Sunday, October 31, 2010

A "Magic of the Cards"


Welcome to a
of the
- HALLOWEEN - 2010!

(previous entries can be found at links at the end of this post)


As a change of pace from the previous years' look at Dr. Strange themed Halloween costumes - this year, we're looking at Dr. Strange themed Halloween "merchandise"... of a sort.

Back before cellphones with crazy-unlimited minute plans existed, people still used public PAY PHONES (*gasp!* Oh, Horror!), so there were such things as "phone cards" which would have pre-paid amounts of air-time credited to them, which you could use to make your long-distance phone calls by dialing a special number which was printed on the back of the card.

Similar things still exist, obviously, but back in 1994 this was all new and as such, phone cards were available everywhere, from almost any company that wanted to try their hand at it.

So, it should come as no surprise that of the many characters and properties that were licensed for phone cards, MARVEL characters were no exception.

One of the sets that Marvel made available was for HALLOWEEN of 1994!


Advertisement for Marvel's Halloween edition phone cards.
"And you thought calls to Europe were long-distance...
Marvel Halloween phone cards will let you contact...
the great beyond!"

Each card entitled its bearer to 10 minutes of phone air-time and a special 2-minute "story message" from Marvel characters, which would be available by dialing the special number and entering a secret code (found by scratching off a section of the card back).

Of course, for me to be blogging about it here, there MUST have been a DOCTOR STRANGE card among the assortment... (you all know me too well).


This card featured "Doctor Strange" vs Nightmare, although, truthfully, it is not DOCTOR Strange at all, but one of the two "Strangers" that he magically cloned from himself. (The other being; "Vincent Stevens".)
This one was simply called "Strange", and was preeminent in the Doctor Strange; Sorcerer Supreme title from late 1993 to early 1995, so this would have been the "face" of Doctor Strange during that time-frame.

by Mel Rubi

The Doctor Strange card was drawn by Mark Buckingham, who was the series' cover artist for that 1994 period (also penciling some of those issues and the ones that drew the title to a close).

All of the cards were rendered by great comic artists:
-clockwise from top left-

Dr. Strange - Mark Buckingham
Morbius - Mike Mignola
Spider-Man vs Green Goblin and Hobgoblin - Mike Allred
Ghost Rider - Steve Lightle ???

I have all four of these cards - purchased new at the time - and promptly used the air-time and recorded the Halloween story/messages to a mini-cassette inside my answering machine.

So, while I might include the rest on another installment, allow me to present, for your Halloween entertainment, the "story/ message" on the Doctor Strange card.

Be forewarned, it is BAD.
SO bad that it's almost good.
Watch out for a lot of bad acting, a lame ending and, since it's obviously the same voice "actor" performing (and most-likely a budget that didn't allow for 2nd takes), a screw-up on which voice goes to which character.

(transcript written below the sound clip - feel free to read along)

*sound FX : (GONG/ Howling winds)*


"I am DOCTOR STRANGE; Master of the Mystic Arts!
Don't be tricked though, that doesn't make me a carnival illusionist or some tuxedo-garbed nightclub act...

As protector of this plane, it has been my sworn duty to defend this realm from the dread likes of Dormammu, the manipulative mechanizations of Baron Mordo and the idiot entrappings of the Mindless Ones.

The greatest threat to this world is the being known as... NIGHTMARE!
Dangerous, I say, especially on this night; All-Hallows Eve.
We all enter his realm allowing ourselves to become subservient to his darkness as we close our eyes and stumble into unconsciousness.

The forces are greater than usual, and in his realm, it is possible to dream your own death!"

"Strange?! You'll never escape this time! Even with your cursed Cloak of Levitation. Think of yourself as my guest. The guest of Nightmare!"


"By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth...!"

* SFX: (chains clanking) *

"I'm...I'm covered in chains!"


"And as my guest, I expect certain courtesies, like the key to entering the realm of the conscious, the land of waking day."

(wrong voice used)
"NEVER! Your chains were useless Nightmare! Let's see how a containment spell keeps you!"

* SFX: (Gong) *


"Curse you, Magician! If I can't enter your world, I'll make sure that no one ever wakes again!"


"By the All-Seeing Eye.... NOOOooooooooo!!!!"

* SFX: (Alarm Clock.) *


"Huh? Wha...? Oh... The clock! 
The spell of never-ending sleep. The unbreaking chains of Chinannigan. All-Hallows Eve? It was all just a dream. No... A NIGHTMARE..."

- END -

OK. Let's get it over with right now... that WAS pretty bad.
"By the All-Seeing Eye... NOooooooooooo!!!"

Some of the worst writing / acting in the history of ever.

The Unbreaking Chains of Chinannigan?
More like the Untalented Stylings of Shenanigans!

Sadly, the general thrust of the story makes it seem that Doctor Strange's worst foeman is the by-product of a pepperoni pizza eaten too close to bed-time.
If all you need to defeat Nightmare is to be able to wake up in the middle of the night, then any over-40-year-old man (or late-night beer drinkers) would be adequate defenders of the realm of consciousness since those guys need to (hopefully) wake-up to take a whizz a few times a night.

But still, it is a fairly cool, and VERY rare bit of eclectica from my Sanctum Sanctorum Comix collection.

As a bonus, if you have trick-or-treaters coming to your door, who you feel don't deserve a "treat", play a "trick" on them by making them listen to this little radio-play instead of receiving candy.
Just don't blame me if the tiny ghouls and goblins TP (toilet paper) your house and toss eggs at your car.

"By the All-Seeing Eye... NOooooooooooo!!!"


Previous entries in this series include: 

Featuring: three different variants of the official licensed "Ben Cooper" costumes of Doctor Strange. [HERE]

Featuring: two of my own home-made Doctor Strange costumes that garnered me a "win" in the Wizard Magazine annual costume contest (Wizard mag appearance included). - [HERE]


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