Donny Cates Conjures Up the Secrets of Doctor Strange: Damnation

The Marvel Universe is home to many different types of heroes. Some of them battle costumed supervillains in the streets while others stick to the shadows to fight sinister, supernatural menaces the general public will never know about. Then there are those who have their feet in both worlds, with powers rooted in the supernatural that they use to fight both earthy villains and magical menaces. This February, those shadowy defenders and supernatural superheroes will flock to Las Vegas. The city, which was destroyed in the Secret Empire event, has a chance to live again, but demonic forces want to make the metaphorical “Sin City” a literal one.


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Writers Donny Cates and Nick Spencer and artist Rod Reis will chronicle the supernatural showdown in the five-issue event miniseries Doctor Strange: Damnation. Cates will make the story even more personal for Stephen Strange in the Damnation tie-in issues of Doctor Strange, which will feature art by Nico Henrichon. We spoke with Cates about his two books and the overall Damnation event, which hopes to promote Marvel's horror and magic characters in the same way the 2006 Annihilation storylines promoted the publisher's cosmic heroes.


CBR: In February, you're joined by new collaborators for your next Doctor Strange tale, the Damnation event. On the five-issue Doctor Strange: Damnation mini-series you're working with co-writer Nick Spencer and artist Rod Reis, and on the main Doctor Strange series, artist Nico Henrichon will bring your Damnation tie-in arc to life. How interconnected are the Damnation miniseries and the monthly Doctor Strange book? Can they be read separately?

Donny Cates: Obviously, with all these things, you're going to get a bigger picture reading both. I would recommend everyone read both because they're both cool. You can absolutely go into the next Doctor Strange arc having just read the Loki stuff, though.


The Damnation event kind of goes back to me being amazed at the things Marvel is allowing me to do. With this, they essentially handed Nick Spencer and me the keys to the magic kingdom and said, “Go nuts.” Nick and I have been kind saying that Damnation is when magic gets Metal! It's crazy!

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One of my favorite things Marvel does are these corner-style events. It's not a Secret Wars or a Secret Empire. It's like the Annihilation events that Keith Giffen and [Dan] Abnett and [Andy] Lanning did. So it's not universe shaking, but it still has really big consequences and real stakes. Characters are changed.

So it's been real fun, and to me, the cast of characters we get to play with are the best part. I've always been a huge fan of Blade and getting to write him, Moon Knight, Iron Fist, Johnny Blaze, and Scarlet Spider is awesome. There are some other surprises too. There are some characters that will show up that we haven't talked about yet for a really good reason. There's some really big stuff going down. I'm super excited.

So not only is this a big, fun supernatural/horror story, it's also potentially a way to rejuvenate and launch some new books featuring Marvel's horror and magic characters.

I can't say much about Marvel's broader plans, but that's certainly something Nick and I are very attracted to. A lot of the time, I don't think the magic characters have gotten the spotlight that they deserve. Moon Knight and Iron Fist certainly have. I think someone like Blade, though, deserves to be one of the top characters over there.

I'm definitely interested in seeing the Marvel magic world get much more attention. Just like with the cosmic event stuff, it's certainly our hope that people will find these characters again and love them as much as we do. We're hoping to get some more eyes on them.

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