Donny Cates weighs the similarities between Stephen Strange and Loki!

Ceding the title of Sorcerer Supreme to Loki never factored into Stephen Strange’s plans. But plans—like Sorcerers Supreme—change.

In response to the situation, issue #383 of DOCTOR STRANGE saw the enchanter travel to his rival’s home realm of Asgard, where he communed with the World Tree to gain strength and prepare for the journey ahead. And on January 17, writer Donny Cates and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta continue to escalate this swelling magical storm in DOCTOR STRANGE #384!

We caught up with Cates for his insight into where Strange stands ahead of the new issue.

Marvel.com: Stephen has bound a powerful spell, “the Exile of Singhsoon,” to the souls of the people he cares about. What might he eventually use it for?

Donny Cates: Stephen talks about the Exile of Singhsoon as the kind of “break in case of emergency” spell. It’s supposed to be just for the Sorcerer Supreme, and it’s something that Stephen just hates—he doesn’t think that anyone should have that much power. And he doesn’t believe in himself enough to be able to use it.

So yeah, he’s been hiding it in the souls of people he loves. He’s confident that he could get it out if he absolutely had to, but it’s an incredibly difficult thing to. He did this because the risk of pulling it out could potentially rip someone’s soul and kill them—or at least kill their eternal soul. If push came to shove, I tend to believe that Stephen would use it if he could guarantee that he could extract it out without hurting those people. But the problem here is that Stephen doesn’t believe that Loki can do it, and doesn’t believe that the God of Mischief will have the same gentle hand that he would. He actually calls it a surgical procedure.

Stephen kind of sees Loki as this bull in a china shop, which, if you read the series, isn’t an entirely founded fear. Loki hasn’t done anything wrong outright. It’s really a failing within Stephen to see that Loki might not be what he thinks. So you find Stephen having what could be, in my personal opinion, an overreaction.

Marvel.com: In issue #381, Loki shows Jane Foster that the Frost Giants have plans to invade Earthand says he’s trying to stop them. So Stephen assumes that Loki wants access to the Exile of Singhsoon for his own selfish ends, but maybe he actually has nobler intentions?

Donny Cates: If you’re Stephen Strange, you only have history to go on. And with Loki, history’s really not on his side when it comes to trust. I mean, he’s the God of Lies! So I think Stephen has good reason in his own heart to not believe that Loki has the greatest of intentions with this thing. But, so far, Loki hasn’t given us—the audience—any reason to think that his motives are anything but pure.

But that’s the great thing about this Loki: after Kieron Gillen brought him back from the dead, he gave him a blank slate. He can kind of trick you, the audience, into trusting him as well—he’s not this mustache-twirling bad guy anymore. But we won’t know until we know!

He surprises me, too. Sometimes, I’ll be writing Loki and then, in bed that night, I’ll realize, “Oh wait, he was lying!” He was lying to me on the page, right to my face!

Marvel.com: Stephen also has something hidden in a locked room in the Sanctum Santorum. Without giving too much away…could he potentially use it against Loki?

Donny Cates: Come on! You put a big, secret room in the middle of a story about sorcerers and gods fighting each other—it’s a big deal!

Marvel.com: And Sentry has come into play too. Can you give us any hints about how he might join in?

Donny Coates: I don’t think it’s that weird that, of all the people in the Marvel Universe, Strange knows where The Sentry is; he’s Doctor Strange, he knows everything. And when you bring a character like that into this story specifically…The Sentry and The Void killed Loki last time. So that’s something that I know and something that Stephen knows. When you want to find something that can scare the crap out of a god, well, The Sentry’s a pretty good candidate.

Marvel.com: It seems like Stephen has started weaving together a bit of a sneaky plan in the same way Loki would…

Donny Cates: Yeah, that’s the interesting thing, right? That jumped out at me when I was writing this book, too. There’s a scene in issue #382 where Bats, his little talking basset hound friend, basically says, “You’ve really got to start lying to your patients, Doc.” And Stephen says, “I’m not overly fond of liars”—a fun little nod to how much he hates Loki. But then, in the next panel, Bats says, “Oh cool, do you want to hear about that super secret spy thing that you sent me on?”

Stephen doesn’t even get that he’s being as duplicitous as Loki. And the idea that he hid these things in the people he loves, without their knowledge…it makes them very similar characters. They both have their own very secret agendas. And as we go along, I think it’s quite obvious that this whole thing will lead to a pretty grand confrontation between this man and this God. And as we’ll see, these two are more alike than either of them would ever care to admit. They both keep things close to the chest in a way that continually comes back to bite them. I’m very attracted to the way that those to characters vibrate against one another.

