Doctor Strange, Marvel's Strangest Supernatural Hero June 09, 2015 06:36

With Doctor Strange getting a little more traction these days due to an upcoming movie release  we thought it would be a good time to put a spotlight on our favorite sorcerer. Doctor Strange AKA Stephen Vincent Strange isn't your ordinary superhero that came about during the 1960's, rather he resembles some of his proto-superhero predecessors in which he doesn't technically have "super" powers.  Strange actually belongs to the "Supernatural Hero" category with the likes of Hellboy, Zatanna, and Captain Marvel.
Doctor Strange's first appearance was a 5 page filler piece in Strange Tales #110 which was published July of 1963.  

Starting around the time Strange turned 8 years old, Karl Mordo (already knowing that Stephen Strange was destined to become Sorcerer Supreme) antagonized our young Stephen Strange, that is until the Ancient One (Yao) put a stop to Mordo's shenanigans. Ultimately leading to Stephen Strange becoming the Ancient Ones' apprentice and later becoming Sorcerer Supreme himself. Did you know that some 1970's Doctor Strange books were heavily influenced by LSD and Magic Mushrooms? 

Doctor Strange featuring; Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

During the early 1970's Marvel's Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner  were constantly getting high on LSD and or other recreational drugs, and these drugs played a part in the revitalization of the Doctor Strange series. Read below an excerpt from Sean Howe's Marvel Comics: The Untold Story;

"It was during this ascendancy that Englehart met Frank Brunner, a Brooklyn artist with long blond hair, a buckskin jacket, and a library of Carlos Castaneda and H. P. Lovecraft paperbacks. Brunner had recently quit Marvel’s token occult-superhero comic, Doctor Strange, because he didn’t like the scripts that sexagenarian DC veteran Gardner Fox was writing — “monster of the month” was his disparaging description of Fox’s plotting style, which incorporated a revolving door of inhuman villains. But now Fox was off the book, and Roy wanted Brunner back. When Roy asked him whom he would want on board as a writer, Brunner remembered the guy he’d talked to at parties about kabbalah, astrology, and Satanism. Englehart jumped at the opportunity to bring Doctor Strange back to the trippy, Day-Glo heights of the Lee and Ditko era. They got right to work.
“We would get together every two months, have dinner, get loaded about 10 o’clock, and stay there until 3 or 4,” said Englehart. “He would be thinking about what would look really cool, and I would talk about where I could go with Dr. Strange’s consciousness, and we would come up with a summation that was greater than the parts.”

When they weren’t at each other’s apartments getting high, they were rampaging around with Starlin, Al Milgrom, and artist Alan Weiss, a Las Vegas–bred ladies’ man who shared a Queens apartment with a rotating cast of five stewardesses. Together, they’d ingest LSD and wander Death Wish–era Manhattan at all hours. “We sort of took New York as this vast stage set,” said Weiss. “We would launch ourselves to some part we hadn’t seen yet, and go explore, day or night.” There was the time they traipsed by security guards and wandered through the World Trade Center while it was being built. On one July night they went to Lincoln Center for a screening of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland and hatched a Doctor Strange plot that included a hookah-smoking caterpillar. Then they walked to the U.S. Customs House in lower Manhattan and climbed around on Daniel Chester French’s four statues of the continents, where they envisioned a Defenders story in which Doctor Strange transformed each statue into thousands of living soldiers to battle hordes of Atlantean invaders."

"I smoked dope, and dropped acid, and ate mushrooms — and I made my deadlines."- Steve Englehart 

An interesting read for sure, it's crazy to think that a couple of writers and artists working for Marvel would get doped up and walk the streets of New York in a Hunter S. Thompsonesque drug induced haze. These far out dudes went on to produce some of the best Doctor Strange and various other titles from that era.  

Doctor Strange and why he looks so damn familiar.

It may or may not be a well known tidbit of information that whilst creating the character Doctor Strange, Steve Ditko based the likeness of the Doctor to that of Vincent Price. The real world actor most known for his roles in horror flicks and a couple appearances as Egghead in the Adam West Batman television series from the late 1930's all the way to 1990! Doctor Strange's middle name Vincent, is a homage to the actor. And whilst Vincent Price would of been just an uncanny actor to play Doctor Strange in a movie sometime during his acting prime, that privilege will be passed onto Benedict Cumberbatch in the upcoming Doctor Strange movie scheduled for release in 2016.


King Giant Doorknob The Clobber Knocker AKA David Letterman May 20, 2015 04:52

With the final airing of the "Late Show with David Letterman" later on today, we at Herotrader thought it would be a cool idea to review David Letterman's appearance in the Avengers story line.  Just look at Letterman on the cover below, oozing with 1980 something flair and nuance. The artwork in this book is spot on and colored just as you'd imagine a comic book from the 80's to appear.( Full Disclosure: I wasn't even alive when this comic book hit the stands) Although this particular book has widely been criticized as not being "that" great. It is what it is, and what exactly should we expect from the Assistant Editors? Which they kind of had a take over at the Marvel offices in the month of January 1984 due to most of the regular editors being at the San Diego Comic-Con which gave them a lot of leeway in which stories to take to print.

