Neilalien : A Doctor Strange Fansite : A Comic Book Weblog  

Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover premieres in June; all ages; Clea in preview art, "and a guy who could quite rightfully be called strange" [Newsarama] [thanks Sanctum!]

Examples of rampant plagiarism at DC found! [brilliant Mightygodking]

Posted 27 February 02008 - Permalink

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Scottish broadcaster and journalist (and John Peel's often-replacement) Muriel Gray to write Doctor Strange comics? [Lying In The Gutters]

Scottish broadcaster and journalist Muriel Gray, is to write "Doctor Strange" for Marvel Comics. And it's all her good friend Mark Millar's fault. The story appeared in "Saturday Live" on BBC Radio 4 where Muriel enthuses at length about the character and the comics, then picked up by the Scottish Sun newspaper, which is why everyone missed it. [PDF of Craig McGill article in the Scottish Sun newspaper]

A Marvel "insider" is quoted in the article saying Doc is due a revamp. Yeah, it's been a whole three years. Sigh. How about just diving in with good stories and art like The Oath instead of the millionth Strange/"revamp"/origin/"modernizing"/eternal quest to "fix" what isn't broken?

Posted 26 February 02008 - Permalink

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Today is Neilalien's Eight Year Blogiversary!

Neilalien at his computer

Neilalien may not know karate, but he obviously knows ka-razy!

Posted 25 February 02008 - Permalink

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Last week's Spider-Man Family #7 included a tribute to Mike Wieringo; Doctor Strange in the story [Comic Book Resources] [thanks Sanctum!]

Posted 23 February 02008 - Permalink

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Blue Hat Man New Avengers #39 preview [Comic Book Resources]
Why is Neilalien blogging this? Or buying this? Doctor Strange is long gone, and the Luke Cage/Jessica Jones conversation that was the entirety of #38 was not an "Avengers" sort of plot.

One-Man Counterculture: How Steve Gerber changed comics with Howard the Duck [Slate]

But here's what overshadows all of Gerber's accomplishments: During his lifetime, Steve Gerber created dozens of popular characters and comic books. He died owning none of them.

Gary Groth 01978 interview with Steve Gerber [The Comics Journal]

I will alert the world to your suffering!: Behind the rise of investigative cartooning [This Magazine]
Joe Sacco (Palestine) quoted throughout article. Extraction! Comix Reportage is an investigative graphic novel that reveals the dark side of the Canadian mining industry. Interesting note: In comics journalism, you can't just change the names to protect people, you have to draw them differently than how they really look, too. [Roundaboutly via Drawn.]

New Borders concept stores to include focus on graphic novels [ICv2]

SCAN: Journal of Media Arts Culture is looking for comics articles for a 'Reading between the Panels' special issue; submit abstracts soon [ImageText]

Discussing Superman vs. Jedi/lightsabers: one of the most important reasons for the internet [How Stuff Works] [Yahoo Answers] [KillerMovies Forums] [via Progressive Ruin]

The Head of Vecna [via Monitor Duty]
Neilalien delights in rediscovering this Dungeons & Dragons urban legend from his youth. If the Eye of Vecna artifact offered you great powers if you plucked out your own eye and popped Vecna's in, and the Hand of Vecna if you cut off your own hand and attached it, then you'd decapitate yourself for the Head of Vecna, right? Correcting the ruse after initially using a head with both eyes is the best part.

Posted 21 February 02008 - Permalink

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Dormammu by Eselkunst Classic Ditkomania fanzine to be revived!? [ComicBitsOnline]

Dormammu illo found [Eselkunst] [thanks Howard!]

