Sunday, January 27, 2013


It's not often that I find myself revisiting what should have been a one-off blog post - not just once, but twice more. However, it's not often that Doctor Strange alters his vestments (his "costume", if you prefer that nomenclature). That's not to say that he hasn't done so more than a few times in the past 50 years... but it isn't done often.

Now that I've split hairs on all the semantics above, I'll get down to the subject at hand.

Steve Epting dresses Doctor Strange - from New Avengers v3 # 1 

If I at times repeat points made in either of the previous two entries of this "series", please accept my apologies that the points do deal with the new matters discussed.

As discussed in the previous iteration(s) of this blog post [HERE] & [HERE], since Dr. Strange initially adopted his new Red & Black suit [in the pages of DEFENDERS v4]  it has undergone a few tweaks here and there, either due to artistic preference, or more likely - and the worst reason of all - because the precise design was never fully refined (not "ironed out" if you'll pardon the pun). It had too many vague areas where interpretation could cause confusion.

Terry Dodson's cover to DEFENDERS v4 # 1

Those vague areas included the gauntlets that Strange wore (the origins and image of them found at the first post in this series [HERE]). However, while drawn and designed as intricate and detailed metal armbands by one artist (Gabrielle Del-Otto), they were immediately redesigned and reinterpreted (wrongly) as less detail-specific articles by another (Terry Dodson), which then led every other subsequent artist to reinterpret them as they thought they might be. At best, they had been drawn as simple bands about his forearms (like leggings would be for the lower legs), and at worst, they were drawn as superhero gloves. This mistake was only further confused by the fact that while, originally the gauntlets were gold they were now colored red, and the gloves on Strange's hands -under the gauntlets - were either colored black, red or left off entirely, shown as simple flesh.

Personally, I always thought that the gloves should either be colored black (or left off entirely) to avoid the exact confusion that has been made wherein someone thinks that the red gloves and the red gauntlets are one and the same.

Also of confusion/interpretation was if Strange's suit was skin-tight or comprised of looser fabric. And many artists would leave off the draping fabric "tails" that would flow behind him, instead just having him wear tight-pants.

Then, when the entire look was drawn in it's most crucial moment - at the end of NEW AVENGERS v2 # 34 - when Strange would regain his lost artifacts; the Eye of Agamotto & the Cloak of Levitation, the artist responsible (Mike Deodato) made every wrong choice.

Supreme Sorcerer. Stylistically Sub-par.

Thus, not only was the Cloak drawn incorrectly (as I discussed in the previous entry of this "series"), but Strange was drawn with a skin-tight super-suit, at the loss of the draping fabric at his waist, but also the gauntlets were reduced to simple super-hero gloves.

It is this look that is being repeated in the newest volume (v3) of New Avengers, by artist Steve Epting.

I've no love... for the gloves.

Another artistic choice by Epting is that, while he is also following the erroneous design of having the Cloak of Levitation be gilded improperly (see the previous entry for that information), he has also chosen to drawn the high collar (cowl?) of the Cloak in a manner more likened to Strange's original blue cloak - that of a uniformly edged barrel-shape than the sloping and angular collar we've known the past 50 years.

Strange Tales # 126 - Art by Steve Ditko. Words by Stan Lee

As of yet, we've not seen Steve Epting render the entirety of Strange's new garb. For the most of his appearance in the first 2 issues of NEW AVENGERS v3, Doctor Strange has been wrapped in the folds of his cloak, and further draped in shadow. So it is unknown if Steve Epting has decided to follow suit in regards to Strange's...suit. Will he render it as a super-hero skin-tight garment, or do otherwise?

Strangely, the only glimpses we've seen of Strange's entirety come from variant covers, drawn by others. In each of those, it is drawn differently, but for the most part, in keeping with the Deodato redesign.

Variant cover for # 5 by Joe Quinones.
I won't even show the Simone Bianchi variant for # 4 
- as the costume is quite obviously a fantasy-inspired version -

However, in the pages of New Avengers v3 # 2 , Epting showed glimpses of what could either be seen as a look into the happenings from other parallel Earths, or what could be future events of our "own" (616) Earth. In that vision, we saw a NEW look for Doctor Strange - with a new symbol at his chest.

Gone is the classic Ditko-designed "demon" spirit, to be replaced by a stylized "EYE" (of Agamotto). Only time will tell if these glimpses prove to be prophesy or mere phantoms of other worlds.