I might have been the happiest boy in the world when I went to “Thor: Ragnarok” and saw those two guys talking to each other in the Sanctum!

Marvel.com: Would you like to tease anything else?

Donny Cates: I hope that, after reading DOCTOR STRANGE #383, people will forgive me a little bit for the death of Bats. There’s a payoff to that moment. If you thought that the emotional strangling that I was doing of you in issue #382 was over, it’s sure not!

You know, it’s always a bummer when a dog dies. But part of the reason I wanted to do that, and to make Strange a vet, was that my cat died the same month that I got the DOCTOR STRANGE gig. She was my best friend and she sat on my lap when I wrote. When she passed away, the veterinarian’s office was great and they were like my heroes. So I thought that’d be a noble choice for Stephen. Because he’s a little bit different for a Marvel character in that he was a hero, saving lives, before becoming a super hero. He was a doctor. A lot of people only know him as hero because he operated on them and saved their lives. That’s a really cool part of his character that sometimes gets glossed over. So to find Stephen now kind of dethroned but still finding a way to be people’s hero every day is, to me, very beautiful.

Donny Cates and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s DOCTOR STRANGE #384 drops on January 17!

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Donny Cates teases a Loki showdown and universe-shattering revelations!

Loki as a Sorcerer Supreme. Yeah, you read that correctly.

Writer Donny Cates and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta give the God of Lies and Mischief the magical mantle in DOCTOR STRANGE. And on December 6, issue #382 sees Doctor Strange make a move that will create huge repercussions across the Marvel Universe.

We conjured up Mr. Cates to discuss the spellbinding showdown.

Marvel.com: What can you give away about how Strange handles Loki in this issue?

Donny Cates: Oh, well…nothing! [Laughs] I mean…I know in this day and age it has become a bit of a standard thing to say “This will change everything,” but just between you and me, the events of the end of my second issue will be felt for years and years in the Marvel Universe.

Marvel.com: What has been the most challenging aspect of transforming Loki for this new role?

Donny Cates: Loki is such an incredibly rich character to write—one that surprises me with every script. He’s alive, you know? He does whatever he wants on the page, regardless of what I have planned for him. I always say in interviews that I wouldn’t dare speak on behalf of Loki, and that’s true. He has plans upon plans, schemes upon schemes. He’s way smarter (and more charming) than me, so really, when I write him, it’s just me trying to get out of his way, and let him come out and speak in the book.

You notice how I didn’t answer your question? I learned that from watching Loki.

Marvel.com: Can you talk about how Loki uses his god-like powers combined with his new sorcerer ones?

Donny Cates: Obviously it makes for a hell of a powerful character, right? But, it’s important to note that the title of Sorcerer Supreme doesn’t necessarily grant you new powers. It’s a symbol of the level of power you already wield. It’s like a black belt. Having a black belt doesn’t make you better at karate…it’s an outward symbol of how good you are at karate.

So to answer your question, Loki is super good at karate.

Marvel.com: Anyone would be wary in striking an alliance with him, but what explicit reasons does Stephen have to mistrust him?

Donny Cates: That’s the big thing in this book. So I can’t give that away, but here…let’s do this instead. Who saw “Thor: Ragnarok” this weekend? Oh, all of you did? Awesome, okay. So here we go into spoiler country…

3…

2…

1…

Okay, any of you still there? Oh, all of you are? Awesome. Okay, so you know that way too brief but amazing little back and forth between Loki and Doctor Strange in the movie? If you want more of exactly that…I got you.

Honestly, that scene was more or less a trailer for this entire run. You’re welcome!

Marvel.com: What kind of legacy does Loki see for himself in the world of magic?

Donny Cates: The idea of legacy that runs through this arc has been crazy fun. I’ve said it before, but this arc shares so much DNA with the origin of Doctor Strange, and the long, long history of Loki. It’s all about Stephen coming to grips with the things that made him special being torn away from him, and the insane lengths he’ll go to see them returned. That’s where Stephen Strange began his journey, and that’s where we once again find him here.

As for Loki, well…you’re certainly asking the right questions. So many people get hung up on the how of it all. “How did Loki become the Sorcerer Supreme!? How can that be possible!?”

And look, we’ll answer that question, of course…but that’s not what you should be asking.

