By Tim Stevens
Doctor Strange has been handed a mystical pink slip.
While the Marvel Universe may be wrapped up in the crowning of a new Sorcerer Supreme, the man who once held the title finds himself without a job for the first time since he lost his surgical career all those years ago. What does a former Master of the Mystic Arts do for a follow up act?
That's the question behind STRANGE, a new limited series from writer Mark Waid appearing on shelves this October.
For Waid, his attraction to the project comes from this period of uncertainty in the good Doctor's life.
"The appeal of Doctor Strange, to me, is that he's one of the few longtime characters who's always learning, always striving to better himself in ways that we can actually witness," the writer explains. "He never rests on his philosophy or dwells for long in the status quo."
Editor Tom Brevoort shares Waid's view of Strange's intriguing new situation.
"I'm really comfortable and really excited by the particular take we've got on Strange in the new project now that he's no longer the Sorcerer Supreme," Brevoort says, "I think readers will see some sides to Strange that'll be new to them, and hopefully his new place in the world will prove interesting. I definitely like it!"
Perhaps because of his orientation towards change, Strange quickly finds something unexpected about his loss of title:
"To his stunned surprise, he doesn't miss it," Waid reveals of Strange's disposition towards his new lot. "He figured he would, he assumed he would, but the Doc we're meeting up with is one who's looking upon this as more of a sabbatical than a punishment and is rather enjoying, for the first time in his adult life, not having to shoulder the weight of responsibility every waking moment. Before he started learning the Mystic Arts, Stephen Strange must have had other hobbies, other interests, and now he's able to reconnect with them with a joi de vivre that's overwhelmingly new to him.
"He's kinda digging it in the same way that, say, David Copperfield loves taking time off from giant stage illusions to practice his rusty sleight-of-hand, or Robert Downey, Jr. might enjoy taking six months off from making blockbuster films to brush up on his stage skills."
Unfortunately for Doctor Strange, his old enemies have no interest in waiting for him to reach any conclusions about where he would like to take his life next. However, while these threats may be familiar to our hero, readers will be meeting them for the first time.
"His old enemies aren't on that same staycation [that Strange is]," confirms Waid. "I would lean towards [them being] brand new [to fans]-or, at least, brand new threats from a familiar place."
"Doc's been a tough sell as a solo player, but we're hopeful that the story we're going to be telling in this new STRANGE project will interest some new fans while giving Doc's core supporters something they'll like," Brevoort articulates. "The goal in this case is what the goal always is with our characters: to bring greater attention to them, and to bring them to greater prominence and popularity."
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