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11 Is A Palindromic Number, and,
Please celebrate with Neilalien his 11th Blogiversary! Exclesior!
That's 1,111 in internet/weblog/dog years. You won't find a better combination of starting earlier and blogging longer in comics-blogging.
But alas, as of today, Neilalien is officially recusing himself from the news, entertainments, and expectations of the near-daily visitor to his website.
Now is a good time- 11 is a palindromic number, of course...
[25 Feb 02011: More...]
Dr. Strange Information
[Story List] [Powers/Items]
[Origins] [Book of Names]
[Many Faces] [Questions]
[Oath #3 Cover Lineup]
[Historical Sales Numbers]
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Neilalien Blog Archive
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More: Origin; Pre-Blog Links
Overheard in a comic con bathroom:
"We have a new character... named Dr. Strange... Twas Steve's idea."
- Stan Lee, letter to Comic Reader #16, 23 Feb '63, as quoted in Steve Ditko's 32-Page Package v.5 Tsk! Tsk!
"Is that the Eye of Yaphet Kotto?"
- A demon, Marvel Comics Presents #20
Creators/Publishers: Neilalien would love to help, but he does not accept free comics or review submissions.
"Do not accept for review a book you are
predisposed to dislike, or committed by
friendship to like." - John Updike
Doctor Strange #1 is out to positive reviews (adding as found)
> CBR: "a perfect launching point for a bold new era"
> IGN: "It's high time Doctor Strange had his own comic again, and this new series certainly doesn't disappoint."
> Graphic Policy: "a really fun debut that exudes energy"; 8.5/10
> Comicosity: an introduction but not an origin-retelling; Bachalo's art sells the weird and differentiates the comic from the rest; 8.0/10
> Newsarama: "solid, if imperfect"
> Hannibal Tabu: "A pleasant surprise."
> ComicVine: "a strong start"
> Kotaku: "A Sorcerer Supreme Who's a Lot More Human"
[8 October 02015]
Marvel's "We make girl comics!" besieged on all sides
> With A Growing Female Audience, Marvel Hopes To Invite Everyone In
> More: How the Success of Marvel's Female Superheroes Heralds a More Inclusive Age of Comics
> Harvard professor looks down her nose at A-Force in The New Yorker: Looking at Female Superheroes with Ten-Year-Old Boys
> A-Force writer defends her book: Dr. Lepore's Lament
> Woman comic shop manager responds to The New Yorker piece: An Open Letter to Jill Lepore About A-Force
> Overview: Female Superheroes: A Historical Perspective
> Industry/Direct Market Meta: Now dollar-voting supporting Marvel comics about or made by women is potentially a $70/month commitment
> Industry/Harassment Meta: Alex de Campi: "I am sick to death of corporate comics telling me they caaare about me and my lady-dollar as a reader, and then continuing to employ/protect known harassers"]
[she writes Grindhouse and My Little Pony comics!]
> The Beat: New writer on Red Wolf is perfect storm of all of today's comics issues
> The worst comics industry in the world: The Beat: How a toxic history of harassment has damaged the comics industry
[6 October 02015]
Ta-Nehisi Coates Writing Black Panther Is The Year's Biggest Comics News [Vulture; "the awful few months that Marvel has been having with regard to diversity"]
[more big press: NY Times; Wired]
> On Marvel and Magical Thinking: Marvel's hiring of Ta-Nehisi Coates to write Black Panther doesn't magically fix a diversity problem Marvel doesn't acknowledge it has
> The Guardian: Marvel's hip-hop tribute embraces black metaphors but excludes black people
> Controversy clouds excitement for Marvel's 'All New, All Different' relaunch: failing to hire more writers and artists of color, more women, excluding LGBTQ
> The millionth Marvel boycott: until they can break Dwayne McDuffie's Rule of Three (three members of a marginalized community represented)
[5 October 02015]
Doctor Strange #1 preview
[with all variant covers] [out this coming Wednesday 7 October]
[2 October 02015]
Marvel's December 02015 solicitations include Doctor Strange #3
DOCTOR STRANGE #3
JASON AARON (W) CHRIS BACHALO (A/C)
VARIANT COVER BY TIM SALE
MARVEL '92 VARIANT BY MARK TEXEIRA
Dr. Strange wakes up, nearly naked with none of his magical tools or spellbooks and no memory of how he got there.