You should be asking “Why?”

And for that answer…well, I’m afraid you’ll have to ask Loki. I wouldn’t dare speak for a sorcerer god with a black belt in question dodging and karate.

DOCTOR STRANGE #382, by Donny Cates and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta, drops on December 6!

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Writer Donny Cates conjures up mischief with our newest Sorcerer Supreme!

What would happen if Loki, the God of Mischief, became the Sorcerer Supreme? That’s exactly the question that writer Donny Cates tackles in the upcoming DOCTOR STRANGE #381. We may not know what Loki is up to yet, but we do know one thing – it won’t be boring! We caught up with Cates to find out more about what we can expect.

Marvel.com: Loki obviously doesn’t have the same altruistic leanings as Stephen Strange…as the Sorcerer Supreme, will he use his role to further his own ends?

Donny Cates: Hmmmm, yes and no. That question there is really the heart of Loki, right? He’s so much fun because you never know the rules of whatever game he’s currently playing. So yes, he probably is using his role to serve his own needs….but what if his needs are altruistic? Is he still being selfish and underhanded if the result is a net positive? I’m not saying that’s necessarily the case here, but I wouldn’t ever get too comfortable with how you perceive Loki and his intentions.

Marvel.com: Stephen has a lot of experience when it comes to sorcery, but Loki has been doing it even longer. How will that inform how he approaches being Sorcerer Supreme?

Donny Cates: Well, at the end of the day, this is still very much a book about Stephen Strange. So, it’s very interesting, because on the one hand you have this GOD who is now insanely powerful in his new role….and then we have Stephen. I can’t say much about where Stephen is in this arc, but it’s unusual, and more (ahem) low-key than anything we’ve ever seen before. So it’s a nice dichotomy between the two.

How’s that for dodging a question? 🙂

Doctor Strange #381 cover by Mike Del Mundo

Marvel.com: Loki is, of course, the god of mischief. He doesn’t have the same reverence for authority as some of the more “heroic” characters. It seems like he’d have a lot of fun in this role. He could definitely mess with people.

Donny Cates: Oh for sure! As is said in the first issue, Loki is not, nor has he ever been, overly fond of “the rules.” So he kind of bumps up against this idea of magic having limits and prices. He’s not into it. And that leads him, and us,  down some rather dark roads.  

Marvel.com: Still, Loki often chooses to do the right thing. He might not want to admit it, but he does care. So can we expect to see him using his authority for the greater good, as well?

Donny Cates: Yeah, that’s what’s so amazing about him as a character these days. Even when he WANTS to do something good, no one on Earth (or in any realm) believes him. Everyone still thinks of him as this mustache-twirling villain, but that’s not really who he is anymore, right? He’s much more complicated.

I should mention though, that whatever supposed heroic deeds Loki has planned, or how well his intentions are….the good Doctor will be having none of it. Stephen doesn’t trust Loki as far as he can throw him, and he will stop at nothing to see his home, his cloak, and his title returned to him.

The lengths Strange will go through to see his livelihood returned to him…that’s the real story here. And I promise you can’t fathom what those lengths will be.

You’ve never seen Doctor Strange like this.

Doctor Strange #382 cover by Mike Del Mundo

Marvel.com: Would you like to mention or tease anything else?

Donny Cates: If I were a betting man….I’d pay A LOT OF ATTENTION to the second issue of my run. DOCTOR STRANGE #382 is a big one folks. I’ll see you there!

DOCTOR STRANGE #381, by Donny Cates and Gabriel Hernandez Walta, hits shelves on November 15!

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Donny Cates conjures up magical plans for Marvel Legacy Doctor Strange!

After battling the magic-purging forces of the Empirikul and being held captive in a Darkforce prison during the events of Secret Empire, you might think Doctor Strange would need a vacation. Well, at the outset of Marvel Legacy, the Doctor is out—and Loki is more than willing to take his spot!

The God of Mischief becomes the new Sorcerer Supreme on November 15 as writer Donny Cates and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta take the reins of DOCTOR STRANGE with issue #381!

We spoke with Donny to hear a few whispers about what to expect when the Lord of Lies becomes the chief master of magic in the Marvel Universe.

Marvel.com: Writer Jason Aaron and artist Chris Bachalo put Stephen Strange through the ringer recently, culminating with the Doctor getting locked in a Darkforce prison by Captain America. Does the poor guy get any downtime before Loki steals his job?

