Doctor Strange 384: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Spencer Irwin

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

Michael: This is the second week in a row that I get to name-drop the Sentry! I think I may be in the minority when I say that I like the Sentry, the Dr. Jekyll Superman analogue with a Mr. Hyde counterpart called The Void. I don’t think that he should be headlining his own book, but I do like him as a co-star or part of an ensemble. Donny Cates makes excellent use out of the Sentry in Doctor Strange 384.

Stephen Strange has tapped into some very powerful Asgardian magic to combat current Sorcerer Supreme Loki. Since Doctor Strange’s magics always come with a price, he has diverted all of his pain to the invincible Sentry — who doesn’t seem to be affected by magic like Superman is.

Donny Cates’ approach to Doctor Strange is interesting in light of Jason Aaron’s work on the book. Aaron really emphasized the toll that magic took on Strange. Cates, on the other hand, acknowledges that price but bypasses it with some in-story “cheat codes.” Before Strange used the Sentry as his “depository of pain,” the newly-minted Sorcerer Supreme Loki was also looking for ways to circumvent magic’s price.

Is Cates proposing to get rid of magic’s costs altogether? I called his narrative workarounds “cheat codes” but that doesn’t mean I don’t admire them. Story universes have their own internal logic and rules. If Doctor Strange should turn into a leper when he absorbs magic from The World Tree, you better have a good reason why he doesn’t.

Both Strange and Loki find themselves in desperate situations. Strange is desperate to get his house, his title, and his love interest (?) back. With his newly-acquired powers Loki — being Loki — simply wants more power. Really, what he wants is everything that Stephen Strange has/had. His curiosity to know what is behind door #3 is so consuming that he doesn’t even consider the potentially disastrous consequences.

Strange is equally desperately blinded by desire. As Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange would try to stop a mortal such as himself from absorbing power from The World Tree. His quest to reclaim what is his — coupled with the immense power he has acquired — makes him callous and destructive. It’s a wakeup call when the trickster god has to tell you that what you’ve done is irresponsible and wrong.

Doctor Strange has been portrayed as the calm, cool and collected type and as the magical version of Tony Stark. Seeing him this reckless and desperate is certainly a different approach, even visually. In his current de-powered state, Strange is akin to a drug addict falling on and off of the wagon. The way that Gabriel Hernandez Walta draws Strange evokes that kind of imagery with his all-black wardrobe and his crew cut and his haggard appearance. Contrast that with his suped-up Asgardian Jesus mode Strange.

Spencer, are you enjoying Cates and Walta’s Doctor Strange as much as I am? I’m hoping that Loki gets to keep the title a little longer because I’m curious about what kind of trouble he will cause. Thoughts on The Sentry/The Void? What’s your take on Cates’ portrayal of “the price of magic”? How do you feel about Zelma’s role in all of this? She seems above Loki and Stephen’s feud, I could see her just rejecting them both and walking away.

Spencer: I would honestly love to see some of this story from Zelma’s perspective. She was a friend and student of Stephen’s, but stuck around after Loki inherited the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme as if she was simply an item passed down with the title, like the mansion or cloak. What does she think about the swapping of her teachers? Why did she stay when Strange left? Because she feels like she has a duty to the Sorcerer Supreme, whoever he may be? Because she genuinely wants to keep learning magic? Because she wants to keep an eye on Loki? Honestly, I’d suspect that Zelma and Stephen had some sort of surveillance/double agent plan in place if Stephen wasn’t so obviously desperate at the moment.

Still, I do really like the one big moment Zelma has in this issue.

It says a lot about Zelma’s growing skill and bravery that she makes this move at all, and I think it continues to add complexities to her loyalties and motivation as well — she doesn’t step in to help either of her mentors, but instead decides that they’re both acting like children and need a time-out. The thing is, she doesn’t take into account Loki being a god, which means that the battle continues to rage on despite her intervention. It’s a nice reminder that Zelma’s still a novice, even if she’s more clear-headed than either Sorcerer Supreme right now.

