Sunday, March 24, 2013



Of late...I've been feeling under the weather.
Waaaaaaay under.
Not quite 6-feet under, but at times it's felt pretty darned close (especially when I - due to a stubborn nature [and an empty bank-account] - decide to try to go to work while at less than full energy, and with little to no sleep).

Still, while in the middle of a fever-dream, during a particularly harsh night of sweats and chest pain, I somehow thought of the instances wherein DOCTOR STRANGE fought against DEATH itself.

I don't mean "fighting against death", in the figurative sense. All super-heroes do that, each and every time they fight to stay alive. As do we all.
No. I mean fighting the actual embodiment of DEATH!

Almost NO superheroes ever do that.
Usually, if DEATH is involved, (s)he uses a proxy or an "angel of..." to act in his/her/its stead.
But to go up against the skeletal-faced, and dark-robed avatar of THE END of our physical existence... is a feat usually reserved for the few.

Yet, Doctor Strange has done so more than once.

The first recorded instance being in the classic DOCTOR STRANGE: Master of the Mystic Arts #4.

Story by Steve Englehart. Cover and art by Frank Brunner

I've posted many page scans from that issue over the years. In it, Strange is trapped at the center of the unreal world at the heart of the Orb of Agamotto, due to the fact that he is near death (from being stabbed by Silver Dagger - as seen last post [HERE]).

To return to the waking world, and win his life, he has to fight against Death.

He, of course, would have to succumb to Death's embrace, and once accepting death as an inevitability - rose above it - and became (essentially) immortal.

However, death is not the end, but merely a transitional phase of existence - a part of the cycle of life.
In this way, combined with mystical pathways, Dr. Strange was then able to transcend death - and be reborn - resurrected!

 "Died - and Risen!"
Doctor Strange transcends death BY DYING...
Doctor Strange; Master of the Mystic Arts # 4 Englehart and Brunner

That's not to say that Death wouldn't keep trying.

Another instance was in the pages of DOCTOR STRANGE: Master of the Mystic Arts #41

Story by Chris Claremont. Interior art by Gene Colan & Dan Green

After being (nearly) drowned by Man-Thing, Dr Strange would have to combat with Death to return to the living world.

Alas, Death is right... he/she/it can afford to lose countless battles. All it needs is one win.

The next time, and a much more intense battle, was seen in DOCTOR STRANGE: Sorcerer Supreme # 45.

Story by Roy Thomas. Art and cover by Geof Isherwood.

However, once Death found that Strange wasn't going to give in easily... he/she/it began to cheat.

Instead of engaging in an actual battle, Death used head games, having Doc relive all the points in his life where Death won and took a loved one, to try to make him give up hope.
Of course, that trick never works.
And thus the battle began anew.

We have no idea how many other times he may have had to face the reaper, as it is certain that there have been adventures either earlier in his career or during the long years since his last series ended, wherein the details have not been made known.

What also is not known is that perhaps, when OUR time comes, some of us may be able to beat death via some sort of mental/will-power battle of our own.

Sure, no one who comes out of a coma or beats death defying odds remembers waging such a battle, but certainly Death would erase that memory from their minds.
Death DOES have a reputation to maintain.
(If for no other purpose, than to incite ill and whiny bloggers into writing entries about him/her/it.)

Thursday, March 14, 2013



Doctor Strange: Master of the Mystic Arts # 5
written by Steve Englehart, art by Frank Brunner


Not since 1415 with the resignation of Pope Gregory XII has a living Pope stepped down from the Papacy. Such a calling is one that is answered and followed ‘til death. When the seat of St. Peter does eventually fall vacant, the process to place a new Pontiff thereupon begins.

Still, even though Pope Benedict XVI, who replaced the beloved Pope John-Paul II upon the wizened Holy Father’s  passing, had only been bestowed of Triregnum And Pastoral Staff in 2005, he has, a scant 8 years later, decided that he is too old and infirm to continue his duties as leader of the Holy See.