Nor does he know where all the monsters chasing him came from.
32 PGS./Rated T+ $3.99
[and Fred Hembeck variant Secret Wars #9 cover]
[1 October 02015]
MODOK: Assassin #5 series finale out today
[far and away Neilalien's favorite of the Secret Wars event]
[main Secret Wars event books getting very late]
[30 September 02015]
A Problem For The Comics Snob
is that superhero comics today have some more polish, more openness to different art styles, less earnestness,
and more Matt Fraction, than they have had in the past (but you still gotta read a boatload of shit to be qualified to discuss the few too good to ignore)
[enjoyable new R. Fiore (less earnest than usual himself with this essay)]
["It's the absurdity of saying, 'I don't read any of that superhero crap, what I like is Donald Duck.'"]
[a recent love-note meme-burst has been kinder to Fraction:
6 Reasons Why Matt Fraction's Hawkeye Is One of Marvel's Greatest Comics;
Farewell, Bro: How Matt Fraction and David Aja's Hawkeye Changed Marvel Comics]
[4 September 02015]
50 Summers Ago: Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2
[lovenote to "The Wondrous Worlds of Dr. Strange!" by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, with lots of info and trivia]
[26 August 02015]
Marvel's November 02015 solicitations include Doctor Strange #2
DOCTOR STRANGE #2
JASON AARON (W) CHRIS BACHALO (A/C)
Variant by SKOTTIE YOUNG
Variant Cover BY ALEX ROSS
VARIANT SKETCH COVER BY ALEX ROSS
Take a tour of Doctor Strange's home-- the Sancto Sanctorum. It's the weirdest and most dangerous place in the Marvel Universe! A place where opening the wrong door can unleash hell on Earth.
Unfortunately for you and your fellow visitor, Zelma, Strange's house is infested with something far worse than bed bugs!
32 PGS./Rated T+ $3.99
[25 August 02015]
Ultimate End #4, out today, has a Dr. Strange variant cover by Karmome Shirahama
[please note that Dr. Strange has absolutely nothing to do with the contents of Ultimate End #4 and does not appear within- another increasingly-more-common reason to dislike variant covers, but blogged here as always as news-completism for the completist-collectors]
[Ultimate End ends the Ultimate Marvel Universe]
[5 August 02015]
Kickstarter for Steve Ditko's 40th Anniversary edition of Mr. A #4
[the issue numbering is not pitfall-free- this must be "Count Rogue" (16 pages) and "Brotherhood Of The Collective" (16 pages)- originally published by Bruce Hershenson in 01975]
["Steve Ditko in 01975" article from Ditkomania #75]
[4 August 02015]
Marvel/DC/Image/North American comics and graphic novel sales hit new 20-year high in 02014
Yay! You might have also heard that other comics are for sale and selling well too. Or maybe you haven't...:
> What Our Failure To Cover Attack On Titan Says About The Comics Industry
[Marvel/DC superheroes still called "the mainstream", and Star Wars' fake one million sales still dominate North American comics industry press, while dwarfed by manga, kids comics, girl comics, webcomics]
> Comics212: Shifts And Living History [Marvel/DC comics industry still marginalizing anything not aimed at males 18-49, but real progress has been made]
> Comics212: New. Now. Next.
