One of the most fantastic, psychedelic superheroes in the Marvel Universe is Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme and Master of the Mystic Arts. The magical character has helped defend all reality for over 50 years, since he was created in 1963's Strange Tales #110 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. He's gone on to become a major figure within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, where Strange is set to return in 2021's Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.
For fans unfamiliar with the character and his many comic book adventures, here are some of the best stories to star Stephen Strange from his prolific history that are perfectly new reader-friendly and accessible.
Doctor Strange: The Oath
One of the most celebrated Doctor Strange stories is The Oath by Saga co-creator Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin. The 2007 miniseries would directly inspire several moments in the 2016 Doctor Strange film including Strange's fight in his astral form and the Cloak of Levitation being a sentient entity.
The story has Strange gravely wounded by a gunman and investigating to discover who was responsible for the murder attempt. Along the way, Strange encounters another student of the Ancient One while on a quest to save one of his closest allies in a story that embraces the fantastic and personal elements of the character.
Doctor Strange: A Separate Reality
Prolific Marvel Comics writer Steve Englehart and artist Frank Brunner teamed up for the classic story A Separate Reality showcasing Stephen Strange at what he does best: defending all of reality from threats that defy conventional explanation while safeguarding the Marvel Universe from other realms.
The early '70s story saw Strange take on several of his greatest enemies including Dormammu and Nightmare, while updating his origins for modern audiences. In addition to chronicling the start of his romantic relationship with the sorcerer Clea, the comic also features some truly mind-bending moments that represent the psychedelic heights of the hero.
Doctor Strange: The Way of the Weird
Eisner Award-winning writer Jason Aaron teamed up with longtime collaborator Chris Bachalo to relaunch Doctor Strange in 2015, kicking off an acclaimed run that left the Sorcerer Supreme without his usual tricks to save the day and himself.
The creative team's first story arc, The Way of the Weird, revealed that all of magic in the Marvel Universe was at risk of being completely eradicated and that Strange's powers had come at a dark, secret cost all along, forcing the Master of the Mystic Arts to rely on his wits to survive and save magic itself.
Doctor Strange & Doctor Doom: Triumph & Torment
Comic book legends Roger Stern and Mike Mignola teamed up for the 1989 original graphic novel Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment which saw an easy alliance between the two greatest magic users in the Marvel Universe for a desperate mission.
After learning that Victor Von Doom's mother was trapped in Hell, Strange agreed to accompany the iconic villain into the depths of the abyss to rescue her soul. In addition to the usual demons and monsters that confronted the duo in the afterlife, the two characters would eventually cross paths with the dark lord Mephisto as the mismatched pair battled their way into Hell's inner circle in a tale that stands the test of time for both Marvel icons.
Doctor Strange: Across the Universe
Many stories have revolved around Doctor Strange temporarily losing access to his vast magical abilities and the current creative team of Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz launched their Doctor Strange run with this tried and true trope but with a fresh, intriguing twist: What if Stephen sought to restore his powers by cosmic means instead of mystical ones?
The creative team's first volume Across the Universe had Strange abruptly lose access to the Eye of Agamotto and its powers. At the suggestion of Tony Stark, Strange travels into the far reaches of outer space to find a cosmic way to kickstart his abilities leading him to cross paths with many sci-fi elements of the Marvel Universe not normally associated with the character.