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What’s the Origin of Dr. Strange’s Address?

by  in CBR Exclusives, Comics, Comic News Comment
What’s the Origin of Dr. Strange’s Address?

Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at brianc@cbr.com).

Reader Mike E. wrote in to ask:

While watching the Doctor Strange movie, I saw that the address for the Sanctum Santorum was specified as 177A Bleecker Street.

At first, I thought this was an easter egg / in-joke because Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock Holmes and it sounds an awful lot like 221B Baker Street.

But when I looked it up, that’s been Doctor Strange’s address for decades. Still, they sound very similar and not many comic book locations have an actual canon address.

What writer actually came up with the address and why? Was it actually a Sherlock Holmes reference? Decades before an actor known for Sherlock plays Strange?

Very reasonable question, Mike.

The first time that Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum was given an address was in 1969’s “Doctor Strange” #182, written by Roy Thomas, as Stephen Strange receives a telegram…

drstrange182

So what’s the deal? Was it a reference to Sherlock Holmes’ address in the famous Arthur Conan Doyle “Sherlock Holmes” novels?

As it turns out, the answer is a lot simpler than that.

There IS a 177 Bleecker Street address. It’s an apartment building. Here’s the Google Images street view for it…

drstrange182

And the writer of “Doctor Strange” #182 happened to have lived there (as did Namor and Daredevil creator Bill Everett). At the website, Bedford and Bowery, Roy Thomas is quoted as saying:

“The address which is now listed over its doorway as ‘177’ Bleecker Street was, in 1965-66, ‘177A’ Bleecker Street. At one time I thought it was Bill who had used the address for Marvel’s hero magician Dr. Strange, which he sometimes drew and I sometimes wrote. But I later realized it was I who had done it. Dr. Strange lived in Greenwich Village, according to the comics, so, despite the impossibility of his unique mansion fitting into that space (but he was a wizard, right?), I gave it that address.”

And the site followed that by explaining:

Thomas and Everett moved into an apartment on the second floor in July of 1965. After about half a year, they left owing to a rent dispute with the landlord, but have kept the address as the domicile of Dr. Strange for almost 50 years now.

So no Sherlock reference, Mike! But it is funny how it turned out as sounding similar to Sherlock Holmes’ address and a famous Sherlock actor ended up playing Doctor Strange.

Thanks to Mike for the question! If anyone else has a question for a future Comic Book Questions Answered, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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