[the system's hype/publicity cycle is more broken/divorced from the sales cycle than ever;
retailers getting less info than ever to order books farther in advance;
longer time-spans (and consumer attention-spans needed) between announcements and when books are actually on shelves;
still as difficult as ever to get people talking about non-Marvel/DC/Image books;
fewer good critics/curators talking about good comics actually on shelves than ever]
[3 August 02015]
Writer Tony Isabella reports some peace-pipe smoking with DC, and a new Black Lightning collection in early 02016
[Trouble With Comics with some collected industry reactions]
[via Progressive Ruin]
[Isabella has felt long-term disrespect from DC re: his creation Black Lightning, one of the first major black superheroes to appear in DC Comics]
[Update on a very old hubbub: A major part of said disrespect is DC's apparent nefarious unilateral for-money/lawyer-reasons muddying of the non-work-for-hire deal
and creator-credit waters by giving artist Trevor Von Eeden a co-creator credit via costume design,
as you'll see on Black Lightning's current Wikipedia page and almost everywhere else
(notable exception Toonopedia).
Von Eeden has disavowed co-creator status, but he has claimed BL's original visual design (but not the removable Afro mask).
Neilalien absolutely supports Isabella vs. DC- but a kind of 'Isabella vs. Von Eeden' won't get the same pass.
As a Steve Ditko fan and comics-are-words-and-pictures folk, he's just too wary of artists not getting their due, especially for their superhero visual-costume designs which are critical to the medium and sell those Underoos.
Isabella's "A character isn't his costume" sounds a lot like what Stan Lee used to claim ("the person who has the idea is the person who creates it")
when he gobbled up every credit in sight. Further reading:
20th Century Danny Boy: Original Art Stories: The (Sad) Saga of Black Lightning's Creation;
Tony Isabella's 'FAQ of Recurring Animosity']
[2 August 02015]
Riverdale Punks Up With "Archie Meets Ramones"
[series is expected to arrive in 02016 to celebrate both Archie's 75th anniversary and the Ramones 40th]
[1 August 02015]
Big Jason Aaron interview re: writing the upcoming new Dr. Strange ongoing series, saying all the right things and many refreshing things
["I figured, 'Well if there's a movie coming up, we're going to be doing a Doctor Strange book before too much longer'...
I don't think we need a huge set of rules for magic. For me, there's just one rule that's very important, and that's that everything that Strange does has to have a cost...
I don't want a Doctor Strange who is a deus ex machina...
He is paying a toll for doing what he does, but he's not a guy who goes around dreary and grim all the time...
He's a weird, fun and quirky guy... He's not a creepy womanizer...
Chris and I both wanted him to be a more physical hero, not just a guy who shows up, strikes a pose and shoots energy blasts...
We're not completely reinventing Strange's supporting cast, but we are expanding it a little bit...
We want to start putting them together and build this kind of Algonquin Round Table of magic users... establishing this group of Doctor Strange's peers...
his rogues gallery should consist of not just otherworldly spirits, but human foes as well...
At times it will be a fun maybe more light hearted action romp, and at other times it will be a pretty dark, scary, and gnarly book with very real emotional weight to it...
excited and anxious to give [Chris Bachalo] as much crazy stuff to draw as I possibly can...
We'll see him making house calls... [but] He's also a guy, though, who is walking a beat."]
[Aaron owes us after giving Dr. Strange's job to Nick Fury and Winter Soldier in Original Sin...]
[Jason Aaron Twitter]
[Jason Aaron Website]
Update: Marvel October 02015 Solicits:
DOCTOR STRANGE #1
JASON AARON (w)
CHRIS BACHALO (a/C)
HIP-HOP VARIANT COVER BY JUAN DOE
COSPLAY VARIANT COVER ALSO AVAILABLE
YOUNG VARIANT COVER BY SKOTTIE YOUNG
ACTION FIGURE VARIANT COVER BY JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER
BLANK VARIANT COVER ALSO AVAILABLE
VARIANT COVER BY KEVIN NOWLAN
VARIANT COVER BY TOM PALMER
VARIANT COVER BY JOE QUESADA
SKETCH VARIANT COVER BY JOE QUESADA
KIRBY MONSTER VARIANT COVER BY ERICA HENDERSON
Who do you call when things are coming out of your dreams and trying to kill you? Or when your daughter is cursing in Latin and walking like a spider? Or when your dog keeps screaming at you to strangle your neighbors? Doctor Strange, of course. He's the only person standing between us and the forces of darkness, but has he been paying his tab? Every act of magic has a cost and Jason Aaron (THOR, ORIGINAL SIN) and Chris Bachalo (UNCANNY X-MEN) are going to put Stephen Strange through hell to even the scales.
