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Dr. Strangelove: The Many Loves of Doctor Strange!

by  in Comics, Lists, Movies, Comic News, Movie News Comment
Dr. Strangelove: The Many Loves of Doctor Strange!

When you think about Doctor Strange, one of the recurring themes with him is solitude. Since the responsibilities of being the Sorcerer Supreme are so daunting, he always finds a way to use that role to cut himself off from the rest of the world. After all, the previous Sorcerer Supreme, his mentor, the Ancient One, literally cut himself off from society, living far away in a magical city. So there is certainly precedence for a Sorcerer Supreme being detached from the rest of society.

RELATED: The 15 Best Doctor Strange Easter Eggs

However, such an approach does not leave a lot of room for romance. Doctor Strange, though, has still managed to find his fair share of love interests over the years, although a good chunk of them are former loves from before he became a master of the mystical arts. Even those past loves, though, sometimes carry over into the present day. Here, then, are the greatest loves of Doctor Stephen Strange’s life!

15. Clea Lake

doctor-strange-clea-lake

Before we get into the real meat of Doctor Strange’s love life within the comic, we thought we would first take care of his three most prominent love interests from Doctor Strange’s forays outside of comic books. In the 1976 “Doctor Strange” TV movie, Eddie Benton played Clea Lake, Strange’s love interest in the film. Despite sharing the first name of Doctor Strange’s most famous love, Clea Lake had nothing else in common with Clea (if she would, we wouldn’t count her twice – that’s why Clea from the “Strange” mini-series isn’t on the list, as she’s just a variation on the main Clea). In the film, Clea is an ordinary young woman who gets possessed by an other-dimensional sorceress by the name of Morgan Le Fay.

Clea suffered psychic side effects from her possession by Le Fay, and that’s how she first encountered Stephen Strange, who was a psychiatrist in this version of the “Doctor Strange” story. In the end, Le Fay is defeated and Strange and Clea begin to date.

14. Doctor Gina Atwater

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In the 2007 Direct-to-DVD animated film, “Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme,” Doctor Strange’s love interest in Doctor Gina Atwater (voiced by Susan Spano). Atwater and Strange were former lovers, but split over Strange’s obsession with his career and his general rude behavior towards everyone. When the film begins, Atwater is complaining about Strange to the hospital administration after Strange blows off helping some disturbed children (who, as it turns out, were all pawns in a mystical game of cat and mouse).

However, after his accident, Atwater was still empathetic towards Stephen even though he continued to be distant to her. Eventually, when he decided to go to Tibet to fix his damaged hands, it was Atwater who gave him the money for his journey. Later in the film, after Strange has become the Sorcerer Supreme, he visits Gina in her dreams and apologizes for how he treated her and tells her that the children are now all right. She was touched by how centered Strange had become.

13. Doctor Christine Palmer

doctor-strange-christine-palmer

In the recent live action motion picture, “Doctor Strange”, Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) took on very much the same role that Gina Atwater did in the animated film. She is a talented surgeon and former girlfriend of Doctor Stephen Strange who continues to try to get through Strange’s tough exterior even after they broke up, as she clearly sees something worthwhile in him. When Strange is badly injured in a car accident, she stands by him all of the way, despite his awful treatment of her.

Christine Palmer is the name of one of the Night Nurses in the Marvel Universe and in some parts of the film, Palmer takes on the Night Nurse role from “Doctor Strange: The Oath” (a different Night Nurse as in “The Oath”). However, like Atwater, her role in the film is mostly to have someone say out loud how much Strange has matured from earlier in the film.

12. “Alice Blue Gown”

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In the final issues of his second ongoing series, Doctor Strange had to make an awful sacrifice. He gave up his entire collection of magical artifacts to keep them out of the hands of a powerful alien Sorcerer Supreme. This left Strange with a lot fewer powers than he normally had, so he had to turn to black magic in order to continue as the Sorcerer Supreme in his new feature in the anthology “Strange Tales” (which Strange shared with Cloak and Dagger).

The black magic took its toll on Strange and things got so bad that he was becoming untethered to the Earthy plane altogether. His new mentor (the former Sorcerer Supreme, Kaluu) and newest disciple (Rintrah) brought Strange back to Nebraska, where Strange grew up, to try to find something there to tether him to Earth. They went through his memories and, as it turned out, the only pure memory of love was of a woman he knew in college that he never actually spoke to. Instead, he gave her the name of “Alice Blue Gown.” When Kaluu and Rintrah allow Strange to revisit his memory, this time he actually asks her out and the love he felt for Alice was enough to bring him back to normal.

11. Dead Girl

dead-girl

In the follow-up to “X-Statix,” Peter Milligan, Nick Dragotta and Mike Allred had a supervillain try to fight his way out of death, bringing along some dead heroes and villains to help him. Doctor Strange must turn to Dead Girl to help him save the day (she brings along some of her friends to help, like Gwen Stacy, and they also recruit some dead superheroes, like the Whizzer). The miniseries mostly served as a way to see all the dead members of X-Statix again (which is to say, pretty much all the members of the team).

