Monday, December 15, 2008

By the Warp and Woof of the Woven World

If you read last night's quick post, (as seen here,) you were here as I bartered a night free of brain-searing eye pain for a future SERIES of posts on the lives of the many disciples / apprentices of Doctor Strange.

(Did someone conjure Mephisto or something? I mean... what the hell was I thinking?!?)

Anyway, all that evolved from a post that I had 75% ready to go about the life (and death) of Rintrah; the 2nd (official) apprentice of Dr. Strange.

However, since that is now going to be folded into the upcoming series, I figure I should just let you have the nugget that started that whole ball of wax rolling... the theory of Rintrah's supposed avoision ("I don't say 'evasion', I say 'avoision'!") of a true, lasting death, and what "facts" I had/have to "back it up".

This started as a continuation on the post from a few days ago about whom might be tapped as the NEXT Sorcerer Supreme (found here).

In that previous summation, I originally listed Rintrah's current status as:
"In a magically induced coma-state (quasi-dead) and awaiting a time to be brought back."

Wise beyond his years (although, he could be just as old as he is wise for all we know), internet guru and Dr. Strange savant; Neilalien, took umbrage at my assessment, and in a post of his own (HERE) explained that as far as the comicbook-record is concerned,
Rintrah is DECEASED.

I, completely understanding, and agreeing with his reasoning, later changed my previous entry to accommodate that.
Simply because, while I DO have my reasons and rationale for giving the "quasi-dead" (more like in the Princess Bride, he's "mostly dead") status as I originally stated, it has only the slimmest of evidence and, (as neilalien acknowledged - albeit as an "*" asterisk,) only a brief mention of
"cow-terpiller in cow-coon, he come back all pretty soon"
as related by some love-struck fairies, within the pages of 02007's THE MARVEL TAROT, as seen here:

(ALL images can be clicked to be made BULLISH.)

Rintrah's entry in the MARVEL TAROT
(written / designed by Devid Sexton - and some fairies)


However, my reasoning, while taking that one bit of "15-years later" possible retconning into account, also hinges upon two or three other factors.

Before we get to those, here is the "death scene" in question
(from Doctor Strange; Sorcerer Supreme # 51):

Rintrah becomes Roast Beef (well done) in Doctor Strange ; Sorcerer Supreme # 51
(Geof Isherwood writer/artist)


As for the support of my pet-theory, I have these scenes from the comic record
(in chronological order):

1) Doctor Strange ; Sorcerer Supreme # 52

(Len Kaminski - Plot / Roy Thomas - Script / Geof Insherwood - art & plot)

- Doc places the "remains" in a separate astral plane for "temporary safekeeping" until he can properly deal with them... and that, IMPLIES (as anyone whose read more than one or two comic book "deaths") that he wasn't meant to be "dead, dead".
Or at least, not PERMANENTLY dead.
Perhaps dead as a doorknob NOW, but with all intent of having an open-ended chance to "come back".

In my mind, (and I could very well be 100% wrong, but) if he was meant to be dead and removed completely as a character, his remains would have been buried or incinerated or sent to the "Mystical Taxidermist" or something.
(Enitharmon the Weaver would have woven him a burial blanket or something.)


2) A scene from Doc Sorcerer Supreme # 56.

(Roy Thomas - writer/co-plotter ---- Geof Isherwood artist/co-plotter)

- In this little scene, Doc has taken over Wong's body to deal with Victor Strange (Stephen's younger - deceased-and-turned-into-a-vampire brother; AKA; "Baron Blood"). "Doctor Wong" goes to get the old blue/purple cloak and has this little thought balloon:

"Poor Rintrah! I gave these to HIM, as my apprentice--"
"-- but where he's gone, HE won't be needing them for a while."
(emphasis mine).

"...for a while."
That sounds fairly open-ended to me.

Never once does Doc ever say, to anyone, that Rintrah is dead. Of course, that may be because the events of the issues immediately after Strange's powering-down and the death of Rintrah were a whirlwind of cross-overs and crap, and then a clearing of the board for the new creative team.


3) Doctor Strange ; Sorcerer Supreme # 57

(Geof Isherwood - story & art)

- This only other bit, was a scene where Doc is talking to KILLIAN (who is introduced as an apprentice only a month or so after Rintrah's demise in ANNUAL # 3). Doc is trying to instruct Killian to work a spell and tells him that Rintrah had an easier time at it, due to his increased aptitude. It gave the impression (to me anyway) that a "Goofus / Gallant" scenario was being set up, and that in time, Rintrah would return to confront the renegade Killian, as a reflection on the Mordo / Strange dynamic.

This last scenario is purely my own conjecture and "reading between the lines".
I highly doubt that it was ever truly intended, but it does seem like it might have been a possibility, doesn't it?


Out of curiosity, I wrote to Geof Isherwood, who was drawing the book at that time, and also writing the title just after Rintrah's death, and he graciously replied.
Sadly, I had completely neglected to ask him if it was OK to QUOTE him, so I will only paraphrase his reply (since I am sure that he'd be alright with it, but still, proper protocol and respect state that I should wait for him to give the official "OK").

Basically, as far as he can recall, Rintrah was taken off the table, but placed in a "Ted Williams" state "just in case". So, no mention was ever made of Rintrah being DEAD. Only allusions to his being out of commission in case a future team wanted to bring him back. He personally had no intent to use him, instead introducing Killian as Strange's new protege'.

Thus, one of the WRITERS of the issue(s) in question states that while Rintrah was effectively removed from play and "killed", it was never a permanent death, instead very much a comic-book "death" wherein he was given many angles for being brought back.

Still... while that was the intent of the creator, it was never overtly stated, and as such, is merely the realm of "what-iffery", and is not in any way, "fact".

Remember, that Roy Thomas & Len Kaminski ALSO wrote issues in this sequence, and as such, I am trying to get thru to them (via Brian Conin's excellent "Comic Book 'Urban' Legends" series at CBR) for verification.

If I get any further information on this, I'll be sure to update this entry and make it known in it's own new post as well.

As for other information on Rintrah, Killian (and other disciples) as well as more parts of information garnered from my "interview" with Geof Isherwood (I should have an "official" consent by then), be on the lookout for the upcoming SERIES on the many acolytes of Doctor Strange.

I'm going to change things up a bit here on the blog the next few days, so that series is planned for around the New Year.


I just wanted to once again give proper respect and acknowledgment that what little influence my little blog may have, I still have a responsibility to report facts as facts and anything else as my own opinion. (no matter how right I might think I am.)

Thank you, Neilalien, for reminding me of that.


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