40 PGS./Rated T+ $4.99
Update: For Every Action There's Reaction in Marvel's Doctor Strange
[another Aaron interview; on PreviewsWorld]
[31 July 02015]
The 616 version of Dr. Strange dies standing up to God Doom in Secret Wars #4
[Shocking Twist Shakes Up Marvel's Secret Wars]
[Secret Wars 02015: Part 4- Doctor Strange]
[mostly very positive reviews for the event at the halfway mark, and selling well]
[Doc should have been more a fifth column than a Doom kool-aid drinker, and there until the very end with a more meaningful, potent, and shocking betrayal of Doom]
[17 July 02015]
Marvel announces Doctor Strange comic series
[Marvel Announces "Doctor Strange" Series]
[written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Chris Bachalo] [links contain concept art]
[he will have weapons, like the axe; "a very active superhero version"] [he will be Sorcerer Supreme] [he will have Wong around]
[one of many all-new #1's launching this fall as part of Marvel's "All-New, All-Different" post-Secret Wars initiative]
[some cool-sounding ideas here- "a redefinition that rebuilds him from the ground up"- sigh, wary- but at least it's not another origin story- we shall see]
[CR update: "There's a lot of untapped potential there which is really odd considering how exhausted most Marvel/DC characters seem these days."]
[22 June 02015]
Teaser image for the Marvel Universe after Secret Wars shows Doctor Strange with a battle axe
and mostly returning to his classic 80's look of blue shirt and black pants but odd belt and no Cloak collar
[5 June 02015]
Marvel Legends summons SDCC-exclusive Doctor Strange set
[in a package designed like the Book of Vishanti, 6-inch figures of Doc in astral form, Brother Voodoo,
Magik, the Asgardian goddess Hela, and Dormammu, and a wearable Eye of Agamotto; no Clea or Baron Mordo]
[4 June 02015]
Recent issues of SHIELD have been Marvel-Mystic-oriented; based on the TV series, written by Mark Waid;
fun creative stuff here overall, but no glory for Dr. Strange
> In SHIELD #3, drawn by Alan Davis, Colonel Myrrden and mercenaries with guns that shoot Sapphire Bands of Storaan and Demon-Claws of Denak
break into the Sanctum Sanctorum to steal the Book of Morphesti, only to be foiled by Agent Coulson, Spider-Man, and an in-custody
looking-to-get-charges-dropped old-school Dr. Strange rogue Mr. Rasputin (!)
[the Sanctum is the star here; unfortunately Doc is absent so the others can bumble around it, and he doesn't return when its defenses are breached]
[Spidey makes a great quip that Doc eats "onion rings of Raggadorr"]
> In SHIELD #5-6, Asgardian-troll-made guns and Black Dechantment bullets take out Earth's magic-users
so Dormammu can launch a plague turning people into Mindless Ones
[Dr. Strange punked again, held captive by Dormammu; Scarlet Witch in the role Doc should be in again;
science used to cast (and completely nuke all wonder out of) magic again, this time a "laptop pentagram";
Dormammu looking pathetic again, beaten up by The Absorbing Man and the Howling Commandos (Man-Thing, Living Mummy,
Frankenstein's Monster, Zombie (Simon Garth));
but it's all slightly palatable since the Black Dechantment's power is hyped, as something no wizard or spell can withstand]
[31 May 02015]
Punisher 2099/Doctor Strange "Soldier Supreme" (or "Sorcerer Extreme") very fun mashup in Secret Wars: Battleworld #1
complete with summoned mystical weapons, Rocket of Raggadorr, Weapon of Watoomb
[review: a winner that leaves you wanting more]
[shocker: Dr. Strange might play actual major role in major Marvel event, as Doom's Sheriff Strange in Secret Wars (he looks 1602-ish)]
[no Clea in heroine-oriented A-Force #1]
[update: Baron Mordo is Baron of Battleworld territory Killville, with Clea, in MODOK: Assassin #1]
[24 May 02015]
The Doctor Strange movies that nearly happened
[will Scott Derrickson break the curse that befell Doctor Mordrid, Bob Gale, Alex Cox, David S Goyer, Guillermo del Toro and Neil Gaiman?]
