Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be Marvel’s next big movie. This movie takes the Sorcerer Supreme far outside the core Marvel Cinematic Universe and into other worlds.
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And just like in comic books, many of the best stories about Doctor Strange involve Strange going into new worlds and facing down villains and concepts that make him think about reality in a new way.
So, what are the best Doctor Strange comic book stories? We’ve got the list right here, so you can get ready to enter the Multiverse of Madness and find out what it’s like.
1. Season One
Before the Marvel superheroes came out, Doctor Strange was one who didn’t have his origin retold in print very often. This means there’s still room on the shelves to put a new version of his story on. Doctor Strange: Season One, one of Marvel’s short-lived “Season One” OGNs, is just such a retelling. It was written by Greg Pak and drawn by Emma Rios, and it shows Strange’s past and relationships in a way that is likely to have had an impact on the movie.
Strange is a talented surgeon who had his hands mangled in an accident. The first season of Doctor Strange tells about his life. When he can’t do his job, he looks for a way to get better. Instead, he becomes a master sorcerer. In this story, we meet the main characters: Baron Mordo, Wong, the Ancient One, and Dormammu. They all have a strong connection to the main story and set up a strong foundation for Strange’s next adventures.
Plus, you get to look at 136 pages of Emma Rios’s art when you read this book.
2. Sorcerer Supreme Once More
In modern stories, it’s hard to find stories that really capture what makes Doctor Strange unique. For most of the last decade, he’s been mostly a supporting character in the Marvel Universe. As Brian Bendis wrote more and more stories about the Avengers over time, Strange became important to the New Avengers. This is the seventh volume of the New Avengers By Brian Michael Bendis Collection Volume 7.
In the early issues of New Avengers Vol. 2, which came out after “Dark Reign,” Strange is part of a team that looks more like the Defenders than the Avengers. He is also stripped of his title as Sorcerer Supreme. With his old job given to Dr. Voodoo, Strange has to find a new way to be a Marvel hero.
Bendis wrote a story about how Strange was both arrogant and humble, and how willing he was to give up his power in order to get it. It also made new connections between Iron Fist’s power, K’un Lun, and the Ancient One, which is why it was so important.
When Strange regained his title as Sorcerer Supreme, it all came to an end. As part of Marvel’s Illuminati, he was thrust into some really weird cosmic things.
3. Defenders: Indefensible
Though most people think of Doctor Strange and the Avengers now, Strange’s first team was the Defenders. This is the team that he worked with in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The “non-team,” which was made up of Namor, the Hulk, and the Silver Surfer, dealt with supernatural threats and had a very different tone than Marvel’s other team books.
Defenders: Indefensible, a limited series that reunited the original four Defenders with the writer J.M. DeMatteis, who in turn reunited with his fellow Justice League International co-creators Keith Giffen and Kevin Maguire, is on our list of the best Defenders stories, even though we could probably make a list of our own.
Indefensible brought the trio’s slick, irreverent sense of humor to the Defenders. It was a story that put the foursome against classic Strange villains like Dormammu and Nightmare.
4. To Steal the Sorceror’s Soul
Whether or not a story is short enough to be called one of the best doesn’t matter. Why not?
Marvel Fanfare #5 from 1982 has a short 17-page story written by Chris Claremont, Marshall Rogers, and P. Craig Russell, who wrote the books. Strange and Clea’s romance is in full bloom in this book, with Claremont’s X-Men soap opera style being used to great effect. During the story, Dormammu and Strange fight again. This pairing is what drives the story forward.
This is one of Doctor Strange’s most powerful stories, even though it’s only a few pages long. It’s worth looking for if you’re a fan of the show or if you want to become a master.
5. Dr. Strange vs. Dracula: The Montesi Formula
There are a lot of different genres and groups in Marvel Comics, and Dr. Strange moves between them. He is often an odd but welcome addition to the Avengers mythos, as well as the horror line that Marvel publishes. One of the best examples of this is when the Sorcerer Supreme fights with the publisher’s version of Dracula and his other vampires. This is what happens.
Dr. Strange vs. Dracula: The Montesi Formula includes both a crossover between Dr. Strange and the Tomb of Dracula, as well as a five-issue arc of Strange’s solo title that ended with the death of vampires in the Marvel Universe, like “No More Mutants” did.
In this issue, Roger Stern and Gene Colan are both at their best. The last story, drawn by a then unknown Steve Leialoha, wraps it up well.
6. Avengers/Doctor Strange: Rise Of The Darkhold (1970s)
A story about the Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange would be a great read before the Multiverse of Madness, because both of them are crazy. During the compilation Avengers/Doctor Strange: The Rise of the Darkhold, fans can finally find out where the Darkhold comes from.
In the compilation, the Darkhold’s origins are linked to the elder god Chthon, and many groups are trying to get the tome for their own purposes. He wants to use the Darkhold for good, but Chthon turns him into a bad person first. However, Chthon wants to use Scarlet Witch as his host when he tries to come back to life. Doctor Strange, who wants to use the book to get rid of all vampires, is being dragged into this. Finally, Thor has to fight Dracula, Lord of the Vampires.
7. What If…? #40, #52 (1983, 1993)
Sorcerer Supremes who are “dark” have been in the comics. What If…? Season 1 Episode 4 shows a darker world where Doctor Strange lost his heart instead of his hands. In What If…? #40 and #52, the comics looked at what might happen if Baron Mordo and Doctor Doom became Sorcerer Supremes, respectively.
It’s not likely that the stories will end well for the two of them, but the consequences of combining their abilities were very interesting to think about. In light of how Baron Mordo’s pride led to his own downfall as Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Doom took a more personal look at his story than he did in the movie. New powers: Doctor Doom used them to help save his mother’s soul, but not at the cost of a chain of events that could have ruined everything.
8. Strange Tales #110-141, #169-183 (1960s)
The best way to read about Doctor Strange is at the beginning of his story, all set in the 1960s thanks to Strange Tales. It wasn’t just the weird adventures of Doctor Strange that made Strange Tales a Marvel Comics series. It was also the stories about other Marvel characters that were in the series.
In these early parts of his appearances, Doctor Strange quickly shows that he is the Sorcerer Supreme. It’s often with Doctor Strange that Marvel’s most powerful characters are first shown off. Not only that, but around the 1960s, Doctor Strange’s powers are at their peak, and he can do things that modern Dr. Strange couldn’t do. Perhaps Multiverse of Madness will show more of this side of Doctor Strange, or at least more of it.