The Marvel universe is set for big changes with the launch of Marvel NOW! this fall and Doctor Strange is no exception. Marvel's master of the mystic arts is getting a second ongoing series, but he's not going it alone this time.
Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme, from writer Robbie Thompson and artist Javier Rodriguez, sees Doctor Strange teaming up with an eclectic and unexpected lineup of new and lesser known Marvel characters, and ComicBook.com has an exclusive first look at the team's lineup, along with commentary from Rodriguez. Keep reading to meet the Doctor Strange's Sorcerers Supreme!
Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Surpeme launches this fall as part of Marvel NOW!
Young Ancient One
The first member of the Sorcerers Supreme is something of an oxymoron: The Young Ancient One. Doctor Strange fans will know that the Ancient One trained Stephen Strange to become the Sorcerer Supreme, but he's apparently been plucked from his timeline at a young age for some new adventures.
Rodriguez sought to give the Young Ancient One a look that is consistent with the character's cultural background while linking him visually with his older self.
"In research, I learned that the Ancient One was a farmer a long, long time ago," Rodriguez says. "So I decided to give him a traditional Tibetan outfit. They wear the sleeve of the jacket like this and I liked that a lot. I kept the colors that are normally associated with the character."
The next member of the Sorcerers Supreme seems a bit out of place with a group of mystics: the famed physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton.
"He is the same from [Jonathan Hickman & Dustin Weaver’s] S.H.I.E.L.D.," Rodriguez says. "I imagined him having armor on his chest which has a prism that refracts light."
Those who have read S.H.I.E.L.D. will know that Newton has a long history in the Marvel Universe. He was recruited into the Brotherhood of the Shield by Galileo Galilei, travelled to the city of the Deviants, tattooed the Deviants' ancient secrets on his body, then burned the city down. He then returned to the Brotherhood and forcibly took control from Galileo. In other words, he can definitely hold his own alongside the other Sorcerers Supreme.
Kushala is a brand new character. Rodriguez looked to the cultural traditions of Native American tribes when coming up with her design. He also gave her a fiery horse to ride on. It's hard to not look cool when you're riding a fiery horse.
"She is a new character of Apache descent." Rodriguez explains. "My inspiration comes from the tribes of New Mexico. They have a dance that is very powerful on every visually level. That 'Devil Dance' aesthetic and the geometric symbols mix perfectly with Kushala’s flaming skull and horse."
Nina is another new character making her debut in Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers supreme. Rodriguez's character design for Nina is inspired by pulp adventure heroes of the early 20th century, as well as more recent cinematic heroes who were inspired by those same pulp heroes.
"Another new character. She is an homage to cinema characters of the 40s (possibly like a famous adventurer with a whip)," Rodriguez says. But unlike a certain Dr. Jones, Nina is more than just a tenacious adventurer. "She’s an independent action woman with abilities that are magical, physical and psychological at the same time."
And then there's Merlin. Yes, that Merlin, the Merlin of Arthurian legend. While he didn't stray too far from the iconic image of the Merlin of myth and folklore, Rodriguez did add some subtle touches to make his Merlin visually distinct.
"He is very well known, obviously," Rodriguez says. "When you think of any sorcerer, Merlin is probably the first image that comes to mind. I thought that adding some 'druid' touches, like the Celtic motifs or the earrings, some tiny ornament here and there would be cool. A little bit hippie but fun, I think."
And finally, Stephen Strange. Rodriguez is familiar with the character, having colored the Doctor Strange story that laid the groundwork for all modern interpretations of the character.
"Well, he’s a character that means a lot to me," Rodriguez shares "He was my first gig for Marvel (same office!) ten years ago when I did the colors on Doctor Strange: The Oath. That set the bar really high!"
Doctor Strange: The Oath, written by Brian K. Vaughan and drawn by Marcos Martin, is indeed a high note for modern Doctor Strange stories. Now Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme seems set to bring the character into an all new era.