[18 May 02015]
Are Marvel's 'Secret Wars' And DC's 'Convergence' The Exact Same Story? We Look At The Similarities
[Marvel and DC's big summer event concepts this year really seem similar: past stories, characters, and continuities are mashed together on one world and battle each other]
[The Ultimate Problem With Secret Wars and Convergence: virtually indistinguishable events; continuity mongering]
[Graeme McMillan: "What's the difference between Convergence and Secret Wars?" "About two months and $800."; "Remember these old stories? They're back, and now they get to fight each other!"]
[Neilalien calls these types of mixup mashup recursive recombination stories like Earth X and Old Man Logan "Prime Minister Electro": rearrangement of hardcore-fandom deck chairs on the Titanic]
[25 April 02015]
Wikileaks has released the Sony email hack as a searchable database
> Drew Goddard: "What does Dr. Strange have? Magic tricks? Fuck you, magic tricks - we've got a skyscraper Tom Hardy knocking down buildings!"
[presumably as Hardy playing Sandman in Goddard's Sinister Six movie,
which was slated to compete with Dr. Strange, but now postponed after the Spider-Man deal between Sony and the Marvel Cinematic Universe]
[interesting Dirty Dozen brainstorm about Sinister Six here] [with Goddard's pedigree (Buffy, Angel) the above was surely just competitive bluster- Dr. Strange might have been good in his hands]
> concern that Dr. Strange's release date was set for one week before Sinister Six: "not good"; "ultimate asshole move"
> this email looks like Scott Derrickson doing Dr. Strange being a big secret just before the June 02014 announcement
> this email looks like they're competing against Dr. Strange to land Tom Hardy for Sandman (Hardy Googled Sandman?) in Sinister Six, but he's already booked for The Revenant by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Splinter Cell
(Hardy was under consideration for Doc before Cumberbatch was cast)
> update: Stan Lee "not the least bit coherent" [20th Century Danny Boy]
> meta/equal time: Wikileaks defends the release as a fair-game pulling-back of the curtain on a large secretive influential corporation with ties to government and the military-industrial complex embroiled in a geopolitical event;
many others see it as an ethically-challenged perpetuation of a criminal act and foreign attack by a totalitarian regime- and no one wants their private emails in the public domain trolled for gossip
[Neilalien's 10' pole is only touching the Dr. Strange industry news]
[18 April 02015]
R.I.P. The Eltingville Comic Book, Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Horror & Role-Playing Club (01994-02015)
[personal Evan Dorkin note about the end of Eltingville, post-project blahs, and the many challenges creators (and we all) face, many self-imposed]
[best wishes for future projects, heal up the hand, and happy big 5-0 birthday next month]
[28 March 02015]
All of the upcoming Marvel Secret Wars/DC Convergence big events, miniseries, reboots, new #1's,
transient ideas like a Secret Wars miniseries about the Inferno crossover from 25 years ago,
both Marvel and DC big events happening at the same time, etc.,
is a challenging ordering situation for the Diamond nonreturnable comic shop retailer
[Brian Hibbs Tilting @ Windmills]
[21 March 02015]
Batgirl #41 variant cover evoking her vicious assault by Joker in Killing Joke is quashed
[we can still put women in danger in comics; the cover is contrary to the book's fun, strong-female-character, appeal-to-girl-readers tone; witheringly defines Batgirl by only her past trauma]
[Change.org petition to get the cover released; many comments in support]
[update: why wave a disavowed cover in tribute to a disavowed comic like a Gadsden flag?]
