And LO! - 'Twas FIFTY YEARS AGO that strode into our midst a sorcerer unlike many (or any) who had preceded him...
No top hat or stage-magician's tuxedo.
No basic "Abra-Cadabra" spell-casting.
No earthly foemen.
For he was like his heralded marquee announced...
"MEN CALL HIM DOCTOR STRANGE!
NEVER HAVE YOU KNOWN HIS LIKE!"
Cover-dated JULY 1963 behind an unassuming cover featuring the Human Torch battling old Fantastic Four foes; the Wizard and Paste-Pot-Pete would quietly, and without fanfare, lurk the introduction of the character to whom I (and many a Mighty Marvel Mystical Maniac) would follow with eager anticipation...
So, please enjoy reading his very first chronicled adventure - and while I could have used flashier and more vibrant scans taken from a later reprint, I thought it better and more authentic to use scans taken from a vintage copy of
STRANGE TALES # 110
THE FIRST STORY STARRING...
DOCTOR STRANGE: MASTER OF BLACK MAGIC!
*RIGHT-CLICK into a NEW TAB or WINDOW to be better able to READ*
Of course, truthfully, comics back then were post-dated at least 2 or 3 months ahead, so that a month's old issue would not look as such on the newsstands, most likely STRANGE TALES # 110 would have been released in at least by MAY... but the cover says JULY so in JULY do I post my official commemorative post.
Now, while Stan Lee may like to lay claim to creating most, if not all of the characters that he wrote, in point of fact, he did NOT create DR. STRANGE!
Certainly, in later years, Lee would repeat an oft-told tale of how when he was a youth, he would thrill to the radio-show adventures of a magician named; Chandu the Magician (replete with resounding gong sound effect), and that was what he used as inspiration in the creation of the Master of Magic.
However, while he may have used Chandu's exploits as inspiration in his scripting of the first few issues, it was well known that STEVE DITKO was the true creator of Doctor Strange!
I'll leave it to the plethora of comic historians greater than I who have already laid out the copious details of Ditko's mind-works in the storylines and visual references therein, and how these would have been far removed from LEE's usual stock-in-trade.
Better I merely let the words of Stan Lee himself serve as proof.
Taken from a letter to a die-hard, early "professional" fan; Jerry Bails - in fact dubbed the "Father of Comic Fandom" - Stan Lee says all that need be said:
"...'TWAS STEVE'S IDEA..."
Of course, without the Awesome Alliterative Assistance of Stan the Man, Doctor Strange may not have become the complex comicbook conjurer that he would turn out to be.
As the letter also reveals, the character was originally going to be called "MISTER STRANGE", but wishing to avoid confusion with "Mr. Fantastic" Stephen Strange was made a Doctor.
There's no telling if or how the lack of the "Doctor" title would have affected Strange's story, but it would seem likely his origin tale would be slightly altered.
Either way, there have been many writers and artists who have built upon the firm ground laid by STEVE DITKO and STAN LEE - and who knows... maybe in 50 more years, some other fan may look back and wonder at the magic and follow where it leads...
And don't forget to continue to follow my blog, dedicated to detailing many of the Master of the Mystic Arts adventures, history and swag...