Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!
Strange Tales #130 – March, 1965
Cover Art by Jack Kirby
Last week the Internet lit up when it was reported by multiple media outlets that Benedict Cumberbatch would be playing Marvel’s “Master of the Mystic Arts,” Doctor Strange, in their upcoming movie. Then something strange indeed happened when the very next day Marvel rolled out their extensive film roster for the next five years and they failed to confirm (or deny) that Cumberbatch would be playing the Doctor. Too bad we didn’t have the “Eye of Agamotto” on hand to exude the truth out of Marvel Studios’ President, Kevin Feige.
So now it’s all up in the air once again, but speculation regarding the casting of the good Doctor, Stephen Strange, has been processing through the electronic rumor mill for some time, with everyone from Cumberbatch to Keanu Reeves, Joaquin Phoenix, Johnny Depp, Ryan Gosling, Ethan Hawke, Jared Leto, and Jake Gyllenhaal being envisioned wearing the famous “Cloak of Levitation.”
My personal preference, for what it is worth, would be to have Joaquin Phoenix in the part. I think he has the acting chops and just the right balance of bravado, mystique and lunacy to pull off a truly unique and believable portrayal of Strange. That said — I can see any of the actors mentioned above doing a good job in the role.
If you are reading Classic Comic Cover Corner, then you probably already have a good idea what Doctor Strange is all about, but in case you are asking yourself, “Doctor who?” here is a brief overview of Marvel’s “Sorcerer Supreme.”
Doctor Strange was created in 1963 by the legendary writer/artist team that also gave the world Spider-Man, Stan Lee and the eccentric illustrator, Steve Ditko. Strange made his first appearance in the pages of Strange Tales #110, but his mysterious origin was not unveiled until Strange Tales #115. With their heavy psychological tropes and hallucinatory imagery, the mystical Doctor Strange stories proved to be a big hit with college students in the mid-sixties.
Stephen Strange was a renowned surgeon who was arrogant and egotistical, until an accident leaves his hands so damaged that he can no longer continue his medical practice. He travels the globe searching for a cure that will restore his hands and in the process loses all of his worldly possessions.
A desperate Strange ends up in the remote mountains of the Himalayas, where the “Ancient One” takes him in and, after finding the good within the man, decides to teach him the ways of the mystic arts. (I always felt that Christopher Nolan borrowed heavily from Doctor Strange’s origin when he put Bruce Wayne on a similar journey in “Batman Begins”, albeit without the magic parts.)
Doctor Strange shared the Strange Tales comic with the Fantastic Four’s Human Torch for many issues, and, believe it or not, the Sorcerer Supreme would not even get a small cover mention until eight issues into his run within the book (see Strange Tales #117), and he would not get his first (very minor) cover appearance until issue #118. In fact, Strange’s first full-fledged “featured” cover appearance would not be until Strange Tales #130, when the Human Torch finally took the back seat for an issue (in a very strange tale indeed, where Johnny Storm and the Thing attend a Beatles concert.)
Who do you think should play Doctor Strange in the Marvel live-action movie? Let us know in our comments section below!
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