Sunday, May 19, 2013



One of the longest-running series of blog posts on this Sanctum Sanctorum Comix blog is of my showcase of DOCTOR STRANGE related apparel (hats, ties, shirts, unmentionables…), and in a recent entry into that series, a few weeks ago, I showed a Custom-Made Dr. Strange themed baseball cap (seen [HERE]).

The differing aspect of that article of clothing from the others is that it was made from other “Ancillary Artifacts” which were of a Dr. Strange theme – namely; PATCHES.

And at the time I mentioned that that post also began a new series of posts which will feature assorted Ancillary Accessorizing Artifacts; patches, buttons and assorted bling.
Well, THIS is the first of those new series’ (sub-series?) of posts dealing with Accessories of a Doctor Strange (and “6-Dimensions”) theme.

The best way is to go chronologically, by manufacture – and broken-down by type (you’ll see, there’ll be a reason for my OCD-stylings).


First up, 1977 brought us Iron-On patches manufactured by HOLM PATCHES (Made in the USA).

These were 2” x 3” cloth patches which featured logos of then-popular Marvel Comics titles embroidered thereupon.
I say “cloth” but they have a plush feel, more like a quality felt, velour or velvet than a standard fabric.
I have ones for THE DEFENDERS and HOWARD THE DUCK, who many may forget was a sales and cultural phenomenon in the mid-to-late 1970’s.

As you can see, the stitching wasn’t bad, and the accuracy of the logos was spot-on. Simply labeled as “PATCHES”, their packaging and presentation was set at zero, however, as the patches were affixed to a basic no-frills card by means of a single staple.

Other such patches were made, I’m sure, but these tend to be fairly rare and thus, I’ve hardly seen many others.

Strangely enough, there doesn’t seem to have ever been one for DOCTOR STRANGE made by HOLM.
I would have to imagine that the company requested from Marvel a list of their top-selling titles, and while Howard the Duck was an extremely popular (if surprising) seller, and the Defenders – with the roster which included the HULK as well as many other “not-quite-top-tier” characters (like Dr. Strange) would have boosted its sales figures, Doctor Strange’s solo title must not have made the cut.


That was rectified in 1979, when RAINBOW EMBLEM CO. of Dallas, Texas (also Made in the USA) produced a series of Marvel Comics patches with embroidered logos of several comic titles, including one for DOCTOR STRANGE; Master of the Mystic Arts.

Made of cloth and sized 2.5” x 3.5”, these Sew-On patches seemed to be more concerned with peg-hook presentation than quality of product. Complete with a dynamic “SUPER-HERO PATCHES” logo on a blister card, RAINBOW’s packaging was nicer than that of HOLM products’, but their patches were abysmally sub-standard.

Take a look at the Doctor Strange patch. The “name” part of the logo isn’t bad at all, but the “Master of the Mystic Arts” sub-header looks to be the work of Rumplestiltskin on a drunken bender.

The material of the patch is more like a flimsy canvas or cheap, colored denim.
Similarly poor patches were made for characters like the HULK and SILVER SURFER (who each actually had a small figure of themselves stitched thereupon).


There were some other Marvel-themed patches in 1980, but since I’ve never seen any that were Doctor Strange related (or any of my particular “6-Dimensions” preferences) I’ve not needed to acquire any.


The next time we would see Doctor Strange related, Marvel-themed sew-on patches was 1984 (and continued for a few years, until 1986 [or 1987]) when Marvel got into it themselves - teamed with TRANSCOLOR Inc.

This time, it wasn’t logos embroidered onto a patch, but actual artwork from the comics, printed on a fabric base.

“Marvel Super-Heroes TM Patches” were suddenly a thing perhaps less likely to be sewn onto a jean-jacket and more likely left in the clear baggie with hang tag which it came in – as a collectible.

The sheer number of these found over the past few decade or so on sites such as eBay has proven that they were mass-produced, carefully stored, and featured a plethora of the then-active Marvel characters. (Seriously, they featured just about everyone and anyone. There’s even one featuring “HEATHER” McDonald-Hudson – wife of Vindicator/Guardian of the Canadian team; Alpha Flight. She’s not in her “Guardian” suit, which she would later wear, but simply dressed in civvies, diving into the waters by a pier, taken from a panel of John Byrne-drawn issue). Before the end of production in 1986 (or 1987?) they had printed nearly any and every Marvel character on one, using artwork from whatever comics were released during that time-frame.

Most are 4” circular patches, but some are in triangular, shield or other squared-off shapes.

I have several, and am still in the market for a few more.
Currently, I have:

DOCTOR STRANGE: head-shot.

Made in 1984, this is a head/bust as drawn by Paul Smith (inked by Joseph Rubenstein) – and taken from Strange’s bio-page in the “Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe” v1 # 3.
I have two (2) of this one.

DOCTOR STRANGE: action pose.

Made in 1985 this was taken from the cover of “DOCTOR STRANGE: Master of the Mystic Arts” # 69, drawn by Bret Blevens (inked by Mundelo).


Made in 1984, this pose of the Lord of Latveria was drawn by John Byrne and taken from the cover to Fantastic Four # 247.

There’s one of the Scarlet Witch, as drawn by Sandy Plunkett, that I am hoping to make mine one day, but in the meanwhile I DO have some others, including one featuring the Scarlet Witch.


... and here are those others I mentioned.

VISION & SCARLET WITCH – action pose.
1986 – drawn by George Perez.

S.H.I.E.L.D. – logo.
1985 - ‘nuff said.

CLOAK and DAGGER – action pose.
1985 – drawn by Rick Leonardi / Terry Austin

BLACK KNIGHT – action pose.
1986 – by John Buscema / Tom Palmer

GARGOYLE – action pose.
1985 – drawn by Don Perlin.

