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Latest Weblog Post:

11 Is A Palindromic Number, and,
A Recusal

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...]

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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 February 01963, as quoted in Steve Ditko's 32-Page Package v.5 Tsk! Tsk!

"I'm telling you, the only reason that Neilalien has lasted so long is because he kills younger, more innocent, bloggers and drinks their blood in some twisted Ditko-inspired mystical ceremony."
- Fanboy Rampage

"Is that the Eye of Yaphet Kotto?"
- A demon, Marvel Comics Presents #20

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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


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Marvel movie schedule shifts/delays: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will now kick off Summer 02022 on 6 May instead of opening on 25 March

[18 October 02021]

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Jon Kent, aged-up son of Lois and Clark, "the Superman of Earth", DC's new/current Superman, coming out as bisexual [Tim Drake/Robin came out as bisexual a few months ago]

[12 October 02021]

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There Is Not Enough Paper In America For Comic Books Right Now
[paper, comic books, not immune to global-pandemic supply-chain issues] [order your holiday gifts early!]

[7 October 02021]

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What If season finale released today!


What If...?'s Multiverse Avengers Assemble In A Surprisingly Tight (If Predictable) Finale

Season grade: B- is about right, maybe a fun B+ for Doctor Strange fans, because the Doc episode and Strange Supreme were the best things about the season.

Marvel's What If...?: Season 1 Ending Explained- How The Finale Sets Up Season 2

WhoTF Gamora's appearance explained: There was a missing Gamora episode due to pandemic-based production setbacks.

What If...? Fans Agree This Guardian Of The Multiverse Can Take Down The Eternals

Strange Supreme was shown with awesome power! Enjoyed the Multiplied Mjolnirs and the "galaxy-destroying" blast eaten like a candy.

Annoying inconsistency: After making Ultron invincible in all universes with a set of Infinity Stones from only one universe, breaking that "rule", now the rule is back and Gamora's Stone-crusher thing only works on one universe's stones?

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Also out today 6 Oct: Defenders #3 (Ewing/Rodriguez), Savage Avengers #25

[6 October 02021]

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Ditko Con 02021 report and lovenote

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Also at TCJ: An Embarrassment Of Obsessions: From Apes To My Stan Lee Moment
[a 60-year-old's moving melancholy musings re: selling his old comic book collection; our quirky individually-tasted financially-worthless obsessions become storage fillers and burdens for our survivors to unload; kept a set of Strange Tales featuring Dr. Strange by Steve Ditko for his son; "The only thing I kept for myself was the set of Detective Comics with the Manhunter by Goodwin and Simonson."]

[5 October 02021]

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New York Comic-Con 02021 this weekend 7-10 Oct in NYC!

[Health & Safety: vaccination proof and masks required]
[Panels & Screenings]
[Artist Alley] [Exhibitors]

Haven't found any party lists for this year yet- probably muted due to the pandemic- but here are about ten NYCC-related parties/events using Eventbrite for their tickets

[4 October 02021]

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Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige says casting Tilda Swinton as a whitewashed Ancient One was a mistake
[thought they were being clever and avoiding chichés- but it would have been even more clever to both cast an Asian actor and still avoid chichés]
[Men's Health interview source]
[or is this the spin? remember: Marvel Denies Whitewashing 'Doctor Strange' To Appease China]

[3 October 02021]

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'Loki', 'Black Widow' And Why We're All Living In Disneyland [Gerry Canavan]
[Loki's introduction of the multiverse (and with X-Men/Fantastic Four incoming?) stands to extend Disney's cultural dominance and rescue an MCU running on "and the rest" third-tier-character fumes... the Marvel multiverse concept that conquered supercomics is so amazingly suited for conquering all media... allowing for any character or item of intellectual property to be recast (watch out actors!), killed, resurrected, reinterpreted, rehashed, alternate versions, alternate endings, etc... "It can't be lost on us that the TVA's primary weapon is the 'retcon': the ability to painlessly undo the consequences of any event to reset the story... if everything happens somewhere, does anything really matter?... to spectacle without consequence, to death without sadness, to franchise expansion without limit or end"]

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How Marvel Took Over Cinema And TV [The Economist; paywall] [discussed on Hacker News] [earning $25+ billion with 20+ movies has a way of rescuing one from bankruptcy]

[2 October 02021]

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The What If episode out 29 Sept [Season 1, Episode 8] brings back the powerful entity-eating universe-destroying "Strange Supreme" from Episode 4...!