Thus it turns to the College of Cardinals from around the world to form a conclave to decide who is to become the new leader of the Catholic Church. *

As nearly everyone across the world has learned, a new Pope has been chosen:
Pope Francis I (born Jorge Mario Bergoglio – of Argentina).

And while we celebrate the choosing of a new Vicar of Christ, so now, we turn our gaze to one who had nearly obtained that sacred post, and who for better or worse… was passed over.


ISAIAH , who had risen to the position of Cardinal had ahead of him one last challenge…the Papacy. He had been an excellent cleric and had thus garnered the respect of his colleagues as well as the reverence of the laity whom he served.

However, even though he was the favored choice of successor of his Pope, he would ultimately be passed over – ostensibly due to his youth – and most importantly, due to his fevered fundamentalist fanaticism. It is said that there is no worse sinner than a fallen believer, and thus when the fall is from as high as nearly becoming Pope, the sins later committed would be grievous indeed.

It was then that he found himself at the doors of the Vatican’s Library – the repository of the world’s most complete collection of books on the dark arts, that he “divined” his true purpose. Deluding himself that his being passed over for the Papacy was so that he might become God’s Personal Weapon in the war against Satan, Curwen read every volume of magic in the vast archives. This he did for six days and nights, and did neither eat nor sleep, so that upon the seventh day… he was to wrest forth the secret workings of magic!

Thus was born… SILVER DAGGER; naming himself after his weapon, the traditional destroyer of demons.

From then he renounced his position in the Church – but not his unwavering and fanatical faith – and set across the globe to study under adepts of all the dark religions, mastering them all and then slaying his instructors – meting out his own brand of the Lord’s Vengeance.
Then, at last he found his next intended target to be the ANCIENT ONE, but he was too late; the Aged Master had become One Will All and in his stead Doctor Strange stood as Sorcerer Supreme.

It was Dr. Strange whose death Curwen believed God decreed. It was to Dr. Strange that he turned his attentions. It was to Dr. Strange that Silver Dagger dealt Death!

For while other foes may have come close, SILVER DAGGER has been the only foe to not only subsequently take possession of the EYE of AGAMOTTO as well as kidnap CLEA, but to successfully bring about... 


*             It is also prophesied by St. Malachy as well as Nostrodamus that this next Pope is to be the LAST POPE and is purported to being the one at the seat during the END OF THE WORLD! (So… we have THAT to look forward to. One more shot at Armageddon.)

**           And yes, while Doc was able to “accept” his death and thus become reborn as an “immortal”, that doesn’t negate the fact that Silver Dagger stabbed him in the back (quite literally) and brought about the death of Dr. Strange. MORE about that DEATH and RESURRECTION can be found in this old post [HERE].

Silver Dagger has also slain or severely wounded several other of Strange’s associates over the years; Clea, Rama Kaliph, Jack Russel (Werewolf by Night), James Mandarin, Devil Slayer and more.


In the comments section, a poster brought up the fact that the Rabbit had been seen after this event.
Indeed. In fact, that was something which I blogged about several years ago.
But, for the sake of convenience (and completion) I will link to those here.

- The Rabbit escapes and is seen on the TV News - [HERE]
- Doc & Clea put the rabbit BACK into the hat - [HERE]

- End Update - 


As this post is but the first in the long-intended series of “Favorite Foes”, I am taking this time, and the historical religious events of the day, to showcase one of my all-time Faves…

Created by Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner.

1st appearance: Doctor Strange v2 # 1,2,4,5


Marvel Team-Up 76
Marvel Team-Up 77
Marvel Comics Presents 54/2
Marvel Comics Presents 55/2
Marvel Comics Presents 56/2-FB
Marvel Comics Presents 56/2
Marvel Comics Presents 57/2
Marvel Comics Presents 58/2
Marvel Comics Presents 59/2
Over The Edge 2

(chronology thanks in part to the "Chronology Project")

All images from DOCTOR STRANGE: SPECIAL EDITION # 1 (a reprinting of that classic storyline)
but YOU can buy the entire thing in the fabulous TPB: from Amazon (and I'd appreciate it if you ordered it from my widget here)

Monday, March 11, 2013

If A Blog Posts in the Aether...
...Does it Make a Sound?