However, it also featured a cute miniature romance between Strange and X-Statix team member, Dead Girl. One of the recurring bits is Strange trying to guess her real name, until she finally admits that it is “Moonbeam.” In the end, the day is saved, so Dead Girl and Strange don’t have much time together Whatever time they did have, they spent together. It’s quite adorable.

10. Kimberly

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Kimberly was a rich and beautiful young woman that Doctor Strange spent time with after he became a famous surgeon. Comic book writers have re-visited this period in Strange’s life a few times, and each time it was to show that Strange was not actually happy during that era, despite him believing at the time to be so. In the aforementioned “Strange Tales” story where Kaluu and Rintrah try to find a memory to tether him to Earth, they find his memories of Kimberly and ultimately discover that they meant nothing to Strange.

In a later issue of “Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme” by Roy Thomas, that era of Strange’s life is shown in greater detail, where we see that Strange would pick up nurses he used to work with, who were impressed by the successful doctor, and then dump them when they got to see the real him. With Kimberly, it was a bit deeper than that, but in the end, she was just a way to pass the time while he hid from the rest of the world (including his own family).

9. Molly

doctor-strange-molly

Few love interests caused quite as much of a negative reaction among “Doctor Strange” fans as Molly, a graduate student who had turned to Doctor Strange for help with her thesis in Matt Fraction‘s “Defenders” #1. Strange helped her a bit but then seduced her and had a one night stand with her. After she left, embarrassed by the situation, Strange reflected on the one night stand and found himself sort of obsessing over the rather young woman (he even noted to himself how young she was, but couldn’t help himself from continuing to think of her). This was the sort of behavior that Strange engaged in before he became a better person, so it seemed a bit out of place to see him still acting that way more recently. He also kind of blew her off when she visited him the next day.

In the end, the whole series (which saw the Earth destroyed) was avoided when Strange went back in time and prevented himself from blowing Molly off the next day, instead taking her out to a diner and discussing her thesis with her (and thus not being there when the Hulk showed up to start the whole storyline). So Doc still ended up sleeping with a grad student, but at least he didn’t blow her off this time!

8. Marjorie Brink

doctor-strange-marjorie-brink

The interesting thing about Marjorie Brink, well, besides that she was an immortal, was that she debuted in an issue of “Marvel Comics Presents,” in a one-off “Doctor Strange” story. That in itself is not that odd, but what is odd is that the writer of the story was Peter B. Gillis, the writer of the “Doctor Strange” feature in “Strange Tales” at the same time, so it is weird that he did not work Marjorie into his own run on “Doctor Strange.”

In any event, Marjorie and Strange dated while Strange was in medical school (perhaps even before he was in medical school). He was drawn to her sense of life. As it turned out, this sense of life was because she actually did not age. He visited her later at her job as a librarian and found out the truth. He then took her on a glimpse of her future to see herself 500 years from now, as she helps save the people of Earth. With the knowledge that there will be a point to her living so long, she resigned herself to her fate.

7. Madeleine de St. Germaine

doctor-strange-madeleine

When Doctor Strange was still in medical school, he met a beautiful French translator who worked for the United Nations named Madeleine Revell. They fell in love and Strange actually proposed marriage to her. She turned him down, though, because she could already see the start of what would ultimately become Strange’s downfall as a doctor, namely his greed and his arrogance. She married someone else and had children.

They met years later when Madeleine (now Madeleine de St. Germane) was kidnapped. Strange was tricked into thinking that she was dying and that he had to saver her life by performing surgery on her. In reality, it would have been a blood sacrifice that would have tainted Strange’s ability to ever do sorcery again. He came to his senses, and then Madeleine helped him against the evil Azrael, who could suck people’s life forces from them and had teamed up with Baron Mordo. In a crossover with “Man-Thing,” Madeleine and some relatives of Jennifer Kale were going to be sacrifices once again, but Strange managed to save them all.

6. Amanda Payne

doctor-strange-amanda-payne

Towards the end of the third “Doctor Strange” ongoing series, Doctor Strange had finally put his life back into order after the bizarre period in his life when two “Strangers” took his place on Earth (one doing his business interests and one acting as a magical superhero for him). He decided to visit his family home in Nebraska. Once there, he came across a woman he knew from his childhood. Now grown up and with a child of her own (divorced after her husband ran off on her), she lived in Strange’s old family home.

Spending time with her and her daughter brought Strange a good deal of joy (although she initially presumed that he was gay, since he lived in Greenwich Village and wore flamboyant clothes), but Strange discovered that he had been stricken with some magical cancer by Baron Mordo. He had to leave Amanda and her daughter to stop Mordo’s plan and to get rid of the cancer, but not before she let Strange know what she felt about him. Sadly, he never seemed to have returned to Amanda and her daughter.