For the season finale next week against a multiverse-threatening Ultron who succeeded in inhabiting the Vision body- and getting all the Infinity Stones...

And it shows there is that ol' Marvel interconnectedness to the anthology, to at least some of the episodes... Now we know the end of Episode 7 with that Ultron showing up in Party Thor's universe was a teaser...

Wouldn't the Infinity Stones only work in their own home universe?- so an Infinity-Stoned Ultron wouldn't be as powerful in other universes and thus couldn't threaten the multiverse?

Why the heck is this Episode 8 particular story the one that breaks the Watcher's heart? Didn't he Watch the Doctor Strange episode?

What If...? Episode 8 Review: A Very Ultron Apocalypse

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The Last Annihilation event finale was Guardians of the Galaxy #18, out 22 Sept: Dormammu jack-o'lanterned the Ego planet and launched an invasion wave of Mindless Ones until Rocket Raccoon shot him with a big gun. Doom siphoned off some of Dormy's power for later. Doc nowhere to be found.

Update: Doctor Strange in Amazing Spider-Man #74 [out 29 Sept], not doing much, parleying with Mephisto about Peter Parker's soul- but the big Nick Spencer/Kindred Saga finale is on the radar by retconning the hated Sins Past storyline (Gwen Stacy did not have sex and twins with Norman Osborn; all a ruse! with artificially-created genetic children who became Kindred) and adding slightly more heft to the hated One More Day storyline (Mephisto has foreseen that May Parker, Peter and MJ's daughter, takes him down, so he's been trying to prevent May's birth) [Mephisto's Spider-Man One More Day Plan Finally Revealed]

[1 October 02021]

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Steve Ditko estate/heirs (along with Gene Colan heirs, Larry Lieber, etc.) file copyright termination notices re: Marvel characters, including Doctor Strange and Spider-Man!

Marvel Could Lose Copyright Over Spider-Man And Doctor Strange

Determining when a license or transfer can be terminated is complicated. The basic rule for works created and assigned prior to 1978 is that termination can be effective any time within a five-year window that opens exactly 56 years from the date copyright was originally secured... Amazing Fantasy #15 was published in 1962. Add fifty-six years to that, the window for copyright termination began in 2018 and finishes in 2023. Strange Tales #110 was one year later. Now seems to be the right time... Might a new deal with the estate of Steve Ditko be in the offing?

Marvel Sues To Block Heirs From Reclaiming Spider-Man, Doctor Strange Copyrights

Marvel filed five lawsuits on Friday seeking to block the heirs of comic book creators from reclaiming copyrights to many of its most popular characters, including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Ant-Man and Doctor Strange... The move comes after heirs of five Marvel authors filed dozens of termination notices with the U.S. Copyright Office. If the notices were to succeed, they would not prevent Marvel from using the disputed characters, which were created by multiple collaborators. But they would require the studio to make payments to the heirs... The termination notices were filed by Marc Toberoff, a veteran copyright attorney who fought similar battles on behalf of the heirs of Jack Kirby, a co-creator of several Marvel heroes, and of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the co-creators of Superman. Toberoff argues that the Marvel authors' work led to multi-billion dollar franchises, and that their heirs should be allowed to share in the wealth... Toberoff argues that the comics were not done on a work-for-hire basis, as the law was understood at the time. He says that the authors were freelancers and independent contractors, and that they assigned their copyrighted work to the publisher in exchange for payment. In that case, he argues, their heirs should be allowed to reclaim the copyrights.

Marvel Suing To Keep Rights To Avengers Characters From Copyright Termination

The litigation figures to focus on the "Marvel Method," a loose collaborative working atmosphere where initial ideas were briefly discussed with artists responsible for taking care of the details.

