TPB, but the set should still be acquirable for under $10.

Grand Comics Database cover gallery to know what you're looking for

Ebay Search for "flight bones strange"

Dr. Strange Vs. Dracula: The Montesi Formula TPB

Reprints Tomb of Dracula #44 and Doctor Strange #14, a classic old-school crossover tussle between Doc and Drac drawn by Gene Colan- and Doctor Strange #58-62, the Roger Stern tale that leads to the temporary death of all vampires in the Marvel Universe. Roger Stern is Neilalien's favorite Doc writer after Stan Lee, and the one Neilalien grew up with. Stern's entire run is recommended.

Update: This TPB is now out of print.

Amazon listing

(This TPB replaces a previous recommendation for the individual issues of Doctor Strange #56-62, Stern's Retelling of Dr. Strange's Origin to the Death of Dracula.)

Doctor Strange/Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment Graphic Novel

Dr. Strange wins a contest of the Vishanti- and the prize is to help Dr. Doom save his mother from Mephisto's clutches in Hell! By Roger Stern, Mike Mignola, and Mark Badger. Excellent- arguably the best Dr. Strange story ever (although the story is driven more by Doom). Highly recommended. 1989.

Update 10/2014: Finally some good news for this page. After years of this GN becoming a difficult-to-find-cheap collectible, Marvel has done a TPB reprint (and now those original printing prices have come down).

Amazon listing

Other Recommendation Lists

Doctor Strange: Where Do I Start? [IFanboy; by Chris Arrant; 5/2011]