(Can I also just mention how refreshing it is that Cates kept Zelma around at all, instead of starting over with his own supporting cast? Actually, it’s interesting to note how this volume of Doctor Strange has continued on without rebooting since Aaron’s departure, which itself is a rarity at modern-day Marvel. I think the fact that Cates’ run is part of the same volume as Aaron’s is probably at least part of why Cates has continued to stick so close to many of the ideas Aaron introduced, as Michael pointed out. Again, I think that’s refreshing, especially since Cates’ run is still so original in so many other ways. It does something new while not discarding what came before, which I appreciate.)

Anyway Michael, to answer your other questions, I’m very much enjoying Cates and Walta’s Doctor Strange, as you’ve probably gathered, and despite this being Stephen’s title, I’d love to see Loki stick around as Sorcerer Supreme for a while. His recent guest appearances in the role over in Unbeatable Squirrel Girl show how rich with potential the concept is for the entire Marvel universe, and, as Loki tends to do, it lends Doctor Strange itself a welcome layer of complexity. Stephen is certain that Loki is up to no good and that he wants the spell he’s hidden inside of Zelma, but are we? As always, Loki’s motivations are a mystery — I second Michael’s interpretation that Loki just wants everything that Stephen had, even if he doesn’t fully understand what they are. I suppose no matter what Loki is guilty of hubris, but couldn’t we say the same about Stephen right now?

That’s what makes Loki such a fascinating antagonist for Stephen. In many ways he’s brought out the best in Stephen, forcing him to adapt and improvise, which is always fascinating in a world of endless magical possibilities. The Stephen Strange who has to instigate a heist, steal a magical artifact, and set up his friend as a patsy is a lot more interesting to me than the one who has a few magic words at hand that can solve any problem. But Loki’s also brought out the worst in Stephen, the side of him that’s petty, the side of him that’s willing to pay a terrible price to achieve his goal.

Stephen himself admits that there’s a price to be paid for his actions. Paying a price for an action usually implies that an action is a crime, or morally wrong, but as a magician Stephen’s already used to paying a price for every spell he casts. Maybe Stephen sees these prices as less a punishment, and more a natural consequence of every action he takes, good or bad. It looks like he believes his current course will be worth the price he’ll eventually pay, but us readers can only wait and see whether he’s right or not.

Walta continues to provide excellent art to Doctor Strange, creating an aesthetic where even the most extreme, magical effect is grounded in the realism of Walta’s down-to-Earth figures and acting. It’s an effect that perfectly compliments Cates’ approach to the character. In terms of actual effects, I greatly appreciate the various panel borders Walta employs throughout the issue. In the New York-based scenes he uses standard borders, although they have just enough smudges and stray lines to them to look hand-drawn. The borders he uses when Strange and Loki travel to Dimension Blood are much shakier and less stable, which is an appropriate fit for such an unstable world, especially once Stephen’s magic transmutes it, changing it down to its very foundation.

Meanwhile, the scene at the hidden temple for the Disciples of Strange foregoes borders altogether, leaving each panel to drift directly in the bleed. It fits the more mystical element of the location, but even if you can’t find a reading that explains the kind of border used in each scene, just the fact that Walta uses these subtle changes to differentiate the issue’s three settings is a strong storytelling choice. Doctor Strange is full of those kinds of smart touches from every creator involved, which is why it’s such a strong title right now.

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

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17 comments on “Doctor Strange 384: Discussion

  1. I think Cates isn’t saying that magic should have no costs, merely demonstrating why avoiding those costs are a bad idea. I think we are supposed to read everything as an example of why costs are important. This is a story where everyone tries to cheat their costs, and that will come back to bite them. You could make the argument that the Void being released is the cost for Strange using the Sentry (like Aaron’s run suggested the Empirikul was the consequence of Strange not paying his tab). At the very least, Strange’s use of the Sentry to cheat his costs is going to be a very, very bad thing that will cost a lot now that the Void is released. Now that the Void is released, Strange is going to see the cost of trying to avoid paying the tab. I mean, that’s exactly what the Void is, a force that creates the equal and opposite response to everything the Sentry does.