Did Ditko's Randian pride rationalize passivity/disadvantage him against Marvel's exploitation? Or is that blaming the victim? Or did Ditko save his own life by walking away; what duty did he have to fix the comics industry? [musing re: this Kim O'Connor/Jeet Heer exchange on Twitter]

Ken Lowery: "i don't know if i have the spirit in me to withstand another round of, like, the heirs and families of terminally exploited artists being called "greedy" by SpoodeyMans420XxX in defense of the goddamn Disney Corporation"

[24 September 02021]

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The Death Of Doctor Strange #1 out today!

Updating: Collecting links as found: Spoilers: Braindump:

The Death Of Doctor Strange Will Be 'Perfect', Marvel Promises

Doctor Strange's Death Revealed By Marvel Comics [spoilers for #1]

Neilalien is loathe to indulge variant covers but here they are for academic purposes [Midtown Comics] [the Colan is 1:50]

Comic Book Round Up collected reviews

Positive review at Multiversity Comics

The Beat review: "defies and exceeds expectations"

The Death Of Doctor Strange Sets Up A Massive Marvel Mystery

Murdered by someone he recognizes, with power he's familiar with, that shouldn't exist...

Are The Deaths Of Scarlet Witch And Doctor Strange Connected?

Both Doc and Witch- recently killed by daggers...? But: It's doubtful it's Silver Dagger.

Update: Per writer Jed Mackay, Vincent Stevens was the first-draft murderer! [The Strangers]

Who Killed Doctor Strange? You Will Know Them By Their Teeth

Normal teeth- not sharp exaggerated vampire/demonic teeth- and a special speech balloon isn't used...

There's a few bits here about Doc's restored hands- and then on the death page- Doc's hands are fucking missing! Removed...? Souvenirs...?

The damaged hands are returning...? Neilalien doesn't mind if Doc consults with hospitals on weird cases from time to time, but the actual surgeon side-job can happily go away...

Doc said in Doctor Voodoo #1 that one can't afford to split time between being Sorcerer Supreme and a medical doctor [per @SanctumBlog]

Since there is so much about hands: What about that creature Doc goes to in Doctor Strange V5 #19 to restore his hands? Channok, Keeper of the Forbidden Spells. It's unlikely he's the actual murderer- but he could be behind it somehow, to take the hands back. His teeth seem 'normal'. He growls there will be a price. But he didn't seem the type to travel anywhere, he doesn't seem like the one who actually exacts the prices. And he spoke in that issue with a special word balloon.

Exclusive/Interview: Death Of Doctor Strange Writer Jed MacKay On The Event's 30-Years-In-The-Making First-Issue Twist

It's like Doc Voldemort-horcruxed himself with a piece of his soul, to be activated upon his death. The OG Master of Black Magic is back.

That was actually something that was in place when I joined the project. Tom Brevoort had been batting around some ideas for The Death of Doctor Strange for 30 years, and one of them was this idea of a younger Strange appearing from a hidden door in the Sanctum, tucked away for just this sort of disaster. I thought it was a very elegant idea, and took it and ran with it!

And it would be so cool if OG Doc makes Modern Doc look mopey-dope by comparison...

Marvel's Death Of Doctor Strange Ends With A Surprise Return ["Doogie Strange"- the purple pre-Eye-and-Cloak-and-Strange-Tales-#127 Doc]

Mordo playing the villain-will-team-up-because-"Only I may kill the hero!" card...

Many Easter eggs for long-time fans. Rasputin/Plotnick. Xander. Seven Suns/Sons of Cinnibus. And we get some Crimson Bands and actual Eye usage/in the forehead...

Props: Without Doc, the dimension is immediately attacked from all sides...

Bats is a charming companion, more than say, Rintrah...

So many little touches to like. The art and colors are great; Doc looks great. The humility line, and not enjoying talking about himself line. The giant skull nightstand. How he can never appear tired or rumpled...

Was all of that supposed to happen in one day? A very fine line is being walked here- the regular joe with the absurd job...

We didn't need to show Doc pining over the Clea photo twice to make the point...