Classic role-playing and gaming convention GenCon pisses off Lucasfilm, fails saving throw, files for bankruptcy [ICv2] [Slashdot]

Marvel reports Q4 02007 numbers; profit doubles for the year to $139.8 million; publishing net sales increased $1.7 million or 6% to $30.3 million due to World War Hulk, Stephen King [Newsarama]
Update: But the writer's strike may have nuked the critical 02009 movies that make the critical 02009 money [ICv2] [Motley Fool]

Retailer Brian Hibbs' annual BookScan analysis; numbers that likely vastly under-report comics sales in bookstores continue to make direct market look good [long Tilting At Windmills]

The latest Alan Moore interview with bon mots, blasts Heroes, comics on both sides of the chasm [Word Magazine excerpt] [Fictions quotes]

Moore: Ah yes, the new era of grown-up comics! That worked out, didn't it? There really should have been more to comics than 20 years of grim, nasty remakes of Watchmen. The comics world was very optimistic in the late 80s and maybe what we thought was the beginning was actually the high point... And the other side of the comics industry, the achingly trendy, avant garde books, they're mired in a teenage worldview too. All they provide are comfort eating comics about neuroses and the emptiness of modern life and fear of dying alone.

Posted 19 February 02008 - Permalink

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St. Valentine's Day is Link Love Day

I ~heart~ you It's that fun time of year again, when Neilalien gazes into the Orb of Navelmotto and breaks taboos and runs his annual February-to-February website traffic stats report, to see who has sent the most link-love to his website- and in gratitude tries to send some eyeballs in return. So let's pour out the Valentine's paper bag that's been taped to his school desk and see who Choo-Choo-Chose him.

Top 20 Referrers to Neilalien Over The Past Year (1 February 02007-02008) (give these fine sites a visit!):

  1. Google searches
  2. Dave's Long Box
  3. Progressive Ruin
  4. BeaucoupKevin
  5. Hannibal Tabu's Buy Pile
  6. Yahoo searches
  7. Postmodernbarney
  8. MSN/Live searches
  9. Polite Dissent
  10. Comics Should Be Good [here and here]
  11. LinkMachineGo
  12. Comics Reporter
  13. Unqualified Offerings
  14. StumbleUpon (new)
  15. Comic Treadmill's Blogomania page (new)
  16. Bloglines (RSS reader)
  17. Blake Bell's Best Of Most Of (new) [RIP?]
  18. The Hurting
  19. Fred Hembeck's Links Page (new)
  20. Fortress of Fortitude (new)


A big thanks to everyone who links here!

Dave's Long Box takes the top personal website spot for the third year in a row. DAVE! But will this streak continue, Neilalien selfishly asks, now that Dave has hit the big time and now blogs for He should succeed there, if he avoids writing headlines like "I once was Lost, but now am found"... whoops! :)


Posted 14 February 02008 - Permalink

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Howard The Duck as Doctor Strange

Steve Gerber (Defenders scribe, Howard the Duck creator, Thundarr the Barbarian creator, creator rights pioneer, fun-and-weird-comics man) has died [Comics Reporter] [News From Mark Evanier] [Wikipedia entry] [Update: NY Times obituary] [Update: Steven Grant: "It's an indictment of the comics business that it was unable to find, or make, a real place for Steve Gerber"]

[Above Howard the Duck image from Marvel Treasury Edition #12, 01976. Thanks Sanctum!]

(But Neilalien, you may ask, why not use an image of Ducktor Strange here too? Because it was Bill Mantlo who created Duckworld and Ducktor Strange (Howard the Duck Magazine #6, July 01980 [source]), and (while both Gerber and Mantlo are held in high esteem by this website,) Gerber didn't think too highly of Duckworld, and wrote the script to destroy it:

My first priority in that script was to do away with "Duckworld." Entirely the invention of another writer, "Duckworld" was supposedly the alternate earth- never shown or even named in my stories- where Howard was hatched. Its inhabitants, all ducks, had names like "Ducktor Strange" and "Truman Capoultry" (after Truman Capote, a celebrated writer of the time). Real knee-slappers, huh?... Clearly, "Duckworld" had to die.)

Posted 12 February 02008 - Permalink

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New Avengers #38 preview [Comic Book Resources]
No Doc shown so far.

Annotations for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier [Jess Nevins] [via LinkMachineGo]

A Modern Art Tribute to Stan Lee [Geekdad on]
More about the Under The Influence exhibit at Gallery Nineteen Eighty Eight [G4 video] [thanks Howard!]

