Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Strange New World?
-or -
Pop Goes the Doctor and the Doctor Goes Pop!

"Strangely", it seems to me, that while Doctor Strange may be at a low ebb, "power-wise" in the Marvel Universe proper, that his name seems to be experiencing more popular mass media exposure in recent months than at any time prior in his 46 year history.

Sure, in addition to his many comic book appearances, he (or his name) has been featured in comics related books, concerts and record albums, a made-for-TV movie, apparel, episodes of various animated series', his own made-for-DVD animated film, mass market fiction books and magazines as well as toys... but all of those other, older instances occurred over a stretched out 40 year span - only one or two per year - and aimed mostly at the counter-culture: those already "in the know". Those at the outskirts of popular culture. At the forefront of the pack of seekers of what is "it". Those at the fringes of what is "cool". The hipster college kids of the 1960's. The True-Believers. The comic book fans. The weirdos. The nerds.

Within the past month or so, Doc has been featured in numerous "pretty-people" venues.

To highlight this, in some meta context, Doctor Strange, AS nerd culture was shown on the CBS show; SUNDAY MORNING.

Here's the screen grab.

I can almost smell the pulp. There's nothing quite like it.

In an editorial piece by Mo Rocca on the "rise of the nerd", (which aired Sunday October 18th, 2009,) the cover of STRANGE TALES # 158 (featuring DOCTOR STRANGE & Nick Fury; Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.) is seen in a montage (at the 2:49 mark)

cover for Strange Tales # 158 - by Mary Severin

For anyone who is wondering if I'm making a big deal out of nothing, think of this;
How many comic books have been printed since the medium began?
How many comic TITLES are there?
How many comic books are present at ANY comic book convention or comic shoppe, tucked away in multitudes of longboxes?

What are the odds that an issue featuring two obscure characters (in an obscure old title) would be featured?

Wouldn't it have been "better" for a producer to have asked for a "name brand" character or title be represented? Something that the home audience might "get"?
The usual thing is to trot out old issues of "Detective" or "Action" comics. Perhaps an early issue of "Spider-Man".

Here, we get a glimpse at a title and characters that few have even heard of.
And it makes a difference.
It expands the consciousness for these characters - even if just a little.

For those interested, here's the clip.

Aside from this meta-textual peek into the comic and culture behind the character, just the past few weeks there have been numerous other pop-culture appearances, cameos and mentions. Seemingly, just enough to keep the idea - the brand - of Doctor Strange active in the subconscious reaches of the mass media mindset.

Just the past few weeks we have seen:

- ROLLING STONE (Issue 1088. October 1, 2009)
Megan Fox
posing while reading Doctor Strange #51

Rolling Stone photo-spread [HERE] - Image [HERE]
Doctor Strange # 51 image

cover image from the

*Thanks to neilalien for posting this news item first.
Out of respect, I will not re-post the image here.
Go to neilalien's site - post found [HERE] or the Rolling Stone page - Image [HERE].

(Although I have added the pic to the list of the "loves" of Doctor Strange's life - found in an older post [HERE])


Season 1, Episode 5, episode name: "Canon", original air date October 6, 2009

Doctor Strange is mentioned at the 25 minute mark.
The mention is about a Melrose character's Doctor Strange collection, and not the Marvel character per se.

If you wish to, watch the episode online - try [HERE]
IMDb page [HERE]

*Thanks to neilalien for posting this news item first, as well.


- SUPERHERO SQUAD - Animated Series

Strange is in at least two episodes this month.

BTW, you can find reviews of the episodes on this blog at the following links:
[Episode 05] & [Episode 09]

I should note that while my reviews lean toward the negative side, (as I am less than impressed with that show than others might be,) still it IS Dr. Strange being given larger exposure to "teh kidz".

episode # 05
"Enter: DORMAMMU!"

SuperHero Squad "# 05" title card
original airdate Saturday Oct 10th, 2009

- & -

episode # 09
"Night in the Sanctorum"

SuperHero Squad "# 09" title card
original airdate Wednesday Oct 21st, 2009


And that is probably not all.
My blog has been getting a great deal of hits with people searching for all manners of variations on Doctor Strange references and subjects.

I'm sure that there have been other blips on the cultural radar.

So, what does this all mean?
Is this the universe prepping the consciousness for a return to greatness of the good Doctor?
Dr. Strange is on the mid-range list of properties that are to be given the new "Marvel Movie Magic" treatment.

Perhaps, Doctor Strange losing his mantle is just a temporary lull.
Or a minor price to pay - for a greater boon.
A respite for the character - before his emergence into mainstream media.

After having Doc being perceived as a non-entity in the mass mindset...
Wouldn't THAT be nice?
Wouldn't that be... strange?


cerebus660 said...

I hope you're right and we do see a resurgence in the good doctor's fortunes: preferably a regular comic from a sympathetic creative team and the resumption of the Sorcerer Supreme title. I mean, Brother Voodoo? Come on! Bring the character back, sure, but why step on Doc's toes? There's only one Master Of The Mystic Arts,and that's Stephen Strange.

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