In the 60s, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko sought out to make a different type of superhero. An all-powerful mystic who was less about shooting laser beams and swinging from webs and was more about spiritual learning, magic, and the mysteries of the universe. While some believe this was Lee and Ditko trying to expand their repertoire beyond their early work, some believe Doctor Strange was created because the duo were ingesting (like most people in the 60s) lots of psychedelic drugs.
We indeed did get an extremely powerful superhero unlike any other before, but we also got some of the weirdest, most surreal, and strangest (so much pun intended) stories that have come about about in all of Marvel comics.
So turn the lights down low, spark a doobie, and check out some of Dr. Strange’s Strangest moments.
6. Demonic Baseball
First off, a lighthearted, weird moment – Doctor Strange playing baseball.
After the event, World War Hulk, Doctor Strange had his powers taken away due to dabbling too much into dark magics. Afterwards, he was relatively powerless and had to find other ways to defeat evil. In “Doctor Strange: The Doctor is Out,” Strange sought out apprentices of his own in order to continue helping the world. This crossed his paths with a young woman named Casey Kinmont, the granddaughter of a baseball manager. Meeting her at a baseball game, Strange realized that the players for the opposing team to her grandfather’s were all secretly demons in disguise. Stripped of his powers, Strange had to beat them the old-fashioned way: on the baseball diamond. Strange played the game well, and scored the winning run, defeating the demon baseball team.
5. Down the Rabbit Hole
Probably the most drug-influenced story of all was 1974’s “Doctor Strange: The Silver Dagger.” Doctor Strange finds himself against another mystic, The Silver Dagger. In an effort to rid the world of the Doctor, the Silver Dagger stole the Doctor’s Eye of Agamotto (one of his power sources) and trapped him in the Orb of Agamotto.
To put it simply, the inside of the Orb of Agamotto was more than likely the ramblings of Stan Lee as he was tripping acid. Full of direct Lewis Carroll references from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, hallucinations of various Marvel characters, and even Death himself, this story found Doctor Strange pushing the limits of what was considered mainstream comics.
4. Facial Hair Bros
Less strange, and more quirky, this is one of the more recent comics on the list, i.e. from the post-MCU world. From The Invincible Iron Man #3 (2015), we see the more Robert Downey Jr.-influence Iron Man spending an absorbent amount of time focusing on how he and Doctor Strange have similar facial hair. Dubbing them “Facial Hair Bros,” Tony squeals in excitement as Strange acknowledges (reluctantly) that they indeed both have facial hair. It is a weird and actually cute moment between the two heroes. Of all the things on the list, this one probably has a distinct possibility of actually happening in the MCU.
3. Head Explode
This strange moment comes from one of the stranger (and hated) events in Marvel’s history. 2009’s Ultimatum, written by Jeph Loeb, was the swan song of the Ultimate Marvel line of comics. Set in the alternate Ultimate universe, Ultimatum saw the senseless demise of numerous characters, small and large. In what seemed cruel and unnecessary, Doctor Strange found himself against the demon Dormammu, and this time, the demon won. Constricting Strange, Dormammu squeezed until the Doctor popped, literally. Doctor Strange’s head exploded, and Ultimatum left us with a strange, bad taste in our mouths.
2. The Bar with No Doors
This element of Doctor Strange’s universe is a new addition, and will be great fodder for future oddities in Doctor Strange stories. The Bar with No Doors, first appearing in 2015’s Doctor Strange Vol. 4, is a Manhattan bar/hideout exclusive to the users of the mystical arts. A veritable Mos Eisley cantina for the Marvel world, the bar hosts a showcase of the weird and powerful, and has been a source of much comic relief in the Doctor Strange stories. With any luck, this hideout will make an appearance in Doctor Strange this November.
1. “By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth!”
As far as catchphrases go, “By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth,” is definitely the weirdest one that has ever been uttered. You might be able to defend everything else on this list. You may say that it was simply Lee’s spectacular imagination that created some these ideas. But there is no possible way that Lee wasn’t high as a kite when he first thought up the alliterative line “By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth.” Lucky for him, the line is loved by fans of Strange, and with any luck, they will get to hear Benedict Cumberbatch utter the phrase (or at least some play on it). We’ll just have to wait until then to find out.
Any other weird, psychedelic moments Strange went through that I missed? If you can’t remember them, it’s okay, I’m pretty sure Lee and Ditko can’t either. Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!