I'm fairly sure the images are events showing what had occurred on OTHER Earths.
And while I doubt that they represent future looks at OUR Illuminati, for my part, I will go on record saying that you'll not get any argument from ME if he does change his look (again).
I like that new symbol!
However, design-wise... it is aesthetically confusing, as it makes 3 "eye" shapes on his uniform (the EYE of Agamotto itself, that symbol and the golden belt buckle).

Still, when all is said and done, I have always liked Steve Epting's artwork - as far back as his 1990's run on the Avengers, and all things considered, he did draw this piece of Doctor Strange (a commission piece?) a scant year or so ago, so it can't be that he's totally forgotten what Strange is supposed to look like.

More than likely, he's just trying some new things.

I'm unsure how I feel about that. I'm unsure how it will all look (and will most likely have to have a final 4th installment to this "series" when Doctor Strange is fully revealed - in issue # 3?), but I'm willing to wait and see.

Since this new volume of NEW AVENGERS looks to be the title that I will have the closest interest, what with writer Jonathan Hickman laying down such coolness as Strange's statement in the scan below... I am willing to invest in it - with my dollars and my faith that all will be worth it.

THIS is every kind of awesome!
I can only hope that we get to SEE Strange's journey.

While it is said that "clothes make the man"... it doesn't hurt to have a haberdasher like Steve Epting and a gentleman's gentleman such as Jonathan Hickman to keep Doctor Stephen Strange at his best.


Mario Di Giacomo said...

I did see one picture (although I cannot recall where) that showed him with the new suit.. but the cloak had SLEEVES. I'll see if I can find it, and add it in a comment.

Anonymous said...

No sir, I don't like the skintights or this interpretation of the cloak. Bring back Ditkos version or even better that blue suit from the Oath mini.

Mario Di Giacomo said...

Found it:

Those are definitely sleeves.

~P~ said...


I KNEW you were going to produce that image (because when I saw it in a preview I almost thought the same thing).

I take it you didn't actually READ New Avengers # 2 yet? The scan you referenced is from there, as are some of the scans I provided (showing Dr. Strange in that conference).
Those are not sleeves, but instead his arms emerging from under the cloak.

If you were to sit at a table with a cloak on (or you can try it with a blanket which is clasped at your neck and draped over your shoulders) when you want to put your hands forward, they must emerge from behind the folds of fabric.

It is often cumbersome and the very reason why the SNUGGIE was so popular.

Still, the illusion of sleeves is achieved.
But it is like wearing a poncho. When you want to stick your arms out, the fabric has to form around your arm and it looks like a sleeve.
Especially when the fabric is so long (as would a cloak) and a table obscures your vision that you cannot see that the fabric is not sewn shut in a tube (a sleeve). You can only see the top and sides.

But I'm not trying to make you seem foolish or anything. Trust me, I almost thought the same thing when I first saw that page previewed.
Without the visuals provided by the rest of the issue, it is EASY to think that they are, indeed, sleeves.

But thank you for looking diligently for that pic. I appreciate your going the extra mile.

Mario Di Giacomo said...

Oh, I agree, but the way it's drawn, it's difficult to see them as anything OTHER than sleeves, particularly as there's no evidence of buckling or wrinkling where the right arm meets the table.

Cirdan said...

I wouldn't mind if he always stayed shadowed so that we never or rarely see the clothes under his cape. I like the idea of the power pic in New Avengers 34, but he's not a kid so the actual execution doesn't work for me. Most of the other superheros are vaguely in the 30s range. Strange should be older! He doesn't age and will never die, but that doesn't mean he should be like all the other skin-tight-wearing superheros. Nothing like diversity. Even a brilliant, young neurosurgeon is already mid- to late 30s. It's not like I want him to be super wrinkly like in The Oath, but an older guy who works out regularly would be great. He's sexy for being smart, not for being buff. Towards that end, surely he knows to dress his age! You don't see Prof X wearing skin-tight clothes. (Ok, he's dead so it's a moot point. And he had that tight t-shirt look for a while.)

I like the fact that the Eye of Agamotto and Sorcerer Supreme by extension is the only recognizable thing/person out of the Illuminati. It's really a pity the body-hidden-under-cloak look for Strange was broken at the end of New Avengers 4. Still, not too much showing so that's ok. Can't tell if there's 3 eyes but he should probably shorten that sash, which looked good when he didn't have a cape but loses it's flapping in the air coolness when there's a cloak for that purpose, but failing that, keeping the sash to the side definitely seems to help.

Cirdan said...

Btw, Strange potentially using a spell from the Blood Bible was one of "oh yeah" moments that made me feel like "he's back!"

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