Characters Appearing: Ancient One, Dr. Strange
Dr. Strange annual #1
Issue(s): Dr. Strange annual #1
This story is technically a continuation of Doctor Strange #20, but in practice it's just a vehicle for P. Craig Russell's nice artwork.
Strange has returned to Earth and is searching for Clea. The Ancient One leads him to the Book of Knowledge, stored at the Temple of Man, and when Strange gets there he is tricked by illusions of dead monks and lured to another dimension called Phaseworld.
The Queen of Phaseworld is Lectra, and she's having a conflict with her sister Phaydra and Phaydra's pet swan-turned-angel Tempus.
None of this turns out to actually be relevant to the current story and none of these characters appear again, so i'm just going to shut up and let Russell show his stuff.
Russell was apparently very unhappy with the way this story turned out (Mark mentions some of the reasons in the comments, but it seems like he was just generally unhappy with the finished product, too) and so this story was redone in 1997 as the Doctor Strange: What Is It That Disturbs You, Stephen? oneshot, with Marc Andreyko as the writer instead of Marv Wolfman.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place between Doctor Strange #20-22 (#21 is a reprint).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
According to Russell in the Comics Journal:He began working on this annual 3 years prior and he wasn't happy about his original cover being rejected. He was even more unhappy about Marvel's policy about sending some original art to the writer, so he peeled the word balloons off the art and sent them to Wolfman. Wolfman called him up, made repeated demands for an art page or a sketch, and when Russell refused Marv made the veiled threat of "Archie[Goodwin] hasn't heard about this yet, but there could be trouble!". Russell hung up on him, and outside of Epic comics refused to work for Marvel again for quite a while.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 19, 2013 5:12 PM
I'm curious about the graphic novel, "What is it that Disturbs You, Stephen?", and how it fits chronologically. (Note: I haven't read the graphic novel yet; I did read the Annual many years ago but don't remember it too well). The MCP lists Dr. Strange Annual # 1 as occurring between Dr. Strange # 20 and 22 (consistent with what fnord has), but lists the graphic novel much later, and some time after Doctor Strange: Sorceror Supreme # 90 (final issue of that series).
So did this story "happen" twice? Are they supposed to be very similar, but nevertheless different, stories in Dr. Strange's history? I tried to find this information online without success.
Posted by: intp | October 13, 2017 3:55 PM
I went ahead and read both Dr. Strange Annual # 1 and What is it that Disturbs You, Stephen. It seems to me that at least one or the other (or maybe even both) must be treated as non-canon, as they're basically the same story with only slight cosmetic differences (e.g. Wong in the graphic novel is the one captured whereas it's Clea in the Annual, presumably because Clea wasn't around anymore at the time the graphic novel was written).
My personal preference is probably to treat the Annual as the story in continuity, but I'm not really knowledgeable enough about Doc Strange's overall history to know if that's a sensible position or not. Still have been unable to find any online information clarifying the matter one way or the other.
Posted by: intp | October 14, 2017 12:50 PM
I mean, Amazing Spider-Man #116-118 is pretty much a straight-up rehash of Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine #1 with some names and modus operandi slightly changed, and they both have to be canon because the Magazine was referenced in a contemporary Daredevil story while the ASM version updates things to Peter's then-current status quo and advances series subplots. So if history repeated itself then with nobody noticing, it's not too much of a stretch to think it'd repeat itself again.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | October 14, 2017 6:12 PM
I personally construed Spectacular Spider-Man # 1 as having been 'replaced' by Asm # 116-118 and to ignore the Daredevil reference as a mistake. The problem with the Dr. Strange stories is that Lectra (the main villain) basically dies the exact same way in both stories, and Dr. Strange acts like he's never met her before both times.
I think my preference is probably to ignore the graphic novel or to treat it as a 'what if' story. It's not an entirely satsifactory solution, but what can one do.
Posted by: intp | October 14, 2017 6:36 PM
Comments are now closed.
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