HeroesCon: Waid Talks "Strange"

For several decades now, one man, Doctor Stephen Strange, has stood vigilant against the various supernatural fiends and mystical horrors of the Marvel Universe. Now, a new era has dawned and Doctor Strange no longer holds the position of Sorcerer Supreme of Earth, leaving many readers to wonder, "What he's going to do next?" Writer Mark Waid has the answer to that question, and starting this November, he'll share it with readers of "Strange," a four issue mini-series that Marvel announced yesterday at their "Pint O' C.B" panel at HeroesCon 2009. CBR News spoke with Waid about his plans for the good Doctor and the series.

"Strange" was born when Editor Tom Brevoort called Waid with a germ of a storyline idea for the former Sorcerer Supreme. The two got to talking, and from their discussion was born a series that mixes high adventure and character based humor. Waid and Brevoort's goal with the series is to tell a tale that stays true to Strange's roots while moving the character forward in a new direction. "I think, with the insanely talented Emma Rios on art, that we can make Doc more charming and sexy than he's been in years, without sacrificing one bit of the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko magic that created him," Waid told CBR News. "We'll be dealing with smaller-scale magic--but deeper character."

Stephen Strange may have once been the most important supernatural figure in the Marvel Universe, but he never stopped trying to learn and improve. Waid finds that "perpetual student" aspect to be one of Strange's most compelling traits. "There's not a day in his adult life that he hasn't spent studying, be it medical texts or magical scrolls," Waid remarked. "And now, post Sorcerer Supreme, he has a whole new attitude on his life--that it's not about studying, it's about teaching. And re-learning what he already knows."

Strange's perpetual studying also suggests that the character has a competitive streak. His former positions as a top surgeon and the Marvel Universe's chief mystical defender are evidence that further that argument. Now that he's no longer Sorcerer Supreme, though, Strange's competitive streak seems to have subsided. "He's mellowed," Waid remarked. "And he seems UNCANNILY prepared to not be the Sorcerer Supreme when we re-meet him--but that may be deceptive. Watch closely. A good magician is a master of misdirection."

Whether or not Strange is prepared to no longer be the Sorcerer Supreme is still in question, but one thing is absolutely certain in Waid's eyes; the character is much more interesting now that he's no longer the top magic user in the Marvel U. "He's had the Sorcerer Supreme role stripped from him not once but TWICE--and now, the second time, he has to come to grips with the sickening realization that he must not have learned much of ANYTHING last time out if he blew his second shot," Waid explained. "And there's no guarantee of a third. So maybe it's time, he thinks, to put his effort towards other things."

Over the years Doctor Strange has matched wits with a variety of immensely powerful foes, but for "Strange," Waid is more interested in pitting his protagonist against a new crop of villains. "You'll see why once you get your first glimpse of the New Doc," the writer stated. "He's no longer the kind of guy who can go toe-to-toe with Dormammu--at least, not at first."

Waid is aware that Doctor Strange does have a strong fan base, and some of them might have questions about the new direction in which the character is headed. He urges those fans to pick up "Strange" with an open mind and thinks they'll throughly enjoy the series if they do. "You should be ready to meet the New Doc," Waid said. "He's ready to meet you."

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