Warning: The following contains spoilers for Doctor Strange #20, by Mark Waid, Javier Pina, Brian Reber and VC's Cory Petit, on sale now.
Doctor Strange, as befitting for someone who exists in a wild, untamed magical corner of the Marvel Universe, is used to saying bizarre words and phrases in the line of duty. While many of his incantations require him to say something weird to produce the intended spell, there are still some things he's said in the past that doesn't get brought up much more in the modern day.
However, that doesn't mean that Strange has forgotten all of his old magic words, and Doctor Strange #20 reveals that Stephen's computer password is actually a deep-cut reference to a specific thing Doctor Strange used to say.
Following the events of Doctor Strange #19, Stephen Strange has regained the full use of his hands. After making a deal with a demon, Strange had his hands recreated and restored to their peak, fixing the nerve damage that has plagued him since before he took up the mystic arts. The issue largely focuses on Strange contemplating a return to medicine, at least in specific emergency cases, so he can continue to save lives where he can. This continues even as he enters a magical battle across the galaxy.
One of the first things Strange does is pull out his laptop to do some research on the current state of the medical world. Bats, a talking ghost dog, admits he didn't think Strange actually would own a computer, but Strange tells Basil that, since he has no fingers but only ghost paws, that Strange trusts him with the knowledge of the computer. He also reveals the password needed to get into the device: CurseMe4ANovice. This isn't just a unique password but a specific reference to a peculiar saying Strange used to use frequently.
"Curse me for a novice" was something of a frequent phrase in classic Doctor Strange stories. It was a phrase the Sorcerer Supreme would say whenever he made a simple mistake, cursing himself for letting something simple slip past his attention. The phrase appeared in a number of Steve Englehart stories, to the point where it could have been considered a catchphrase for the character. It even extended beyond Englehart, with other creators such as Chris Claremont, Roger Stern, and Peter David having Strange utter it in their own stories with the character.
The phrase hasn't been used much in the modern-day. That extends beyond just Doctor Strange, as many characters just don't have catchphrases in the modern era of superhero comics. However, using it as his computer password is a clever touch that manages to reference the classic trope without letting the story get sideswiped by it. Now, Strange just needs to reveal if the Wi-Fi password for his Sanctum Sanctorum is HoaryHostsofHoggath1 so anyone can see Strange's digital secrets.
Strange will continue is adventures in mysticism and medicine in the upcoming Doctor Strange: Surgeon Supreme, by Mark Waid and Kev Walker, which goes on sale in Dec. from Marvel Comics.