This series of patches seems to have been the last gasp of the “comic character patch” fever. None since then were “officially” produced. However, as I stated earlier, there are so many of these patches still in circulation, if you have a favorite character, and if they were active during 1984-1987, there’s a good chance you can find a patch that features them.


Now, I said “none since then were ‘officially’ produced”, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been a bunch of “pirate” patches since then!

With the onset of affordable, personal patch stitching machinery, almost anyone can become a Patch-Producer from the comfort of their own home.
I have purchased patches from just such providers… periodically.
Here are some of the current additions to my collection:


4.5” x 3.5” - Taken from the same Paul Smith illustration as the Marvel Patch shown above, this, like most of my modern patches is from a vendor found online. (This, and the next two patches are the patches shown on my Custom Cap post [HERE].)


3” circle - Taken from a screen still from the 1978 Made-for-TV movie-pilot, this patch is most likely taken from my own image of same, uploaded to the internet back in 2008 for this very blog.


3” circle - Taken from many an online pic, most likely from Marvel’s own wiki. Drawn by Kevin West (inked by Steve Montano), and taken from the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY # 32 From 1993. Sadly, there are SO many better drawn images of the Amulet of Agamotto, that it is a shame that this patch-maker didn’t seem to locate one of them.

DOCTOR STRANGE – Action pose.

4” x 3” - Taken from artwork from the ULTIMATE MARVEL vs CAPCOM 3 video game, this patch is taken from one of the variant costumes shown for Doctor Strange.
This is a different seller than the previous three, and the quality is poorer.

However, the next one, from the seller of the first 3 bootleg patches knocks it all out of the park.

DOCTOR STRANGE – Full Figure pose.

Measuring a whoppingly, Brobdingnagian 12” high by 5.5” wide, this patch is of the full image that two other “head” patches have used from Paul Smith’s illustration from the ‘Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe’. Here, I have it next to a Paul Smith drawn issue of Doctor Strange – merely for size comparison.
This patch would be something that you'd sew onto the back of your jacket in lieu of a painting of Winged Icarus from a Led Zeppelin album.


Of course, the fact that Marvel and their official licensing partners have stopped making patches doesn’t mean that they’ve really stopped making patches… officially.

In 2012, Upper Deck Trading Cards teamed with Marvel to produce a sub-division of that year’s “Marvel Premier” series.
 Dubbed; “Classic Corners”, these deluxe trading cards are essentially embroidered patches of comic book artwork that used to be featured on comic book cover “corner boxes”, mounted inside an extra-thick casing.

Of course, I had to get at least two of these rare inserts.

 # CC-14 – which features the corner box artwork for THE DEFENDERS # 1
Doctor Strange, Namor and the Hulk


#CC-34 – which features the corner box artwork for ADVENTURE INTO FEAR # 10
The first comic issue that featured The MAN-THING (although, not his first appearance).

I do have a mind to get another of each of these and crack them out of their clear plastic shells to expose the embroidered patches within.


Lastly, I’d like to show something that bridges both the fabric patch and trading card genres:
Backstage Access Passes for the band: The GRATEFUL DEAD!

Made of fabric (like a patch) with an adhesive backing (so you could stick them on your jacket – like  a patch), and roughly the size of a trading card, Marvel characters were lithographed onto them to designate for which particular concert they were to be used. I’ve seen several of these over the years, all featuring many different characters, and am happy to have been able to acquire these two…


 (artwork by Carl Potts)
Made for the March 29th, 1995 concert at “The Omni” in Atlanta Georgia.



(artwork by Steve Lightle)
Made for the April 4th, 1995 concert  at the Jefferson-Birmingham Civic Coliseum) in Birmingham Alabama.


Hmmm… this post was an entry that was a follow-up on a post which in itself was a multi-subject entry (gifts, apparel, patches) and this, too, is a multi-subject entry (patches, trading cards, access passes, the Grateful Dead), but those other threads will have to wait for another day (although, I can guarantee the Grateful Dead subject thread will feature some really cool stuff  [and it, itself, is yet another multi-subject thread]).

Come back NEXT time for…
 I can guarantee some rarities you’ve never seen before.

And don't forget to check out any you may have missed of the
Previous parts of the

- part 1 : CAPS and TIES : [HERE]
- part 5 : "THE END" of GARMENTS  : [HERE]

And the sub-series...


- part 1: PATCHES of POWER: [HERE]
- part 2: BUTTONS & PINS: [HERE]
- part 3a: EYE of AGAMOTTO: [soon]
- part 4: MAGIC RINGS: [soon]


Howard Hallis said...

Never ever ever saw that Holm Defenders logo patch or the Rainbow Emblem Doctor Strange one before this posting. Beautiful vintage items!

Lee K. Seitz said...

You aren't kidding about the Marvel Super Herods Patches featuring every then-active hero. They even made a Dreadstar patch, which Marvel doesn't own (but were publishing via Epic)! You obviously know more about the patches than I, so I'll assume your lack of mention of Rom patch means there isn't one, as I've never even heard the hint of one. Darned licensed character issues! Surely if it existed I would have seen one on ebay by now.

~P~ said...


I ASSURE you, if there was ANYTHING even REMOTELY resmbling a ROM patch, I would KNOW about it, and OWN (at least) one.


But, yes... there were patches of just about EVERY character at the time (I do believe there was an "ALIEN LEGION" patch as well, also published via EPIC by Carl Potts.

So, the lack of a ROM or MICRONAUTS patch could only mean that Marvel could not release any product other than COMICS (licensing deals tend to go that way).

Ah well...

Thanks for commenting!

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