    Also, the best part of this issue is just how silly Strange looks. Hubris is a key idea in this issue, and the fact that Strange looks so stupid all powerful is key. For all the discussions of import, Strange and Loki look ludicrous. They look like kids. Hell, Strange literally hits a baseball through a window, the most cliche example of childish actions) Which just emphasises how immature and childish they are both being. Meanwhile, the actual winner of the fight (at least, the magic component), Zelma, is dressed completely normally (I am so happy that Zelma is still hanging around, as she could so easily have been a character that was just forgotten. Though I hope she gets to have a scene soon that isn’t her being the voice of sober reason that tells the men ‘No’ or being the third part of a ‘love’ triangle. When everything else in this book is so exceptional, I expect better writing of female characters than being reduced to those sexist cliches)

    Also, I have to say, I don’t think it was the right choice to not relaunch this book with a new number one. I’ve never understood the obsession with continuous volumes. Maybe this is because I care more about the run – I’d rather make my choice on whether I read a book on its creative team, on the current run’s premise etc than read a book just keep reading – but isn’t an obvious starting point a good thing? Shouldn’t this run be given the clear indication to anyone interested that 381 is a good place to start the story, instead of being given a number so intimidating the casual follower has no idea if the book is appropriate? And I think there is nothing stopping you from relaunching a book and keeping ideas from the previous run like Zelma or magic having costs

  2. Hey Matt. I have a question for you. Is it good that companies like the Big 2 satisfies their core fans by giving what they wanted at a cost of reducing the diversity of their product line?. I ask this because I was once a fan of Marvel’s comic that doesn’t involve their A-listers like Avengers, X-men, Spider-man, etc. Eventhough I can understand many reasons for the cancellation of books that doesn’t involve A-listers I still want them to be continued in one way or another.

    • Economically, I understand why they do it. Poorly selling books aren’t good, and Marvel/DC are ultimately businesses. And poorly selling books aren’t good for the creators either – financially a high selling book earns them more money, and creators in comics don’t get paid enough as it is.
      Indulging long term fans is a great short term strategy, even if it is a terrible long term strategy. Though any attempt at long term strategy is challenged by the messed up relationships between publishers, Diamond, and comic book stores, which are trapped in a suicidal game of chicken where all three of them can’t afford to break and the wall is getting closer and closer. Any long term economic strategy should involve diversifying the line, but that is secondary to finding a way to escape the game of chicken without losing or crashing into the wall.
      (though while discussing things economically, a big reason why Marvel has and still is pushing b-list characters like Sam Wilson or Kate Bishop recently, or why new characters like Riri Williams/Ironheart have been created (since we are talking about this under a Doctor Strange piece, I would suggest Zelma is here for the same purpose), are the movies. Marvel know they need to diversify their bench and create a new A-list, or the MCU will die. Eventually, they will lose the characters they have as the actors end their contracts, and are now facing a film industry where the top three movies of the year were all female lead and Black Panther somehow become the biggest pop culture story of the year before the movie was released. A Ms Marvel movie is coming as soon as it makes sense for there to be a Carol Danvers fangirl, and I would not be surprised if one of the Avengers 4 post credit scenes involves Sam Wilson picking up the Captain America shield or Riri Williams being given an AI Tony Stark as part of Tony’s last will and testament. Zelma turning up in a future Doctor Strange as his apprentice would also make sense).