Comprehensive review by Doctor Strange Daily Appreciation: "This is, indeed, a love letter... a story about how Stephen is important to Marvel's universe"; although again this writer embraces what Neilalien would call a broken sad-sack Doc much more than Neilalien would

There's too much shit on Doc's floor. What was he doing- playing 52-Pickup with tarot cards? There's Wong and Watoomb Winds to clean that mess up.

Death Of Doctor Strange #2 preview pages, concept art, covers- with a new dark Clea design- and three all-new villains called The Three Mothers- the Wyrd, the Crown, and the Crawling

Who Will Be The New Sorcerer Supreme? ["A new mystical protector rises in December's 'Death of Doctor Strange' #4!"]

Magik will likely not be successor since they spoon-fed us that she's Sorcerer Supreme of Limbo already in the issue [per @LukaNieto] (was that an old-time Limbo baseball team they were fighting lol?)

Did you know that "Zounds!" is a minced oath for Christ's crucifixion wounds ("By God's wounds")?

[22 September 02021]

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Marvel's November and December 02021 solicits include tons of Death of Doctor Strange and tie-ins, Savage Avengers, Defenders

Variant cover by InHyuk Lee
With no Sorcerer Supreme, Earth is left entirely defenseless against the mother- MOTHERS- of all mystical threats. Meet the Three Mothers: the Wyrd, an alien mage-priestess; the Crown, a powerful warrior-queen; and the Crawling, a monstress composed of acid-mouthed worms. Will they be the Marvel Universe's undoing? And were they the ones who killed Stephen Strange?! In the vein of the Black Order, don't miss the first appearances of the next great Marvel villain team!
32 PGS./Rated T+ $3.99

Variant Cover by Paco Medina
Devil's Reign Villain Variant Cover by ANNIE WU
WHO WILL BE THE NEW SORCERER SUPREME? Someone has to stop the giant mystical threat devouring all magic, and it can't be the Avengers. Or the Fantastic Four. Or the X-Men. It'll take someone with the greatest skills and command over the mystic arts to save us all. It'll take the Sorcerer Supreme. But who will that be?!
32 PGS./Rated T+ $3.99

This ain't Ben Reilly's first rodeo as Spider-Man, but he's never had to deal with the death of the Sorcerer Supreme and what it does to New York City.
Part of Strange's will and testament was to ask Spidey to deal with particular problems... Is BEN up to it?
Black Cat isn't a big Ben fan, so is she riding shotgun because she owes Strange to keep an eye on Ben, or to sabotage Ben?!
40 PGS./ONE-SHOT/Rated T+ $4.99

Cover by R1c0
AMI HAN is the last of the mystical shape-shifting KUMIHO. As the WHITE FOX, she's defended Earth from every threat and proven herself again and again alongside the Agents of Atlas and Tiger Division. But the DEATH OF DOCTOR STRANGE will test her like never before. Something (or someone) is murdering innocents and the only suspect who fits the profile is White Fox! She'll have to clear her name and uncover the dark secrets from her mysterious origin while the very planet is under siege. Ami can have the answers she so desperately seeks, or she can save her friends. Guest-starring SWORD MASTER and TIGER DIVISION!
40 PGS./ONE-SHOT/Rated T+ $4.99

A long time ago, Doctor Strange destroyed every vampire in the world with one spell, including Dracula. Now,, with Strange dead, Dracula's Vampire Nation celebrates! That doesn't sit too well with Strange's old friend, and new Vampire Nation sheriff, Blade the Vampire Hunter! But what happens when interlopers from another dimension invade the vamp's territory and put all the bloodsuckers' lives at risk? Will Blade do his duty to protect them? Or will he help make sure the vamps stay wiped out this time?
40 PGS./ONE-SHOT/Rated T+ $4.99

Variant Cover by MATIAS BERGARA
LONDON'S BURNING! THE BLACK KNIGHTS RIDE AGAIN! All manner of vile extradimensional foes invade Earth following the collapse of Doctor Strange's magical safeguards for the planet. Dane Whitman, A.K.A. the BLACK KNIGHT, receives a terrible vision from the EBON SIEGE while Jacks, now sharing the burden of the EBONY BLADE with her father, rides off to confront a terrible evil attacking London- the X-MEN?! Krakoa's greatest heroes have been transformed- but by what?! Jacks, Dane and Faiza Hussain wielder of the mighty sword EXCALIBUR must team up to save the X-Men before an even deadlier threat destroys them all!
40 PGS./ONE-SHOT/Rated T+ $4.99