Donny Cates: Oh not at all! [Laughs] The Doctor has had a pretty rough year, and I’m sad to report that I’m not much nicer to him than the previous captains of this ship! But that’s not to say this arc isn’t going to be fun, because honestly, when you have both Stephen Strange and Loki in the same book, it’s just going to be so much fun. And so, so weird!

Marvel.com: So how does Loki end up as Sorcerer Supreme?

Donny Cates: You know I can’t tell you that! I’ll say this, though: we do not tease out and play coy with the way that that Loki achieves. It’s stated upfront, and honestly, in the first issue of my run.

Or is it? I mean, he is the Prince of Lies, right?

Marvel.com: Given Strange’s recent problemsnot to mention the compromised state of his magical powershow will he handle the Asgardian trickster?

Donny Cates: Not well. In a lot of ways, this story shares its roots in the origin of DOCTOR STRANGE itself. With his ego laid low—and his previous profession taken away from him—he heads on a new journey of self-discovery that will challenge him to grow stronger and reclaim his life and his identity.

Marvel.com: Speaking of which, this seems like it might be a good opportunity for a crossover. Will we see any other Asgardians in the title?

Donny Cates: Well, I might be the biggest THOR fan alive, so if that were to happen, I would certainly love writing such a thing.

Marvel.com: What’s it like working alongside artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta and colorist Jordie Bellaire on this title?

Donny Cates: Unbelievable. Honestly, people are not going to believe the art coming from Gabriel and Jordie on this book. The most frustrating thing is that I can’t just share all of this amazing artwork with the world as soon as it hits my inbox. I think I can speak for the entire team when I say our days essentially grind to a halt when Gabriel turns in pages. We all just stop what we’re doing and stare at this gorgeous art that he’s made. It’s unreal.

And Jordie! I don’t have the words to express how excited I am to finally work with one of my favorite creators in the industry. I’m very, very fortunate to be working with this crew. I’m fighting above my weight class for sure! Just doing my best to keep up with these artistic titans.

Marvel.com: You recently mentioned how much you enjoyed writing a despicable Captain America when discussing your collaboration with Nick Spencer on Steve Rogers: Captain America #18. And now, between THANOS and Loki, you’re working on two titles featuring bad guys in prominent roles—what makes villains so much fun to write?

Donny Cates: I had a blast writing Cap. I co-wrote that scene of him addressing the United Nations, and I just channeled my inner pro wrestler and went nuts.

With Loki, though, I think it’s important to realize that he’s no longer the mustache-twirling bad guy of old. He really is trying to atone for the sins of his past, you know? Kieron Gillen‘s JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY run is a wonderful story that really exemplifies that sentiment. I love that run, and it’s become a touchstone for me when writing the character. The wonderful thing about Loki these days is that, while he is trying his best to change his ways and be a better god, no one on Earth (or in any realm, really) trusts him as far as they can throw him.

So it’s a constant exercise in restraint for our trickster friend. He’s not used to having to bite his tongue and suffer people’s judgment—but at the same time, he very much understands that this general mistrust is his own doing; that he sowed those seeds himself in a past life. So he’s a very interesting character to play with, and I think his role in all of this new story will surprise a lot of people.

DOCTOR STRANGE #381, by Donny Cates and Gabriel Hernandez Walta, hits shelves on November 15!

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Writer Jason Aaron reflects back on his run with the Sorcerer Supreme!

We find ourselves at the end of an era, folks. Just as Stephen Strange once faced The Last Days of Magic, writer Jason Aaron finds himself fast approaching the final installment of his nearly two-year run on DOCTOR STRANGE with issue #20 coming May 17. No need to worry, though, because the MIGHTY THOR writer says he has more plans in store for the Sorcerer Supreme.

Jason worked some of his magic on us to deliver a few poignant thoughts on a comic that means a lot to him and the Marvel Universe. Prepare for things to get strange—well, stranger than usual anyway.

Marvel.com: You’ve been writing DOCTOR STRANGE for nearly two years. What has been your favorite part about writing for Stephen Strange? Put another way: What was been the most magical part?

