MARVEL MASTERWORKS: DOCTOR STRANGE VOL. 1 (Marvel, 2010; First softcover printing)
Collects the Doctor Strange stories from Strange Tales Nos. 110, 111, 114-141 and the main story from Amazing Spider-Man Annual No. 2 (cover dates July, 1963- February, 1966)
Writers: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (plotter), and Don Rico (issue 129)
Artist: Steve Ditko
This is 320 pages of prime Silver Age goodness by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. You don't need me to talk you into buying this, you should need me to try and talk you out of buying it. But I won't, because there is no reason any self respecting comic book fan shouldn't have this on their bookshelf. I had only read three of the stories before buying this book, so don't feel bad. There is still time to save yourself and bask in the glory of Steve Ditko's psychedelic acid trip, Doctor Strange.
I love how Doctor Strange starts out not as the Master of the Mystic Arts, but as the Master of Black Magic. There are changes to the character as the strip progresses, but like all Marvel Comics of this era they are logically explained and are believable. Doctor Strange's signature Cloak of Levitation is presented as a gift from the Ancient One for freeing him from a curse, etc.
I love Stan Lee's ongoing, seemingly endless plotlines. The story arc that features the pact between the Dread Dormammu and Baron Mordo, which leads Doctor Strange to discover Eternity, is epic. If Ditko did not use hallucinogens, then he stared at Dali paintings or other surrealistic pictures long enough to learn those lessons. The dimension that Doctor Strange travels through are trippy to say the least.
The OCD zone- While I admittedly have a hardcover with sewn binding fetish, these softcover Masterworks are really, really nice. They boast state of the art remastering. This looks even better than the existing hardcover versions, with the original color palette restored, and the linework painstakingly restored from superior film/file sources. Consider this the Blu-Ray version. I also love the paper used in these softcover Masterworks. It is a coated stock of reasonable thickness with a dull matte finish. I like this paper even more than the stock used in the hardcovers, believe it or not! Another great thing about these softcovers is that there is a good deal of flex. They lay flat in your hand like a giant periodical. Wonderful.
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