[past Batgirl hubbub evoked: classic comics can't-win: folks were upset when Barbara Gordon stayed paralyzed
while Batman's Bane-broken back healed; then when they restored her mobility, folks were upset Oracle, an icon for the disabled, was lost]
[the last Batgirl hubbub: bad transgender trope usage in #37]
[the last cover hubbub: Spider-Woman's butt]
[20 March 02015]
Links that remind of the comics blogosphere of old:
Why do you hate autobio comics?
["too many tedious misunderstood sensitive self-absorbed privileged males seem to be making them"]
They're still just fucking superheroes
["If they really don't like superheroes that much, why the hell do they spend so much time and effort talking about them?...
I stopped getting upset about the tastes of the general public not matching my own when I was a goddamn teenager..."]
Why Neilalien has rarely linked to Invincible Super-Blog
[19 March 02015]
IDW's Orphan Black #1 is February's strong top seller with a Diamond-estimated 497K copies sold
[Midtown Comics Times Square was sold out]
[a quick survey of online reviews are mostly positive, but Neilalien sees a TV-show recap, flat art, and way too many variant covers]
[great TV series! ten-episode third season premieres April 18th]
[18 March 02015]
Doctor Strange in a Strange Land, or The Transnational Logics of Blockbuster Casting
[by Lori Hitchcock Morimoto]
[was Benedict Cumberbatch cast as Dr. Strange for international film revenues because Sherlock is huge in Asia?]
[15 March 02015]
Marvel's May 02015 solicits mark the start of the next big event: Secret Wars
[including Secret Wars: Battleworld #1 (of 4): "When a Dr. Strange-possessed Punisher goes on the run, only Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hulk and Ghost Rider can track him down!" what could that mean]
[Marvel's new Secret Wars promises to change everything; essay by
The Hurting [essay footnotes]; Marvel's own Crisis On Infinite Earths at long last?]
[14 March 02015]
Doctor Strange meets Rabum Alal in this week's New Avengers #31 big reveal
[if the "send everyone... possibly all" talk is literal, the Black Priests are all dead and Doc's tenure as their Great Eye leader was short and disastrous]
[Doc looks good here; being defeated by a bevy of Black Swans when he was unable to talk doesn't offend; although he probably should have known the Priests might be vulnerable to a silence, 15' radius spell]
[why would Doom be so surprised to see Strange? if there's one person who can traverse the worlds and universes, it's Dr. Strange; maybe this is a time-traveled Doom and something happened to Strange?]
[Big Marvel Villain (Finally) Revealed in New Avengers #31; good short recap and Brevoort interview]
[13 March 02015]
Steve Ditko used as an example of an unknown second banana on tonight's episode of The Big Bang Theory
[update: Bleeding Cool]
[update: YouTube clip]
[12 March 02015]
New Avengers #31 preview shows Dr. Strange and the Black Priests on the move
[last week's New Avengers #30 showed the Beyonders destroying Celestials and entities like Eternity, Infinity, In-Betweener, Master Order, Lord Chaos, and the Living Tribunal]
[1 March 02015]
Today marks fifteen years of goodies for fans of Dr. Strange, Steve Ditko, and comic books at this URL!
[25 February 02015]
New Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios collaboration deal means Spider-Man can finally swing with the Avengers in the "Marvel Cinematic Universe"
[19 February 02015]
How Peanuts got its first black character
["Let's put it this way: Either you print it just the way I draw it or I quit. How's that?" - Charles Schulz]
[17 February 02015]
"Steve Ditko is one of the best plot men in the biz.
When it comes to dreaming up story ideas, putting them together intricately, panel by panel, and utilizing the best of cinematic techniques, the guy's a whiz."
[Stan Lee's 01979 introduction to "The Wondrous World of Dr. Strange", in the paperback anthology Doctor Strange: Master of the Mystic Arts]
[19 January 02015]
His own hero's journey was already over: The Lee/Ditko Doctor Strange was very different from other Marvel heroes at the time, and Marvel's heroes of today, and the Doctor Strange of today [20 Feb 02011]
The Avenging Page (In Excelsis Ditko): massive missive re: Ditko's self-published work of recent years, by Jog, at Comics Comics [15 Feb 02011]