5. Martha

doctor-strange-martha

In the same “Defenders” series where Doctor Strange slept with the graduate student, he also brought one of the loves of his life back from the dead. Martha had been Strange’s adviser while he was in medical school and they ended up having an affair. She broke it off, got married and had a family, and died of ovarian cancer. Their break-up was when Strange first began to take up drinking (which undoubtedly played some sort of role in his fateful accident years later).

In the “Defenders” series, Strange had access to what was, in effect, a wishing machine, so he wished Martha back to life. She spent a lot of time with him, but ultimately began to question her place with Strange and what exactly had happened to her. Eventually, she decided to leave him and go off and try to find her family — the same family that lost her 15 years earlier. However, since Strange later erased all of the events of the earlier issues of “Defenders,” she therefore never returned to life. That’s certainly bleak.

4. Victoria Bentley

doctor-strange-victoria

One of the oldest Doctor Strange supporting cast members, Victoria Bentley debuted in the third “Doctor Strange” story ever, in “Strange Tales” #114. There, she was the only person able to save Doctor Strange from Baron Mordo after Mordo had effectively paralyzed Strange with a spell. Bentley had an affinity for magic, so Strange was able to contact her and gain her aid.

Bentley was a perfect example of how awful female supporting cast members were often treated in comic books. She barely appeared, but whenever she did, she was often pining over Strange and willing to do whatever he wanted her to, despite his clear indifference to her romantically. When Strange’s powers were at their lowest, she even gave him her own magical abilities, despite it crippling her. She eventually got over Strange and turned her interest to Dane Whitman, the Black Knight, who promptly also ignored her. She got involved in a case where Whitman’s squire got a hold of the Ebony Blade and became the Bloodwraith. Bloodwraith fought Black Knight in a duel to the death that was interrupted when Bentley broke it up and was accidentally killed by the blade, sating its thirst for blood for a while.

3. Night Nurse (Linda Carter)

night-nurse

Linda Carter, the Night Nurse, had her own comic book series in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until the 2000s that Brian Michael Bendis came up with the idea of having her be the person who treats superheroes in a safe and secret location when they are injured so that they don’t have to go to hospitals (where their secret identities would be at risk). It was in this role that she first encountered Doctor Strange in Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s “Doctor Strange: The Oath,” as Strange was shot by the henchmen of a bad guy trying to keep Strange from an elixir which could cure cancer.

Carter followed Strange on his journey, ostensibly because she wanted to keep an eye on her patient, but mostly because she enjoyed the adventure. In the end, Strange only had enough elixir to save his companion, Wong (who had come down with a fatal cancer). Strange offered to lend his mansion out to Carter to use for her practice. She agreed and the two began to date. Their relationship sadly did not last very long. Still, she was the inspiration for the Christine Palmer character in the “Doctor Strange” film (Christine Palmer was the name of another character who called herself Night Nurse).

2. Morgana Blessing

doctor-strange-morgana-blessing

Morgana Blessing (sometimes spelled Morganna, oddly enough) was an author who encountered Doctor Strange during a bank hold-up. She wanted to consult with him for a new novel that she was working on. After they met a few times, Doctor Strange’s lover Clea discovered that Blessing and Strange had been lovers in a number of past lives. She realized that this implied that they were meant to be together (well, that was Clea’s take on it, at least) and she left Strange because she did not want to keep him from this “destined” romance.

After being depressed for a while over Clea’s departure, Strange ultimately did date Blessing. He even borrowed her body once for a memorable story where he needed to fight off an alien attacker and his body was knocked unconscious. Later, Strange faked his death and Blessing wrote a tell-all book about him. When he revealed that he was still alive, she tried to pull the book but to no avail. They remained friends, though (eventually, as he was initially pretty pissed off at her) and she ultimately began to date Strange’s brother. Infamously, artist Jackson Guice once used singer Amy Grant’s likeness for Morgana for a comic book cover that got Marvel into legal hot water with Amy Grant’s people.

1. Clea

clea-doctor-strange

The greatest love of Doctor Strange’s life is clearly Clea, whom he met many years ago on his first trip to Dormammu’s Dark Dimension. Clea was a mystery woman who aided him while he was there (so mysterious that it was a number of issues before he even learned her name) and he became a bit obsessed with her. Eventually, she was allowed to leave the Dark Dimension and she came to study under Strange as his disciple. They were also lovers. This led to some weird dialogue, like the one we featured here.

After she broke up with Strange following her belief that he belonged with Morgana Blessing, she returned to the Dark Dimension. Over the years, they have gotten back together a number of times, always being separated again for one reason or another, though, mostly connected with her position as the ruler of the Dark Dimension (long distance relationships are hard, long distance relationships between dimensions are even harder). Still, she is clearly the love of Strange’s life.

Which comic book character would you like to see Doctor Strange date? Let us know in the comments section!

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