Disguised As Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero: new Danny Fingeroth book [Comic Book Resources]

New Ideas in Neuroscience: The Kryptonian Brain Cell Transplant [Polite Dissent]

Posted 11 February 02008 - Permalink

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Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy) to make a Doctor Strange movie? [Empire Online] [IGN] [MoviesOnline] []

"I talked with Neil Gaiman [about writing it]," he tells Empire. "I said, that's an interesting character because you can definitely make him more in the pulpy occult detective/magician mold and formula than was done in the Weird Tales, for example... the idea of a character that really dabbles in the occult in a way that's not X-Filey, where the supernatural is taken for granted. That's interesting... But I wouldn't use the suit!"

Posted 10 February 02008 - Permalink

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Very rare: large 01971 Third Eye Marvel blacklight store display poster promoting all the other Third Eye posters: auction bidding up to $1,750! [Ebay]

Posted 9 February 02008 - Permalink

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Doctor Strange Lars custom figure Custom Doctor Strange figure [Larsworld]

Essential Doctor Strange Volume 4 has an skeleton page [thanks Sanctum!]

Awesome essay about the good and bad of thought balloons [Steven Grant Permanent Damage at Comic Book Resources]

Black cartoonists protest for diversity, against the interchangeably-treated black-comic-strip slot in newspapers [Editor & Publisher] [via Comics Reporter]

Antony Johnston interview; Wasteland second TPB out; writing graphic novels and serials are two completely different disciplines [Comic Book Resources]

A list of all the characters who have been Captain America besides Steve Rogers, and now, Bucky [Newsarama]

Funny kinda-video of Bill Hader interviewing Ed Brubaker re: Criminal [MySpace video hosted at Popoholic]

Posted 7 February 02008 - Permalink

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Doctor Extrano

Gallery of rad painted Doctor Extraño covers: Spanish Doctor Strange collections [thanks Howard!]

Posted 6 February 02008 - Permalink

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Doctor Strange illo by The Calavera Kid Great Doctor Strange illo by The Calavera Kid

Who the Hell is: Mortigan Goth? [It Came From Darkmoor]

Posted 5 February 02008 - Permalink

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Instances of alchemical symbolism in Marvel Comics, interestingly collected [Inside The Cosmic Cube]

Posted 4 February 02008 - Permalink

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Rant: Doctor Strange in New Avengers Annual #2

Doctor Strange in New Avengers Annual #2 Summary: After interrogating Tigra, and confirming her info by demonically penetrating Doctor Strange's illusions, the Hood and his entire gang assault the boarded-up Sanctum Sanctorum. During the massive battle, Doctor Strange dies (take note, Doc scholars), but then has a resurrective Zom-burp which flattens everyone involved.

1) Wong casts a spell. As you must know, it's a Neilalien pet peeve when any untrained schmuck can do what Doctor Strange can do. Others are certainly allowed to cast a spell- actually Doc desperately needs a better supporting cast and rogues gallery of occultists. Also allowed are items of innate magical power, readable enchanted scrolls, crimson gems in caves, etc., for normal people to stumble upon and use. But there would be fan uproar if the number of normal people (or characters with other, unrelated, established superpowers or areas of competence) exhibiting the ability to walk on walls, spin webs, throw shields, build cybernetic armor, etc., in other books equaled the number of such people (Wong, Reed Richards, Morbius, etc.) who have unleashed great mystic power from scribbled mumbojum on cocktail napkins without any visualization effort, reading/pronunciation guide for ancient or magical languages, or years with an Ancient mentor. It devalues what makes Doctor Strange special.

Wong should be prepared to competently protect Doctor Strange- a Wong who's more than a butler is grand- the kung fu against The Hood, for example. Even the occasional minor spell to show that he's picked something up while exposed to so much magic over the years would be fun- in a pinch, he slyly warms the cold tea with a Faltine finger and a wink. But bestowing upon Wong actual spellcasting ability, or reading more from an arcane tome than the spine for filing, crosses a line for Neilalien. If a writer needs an out here, have Wong grab a sphere from his bedchamber that Doc has previously prepared/enchanted for such a situation- within is stored an automatic reversal spell- Wong touches each ally with it.