Jason Aaron: I think to me, the most important part coming in was just making the book fun. DOCTOR STRANGE as a series is one that didn’t always catch on. We hadn’t had a solo DOCTOR STRANGE ongoing in a quite a while so the character is sometimes hard for people to connect with or relate to and his world maybe seems so different compared to the rest of the Marvel Universe and maybe a little impenetrable. So I wanted it to be welcoming to people who’d never read a STRANGE book before, but also at the same time, something that could be embraced by the longtime fans of the character and as part of that, I wanted to make it fun to hang out with Stephen Strange and embrace the fact that he is very different from the all the rest of the heroes of the Marvel Universe; I did want to give a weight to what Strange goes through and let you understand a little bit about what it’s like to be him and the price he has to pay to be the Sorcerer Supreme. It’s not like Cap throwing a shield or Thor throwing a hammer. There’s a real price to be paid every time Doctor Strange uses magic. Sometimes that’s a price that’s paid by other people, by the world at large, but most often that’s the price that’s paid by him. So I think we demonstrated that in a lot of different ways and just how difficult it is to be the Sorcerer Supreme. I like kind of that dichotomy and the fact that Doctor Strange seems to be having a good time, the guy even embraces the weirdest little corner of the Marvel Universe, but at the same time, you don’t really wanna be Doctor Strange. It’s not a fun gig.

Marvel.com: Which character, hero or villain, have you most identified with and why?

Jason Aaron: I think it was nice to add a character like Zelma [the librarian] to the mix, someone who came into Strange’s world with fresh eyes, someone who didn’t really even believe in magic before that and certainly didn’t embrace the weirdness in a way that Strange does so I liked seeing [the weirdness] through her eyes and seeing how that experience has changed her along the way, which we really drive that point home in the last issue, issue #20.

Marvel.com: Under your direction, Stephen went from the top of his game as a Sorcerer Supreme to seeing magic die off. Can you discuss the process of crafting this roller coaster-esque odyssey for such a unique character and the challenges therein?

Jason Aaron: I like the way of sort of establishing Strange and the beat he walks as Sorcerer Supreme and what it’s like to him. I like the idea of [villains] who really [burn] his world to the ground—I think from there we start to kind of rebuild it. [We put] a few more limits on his powers; Strange has become kind of a deus ex machina for a while in the Marvel [Universe] where he could always just sort of show up and wave his fingers and save the day so I wanted to get away from that and show it’s a lot harder for him to be who he is and to do what he does, show him really have to fight and struggle for it, sometimes literally. We wanted him to be able to mix it up a little bit more and not just stand around and shoot magical energy blasts, but have to pick up a weapon and jump into the fray more than we’re used to seeing.

Doctor Strange #20 cover

Marvel.com: Another theme in the comic is the existence of supernatural horrors just beyond the veil of human comprehension, which was brought to vivid life by Chris Bachalo’s artwork. Was the cosmic horror and weird fiction of H.P. Lovecraft an influence at all?

Jason Aaron: Sure. I’ve read a lot of Lovecraft and love it. I think, again, that Doctor Strange is very different from all the other heroes in the Marvel Universe and that he’s the guy who walks a very different sort of beat and has to deal with threats that most of the other heroes may not even know exist. We wanted to drive that home and Chris has been a huge part of that. Right out of the gate in issue #1 we did the bit where we kind of see the world through Doctor Strange’s eyes; we call it “Strange Vision” where we see the normal world kind of go into black and white and we see all the things that only someone like Stephen Strange can see in pop and color. Chris is the perfect artist to do stuff like that. He really took it to another level on this. All along the way, once he was on board, he’s been filled with all sorts of crazy ideas with stuff to put in this book, visually, and has taken it to some really wild, imaginative places.

Marvel.com: What was it like writing this comic in the midst of big releases like the “Doctor Strange” movie that helped propel Stephen to a status of fame that he may not have enjoyed before?

Jason Aaron: Yeah, I think that’s really cool. Certainly anything that helps get more eyes on the comics, I’m always a fan of. I really enjoyed the movie, I really liked the tone of it and it felt like the movie and the comic were kind of pulling in the same direction in that regard. I’m really excited to see Strange pop up again in the [Marvel] Cinematic Universe.

Marvel.com: What hints and/or spoilers can you offer up about issue #20 before it drops in May?

Jason Aaron: I think it kind of sums up my run-up to this point. It’s the big issue; it’s drawn by the two artists who’ve handled most of it in the art so far: Chris Bachalo, the main artist, and then Kevin Nowlan who’s drawn a few bits here and there. So the two of them together, I think they’re the perfect pairing for this series. It’s a story that goes to a lot of different places, kind of focuses on Stephen and the core group of supporting characters around him and like I said, sums up my run so far and kind of sets things up for the new writer Dennis Hopeless to [take on] these same characters and take them forward into some new and different stories.

