Guest Blogger: Drew Hancock, Creative Designer
Hollywood has always struggled with the difficult task of taking a widely loved franchise and turning it into a film that both attracts new audiences, and satisfies the long-time fans of the source material. It’s happened with books, comics, old movies, even internet fan fiction. As we go forward in this generation of money driven remakes where creativity only exists in the process because it cannot continue without those minds, one name stands heroically above the masses: Marvel Entertainment. By now, this could be considered old news, but they are about to take it a step further with Doctor Strange.
It was a slow start for Marvel as it entered the world of modern film with a host of failures, it wasn’t so long ago that a new Marvel film didn’t mean record breaking ticket sales and sold out theaters, but with the recent success of titles like: The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and Iron Man, Marvel brought comics to the main stream audience. It’s been quite the ride watching Comic Fans like myself turn from a strange geek sub-culture into the intolerable hipster-like purists that will tell you everything wrong with a comic film at the drop of a hat; I’ve caught myself doing just that on a number of occasions, and have only recently learned to appreciate the finer details of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sharing the countless Easter eggs with interested co-workers and friends has always been a particularly fun point, but the best of it has been pushing some of those same individuals to read comics on their own to learn more about the origins of the Heroes they so enjoyed on screen. As both a fan of comics and an artist in my own way, I enjoy opening people’s eyes to the great stories and amazing comic art I grew up on.
So how does The Sorcerer Supreme tie in? With this release, we are taking a step into uncharted territory, magic in Marvel films so far has been limited given the broad scope of the comic world. We’ve had a few looks at magic through the Thor films, Loki and Malekith both being users of magic in a couple of forms, Loki with his illusions and tricks, while Malekith wields the Aether, a flimsy looking red magic that didn’t look like much to me. We’ve also seen the Scarlet Witch use her own flimsy looking red magic in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but Doctor Strange is on a whole new scale. With this installment, new fans of the Marvel Films will get their first real look into the vastness of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. To create that sense of scale, let’s look at Thor. Thor defends several worlds all connected by the branches of the World’s tree, and accessed via the Bifrost. Doctor Strange defends the Nexus, the point of access to all dimensions. That is to say as a metaphor, Thor defends a Solar System in a galaxy. The Sorcerer Supreme defends every galaxy known to man.
You can see how this would quickly feel like you needed a novel, or in the case of Doctor Strange, several hundred comic issues spanning fifty years, to understand. It could almost feel out of reach, but we need to remember, Marvel has already done the impossible several times over, making more and more heroes and villains into household names every year. Maybe Doctor Strange will be the next success story, maybe it won’t be too much to stomach, as a Doctor Strange fan of twenty years, I truly hope they do, even if they’ve deviated this far from source material already, I can always tell you where they messed up if I need to.