But there's a twist in this particular pet-peeve appearance. Earlier in the book, Hawkeye/Ronin calls Wong a "magician's apprentice, not a butler". Perhaps Wong is not so untrained now. Did Neilalien miss a comic when this apprenticeship or meme began? Hopefully Wong does not become a mage. And Doc needs non-mystical people in his supporting cast too.

2) Doc takes off. There isn't much heroism and brightness in the Marvel Universe right now, and Bendis seems to only write stories that tear down, reduce, humble, etc.- we never reach the other side, build up, restore, elevate, etc. Doctor Strange is not immune from this phenomenon.

It's great that Doc is corrupted by Zom- consequences from World War Hulk. This isn't the first time that Doc's been challenged by an undesirable level of impurity before (remember when Clea insisted he throw out all his porn?). It's a mystical problem that's nicely unique to Doc. And if Doc's too omnipotent to tell a story nowadays, then why not keep the impurity going for six issues, it weakens him.

But the execution is lousy, whiny, overblown for a Zen-Master Doc's behavior, and nonheroic. I'm so arrogant! Waaah! I'm a complete failure! Waaah! My hands! Waaah! I am utterly reduced to Square One. Off to my zillionth origin tale! I must now abandon my friends in need, my friends who could help me, a Sanctum full of powerful potential resources and allies, carelessly leave all my hidden-knowledge goodies and dangerous Purple Gems unguarded- to go find the exact steering wheel and tree I originally crushed my hands on. I must atone! And leave immediately! Poof. Gone. Running off to hide in the arctic hut or Skrull motel where he spent Civil War, Secret Wars, the Peloponnesian War, the Countdown Crisis War, etc.

Why not have Doc act with nobility, competence, heroism instead. Or if the heroism here is Doc getting himself the hell out of NYC while he's a walking Zom-bomb- why disappoint the fans with such an undignified exit, or an exit at all. Devote an issue of New Avengers to the whole crew accompanying one of their critical members to successfully quest, seek out the Zom amphora and deposit what's still inside Doc in it, or puke his touch of Zom-poisoning in the Cleansing Waters of Zipp-La, or a test by Agamotto to reaffirm worthiness of Eye and Orb possession. And it gets the wanted group away from SHIELD for an issue. With Wolverine growling, "No, Doc, you don't have to do this alone, especially after all your help when I recently died in my own book."

It's wise not to (over)react to an issue of a serialized story until the next issue comes out. Hopefully Doc will just come back, and the above will happen or something equal or better for the fans. Doc fans are left to wonder if he is even going to show up in New Avengers now, or even Secret Invasion. This smells like the once-again removal of the too-powerful Doctor Strange chess-piece from the next Big Company Crossover. We're left to wonder if the atonement will even happen on-panel. Is the Sanctum destroyed (again)? Does all this mean Doc's not a Skrull? Or more likely a Skrull, since the real one would have been able to handle Zom? Or will a Skrull take his place while the real one's now gone. And would Doc poofing back completely fine in the first panel of the next New Avengers issue for no reason be any better than a long absence for no reason. We shall see what happens next. (And then overreact! Yay!)

Otherwise, the issue is a battle royale- but Neilalien's superhero-explodo needs feel unsatisfied. No interesting matchups or power uses/combinations. No battle sequences/montages of clear elegant flowing popping art. Too many combatants at once (or the artist isn't George Perez enough). There's no greater purpose or goal to it all- two gangs. No interesting brains are used to overcome brawn or disadvantages. An ability to dodge the Flash-like headache you'd get dwelling on the Living Laser's capability to instantly behead everyone in the room will also help your enjoyment. And while we're ranting: boring indistinguishable group-shot poster cover in the current Marvel style too.

Posted 3 February 02008 - Permalink

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