Marvel.com: And going off that, can you say anything on where Doctor Strange will go from here? Is he gonna be making any cameo appearances in MIGHTY THOR?

Jason Aaron: Maybe. You never know. I really enjoyed writing that team-up issue of STRANGE where we saw Doctor Strange and Thor teaming up so yeah, I don’t think I’m done writing Doctor Strange in some capacity.

Marvel.com: Is there anything in particular that you hope readers have taken away from your run on the title?

Jason Aaron: Just, you know, don’t ever touch Doctor Strange’s refrigerator…

Join Jason Aaron, Chris Bachalo, and Kevin Nowlan for DOCTOR STRANGE #20 on May 17!

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Artist Niko Henrichon ushers in a new era for the Sorcerer Supreme!

Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo might be leaving DOCTOR STRANGE with #20, but that doesn’t mean the magic stops there. In fact, a completely new creative team stands ready to pick up the Master of the Mystic Arts’ adventures with the following issue, which hits on May 31.

Writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Niko Henrichon will kick off their run just as Secret Empire invades the Marvel Universe. As Stephen defends the world against the magical forces involved, the neophyte creative team will continue getting to know their lead.

We talked with Henrichon about tackling an event tie-in, working with Hopeless, and the appeal of Doctor Strange’s wild world.

Marvel.com: What is it about Doctor Strange that attracted you as an artist?

Niko Henrichon: Until recently, the character was very mysterious to me. I saw him from time to time in various comics but never really followed closely. It’s only recently that I discovered the fantastic work of Steve Ditko on the original [Doctor Strange stories in STRANGE TALES]. Obviously, I enjoyed the recent movie and thought they really nailed the psychedelic aspect of the parallel worlds featured in an amazing way in Ditko’s Doctor Strange.

So, when I [received an offer] to follow with Dennis Hopeless as the writer, after the run of Aaron and Bachalo, I immediately accepted. I’ve spent the last seven or eight years doing albums for the French European market. I had the chance to work on ambitious projects there, but now it feels great to come back to comics. There’s something fresh and dynamic about [American] comics. The fast storytelling, the smaller pages, I love it.

Marvel.com: Do you have plans to give Stephen a new look for the series?

Niko Henrichon: The story picks up after Aaron and Bachalo’s run so we’re keeping the look as it was before. For the future, I guess it will depend on how the story develops.

Marvel.com: As it happens, your first issue with Dennis on the book coincides with the Secret Empire crossover. How will that play into the story?

Niko Henrichon: That question would be more suitable for Dennis but I feel like we’re really focusing on Doctor Strange’s own journey, along with his colleagues.

Marvel.com: Do you enjoy the challenge of designing the kinds fantastical and supernatural elements that appear in a book like DOCTOR STRANGE?

Niko Henrichon: Yes I do! I love the monster design job. This book has a lot of them so it’s a real delight.

Marvel.com: How has it been working with Dennis on these issues so far?

Niko Henrichon: Really bad! No seriously, Dennis is great to work with. His writing [perfectly balances] between creative freedom and storytelling tightness. The way you want a Marvel book to feel like.

To see what happens when the Sorcerer Supreme feels the effects of Secret Empire, check out DOCTOR STRANGE #21 by Dennis Hopeless and Niko Henrichon on May 31!

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Black Panther, All-New Wolverine, Darth Vader & More Make Cut for Great Reads!

Great news, Marvelites! YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) named an unprecedented 17 Marvel titles, including BLACK PANTHER, ALL-NEW WOLVERINE, DARTH VADER, and PATSY WALKER A.K.A. HELLCAT!, as part of their 2017 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list! In addition, BLACK PANTHER made the Top 10 List of Great Graphic Novels for Teens!

Our SVP of Sales & Marketing David Gabriel says, “It is both energizing and humbling to have so many Marvel titles included in this year’s list. From STAR WARS to BLACK PANTHER to THE VISION and beyond, their selections provide a little something for everyone. With so many fantastic titles released in last year from publishers across the industry, we’re honored to be recognized by YALSA yet again.”