      Creatively, choosing to satisfy core fans instead of diversifying is completely terrible. Best writing advice I’ve ever seen is ‘don’t give the audience what they want, give them what they need’. And pandering to core fans goes against that. Pandering to fans means focusing on what they want, sabotaging the stories in order to preserve an idealised version instead. Diversifying, whether it means finding new ways to write the A-list characters, promoting generally ignored b-list characters or creating new characters, is an important way to actually provide audiences what they need.
      Because ultimately, diversifying is change, and one of the most basic needs we have is the need to acknowledge the fact that change is unavoidable. That the world changes and evolves. We need art to evolve and adapt to that changing reality, not get stuck in place, even if we want things to stay as we like them.
      So yeah, lack of diversity is a massive problem. Luckily, with Marvel, we are in a situation where, whenever they cancel one of those great b-list books, they generally announce another one son after. Is it a tragedy that Hawkeye is coming to an end, seemingly much earlier than it should have been? Yeah. But we lost Mockingbird too soon, only to get Hawkeye and Wasp, which were both amazing. We lost Wasp, and then we got Runaways. That is at least something.
      On the other hand, DC’s double shipping is terrible precisely because of how it cripples both companies’ ability to have a strong b-list. DC give up most of their space for b-list books to release more a-list books, and the double shipping makes it harder for customers to take chances on Marvel’s b-list because of Batman is now a much bigger draw of their budget.
      Though it isn’t just about b-list characters. I love the b-list, but the a-list isn’t inherently bad. I love the a-list characters as well, and they are great when they are written to same principles i expressed above. Don’t pander to core fans. Be creative and original. Find new angles and evolve the characters. There is a reason that the Captain America and Iron Man books turned to shit immediately when Legacy hit. Not because Steve Rogers and Tony Stark returned, but because they chose to pander. I’m not a fan of Spencer’s Captain America, but it trying is a lot better than Waid writing the safest, emptiest Captain America imaginable (meanwhile, Slott is a good example of someone writing an A-list character while always trying to find original directions to take Spiderman. I don’t like his execution, but he never panders and the book is much better for it).

      So yeah, diversifying the product line is one of the most important things the Big 2 can do creatively, and pandering to the fans will only smother the comics. The Big 2 need to do a lot more of the lesser. And while I will always be happy when a b-list book ends at a natural point, it is tragic that too many of them don’t get that chance and end early. I’d love books like Wasp to have longer runs. And honestly, I think it would hardly be the worst thign for an A-list character to… take a break and come back refreshed.
      And as annoying as it is that Marvel keep cancelling their b-list books early, we’ve just got to take advantage of the fact that they are creating lots of b-list books as well. There is always a new one being released, and it is better to read the 8 issues of Wasp and move onto the next great book (like Runaways) than miss those eight issues of perfection

      • To be honest the reason why I want them to continue b-list books is because I don’t want those characters that have been given a revival to disappear in obscurity. I’m know that they have made some mistakes but to cancel those type of books and not giving those characters a second chane is quite disappointing in my opinion( especially coming from a Marvel “fan”‘ that interested in inhumans).

        Do you think that the Big 2 should just produce creator-owned books in the first place?

        • It really felt like Marvel NOW! was designed as a (albeit hybrid) creator-owned approach to superhero comics. Each new creative team got their own #1, each series had a specific pitch beyond “so-and-so fights crime,” and the tones of those books ranged pretty widely in both writing and art (everything from Hawkeye to New Avengers). I tend to think they did a pretty good job of keeping crossovers to a minimum during that time, too. Cameos, sure (and lots of good ones), but very few crossovers. It was kind of a great time to be reading Marvel comics.

          Unfortunately, I think the sales weren’t great — or at least, not as good as they could have been with higher issue #s (a thing I’ll never understand a demand for) and more event books (something nobody seems to love, but everyone seems to buy) — so Marvel has reverted back to the old formula. I think they’ve still largely kept the more creator-driven pitch format, but the legacy numbering sustains the illusion that there’s more continuity between creative teams. It’s a little harder to keep track of creative changes — I can’t just scan solicits for #1s anymore — but the biggest change seems to be the emphasis on summer event tentpoles. Would that Marvel’s fun, weird books could just ignore what’s going on in the rest of the universe to just stay fun and weird.