 The Avengers #239 pictured above, which was a part of the 
Assistant Editors Month. This book was humorous to the point of being positively goofy. The comic features members of the Avengers going on the Late Show to help plug Wonder Man's acting career, and while they are on stage, Fabian Stankowicz, AKA Mechano-Marauder shows up and starts to cause quite a ruckus. Using a giant door knob as a clobbering tool, which just so happened to be handy at the time apparently. Also we can't forget about Paul Shaffer showing up to the party. Adorning a Captain America jersey no less.

This is just a fun look back on a mere speck in the timeline of the infamous Dave Letterman. But it's a pretty darn cool speck if you ask us, I mean how many people have used a giant door knob to subdue a villain in a comic book? Does the title of King Doorknob the Clobber Knocker apply only to David Letterman? Even if some obscure comic book from some indy publisher features a hero that wields only the largest and shiniest of giant brass doorknobs I don't know if it could hold a candle to Letterman. But on a serious note, for 33 years David Letterman has been entertaining us during our late nights, and tonight will be his last show so be sure to tune in! And if you have the The Avengers #239, why not pull it out from whatever long box you have it hiding in and give it another read? 


Lois Lane, Superman's Girlfriend Once Went Black For A Day. May 03, 2015 19:49

When the world was different and story lines could arch into taboos such as race-switching, the comic book world welcomed "Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane Vol 1 106".

The year was 1970, and Lois Lane is finding it hard to get her story in the ghettos of Metropolis. This area was referenced  as "Little Africa". 

Now I'm not trying to instigate a conversation about "What's wrong with this story line?". Rather I'd like to hear some discussion on what would happen if a story like this came out today. 

With all the recent events happening in the United States, would a story like this be acceptable? Would people show their disdain for this type of creative story line and boycott the publisher? Or would they welcome the controversial story and see it for what it is? An insightful look into how race effects everyday life for some people.  

Perhaps our society has grown since the 1970's and this comic wouldn't even put a dent into today's comic book readers, and they would find the story overplayed with films such as, "White Chicks" which has two black male actors portraying white stereotyped wealthy females or "Tropic Thunder" which has a well known white actor playing the role of an actor which is black. (Yes, Robert Downey Jr. played this part.)  

Whether you're White, Black, Asian, Spanish, Male or Female this comic book could appeal to you, just to see what the authors thought it would be like for a woman in the 1970's to don the appearance of another race and experience first hand the effect that your skin color plays in everyday life. That same sentence could be said of numerous controversial comic books that have been published over the years, but to hear more about those you will have to check back next week for our weekly blog post!


Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Trailer April 20, 2015 19:07

Late last week Warner Bros. released the first trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice setting the internet ablaze with comments, posts, and theories. The trailer opens with a voiceover regarding the controversy surrounding Superman. Voices are heard pointing out the dangers of Superman, particularly those of Lex Luthor and a US Senator, while one sounds like a disguised Clark Kent lamenting humanity’s, “horrible track record.” People question whether he is a savoir or a dangerous being from another planet with aspirations to rules over us.

Halfway through the trailer we finally get to see Batman, in all his scowling glory. Bruce Wayne gazes sternly at his Batman suit while Alfred offers sage advice on the pitfalls of human decisions during times of fear and perceived powerlessness. Not only do we get to see Batman’s suit, we see his armor when the courageous Batman confronts the powerful Superman.

CGC to Grade Concert Posters February 25, 2015 00:00

Certified Guaranty Company (CGC®), the world’s leading comic book certification and grading company, has added concert posters, handbills and postcards to its menu of collectibles grading services. The expansion enables collectors of these rare pieces, which promoted the live music of legendary bands and performers, such as The Beatles, The Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin, to enjoy the same accurate, consistent and impartial grading that CGC has delivered to the comic industry since 1999.

The decision to expand into concert posters is one that CGC Director of Operations, Harshen Patel, believes is a natural fit for the company. “The experience we have across our organization with the handling, grading, and protection of rare paper collectibles puts CGC in a unique position to add value in this market,” said Patel. “There are also great similarities between the collector bases we serve, with comics and music fans sharing a passion for both the history of their respective industries and the artwork created by their iconic figures.”

CGC is accepting submissions from five of most highly coveted vintage poster series, including Bill Graham, Family Dog,Grande Ballroom, Neon Rose and Art of Rock. A modern submission tier is also available for Bill Graham Presents , New Fillmore Series, and MoonAlice

CGC employs a 10-point grading scale for concert posters that is based on the industry standard the company established for comics, magazines, photos and lobby cards. The CGC grade appears on one of a number of colored labels, which differentiate a CGC Universal Grade from CGC grades assigned with any qualifiers or special considerations, including conservation, restoration and signed pieces.

CGC-graded concert posters are sealed in tamper-evident holders of a heavy gauge archival plastic. The fully transparent front and back allows complete viewing of the poster and protects from any improper handling or soiling.


Aquaman Movie - Unite the Seven January 29, 2015 16:22

Director Zack Snyder dropped the first look of Jason Momoa as DC Comics hero Aquaman. Snyder, who is currently in the thick of directing Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice released the image on his Twitter page.

The black and white photo shows a very dangerous looking Momoa covered in what looks like tattoos of scales, his trademark scowl and bears the tagline “Unite the Seven.” Prior to being cast as Aquaman, Momoa starred in Baywatch, North Shore, Stargate: Atlantis, Game of Thrones, and The Red Road.

He’ll make his first appearance as Aquaman in Batman v. Superman in 2016, followed by an appearance in Justice League in 2017. He’ll be featured in his solo Aquaman movie in 2018.

Keep your women away!