Collaboration Must Be Fun in Doctor Strange 24

by Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

To be a comic book writer you have to have a certain amount of trust in people. I say this because unless you’re one of those uber-talented and driven writers who can do it all, you have to depend on another person to put your words and directions into pictures. Aside from the loss of creative control this may represent to an author, there are also logistical worries involved in this process. When an artist is penciling Doctor Strange, for example, they are going to need pretty clear directions from the author given that a lot of what they draw has to be things that don’t exist in real life. How exactly do you tell someone to draw all those bizarre magical beasties Stephen has to fight?

In Doctor Strange 24 Dennis Hopeless pulls back the veil a little bit to reveal this part of the creative process. As Stephen and his motley crew of allies schemes to free New York from Mordo and the Dark Dome, magical monsters galore are unleashed. At one point, the Kingpin – who is beefed up by a magical, demonic mask – takes on a strange, laser-shooting creature.

The Kingpin’s description of this monster is pretty spot-on as there’s basically no other way to describe it. It doesn’t seem to be too big a stretch of the imagination to envision Hopeless’ notes to artist Niko Henrichon describing this monster in just the same way the Kingpin did. Something along the lines of “Panel 3 – Kingpin sees sphincter crab walking toward him” sounds about right. What makes this moment fun – aside from the anatomical description of course – is it’s easy to imagine Hopeless giving similar instructions to Henrichon all the time during their collaboration on Doctor Strange. 

In this way, Kingpin’s comment functions as more than just a funny joke. It at once reveals a little bit of what happens behind the scenes when making this series and, to an extent, comic books in general. What we see is funny but also informative and just adds to the long list of reasons of why I enjoy this series so much.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

One comment on “Collaboration Must Be Fun in Doctor Strange 24

  1. One of my favourite touches in this issue is that Doctor Strange ultimately won using the principles of real world magic. No grand magic spell, just a little but of misdirection, a Pledge, a Turn and a Prestige.

    Who better than Strange to save the day with the same techniques as Penn and Teller?

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