5 Comics You Need to Read After Seeing Doctor Strange

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After your very definition of reality—or, at least, the reality of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is almost the same thing, only better-looking and with super powers—has been challenged by Doctor Strange, you might be wondering where to turn next for more of the same. Sadly, the following five selections might not include reality folding in upon itself or Chiwetel Ejiofor’s soulful gaze, but there are hookah-smoking cosmic caterpillars, magical cures for cancer, and naked superheroes. That’s got to count for something, right?

Strange Tales Vol. 1 #110-127

The first Doctor Strange comics remain as weird and unworldly as they did when they were first published more than five decades ago, and feel weirdly in tune with the movie in ways that few could have predicted—the first story even features Mordo (Ejiofor) breaking bad for the first time! Come for the history (and some wonderfully over-the-top Stan Lee dialogue), but stay for Steve Ditko’s amazing, mind-bendingly alien artwork.
How to read it: Available digitally, and in the Marvel Masterworks: Doctor Strange Vol. 1 print collection.

Credit:

The first Doctor Strange comics remain as weird and unworldly as they did when they were first published more than five decades ago, and feel weirdly in tune with the movie in ways that few could have predicted—the first story even features Mordo (Ejiofor) breaking bad for the first time! Come for the history (and some wonderfully over-the-top Stan Lee dialogue), but stay for Steve Ditko’s amazing, mind-bendingly alien artwork.
How to read it: Available digitally, and in the Marvel Masterworks: Doctor Strange Vol. 1 print collection.

Doctor Strange Vol. 2 #1-16

As weird as the original Strange comics are, it wasn’t until the 1970s when the series got appreciably trippy, as writer Steve Englehart decided to use it as his venue to question the very nature of reality itself (and, in one story, actually end reality entirely; don’t worry, things got better). For those who want to see more of Dormammu from the movie, you’ll certainly dig this run, but there’s even more existential melodrama to enjoy beyond that. It wouldn’t be surprising to discover that director Scott Derrickson has a special place in his heart for these issues.
How to read it: Available digitally, and, in part, in the Doctor Strange Epic Collection: A Separate Reality print collection (#1-5 only).

Credit:

As weird as the original Strange comics are, it wasn’t until the 1970s when the series got appreciably trippy, as writer Steve Englehart decided to use it as his venue to question the very nature of reality itself (and, in one story, actually end reality entirely; don’t worry, things got better). For those who want to see more of Dormammu from the movie, you’ll certainly dig this run, but there’s even more existential melodrama to enjoy beyond that. It wouldn’t be surprising to discover that director Scott Derrickson has a special place in his heart for these issues.
How to read it: Available digitally, and, in part, in the Doctor Strange Epic Collection: A Separate Reality print collection (#1-5 only).

Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment

Ironically, one of the best Doctor Strange comic book stories is one in which he’s a glorified supporting character. The 1980s graphic novel Triumph and Torment is really a story about Doctor Doom, the Fantastic Four villain who here teams up with Strange in order to travel to Hell and save his mother’s soul. Things don’t go smoothly, as you might expect, but the way in which things go to Hell (pun very much intended) is the fun of the story, alongside some amazing artwork by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola.
How to read it: Available digitally and in print.

Credit:

Ironically, one of the best Doctor Strange comic book stories is one in which he’s a glorified supporting character. The 1980s graphic novel Triumph and Torment is really a story about Doctor Doom, the Fantastic Four villain who here teams up with Strange in order to travel to Hell and save his mother’s soul. Things don’t go smoothly, as you might expect, but the way in which things go to Hell (pun very much intended) is the fun of the story, alongside some amazing artwork by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola.
How to read it: Available digitally and in print.

Doctor Strange: The Oath #1-5

Saga’s Brian K. Vaughan managed to strip much of the pretentiousness away from the character when he wrote him for this all-too-brief mini-series in 2007, with artwork from his Private Eye partner Marcos Martin. Surprisingly fast-paced and funny, The Oath has been name-checked as an influence on the movie, and you can see where it played a role: without this book, it’s unlikely Benedict Cumberbatch’s sorcerer supreme would have quite the wit that he does.
How to read it: Available digitally and in a print collection.

Credit:

Saga’s Brian K. Vaughan managed to strip much of the pretentiousness away from the character when he wrote him for this all-too-brief mini-series in 2007, with artwork from his Private Eye partner Marcos Martin. Surprisingly fast-paced and funny, The Oath has been name-checked as an influence on the movie, and you can see where it played a role: without this book, it’s unlikely Benedict Cumberbatch’s sorcerer supreme would have quite the wit that he does.
How to read it: Available digitally and in a print collection.

Doctor Strange Vol. 4 #1-11

The current Doctor Strange series from Marvel wrestles with the character’s portrayal in recent years—he’s been corrupt, cowardly, and a ladykiller at different times, depending on the writer—and comes up with a synthesis that is charming, frustrating, and eminently readable. It also throws in big-scale threats like the end of magic as we know it and Stephen Strange inconveniently stripped of everything—his magic, his weapons, and even his clothes—at just the wrong moment. Good work, Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo; right now, there are many Cumberbatch fans hoping that that last plot works its way into a future movie or two.
How to read it: Available digitally and in print collections.

Credit:

The current Doctor Strange series from Marvel wrestles with the character’s portrayal in recent years—he’s been corrupt, cowardly, and a ladykiller at different times, depending on the writer—and comes up with a synthesis that is charming, frustrating, and eminently readable. It also throws in big-scale threats like the end of magic as we know it and Stephen Strange inconveniently stripped of everything—his magic, his weapons, and even his clothes—at just the wrong moment. Good work, Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo; right now, there are many Cumberbatch fans hoping that that last plot works its way into a future movie or two.
How to read it: Available digitally and in print collections.

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