  3. Well I mean real creator-owned books. In my opinion they should just published those instead of having a superhero universe because eventhough they’ve tried to diversify their superhero comics by writing stories beyond the usual ‘punching bad guys’ and introduce diverse characters with different characteristics, for me they always will never able to move foward from the a-list characters that sells well because they need to satisfy the core fans. I’m not saying that the a-listers should be abandoned, I just feel that it will affect them badly in the long term if they can’t try to diversify their product line.

    • Both Marvel and DC have experimented with creator-owned projects in the past, but that’s really not what they’re built for. And now that there’s so much money to be had making movies, tv, games, toys, and whatever else using these characters, it’s hard for me to imagine them investing in a property they wouldn’t have ownership of. The best selling comic book in the world won’t turn anywhere near the profit of even a modestly successful movie. For better or for worse, creator-owned comics and movie company-owned publishers are incompatible. That will bite them in the butt if and when superhero movies fall out of fashion, but there’s a lot of money to be made between now and then, so I don’t anticipate either publisher changing those attitudes any time soon.

    • Yeah, I miss the characters when they are gone and don’t want them to disappear either. The fact that new books like Runaways appear is the silver lining, but you can’t have silver linings without clouds. I still miss books like Wasp (and Raven: The Pirate Princess, as good as it is, isn’t enough to replace it. Especially as we used to have both books!)

      I don’t think it would be the worst thing for DC and Marvel to push more effort into their creator driven imprints – especially DC, who make the pretence of Vertigo existing while doing nothing meaningful with it, unlike Marvel that ignore Icon except to release Powers every so often. If DC is going to release great books like Sheriff of Babylon and Imaginary Fiends, they deserve a better chance, with the sort of exposure that Image or Boom provides.

      But I also think that the answer isn’t that the Big 2 need to produce more creator owned content. Not for the answer Drew gave – I think Drew is unaware of just how many creator owned comics get made into movies. Atomic Blonde, Death of Stalin, Kingsmen, We Are the Best!, Snowpiercer, RED and Blue is the Warmest Colour were all comic books first, so the idea that you can’t make money from Hollywood with creator owned comics is wrong. If It can become a massive success, there is no reason why Paper Girls couldn’t if it was given the sort of love and attention (and marketing) given to the sorts of blockbusters that actually do end up being successful. I mean, it is hard to think of a better example of a creator owned comic than Walking Dead, the most iconic Image comic there is, and that made a fortune, complete with massive merchandising. If Marvel Studios can make Iron Man the biggest superhero in the world, and AMC can make Walking Dead a megasuccess, creator driven books can certainly become the cinematic success Drew is talking about

      But when it comes to creator owned/creator driven comics, I think Image and Boom do a good enough job at the moment at being high profile publishers for that sort of content. The problems the creator-driven market face are structural in ways that can’t be solved as easily as a Vertigo revival (honestly, it all goes back to that three way game of Chicken I described above).

      The reason that Marvel and DC should keep doing what they are doing is that they have something no one else does. Superhero universes are unique. They are so impossible to properly establish, that we only have two real ones. Just as IDW have their unique space in the market (no matter how little it appeals to me), I think it is the right choice for Marvel and DC to focus on the unique thing that only they can supply. What Marvel and DC need to do is make a concerted effort to grow and evolve their A-list (and they do, though not as much as they could. But the Guardians of the Galaxy and Harley Quinn are now firmly A-list characters) and maintain a thriving b list through embracing that Marvel NOW/DC YOU vibe that Drew discussed above, which really was the best way to use Marvel and DC’s toys (I don’t think Marvel NOW’s problem was sales. It led to years of Marvel unquestionably being at the top. I think the real reason Marvel shifted away from that came from the idea that they needed to respond to Rebirth. I think it was fear that Marvel’s greatest vulnerability at that point was fans leaving for Rebirth, so they adjusted strategy from the pretty perfect Marvel NOW to the confused Legacy).
      This won’t fix all the problems, but that’s because the problems are much larger than Marvel or DC’s choice of what books to publish. While they can both improve on what they publish, and trying to diversify their product line is one the most important things they can do creatively, many of these problems can’t be solved with such a simple solution. The comics industry has major structural issues that sabotage any attempt at diversifying the product line, no matter how well intentioned. Mostly coming back to the Publisher/Diamond/LCS relationship that is hurting everyone involved, but none can easily escape. And unless that is solved, the quest to have the Big 2 diversify their product line will be made up of small successes met with constant set backs

