Stephen. Dat turtleneck.
Let me tell you about Dr. Stephen Strange.
He once kept an entire wall of souls trapped in mason jars in his pantry.
One time he punched Dormammu in the face with mystical arts. It was awesome.
Dr. Strange is FLAWLESS.
I adore Stephen Strange, MD. He is one of my favorite characters in the Marvel Universe. I’m not even joking when I say his books are the trippiest things ever. I attribute everything to Ditko. Using the Marvel Method was like primo on this book. The Ditko-era of Strange is the most surreal and breath-taking work. It’s amazing.
Anyway, where to start?
If you can get your hands on any full-color old school Strange Tales and Dr. Strange books, do so. I THINK the Marvel Masterworks volumes are full-color, but they can be pricey.
To understand Stephen Strange, you are in so much luck. My most favorite of Marvel’s Season One’s deals with Dr. Strange’s origin story. Greg Pak is on vocals with arts and color by Emma Rios and Jordie Bellaire, respectively. This isn’t Emma Rios’ first rodeo on Dr. Strange and you can tell. It’s sublime and surreal art. You add in Jordie Bellaire, and it probably makes Steve Ditko want to hop on a dirt bike and do dounuts in a Wal-Mart parking lot from sheer joy.
Once you’ve got a good grasp on his origin, the rest is all gravy. Delightfully, Dr. Strange is not mired in layers of continuity errors. Next up, read The Oath. It’s an all-star team-up of Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Runaways, Saga, etc.) and Marcos Martin, hold me closer tiny artist hands. PLUS YOU GET SOME NIGHT NURSE ACTION. Don’t even get me started about Night Nurse. I fucking LOVE her. Anyway, it’s a great, self-contained book.
After that, treat yo’ self and pick up Strange: The Doctor Is Out by La Waid and Emma Rios. It’s another wonderful, self-contained story, and it deals with Dr. Strange post-No Longer Sorcerer Supreme. It’s very much a dire straits book, but worth the read.
Also for some trippy Silver-Age homage, read Spider-Man: Fever. You’ll thank me later. For current reading, you can start on New Avengers Vol. 2 with Bendis having Dr. Strange join the team post-Siege. And let me just say, slow clap for Mister Brian Michael, because he’s sneaky as fuck, and a plot point I thought abandoned, has cropped up with a vengeance towards the end of this run. Pun intended in every way possible.
Finally, we come to The Defenders. This title. My precious, cancelled insane Defenders. This was everything I ever wanted in team book. It’s Stephen Strange being the creepy asshole he was meant to be. Read it. Love it. Welcome it into your hearts and minds. I kid you not, this book elevates superhero titles. Tread lightly, friends. PS. Fraction wrote it, so what the fuck are you waiting for?
So, yeah. That’s Dr. Strange for you in a nutshell. Also, if you want to watch pre-Disney buy-out Marvel Animation movies, the Dr. Strange one is actually quite good re: origin story.