All Marvel books that are recommended for readers aged 12-18 that are both quality literature and appeal to teens include:

ALL-NEW WOLVERINE VOL. 1: THE FOUR SISTERS – written by Tom Taylor, illustrated by David Lopez
BLACK PANTHER: A NATION UNDER OUR FEET BOOK 1 – written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze
CAPTAIN MARVEL VOL. 1: RISE OF ALPHA FLIGHT – written by Michele Fazekas, illustrated by Tara Butters, Kris Anka and Felipe Smith
DARTH VADER VOL. 1: VADER – written by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Salvador Larroca
DARTH VADER VOL. 2: SHADOWS AND SECRETS – written by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Salvador Larroca
DOCTOR STRANGE VOL. 1: THE WAY OF THE WEIRD – written by Jason Aaron, illustrated by Chris Bachalo
GROOT – written by Jeff Loveness, illustrated by Brian Kesinger
HAWKEYE VOL. 5: ALL-NEW HAWKEYE – written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Ramon Perez
HAWKEYE VOL. 6: HAWKEYES – written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Ramon Perez
KANAN VOL. 1: THE LAST PADAWAN – written by Greg Weisman, illustrated by Pepe Larraz
LANDO – written by Charles Soule, illustrated by Alex Maleev
MIGHTY THOR VOL. 1: THUNDER IN HER VEINS – written by Jason Aaron, illustrated by Russel Dauterman
MOCKINGBIRD VOL. 1: I CAN EXPLAIN – written by Chelsea Cain, illustrated by Kate Niemczyk
MS. MARVEL VOL. 4: LAST DAYS – written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona
MS. MARVEL VOL. 5: SUPER FAMOUS – written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa
PATSY WALKER, A.K.A. HELLCAT! VOL. 1: HOOKED ON A FELINE – written by Kate Leth, illustrated by Brittney Williams
VISION VOL. 1: LITTLE WORSE THAN A MAN – written by Tom King, illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Check out the full list of the 2017 Great Graphic Novels for Teens now! Stay tuned to Marvel.com for all the latest news and updates on the Marvel Universe.

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Jason Aaron kicks off as writer of the good doctor by nearly destroying magic!

Something weird is going on in Manhattan. Sure, what else is new, right? Well, an all-new take on the Master of the Mystic Arts by Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo counts as new and delightfully weird!

Launching in the wake of Secret Wars, DOCTOR STRANGE returned our pal Stephen to the Sanctum Sanctorum in Greenwich Village where people needing help with supernatural problems could seek him out. He also tackled problems as they popped up, like harmful creatures attaching themselves to unassuming humans. After a series of weirder-than-usual occurrences, including unforeseen incursions from other dimensions and a variety of spells losing their power, Strange uncovered the truth: a mysterious technology-based force aimed to eradicate magic across multiple dimensions.

Enter, the Empirikul, a group dedicated to tracking down and destroying magical energy wherever they find it. To them, magic represented a sin that needed to be wiped out in every dimension. Lead by The Imperator, the Empirikul—including the supernatural-sniffing Witchfinder Wolves—had already made their way to an unsuspecting Earth right under Stephen’s nose.

Doctor Strange (2015) #1

Doctor Strange (2015) #1

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To Strange and some of his fellow mages, much of this trouble resulted from the fact that the Sorcerer Supreme had not balanced the scales of magic. An older magician explained that he would drown a rabbit every time he saved a life to keep things even. Strange intended a mysterious ritual in the basement of his home to do exactly that, but Wong instead created the Secret Disciples of Strange to absorb just some of the punishment our hero took on while performing his duties, which take an unimaginable toll.

Aaron and Bachalo also introduced a new character into Strange’s life: a librarian from the Bronx named Zelma Stanton. She entered his life seeking help with an extra mouth growing out of her head, but agreed to return to organize the doctor’s ever-growing collection of mystical tomes.

Right now, the first eight issues of DOCTOR STRANGE can be read on Marvel Unlimited. #1-5, covered here, make up the first arc while the other three really dive into Strange’s battle with the Empirikul, which leaves magic in a much different place than the Sorcerer Supreme would like.

Opening the Book of Vishanti

These first five issues act as a lead-in to a much larger story called “The Last Days of Magic” that wove through DOCTOR STRANGE #6-10 as well as the DOCTOR STRANGE: LAST DAYS OF MAGIC one-shot. The ride continues in the main series by Aaron, Bachalo, and guest artists like Leonardo Romero and Kevin Nowlan. For even more magical adventures, check out the spinoff DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME by Robbie Thompson and Javier Rodriguez featuring a team of mages from throughout time gathered to stop a threat called The Forgotten with secret ties to Merlin.

That’s it for The Spells of Doctor Strange, but keep an eye on Marvel Unlimited for new titles added each month as well as your local comic purveyor for new issues of DOCTOR STRANGE and DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME.