The LAST Savage Avenger Standing!
Kulan Gath has cleared the board of all his enemies... except one. 'Nuff said!
32 PGS./Parental Advisory $3.99

This is the one you've been waiting for- Conan, Dr. Strange, Dr. Doom and a time master to be named later all join your favorite Savage Avengers to put a dagger-sized pin into the heart of the Kulan Gath saga. You won't see this end coming... 'cause we didn't either.
32 PGS./Parental Advisory $3.99

Variant cover by Ken Niimura
Doctor Strange and his Defenders land in the Fourth Cosmos- the home of the Archetypes of Good and Evil, primal entities of pure myth destined to echo through every reality to come- as the desperate Dr. Zota attempts to harness their power to rewrite all existence in his own hand! Al Ewing and Javier Rodriguez explore the truest origins of the Marvel Multiverse in a cosmos-colliding epic you'll have to experience to believe!
32 PGS./Rated T+ $3.99

The Strange Academy kids have a night on the town in New Orleans!
Some kids go for a tour of a famous NOLA graveyard, and I'm sure you know how teens in graveyards usually go.
Emily takes a field trip of her own, and we also learn the SECRET ORIGIN OF ZOE LAVEAU!
32 PGS./Rated T+ $3.99

This is it. The issue that you'll be looking back on five, ten, fifteen years from nowSee the future of Strange Academy and the Marvel Universe. You won't believe your eyes.
32 PGS./Rated T $3.99

Variant Cover by PHILIP TAN
The Queen of the Norns finally has what she wants, but are the combined efforts of SPIDER-MAN, DOCTOR STRANGE, THE INCREDIBLE HULK and THE ETERNALS enough to stop her?
Maybe not, but something ASGARDIAN this way comes!
32 PGS./Rated T $3.99

[20 September 02021]

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Garth Ennis on Batman: "What we're talking about here is a billionaire aristocrat who beats up poor people, as well as the mentally ill"

[19 September 02021]

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Bill Willingham: Why Are (Some) Comics Pros So Damn Abrasive? [because the bullied often become bullies]

[18 September 02021]

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Marvel didn't have a piece of paper that said they owned Secret Wars or Venom; they just bought one from Jim Shooter for $10,000

Jim Shooter Just Signed Away Secret Wars And Venom For $10,000

Jim Shooter On Secret Wars In Development As A Marvel Movie

[9 September 02021]

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According to this article/chart at Bleeding Cool, Death of Doctor Strange #1 is one of the top books being advance-reordered by Direct Market retailers right now

[2 September 02021]

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Doctor Strange's What If...? episode released today on Disney+ ["The Lost Books" Official Clip]

[1 September 02021]

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Spider-Man: No Way Home Official Teaser Trailer

Initial first-draft braindump:

1. The trailer features Doctor Strange so prominently- it's like a Spidey/Doc Team-Up movie! The trailer has fascinatingly energized- and in some ways divided- Doc fandom. There's more to write about this two-minute teaser than about entire movies.

2. First: No need to overreact. It's a teaser trailer, a barrage of images, with little context, we don't really know what's going on. What we see may not even be/end up in the movie- they've pulled stunts before. The trailer might sadly contain almost all of Doc's appearance in the movie.

3. Apparent trailer recap: At the end of the last movie, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Mysterio/JJJ reveal Peter Parker is Spider-Man, and Peter has been framed/is wanted for Mysterio's murder. Obviously this causes big problems in Peter's life. Peter asks Doc- in a snow-filled Sanctum- to undo everyone knowing he's Spider-Man. Doc flippantly agrees; Wong warns it's too dangerous. During the spell in the basement, Peter panics about everyone being mind-wiped when he likes some people knowing, and the spell goes awry, and villains from previous Sony non-Disney Spidey movies emerge- Molina's great Doc Ock appears, a Dafoe Green Goblin bomb/laugh is hinted- as if the multiverse has been broken. At one point, Doc and Spidey seem to be fighting: Doc angrily expels Spidey's astral form from his body while Spidey is carrying a magical-looking box.

