Chew, Daredevil, Fatale, Mind The Gap, The Sixth Gun and The Walking Dead
All apologies for this being a long-winded reply, but I think everyone would agree that these are some of the BEST Doctor Strange stories - most of which can be found in some reprint volume or other.
Here is my list of BEST arcs and specials:
First, arcs of his own assorted series:
* Strange Tales v1 # 130-146 (Classic Stan Lee / Steve Ditko! These issues form an arc that is considered by many to be the FIRST true "American Graphic Novel" - it deals with Strange's search for Eternity and his being hunted and hounded across the globe by Dormammu and Baron Mordo. It's got EVERYTHING! Lots of mysticism! Doc has to escape from deadly foes blind & powerless while his head and hands are encased in irons! Dormammu vs Eternity! Steve Ditko INVENTING new visual techniques! What more do you need?) This can be found in the first Dr. Strange ESSENTIAL volume, but alas... the loss of color does take a little away from it all. THESE WERE reprinted in COLOR in the 4-issue DOCTOR STRANGE CLASSICS (a deluxe reprint series from the 1980's on beautiful white Baxter Paper) Of ALL the ways to get these stories, aside from MASTERWORKS hardcovers, this is the best way.
* Doctor Strange : Master of the Mystic Arts # 1-5 (the Silver Dagger saga - although much of # 3 is reprinting of early Lee/Ditko material as the creative team missed the print deadline) It was reprinted in one volume: DOCTOR STRANGE vs SILVER DAGGER # 1 (a Baxter paper deluxe edition) and the excellent "A SEPARATE REALITY" trade paperback by Steve Englehart & Frank Brunner.
* Doctor Strange : Master of the Mystic Arts # 10-13 (Steve Englehart and Gene Clan present some truly epic stuff! The total destruction of Earth! No. Seriously. But what happens AFTERwards... ahhhh (Available in several version of reprint Essentials, Masterworks) - however... if you really want to grasp that arc, it helps if you read one that came first - which is...)
* Marvel Premier # 9 - 14 - Doctor Strange vs Shuma Gorath! The Death of the Ancient One! And Doctor Strange and Mordo go back in time and aid in the creation of the Universe! (although # 11 is mostly reprinted stuff of Doc's origin and first battle with Mordo) this arc also features my all-time favorite Doctor Strange scene which opens issue # 12. Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner (mostly) (Reprinted in both Essential and Masterwork formats)
NEXT we can look at individual stories in stand-alone issues:
* Doctor Strange : Master of the Mystic Arts # 55 (considered to be the BEST issue of Doctor Strange. Written by Roger Stern, This is the famous issue drawn by Michael Golden) Part straight-up super-hero tale / part "It's A Wonderful Life". Awesome! (Reprinted in Essentials vol # 4, but the actual comic is a must have!)
* Doctor Strange : Master of the Mystic Arts # 56 (whenever an issue of Doc is reprinted in an "origins" or "best of Marvel" trade, THIS is the issue they use. Written by Roger Stern. Drawn by Paul Smith.) Informative and excellent. Part origin recap / part super-hero kick-butt story with mystic twists. (Reprinted more time and in more places than I can remember. Some Marvel Origins TPBs will have it, as well as Essentials volume # 4 and more.)
How about graphic novels?:
* Doctor Strange: Into Shamballa (original graphic novel) - Beautifully painted! If I could only keep ONE single "issue" of Doc... it might be THIS. By J.M. DeMatteis with art by Dan Green.
* Dr. Strange & Dr. Doom : Triumph and Torment (original graphic novel) Doctor Strange helps Doctor Doom rescue Doom's mother from Mephisto in Hell! This wins the "Doc's best of" list for many fans. (Story by Roger Stern. Drawn by Mike "Hellboy" Mignola)
* Doctor Strange: "What is it That Disturbs You, Stephen?"(a deluxe edition issue - kind of a mix between standard comic and graphic novel. Written and Lavishly illustrated by P. Craig Russell. Story is more of an opera, and art is gorgeous!) Not really a "great" Doctor Strange story per se, but it IS a good one.
And these are the best mini-series:
* X-statiX presents : Dead Girl (trust me, Doc's the star, but having an X on the title helps to sell it) It's more of a fun / funny tale with Doc being a little off-center. Written by Peter Milligan and art by Nick Dragotta and Mike Allred. Sure, Doc's not quite himself in this, but it's just offbeat enough to be cool.