      • Matt, I didn’t mean that creator owned properties can’t be made into hugely successful films/tv/games/toys, just that the success of those things isn’t shared by the publisher. Why would DC put effort into creating a character they don’t have movie rights for when they could put that same effort into a character that does? Movie companies want to own the rights to potential movie franchises, hence their incompatibility with creator owned comics.

        • Except I don’t believe Vertigo is creator owned. They are creator driven, but not creator owned. The nature of Image being such a major influence on the market makes that easy to forget, but DC are the ones earning money from adapting of Fables, iZombie and Lucifer.

        • The ownership is complicated at Vertigo. Some characters, like Constantine or Doom Patrol, are completely owned by DC, but other properties are partially or completely owned by their creators (Sandman is the prime example, but many Vertigo series are at least partially creator-owned. Which is why Vertigo is all but non-existent these days — Warner Brothers recognizes where their bread is buttered, and developing properties that may ultimately be made into successes for a competitor isn’t a great investment for them.

        • Are you sure that is the case, Drew? From my understanding, Gaiman doesn’t own any of the Sandman, and the only reason DC always works with him with respect to Sandman characters is out of respect (and because Gaiman is ultimately the sort of person who doesn’t appear to say no). I can’t see any difference between Sandman and Animal Man, or Shade the Changing Man or any other similar British Invasion revival.

          And while technically, Lucifer takes place in the DC Universe, Fables and iZombie don’t. And yet, from my understanding, it was DC and WB that owned the IPs. Telltale were given the rights to make a Fables game before there was any announcement whether Willingham would have any involvement. In fact, Willingham has said that he had no control over how Fables was adapted/merchandised and that DC had total control. Meanwhile, everything I have read suggests that it was DC and WB that pushed for an iZombie show. While Allred was eventually involved, Roberson and Allred didn’t push for iZombie. Instead, it was a concerted effort internally by DC and WB to make the show, who insisted on it until Rob Thomas picked it up. In fact, DC Entertainment is one of the production companies involved. While both books are creator driven and disconnected from the DC Universe, I’m almost certain DC owns the rights. They are the ones making the decisions on whether the Vertigo books are getting adapted.

          Also, I think you overstate the ‘risk’ for WB when they make a deal to produce something creator owned. WB has made many deals with creator owned properties and made a fortune without risk of losing it to a competitor. They’ve made a fortune out of merchandise to the film specific versions of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, and even Amazon’s LOTR show doesn’t appear to be threatening their control of the Lord of the Rings franchise (movie specific version of LOTR just got a high profile AAA game last year). Nor do I think that any film studio making deals with actual creator owned works are feeling threatened. The cost of licensing a creator owned work is ultimately immaterial, and the amount of control that WB gets on their version means competitors aren’t a threat. Even if WB didn’t own the rights to Vertigo books (which they do), that wouldn’t matter.

          Ultimately, the reason Vertigo is abandoned is that DC and Marvel exist as IP factories for their corporate masters, and both Disney and WB care more about superheroes who are part of the current zietgeist and have decades of goodwill than on younger, riskier creator owned books. And so, Vertigo and Icon are forgotten, because they aren’t likely to have the return of a superhero movie or TV series. If the situation changes, and Image Comics become the next big thing in Hollywood, you better believe DC will pump Vertigo as much as it can

        • 100% sure. As I said, it varies from case to case, but Gaimann very famously renegotiated his contract to give him co-ownership of the character (which is why the series stopped when he left and hasn’t been revived without him — his consent is needed in order for the character to appear anywhere). I guess I’m not taking your point: are you suggesting that Vertigo didn’t have creator-owned series? I’ll happily refer you to Wikipedia (or anywhere that has a thorough definition of what Vertigo is).