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4. A lot of people are saying- and would be rightfully complaining- that the trailer's events and the movie are based on the hated Spidey One More Day "deal with the devil" storyline to deal with the consequences of everyone knowing his secret identity, but Neilalien thinks this is very imprecise.

Good article, but an example: Spider-Man: One More Day Is One Of The Most Hated Spidey Stories Ever Told- So Why Is It The Basis For No Way Home?

Possible fodder for the No Way Home trailer:

First, in chronological order, honorable mention for Amazing Spider-Man #499 (Vol. 2 #58) [Nov 02003]. While Doc is fighting Dormammu, Spidey wants to help and accidentally disrupts a spell, and sees alternate versions/timelimes of himself.
In One More Day, Spidey wants to save Aunt May after an assassination attempt on her after revealing his secret identity re: the Civil War Registration Act. Spidey ends up trading his marriage with Mary Jane to Mephisto to save May. It is about undoing something that has occurred, but it's not about his secret identity at this point. In Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24 [Nov 02007] (with the funky time-loop thing with Amazing Spider-Man #42), Doc won't save Aunt May, so Spidey tries to cast a spell himself to go back in time and save Aunt May, but horrific nightwalkers on the edges of time and space prevent destiny from being changed.
The No Way Home trailer seems to be based much more on One Moment In Time, Amazing Spider-Man #641 [Oct 02010]. This is when they are trying to actually finally directly undo the Civil War Registration Act identity reveal, but Peter changes his mind at the last moment and disrupts Doc's whirling storm of a spell (along with Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic using Extremis and nanobots) so Mary Jane stays wise (it works on everyone else; Doc, Iron Man, and Mr. Fantastic also remember; Mary Jane is troubled by remembering).
Honorable mention for Amazing Spider-Man #673 [Jan 02012], Spider Island, Spidey reveals his identity again and wants a do-over, but Doc says that spell can only be cast once, and has now been weakened so people can learn his secret identity again.

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5. Doc has protected the universe by nearly being in an eternal murder-loop with Dormammu, and then dead for an actual five years via Thanos. But then he agrees to risk it all with a wink and a Wong piss-off to mind-wipe the planet for a teenage kid. Doc acts so flippantly reckless and out-of-character here that many fans are speculating Doc is not Doc in the trailer, but really Mephisto or an evil multiverse doppelganger.

Examples/Collections of fan reactions:
Some Fans Think Doctor Strange Isn't In The Spider-Man: No Way Home Trailer
Marvel Fans Are Still Reaching For Mephisto In 'No Way Home' Trailer

Neilalien is quite confident it is really Doctor Strange in the trailer. Not Mephisto or a Skrull or an evil alternate Doc. It's just another badly-written Doc, or an MCU Doc.

Neilalien isn't thrilled that Doc would cast the spell at all, but there's more than enough canon for it to be in character. You can do big crazy creative stuff with Doc- that's why we like the character. He does actually do this actual thing in the comics for Peter. He wants to help Peter- who has been unjustly framed here- like a good friend and hero. He's Men-In-Black mind-wiped-neuralyzed people in the comics- ending the short careers of troublesome moral-compass-lacking mystical dabblers, or The Sentry, or regular folks who can't handle the terrible truths Doc protects them from. MCU Doc is a bit more defiant of the rules and a foil to the uptights like Wong and Mordo (in his own movie, Doc played with the Time Stone and read books he was warned about; Mordo basically became a villain because Doc and Ancient One did shit against natural law to save worlds, etc.). One of the memes with Doc is that while he's been humbled and redeemed with dimension-spanning responsibilities now- just exactly how less arrogant is he now than before?

