Do You Believe in Magic?
Welcome to a magical Super-Blog Team Up!
Super-Blog Team Up is a event where pop culture and comic book blogs team up to tackle one topic. This time out, we’re looking at all things Magical. Since a little movie called Doctor Strange is coming out in two days, Between the Pages is looking at the first time Spider-Man and Doctor Strange teamed up.
If this is your first time visiting Between the Pages, THANKS for stopping by. Between the Pages is a blog about pop culture and the world’s greatest cakes. I hope you enjoy your visit and come back again. If you’re hungry, don’t worry, I serve dessert on every single post. This time out, I’ll have some great comic book themed cakes and cookies.
This amazing 3-D Spider-Man Cake was made by Child's Pastry Shop.
Marvel Comics’ legends Stan Lee and Steve Ditko worked on hundreds of comic book stories together, but this dynamic duo is best remember for their work on two characters:
In the summer, comic book companies publish comic books with extra page counts called annuals. In their heyday an annual would include a special all new story, some sort of special features (pin-ups,diagrams, funny stories…), and reprints of popular stories (this was before you could buy back issues at comic book shops).
Some of Marvel’s famous annuals are:
Peter Parker (AKA the amazing Spider-Man) marries Mary Jane Watson.
Thor teams up with the original Guardians of the Galaxy.
In this beloved story the Avengers, Captain Marvel, Adam Warlock, The Thing, and Spider-Man team-up to battle Thanos!
WARNING: Do not let this Thanos Cake get near the Infinity Gauntlet!
The very first Spider-Man and Doctor Strange team up.
“The Wondrous Worlds of Doctor Strange” is the lead story in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2. It was plotted by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, scripted by Stan Lee, and penciled by Steve Ditko.
It is amazing how much Stan and Steve pack into this great 20 page story. Xandu, an evil sorcerer has gained possession of half of the Wand of Watoomb. The other half is hidden somewhere in Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum (the good Doctor’s magical home in Greenwich Village). Why does Xandu want the Wand of Watoomb? Because it opens portals to anywhere in any dimension! The wand obviously has other powers, but they’re not clearly explained in the story. Xandu knows that Doctor Strange is more powerful, so he can’t attack him directly. Xandu finds two powerhouses (who are never named in the story) mopping up everyone in a bar room brawl. Xandu brainwashes them so they’ll obey him. He also makes them completely fearless and invulnerable to pain.
Xandu and the Wand of Watoomb
The two ruffians arrive at the Sanctum Sanctorum and break in its doors. Doctor Strange casts a spell on the two intruders, but finds that it doesn’t work because their minds are completely blank. Doctor Strange creates duplicates of himself, but Xandu guides his two strongmen to the real Doctor. They knock out Doctor Strange and tear up cabinets until they find the second half of the Wand of Watoomb.
Spider-Man sees the pair exiting the Sanctum Sanctorum and confronts them. Spider-Man tries punching them, but it has no affect. He tries to cover one of the pair in his webbing, but the strongman easily tears up Spidey’s webbing. They knock Spidey down, but not out. As the strongmen leave, Spidey plants a spider tracker on one of them.
Xandu and his two Strongmen
Xandu joins the two halves of the Wand of Watoomb and begins using it to attack the still unconscious Doctor Strange from afar. After following his tracer, Spider-Man sneaks into Xandu’s hideout and stops him from killing Doctor Strange. Xandu opens a portal under Spider-Man and Spider-Man falls into it. As Spider-Man falls, he shoots his webbing out and snags the Wand of Watoomb. Spidey and the wand vanish into a dimension that only the great Steve Ditko could have imagined and drawn.
Xandu sends his two strongmen into the same dimension to get the wand back from Spider-Man. Spider-Man isn’t a sorcerer, so he doesn’t have a clue how to operate the Wand of Watoomb. Spidey throws the fight, knowing that the two strongmen will bring him and the wand back to Xandu.
Doctor Strange has finally regained consciousness. He uses the Eye of Agamotto and the Cloak of Levitation to find the person who stole his half of the Wand of Watoomb. Doctor Strange and Xandu battle magically and Xandu is no match for Doctor Strange. Just then, the two powerhouses return with the Wand of Watoom and Spider-Man. They give Xandu the wand and now he has the upper hand.