          Obviously, the “movie companies don’t want to develop creator-owned comics” explanation for the decline of Vertigo is a little simplistic — Image offers a much better deal for creators, so just outcompeted Vertigo for talent and ideas — but I think it’s closer to the mark than the “movie companies aren’t concerned with non-superhero properties” since, as you already pointed out, there are several lucrative TV shows and movies being made from creator-owned stuff. Everybody wants their own The Walking Dead, but Vertigo wasn’t designed to generate movie/tv projects for Warner Brothers, and doesn’t suit the task as well as DC does, so it’s all but dried up.

        • I think it depends exactly how you define creator owned. You go through those wikipedia pages, and you can see a lot about all the things that DC Entertainment has done to push adaptions forward. And if DC is making the decisions on adaptions, I don’t see it as creator owned. Which is not an insult on DC/Vertigo, merely a semantic definition.

          Ultimately, my point is that DC Entertainment has a stake in the success of Vertigo properties in a way that Image doesn’t. When we’ve seen stories about the deals for books like Wicked + the Divine, Wytches and Sex Criminals, the deal is made with the creative team themselves. When a deal is made to adapt Fables, or iZombie, or 100 Bullets, it is DC taking the reigns. And because DC Entertainment is involved, they profit from the success of Vertigo books in a way that Image wouldn’t. That’s the cost to Image for having the most creator friendly terms in the market.
          And yeah, Image outcompeting Vertigo is a major influence, but Boom doesn’t have Image’s unique business model and is also strong. DC could make Vertigo competitive, if they wanted to (I don’t think anything could save Icon, especially now that Bendis left Marvel)

          And my argument wasn’t exactly that “movie companies aren’t concerned with non-superhero properties”, but more that “WB sees DC Entertainment’s value primarily in its superhero offerings”. I think most creator owned comics get adapted these days because they fit into something was already going to be made. iZombie was made because of the need for a Buffy style show that they felt was missing from their lineup, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Atomic Blonde adapted the Coldest City merely because it provided the necessary plot details for what was ultimately always envisioned primarily as an action movie by one of the John Wick guys. Probably the same with Lucifer, they wanted a new arsehole genius show.
          But I think it is fair to say that Warner Brothers isn’t reading through Vertigo’s backlog for movie ideas in the same way that they are with DC’s mainline books. And if Hollywood changed so that the MCU was no longer the biggest game in town the most successful genre in Hollywood were Image Comics adaptions, Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment would be treating Vertigo very differently and it would be a lot more competitive than it is today (it will never beat Image, because as you said Imageis a better deal, but there is no reason it couldn’t compete with Boom). With books like Transmetropolitian, DMZ, Y: the Last Man, Fables, 100 Bullets, Sweet Tooth, Scalped, American Vampire etc, Vertigo could do just as rich a job at creating TV and movie projects as DC, if that is what the market was interested in

  4. Anyone else go read Dr. Strange: The Oath to read the original appearnace of the Sands of Nishanti?

    The best use I’ve had so far of Marvel Unlimited.

    • This is the first direct reference to The Oath, but I think the Oath is just as important an influence to this run as Aaron’s run. The moment with Skurge’s guns reminds me of the gun used to shoot Strange at the start of the Oath. Love that it seems to be a key influence

      • I hadn’t read The Oath. I liked it quite a bit. And I liked this particular comic quite a bit and going to put it on my early list of comics of the year. I thought every single thing about this comic worked. From the use of the Sentry to the use of the Void to multiple panels and spreads – Strange out in front of the house on one of the early pages, Strange channeling his new power (and the color and design), Loki’s (real? fake?) concern for Strange…

        This really, really worked for me.

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