But while all that stuff exists in canon- and easily refutes those who say Doc would never mindwipe the planet for Peter- it doesn't mean it was done well. All that can be written well, or done poorly, or dependent on which Doc you see/want. Some mindwipes are bad- like Captain America in Illuminati. All of Illuminati was genocidally arrogant and unheroic. Doc can use a power-boost after reclaiming the Sorcerer Supreme mantle from Loki to rescue hundreds of thousands of Las Vegas lives after Secret Empire/in Damnation, but Mephisto sees an opportunity in all that magical force to bring Hell on Earth- or it can be written in such a way that you conclude your favorite heroes are assholes. MCU Stark creates Ultron out of arrogance and good intentions- they create their own problems. The "written poorly/recklessly" file is stuffed. There's no story without a flawed hero being put through the ringer- but tearing our heroes down, deconstructing, de-powering, etc., has been Marvel's favorite- and often only- idea for decades- especially for Doc. There can be costs and consequences and story/plot devices to using powerful magic without it being about Doc screwing up, or acting like an idiot or unheroic or a chump. We do curse him when he acts like a novice.

What bothers is trailer-Doc being so casually loose-cannon about it. The cavalier wink trolls us. There is none of Doc's gravitas or heroic restraint or sense of great responsibility pensively looking out his big window Brunner-brooding. In the comics, Doc hesitates, he warns Peter, he consults with Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic, he's shown conscientiousness re: tampering with timelines (and the MCU Ancient One showed that when Banner went back for the Time Stone), etc. This isn't a call for a humorless riskless sourpuss Doc- but the trailer is the other extreme: None of Doc's "It's not about you" growth-arc is here. That would have been preferred here. But it doesn't make for an exciting trailer. Or maybe even an exciting movie?

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6. Neilalien is always on the lookout for Doc incompetence and sadsackness. And it superfically appears from this trailer that the entire basis of the movie and future multiversitude is Doc screwing up a spell or regretting casting a spell. But it's vague enough here that we can hope it's not about Doc's competence. Peter disrupts the spell or distracts Doc (but in his own movie, Doc was doing brain surgery while citing music trivia, so there shouldn't be a concentration issue). Peter tries to "live two lives", which seems to be what is breaking things on an ongoing basis. Maybe the events of WandaVision and multiverse-breaking Loki happen at the exact same time Doc casts the spell. Maybe the Doc gravitas appears later when Doc and Spidey seem to be fighting- Spidey with the magical box: maybe Spidey was trying to do something magical and dangerous himself like in One More Day- Peter is resisting Doc's attempt to fix the disaster?

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More links as found:

What On Earth Is Happening With Doctor Strange In The Spider-Man: No Way Home Trailer? [good recap that mentions Doc recklessness may not be out of character; lots of comments]

Was That Really Doctor Strange In The Spider-Man: No Way Home Trailer? [good recap that mentions One Moment In Time]

Show Me You Don't Know A Thing About Doctor Strange Without Telling Me You Don't Know A Thing About Doctor Strange [Doctor Strange Daily Appreciation] [a plucky fan on social media who has embraced an adorable reckless screw-up Doctor Strange much more than Neilalien does]

[31 August 02021]

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Upstart newsletter platform Substack makes bold move into comics...

Just another pan-flash webcomics paid-subscription model? That will only benefit the already-big names?...

The potential seismic-shift difference: Substack has deep venture-capital pockets to throw large advances at comics creators and lure them away from the Marvel/DC, work-for-hire, Direct Market shrinking-boutique distribution/solicitation method, 22 monthly page print format, be broke and exploited for years first, continue to be exploited for years such as no movie paydays even if they use your story to make blockbuster billions, etc., broken industry model; creators retain all rights...

Further industry division: But Substack seen as tainted money from intentionally building its brand with right-wing bigotry...

Links collected as found...

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We're Betting On Comics Creators [Substack announcement; 9 Aug]

Comic Book Writers And Artists Follow Other Creators To Substack [NY Times]

Substack Jumps Into Comic Publishing With Comics From Scott Snyder, Molly Knox Ostertag [CNet]

Snyder said [Substack] is "literally making the biggest investment in creator owned comics in the history of the medium."

Substack Signs A Slate Of Big-Name Comics Creators [Engadget]

As with other Substack writers, comics creators will send their work out in a newsletter format and charge subscribers directly for their work. During the first year, they'll be paid by Substack which will take most of the subscription revenue, and after that, the platform will take a 10 percent cut. Creators will retain ownership of all their materials.