Doctor Strange flees the battle. Doctor Strange uses the Cloak of Levitation to get away from the building. When he is safe, he separates his astral form from his physical body. He searches Xandu’s hideout until he find Spider-Man. Spidey is battling the two strongmen again, but it is obvious that they’ll squash Spidey soon. Doctor Strange has an idea and plants a thought in Spider-Man’s mind. As Spider-Man falls, he rips a high voltage line from the wall and shocks the two bad guys. The shock is so strong that it removes Xandu’s hold over them.
Since neither Doctor Strange nor Spider-Man are a match for Xandu, they team up. Doctor Strange attacks Xandu magically. Spider-Man can’t get close because of Xandu’s magical attacks, so Spidey starts hurling ball of webbing at Xandu. Xandu can’t keep dodging Spidey’s attacks while also magically battling Doctor Strange. During the battle, one of Doctor Strange’s attacks hits Xandu’s hand which is holding the wand. The wand goes flying and Spider-Man wraps Xandu’s hands in webbing before Xandu can get hold of the wand again.
All of this has made Doctor Strange realize that the Wand of Watoomb is too powerful for anyone to posses, so he uses the Eye of Agamotto to drain all power from the wand. Doctor Strange then puts Xandu to sleep. When Xandu wakes up, he’ll have no memory of this whole affair and his evil ambition will have faded forever.
The story ends with Doctor Strange telling Spider-Man “You have accredited yourself well this night, costumed one! The friendship of Dr. Strange will be yours, whatever befalls!” and then Spider-Man and Doctor Strange part.
Stan Lee and Steve Dikto do a great job with this story. Spider-Man and Doctor Strange should be a really poor fit. Doctor Strange vs. Doctor Octopus or the Green Goblin would be way too one sided of a fight, while Spidey wouldn’t have a chance against, Baron Mordo or Dormammu.
This story works because there is a magical opponent for Doctor Strange and non-magical opponents for Spider-Man.
The story includes Spider-Man fighting in one of Steve Ditko’s amazing magical dimensions.
Both Spider-Man and Doctor Strange play essential roles in defeating Xandu.
Supporting characters like Wong, Clea, Aunt May, and J. Jonah Jameson don’t appear. Since this story is only 20 pages, it works really well just to focus on the five characters in this story.
I read this story multiple times while writing this post and with each rereading, I like it more and more. This is one of my favorite Spider-Man stories.
Long after Steve Ditko left Spider-Man, Stan Lee penned another Spider-Man / Doctor Strange Team-Up in Amazing Spider-Man 108 & 109. How late in Stan Lee’s run is this? Amazing Spider-Man 110 was Stan Lee’s last issue.
This story is very different from their first team-up. This is much more a Spider-Man story that Doctor Strange appears in. Doctor Strange doesn’t even appear until 5 pages into issue 109.
There are three thing I like about this story.
Flash Thompson is one of the original supporting cast members of Spider-Man. He appears in the very first Spider-Man story way back in Amazing Fantasy #15. Flash is a star athlete in high school, Spider-Man’s biggest fan, and a bully who continually torments Peter Parker. In this two parter, Flash is a soldier who has recently returned after being stationed in Vietnam. Flash is brave and heroic in this story. It is so refreshing to see Flash become more than just your stereotypical comic book bully.
This is the only time I recall the great John Romita drawing Doctor Strange.
This story introduces Sha Shan. Sha becomes a minor reoccurring supporting character and even appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series.
While I like this two parter, it isn’t a classic like “The Wondrous Worlds of Doctor Strange”.
I hope you enjoyed this post and visit Between The Pages again. Before you leave, please check out this magical list of the other Super-Blog Team Up features.
The Superhero Satellite: Strange Magic
Longbox Graveyard: Doctor Strange vs. Dracula
DC In The 80s: Magic edition: examining The Immortal Doctor Fate v1 (1985)
The Unspoken Decade: Nighttime Sunburn: Rise Of The Midnight Sons
Crapbox Son Of Chuthulu: The Makings of a Sorcerer Supreme: Optimism and Sacrifice
Chris Is On Infinite Earths Blog: Batman Visits the Sanctum Sanctorum in DC/Marvel All-Access #3
Coffee and Comics Blog: Review: Doctor Strange #84
The Daily Rios: Amalgam Dr. Fate / Dr. Strange
The Retroist: The OTHER Dr. Strange Film