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Artist Leonardo Romero helps usher in a new era for the Sorcerer Supreme, featuring the return of Baron Mordo and more!

Doctor Strange might have survived “The Last Days of Magic,” but now he needs to learn to live in a world where the rules he formerly lived by have changed drastically. The recently-concluded story pitted the former surgeon against the mysticism-destroying Empirikul, a battle he barely survived.

Writer Jason Aaron and artist Leonardo Romero plan to keep challenging the Master of the Mystic Arts with a new story called “Blood in the Aether” which will match up Stephen once more against his old foe Baron Mordo!

We talked with Romero about the appeal of Strange, the book’s new status quo, and his developing working relationship with Aaron.

Marvel.com: You’ve worked with Jason before on DOCTOR STRANGE: LAST DAYS OF MAGIC. How has your collaborative relationship grown since then?

Leonardo Romero: Working with Jason [on] LAST DAYS OF MAGIC was a very interesting experience. I am a fan of his work and followed his works, as a reader, in many comics. So having the opportunity to draw a story he wrote was a lot of fun, but I was a bit nervous. This second time I think I was a bit more relaxed about it.

Marvel.com: What is it about Stephen Strange and his world that appeals to you as an artist?

Leonardo Romero: I think that despite being a super hero, Doctor Strange’s stories are very different from other conventional titles of this genre. Stephen being a wizard opens a range of possibilities higher than some other characters.

His stories are unique in every way; the allies, enemies, and problems he faces are very different than what other heroes have to deal with. The possibility of drawing different, and often unexpected, things is certainly something that appeals to me!

Marvel.com: How has Stephen changed in the wake of “The Last Days of Magic”?

Leonardo Romero: He’s on the edge, with his look and personality somewhat different from what we used to see. His powers were diminished. So some tasks that were easy for him now require much more attention. He looks tired and even a little sloppy in his appearance. Also, his mood is not the best. He seems much more stressed and angry than usual. 

Marvel.com: What key elements of Doctor Strange’s look carry through regardless of whether he’s in or out of his mystical duds?

Leonardo Romero: Even when he’s dressed in normal clothes, doing “normal” stuff, his iconic blue shirt remains there.

Marvel.com: Can you talk about any other familiar faces appearing in the issue?

Leonardo Romero: Yes, besides Wong and Zelma, we will see Chondu, the bartender of the Bar with No Doors. But the best is one I can’t tell. And I bet everyone will be surprised!

To see the surprise appearance along with Stephen’s new life, check out DOCTOR STRANGE #11 by Jason Aaron and Leonardo Romero on August 31!

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Artist Chris Bachalo casts a spell in this new look!

The Sorcerer Supreme returns for his first ongoing series in nearly 20 years, and he’s making house calls! Marvel is pleased to present DOCTOR STRANGE, the new ongoing series from creators Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo!

Prepare for a side of the Marvel Universe you’ve never seen before as the magical, mystical and all things weird lie at every turn! And if you don’t know where to turn – call the Doctor. From inside his Sanctum Sanctorum, the Master of the Mystic Arts defends the Marvel Universe from any and all supernatural threats.

But a dark new power is rising. One that will have repercussions for all magic users. The threat is growing, and Strange knows he won’t be powerful enough to stop it. If he is to have any kind of hope, it’ll take a new kind of Sorcerer Supreme. Because all magic comes with a price, and it’s high time Stephen Strange balanced the scales.

This issue also contains a bonus five-page story by Jason Aaron and industry legend Kevin Nowlan setting up major story-threads!

The epic adventure begins this October as Marvel’s mightiest magician takes a battle axe straight to evil in DOCTOR STRANGE!

DOCTOR STRANGE #1 (AUG150741)
Written by JASON AARON
Art by CHRIS BACHALO & KEVIN NOWLAN
Cover by CHRIS BACHALO
Variant Covers by JOE QUESADA (AUG150749), JAKUB REBELKA (AUG150748), KEVIN NOWLAN (AUG150747), SKOTTIE YOUNG (AUG150744)
Hip Hop Variant by JUAN DOE (AUG150742)
Cosplay Variant by ALLEN LEE HANSARD (AUG150743)
Kirby Monster Variant by ERICA HENDERSON (AUG150751)
Action Figure Variant by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER (AUG150745)
Quesada Sketch Variant Also Available (AUG150750)
Blank Variant Also Available (AUG150746)
FOC – 09/14/15, On-Sale – 10/07/15

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