Everybody has probably wanted, at some point, to become a superhero — and Doctor Strange, like Batman, is one of the rare superheroes that you conceivably could become.
Every kid who grew up reading Batman comics probably had the genius idea that if they just suffered some insane tragedy, did enough pushups and then somehow got rich enough to buy experimental military weaponry, they too could become the Bat and strike fear into the hearts of criminals. Likewise, Doctor Strange didn't get his powers from being an alien, a mutant, being bitten by a radioactive insect or some other impossible-to-replicate scenario. Which, believe it or not, is quite possible to replicate. This doesn't let you shoot fireballs out of your hands, unfortunately, but it does let you do all kinds of amusing and enlightening things with your own mind, so there’s that.
As a kid I obsessed over the idea of finding some way, any way, to become a superhero. In the '80s, comics still had back pages that sold all kinds of novelty items: giant model submarines, inflatable dinosaurs, x-ray specs — and often, enticingly and perhaps irresponsibly, books on mastering hypnosis and other strange mental powers.
I became convinced that these mail-away books would open the door to actual superpowers ... and wouldn't they be impressed at school then, particularly the girls? As a teenager I graduated to studying the actual occult — again prompted by comics, in this case those of Grant Morrison and Alan Moore, who incorporated more serious "magical" material into their writing.Read More →