* The Oath (quite possibly the best Doc story in many a year). Brian K. Vaughan story. Marcos Martin art. Some super-hero! Some detective mystery! Some magic! A little love and comedy! Classic!
I should note another of MY all-time favorite Dr. Strange story arcs... but while it is neither one for the uninitiated, nor is it bound to be popular to the general populace, it still holds a place in my mind as one of the best:
It is an arc that follows Strange in his loss of much of his power and abilities in using "white" magic, his being tutored by an old foe in the ways of "black" magic in order to defeat ancient evils that he had released, the ascension to the greatest levels of that dark magic, and then the long journey back to white magician.
Starting in DOCTOR STRANGE : MASTER OF THE MYSTIC ARTS # 75 (although if pressed, you could jump to issue # 79 and start there) continued to the end of that series with # 81, then continues in his next (shared) title; STRANGE TALES v2 from # 1 - 19. It then continues into Doc's new title; DOCTOR STRANGE : SORCERER SUPREME in issues # 1-2 (but technically doesn't fully wrap up until issue # 4).
The crux of it is in the STRANGE TALESv2 issues which can be found pretty cheap, OR you can get the recent reprinting of the arc in the DOCTOR STRANGE : STRANGE TALES TPB.
Written by Peter B. Gillis with art by several illustrators (including Chris Warner, and Richard Case). It's one of my all-time faves
That should do it.
I wouldn't want to overwhelm you or totally drain your bank account.
Sanctum Sanctorum Comix
If you want to see a near complete list of ALL Doc's various titles and such, I blogged about that awhile back:
Last edited by SanctumSanctorumComix; 06-17-2012 at 01:42 PM. Reason: typos
Funny you should say that I really want to start reading The Ultimates! The first Brubaker Cap was my first real venture into comics and I really enjoyed it so by the time I got to the Civil War tie-ins I decided to buy the Civil War book itself.
I started with the intention of just reading Cap & Iron Man but I seem to becoming more and more interested in reading other characters.
Good to see you again, P. This is H.
You know, I'll bet you could have written a pretty good blog entry in the time it took you to write that.
I agree Dr Strange Essentials Vol I & the Oath are a great start...
That first Mark Millar Ultimates series is a pretty entertaining read but if your interest only comes from a fondness for Captain America then you should probably avoid it. He’s a lot less likable there than he is in the movies and other comics (even Civil War … which is also by Millar).
New and improved me. Now with a CAPITAL “B”.
The Oath is where I got my start.
Actually, maybe we should warn matthew -- it's a gateway drug! Beware! You may become a fan of the character.
Believe it or not, this was merely cut and pasted from a reply I gave to the exact same type of request several weeks ago.
There have been a LOT of similar "Where do I start? re: Dr. Strange" posts on the web recently.
And a lot of "What are the best Doctor Strange stories?" queries.
If I was more insane, I'd think that it was Hollywood producers looking for market research type survey replies for how to approach STRANGE film.
Y'know... if I was MORE insane.
But, a blog post is forthcoming.
I really DO have several near-DONE... just no time for final editing and whatnot.
Sanctum Sanctorum Comix
follow me on twitter: SanctumBlog
Last edited by SanctumSanctorumComix; 06-17-2012 at 06:50 PM. Reason: brain hiccup
A friend of mine let me... borrow... almost his full run. The second Shuma-Gorath arc where he's getting pushed farther and farther from his moral center is so ridiculously good. You aren't sure whether to cheer or weep. I think you said something about how the magic is secondary to the story of a flawed and all-too-human man, and I have to agree.
WHY can't people write Strange like that again? He's not a gun. He's a warm-hearted human who has to decide whether to use magic, and how to deal with the consequences afterward. Jeff Parker 'gets' it... Fraction might. Not confident on other writers.
Could someone give me their thoughts on the comic book FF? Being new to comics, is this a good one for me to pick up?
I haven't read much of Luke Cage or Iron Fist, and I love the Bronze Age and Essential line, so I was wondering if picking up volume 1 of ''Essential Power Man & Iron Fist'' would be a good idea. Anyone have an opinion on that?
When it started, FF was the only Fantastic Four title. If you want to try it out, read the first five issues or so and see if you like it. If you do, continue through to #11.
Afterward, the story split. So if you find yourself just wanting more Fantastic Four, shift over to #600. If you want more with the children of the Future Foundation and Doctor Doom, continue reading FF. If you like both, then read both.
Does that help?
Should I pick up the Ultimate Spider-Man Omnibus?