Monday, May 21, 2012

Dr. Strange vs. '80s Horror

Back in 2001 and 2002, Marvel Comics was publishing Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, written by Ultimate Spider-Man scribe Brian Bendis. Every issue they would introduce another Ultimate version of a classic Marvel character to the ultimatized universe by having him team-up (hence the title) with Ultimate Spider-Man. The series ran for 16 issues (plus a Special) before the whole thing collapsed into an apocryphal black hole of non-continuity as Marvel declared the stories to be non-canon (some more so than others).

But none of this stopped me from writing a fictitious news article for my website based on issues 13 and 14, in which Bendis introduced Ultimate Dr. Strange. This version of Dr. Strange was a young man discovering that he had inherited sorcerous powers from his absentee father, the original Dr. Strange, who had mysteriously gone missing years prior.

My "news story" was about the new Dr. Strange discovering important clues about his father's fate, but being completely oblivious to their true meaning. As usual, my sense of humor was way too obscure for my own good...


Old Photo May Be Key to Solving Mystery

Current Sorcerer Supreme Stephen Strange caught a lucky break this week in his quest to discover the fate of his missing father, Dr. Stephen Strange, when a search through some old financial records showed that he once owned a timeshare on a cabin in the mountains of Morristown, Tennessee. Unsuccessful in their efforts to locate the timeshare partner -- an archaeologist named Professor Knowby -- Stephen and Dr. Strange's faithful servant Wong decided to journey to Tennessee and investigate the cabin for themselves.

What they found may be the last place Dr. Strange visited before disappearing without a trace two decades ago. From all indications, he was enjoying a vacation the last time he visited the cabin. The clothes he packed were suitable for hiking in the woods, and the few other items he left behind show that he was trying to relax and unwind:

Dr. Strange brought with him some light reading material (the Necronomicon, or Book of the Dead); a handheld puzzle box, similar to the Rubik's Cubes that were all the rage back then; and judging by all the empty containers, the good doctor's diet was less than ideal, as he seemed to be eating nothing but dessert.

While none of these items seemed out of the ordinary, Stephen did manage to find something he considers to be an important clue.

In the Necronomicon there was an old Polaroid photo of Dr. Strange, apparently being used as a bookmark. At the bottom of the photo, the white border was covered with arcane glyphs, obviously drawn with enchanted ink (since none of them were smeared).

 Stephen and Wong hope that by translating the glyphs, they will finally be able to determine what happened to Earth's previous Sorcerer Supreme all those years ago.

In the meantime, the artifacts of Dr. Strange's final days have been secured in the Sanctum Sanctorum in case it becomes necessary to examine them for forensics evidence.

Stephen's mother Clea, who never told her son that his father had been a master of the mystic arts because she did not want him traveling that path, was visibly disturbed by these revelations.

"He never told me about the cabin," she said in a recent interview on 60 Minutes II. "I have to wonder if he was using it to have an affair. Is that what happened to him? Did he run off with some slut like Scarlet Witch? Is that why he disappeared as soon as he found out I was pregnant?" Clea then broke into tears.

In her defense, the Scarlet Witch claims to have never heard of Dr. Strange, and points out that she was maybe three years old at the time of his disappearance. She is also threatening legal action if Clea does not cease referring to her in the tabloids as the Harlot Witch.

* * *

Notes: See? In a cabin in the woods, Dr. Strange was reading aloud from the Necronomicon, fiddling with a Hellraiser puzzle box, and eating the Stuff. But none of those things could possibly have anything to do with his disappearance, right? Surely it's the Polaroid that's the important clue! Ah, I do love explaining 10-year-old jokes. But hey, I watched The Stuff on Netflix tonight, and it brought back semi-fond memories of this mashup, so I decided to unearth it from deep in my hard drive and share.

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