Hey there, all you out there in the real world.
Please pardon this interruption of your interwebs, but due to a glitch in Blogger's post update system, wherein unless I backdate a post to the previous date it will not show up in the blog-post list on many websites *. It is for that reason that I am attempting a test.

I'll use the opportunity to make this "commercial announcement" to advertise the recent
5th Annual Sanctum Awards
which posted on February 24th, 2013
(but with no update notification for anyone who might be following).

So, in case you missed it, it can be found [HERE
- OR -
on the newly-posted (but equally un-announced) SANCTUM AWARDS INDEX PAGE [HERE]


* I have NO idea HOW to fix my blog-update dilemma.
Sadly, even back-dating no longer seems to work.

And there seems no way to reach actual...y'know... people, at blogger.

Can anyone hear me?
Am I real?


Saturday, March 9, 2013


When a blog has been around long enough, eventually there are certain ongoing "theme" posts that will build over time. Some of these are a series of entries, written as installments for a larger overarching treatise, while others are individual - stand-alone - posts which can be grouped together with similar ones over time.
And still OTHERS are ANNUAL, EPIC INSTALLMENTS in a TIME-HONORED TRADITION of bestowing kudos, accolades and razzies to the BEST and WORST of what that blog's intended market had to offer.
THUS, THIS is to stand as the INDEX PAGE for...



Each year, since its start in 2008, we here at the Sanctum Sanctorum Comix Blog, present to you, our esteemed readers, the "SANCTUM AWARDS" - an extensive post showcasing the very best (and absolute worst) of what was produced in the the previous year within the realms of comics, swag and news pertaining to DOCTOR STRANGE and the "6-Dimensions" characters (which, as the post that is linked will explain, are characters which are somehow affiliated with the good Doctor via some sort of "6-degrees of separation" methodology). 

The SANCTUM AWARDS are FILLED TO BURSTING with multiple nominees and definitive winners of Sancty Awards for the following 18 categories:


Featuring in-depth reasoning and reviews, links to even more in-depth reviews and/or blog posts and the "wit and wisdom" of your host in posts worth reading - no light fluff here (well... not much anyway). So pack a snack (or at least an Energy Drink) and see what all the fuss (I'm making) is about!

If you wish to read through any of the previous years' SANCTUM AWARDS, follow the links below.

5th Annual Sanctum Awards - (posted in 2013 for 2012 items)
4th Annual Sanctum Awards - (posted in 2012 for 2011 items)
3rd Annual Sanctum Awards - (posted in 2011 for 2010 items)
2nd Annual Sanctum Awards - (posted in 2010 for 2009 items)
1st Annual Sanctum Awards - (posted in 2019 for 2008 items)


Each year, I will update THIS PAGE with the link to that year's AWARDS POST.
(I'll also have a cool little "button" that links to this post somewhere up top of a side-bar.) 

So... if you watch Awards Shows like the OSCARS and haven't had your fill of Awards Programs,  then feel free to check out the SANCTUM AWARDS and see WHO (or what) wins the coveted SANCTY for the BEST(s) and/or WORST(s) of the previous year (or any other previous year [going back to 2008 {unless you have a time-machine, then come pay me a visit from the year 2525 <|f man is still alive!> and ask me what I thought of comics from any year prior to 2008,} which was when i officially began this blog,] about which you may be curious).
Yeah, that's right... I inner-bracketed thoughts FOUR parentheses/brackets/braces/chevrons deep!

You'll be glad you did!

 "OSCAR" says:
"I sure wish I was - or could win - a SANCTY!"

* Award image at top of the post is a re-tooled image from Strange Tales v1 # 117, by Steve Ditko.