Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Doctor Strange #55 a classic by Roger Stern and Michael Golden

When Steve Ditko and Stan Lee created Doctor Strange they knocked it out of the park, so much so that it was really hard for future creators to come close to the awesomeness of it. Then Roger Stern and Michael Golden came along and brought it up a notch. Doctor Strange #55, Oct 1982, is not only one of the best Doctor Strange stories I've ever read, it's one of the best comics I've ever read.

Doctor Strange #55, Oct 1982, by Roger Stern and Michael Golden
Dimension hopping Doctor Strange has always been a great character to delve into the world of the psyche. Steve Ditko and Stan Lee created some awesome denizens of  the netherworld like Nightmare, Dormammu, Eternity and the Mindless Ones.

The thing that really made someone like Nightmare so compelling was that he wasn't much of a threat to the Doc's physical well being so much as he used Doctor Strange's own fears and insecurities against him. This is what really set Doc apart from the other inhabitants of the Marvel Universe, and also what made him so darn difficult to write. Then along came Roger Stern. Early in Roger Stern's run on Doctor Strange he wrote a one off that Michael Golden had drawn. In it, Doctor Strange, who just separated from his long time girlfriend Clea, is feeling a little lonely and vulnerable.

Doctor Strange "dies" and finds out what life would be like if he had never lived. In this new world Doctor Strange is just a fictitious popular hero created by Less Tane and Ted Tevoski, anagrams for Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

Michael Golden does a great job drawing Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in this fun page.
Then  just as Doctor Strange is going to give in and kill himself, he rejects his death, madness and despair. 

They fight on till Doctor Strange gets the upper hand on D'Spayre by wrapping him in his famous crimson bands of Cyttorac a spell left over from the good old days of Ditko/Lee.

Roger Stern sums the story up beautifully in the final pages.

As you can see, Michael Golden has done a stunning job depicting Doc Strange's adventures. Pictures like his depiction of the Defenders are so stunning that they make me long for a whole adventure of Defenders as depicted by Michael Golden.
It seems that as well as being very impressive, Michael Golden was also an influential artist, influencing the whole Image style that dominated the early 90's comic scene, directly or indirectly.
When Art Adams hit the scene in 1985 with his impressive Longshot debut, not only do some of his images resemble Michael Golden's, but even the manic cross hatching style is very similar.

Here we see a panel from Doctor Strange 55 by Golden next to the cover of Longshot #6. Not only does the manic expressions on the faces and the long, oddly proportioned fingers resemble each other, but also the inking like the style of blacks and even the crosshatching.

Here we see an image from Doctor Strange 55 by Michael Golden on the left and on the right is an image from the X-Men by Jim Lee in the late 80's. Again, not only is the facial expressions similar but the inking is very similar with it's agitated cross hatching style.
So it appears that Michael Golden was not only very impressive but he influenced a whole generation of artists.
 Unfortunately Michael Golden never really worked on a regular superhero title. He did do some stellar one shots like this and the stunning Avengers annual #10 and numerous breathtaking covers. As for series he did co-create the Micronauts with Bill Mantlo in 1978, Bucky O'Hare with Larry Hama and was the initial artist on the series the Nam. Michael Golden's work is so impressive that he is one of the few artists that I seek out.

So what can I say about Doctor Strange #55 but if you don't own it, go out and get it! After you finish digesting all the implications of the impressive story you can ogle the eye candy artwork. Go get it, I don't think you'll be sorry you did.

1 comment:

  1. i agree completely. It's one of the greatest comic books ever published. And it helped me through numerous breakups!