Neilalien : A Doctor Strange Fansite : A Comic Book Weblog  

August 02021

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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