Substack Is Getting Into Comics [Verge]

Superstar Batman Comics Writers Flee To Substack [Vice]

Scott Snyder Interview: "None of us are there to just take the money and hurt comics" [The Beat]

Jonathan Hickman Quits X-Men For Three Worlds Three Moons Substack?
Three Worlds Three Moons by Jonathan Hickman on Substack
[wanted to take entire X-line digital if Diamond and the market hadn't recovered from the pandemic shutdown]
[annual subscription is $80 a year, or $8 a month or $250 to be a Founding Member]

"The two biggest problems with the way we make comics now are: 1.) Because of the solicit/previews/pre-order hierarchy we've systemically erased surprise from the industry, and... 2.) We're locked into a static storytelling format based entirely on an existing economic model... I want the content of comics to be like it is now, where you can tell huge sweeping stories that are serialized and the art styles are varied and sophisticated. But I want the experience of comics to be like it used to be, where when you went to the store you had no idea what was going to be there, and when you saw the cover and the art it was for the first time... I want to be able to tell stories of varying lengths. I want the format to be based on what the story demands instead of how many 20 page issues (chapters) eventually make up a trade."

James Tynion IV Quits Batman And DC Comics For Substack Comics Gig [Bleeding Cool]

"For the last couple of decades, there's been a particular model to sustainable careers in comic book writing. First you do work at some of the smaller independent publishers to get the attention of the Big Two (DC and Marvel), then you transition into writing for the Big Two and work your way up the ladder to the highest profile book you can muster, and then you use your larger platform from your superhero work to draw folks back in to your independent work, often using the money from those big superhero books to subsidize your own books before they turn a profit. But even if you do that, you're still subject to the whims of a small market with VERY specific habits and tastes. There are limits of what you can get away with, if you're worried about funding issue #6 when you're writing issue #1. This deal gives me the security to build the sort of books that I think could thrive in the comics market given the chance, but require growing in a different sort of way than monthly periodicals."

History: Nick Spencer And Substack Have Teamed Up To Launch A Comics Imprint [Bleeding Cool]

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Substack Comics Creators Criticised Over Site's Offensive Content [Bleeding Cool]

Bleeding Cool recaps pushback in old Fanboy Rampage format
[Alex de Campi]
[Cheryl Lynn Eaton [source]]

Comic Creators Head To Substack Joining Transphobes And Alt-Right [Graphic Policy]

History: Substack Faces Backlash Over The Writers It Supports With Big Advances [TechCrunch]

How Do Substack Comic Creators Sleep At Night? [very well; trying to improve Substack from within; making donations to LGBTQ+ orgs]

"But what Substack is doing, honestly, is giving us grants to essentially set up our own businesses- to set up the infrastructure of our own mini companies, where we're the ones producing characters, stories, teaching classes, products, merchandise, all the kinds of things that we usually have to give rights or cuts over to or get permission to do or all of that- giving us the ability to do that ourselves."

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Comics are selling in more different ways, formats, and channels than ever before:

Comics And Graphic Novel Sales Hit New High In Pandemic Year [ICv2]

Comics On Kickstarter Have Earned Almost $17 Million Already In [0]2021, On Target For A Record Year [GamesRadar] [crowdfunding]

Top Patreon Comics [Graphtreon rankings]

There Are ComiXology Originals: Scott Snyder Inks Massive Deal [The Beat]

Update: DC And Webtoon Team Up For Webcomics [Korea] [The Beat]

[15 August 02021]

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Two very good recent Doctor Strange appearances:

Defenders #1 [out 11 Aug]

"Ewing brings such a confidence and gravitas to Strange, and makes him out to be a much more mystical and supernatural person than recent appearances would suggest. All of this is brought to life by the always amazing Javier Rodriguez, one of the best artists working in comics today, who populates his pages with immense detail, fun and diverse panel arrangements and layouts, and - that word again - confident storytelling." [The Beat]

Savage Avengers #23 [out 4 Aug]

[12 August 02021]

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Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday 14 August

[11 August 02021]

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