Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #290 - Doctor Strange - T-shirt reprint and MOVIE TRAILER

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #290 - Doctor Strange - T-shirt reprint and MOVIE TRAILER

Hi Mom,

It's time for another T-shirt content reprint.

As I mentioned the other day, I promise some original and somewhat substantial content soon, but I am in the end of the semester mode with classes I am taking and some of which I am teaching. I have exams next week, and the usual grading and such.

So, I have been a bit preoccupied.

And then, I learned Prince died. This is a bigger blow for my wife than for me, but given that Bowie had just died, YOU have recently died, Mom, not to mention all the others as I wrote about here:
Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #248 - People keep dying.

Just wow. Both Bowie and Prince were like magicians, like sorcerers supreme, so, maybe fitting now...

But I wanted to share the teaser trailer from the new Doctor Strange movie due out in November (of this year, 2016) and I decided to reprint one of the blog entries I was MOST proud of from 365 T-shirts.

And this Doctor Strange entry is significant as it features a photo of your handwriting from one of my Doctor Strange books. Thank you for that, Mom. I think I will return to the subject of your handwriting soon, especially since its a key subject, especially after the meningitis.

For now, enjoy...


Originally presented as  T-shirt #119 in 365 T-shirts.

T-shirt #119: Doctor Strange

I love Doctor Strange. I should start today's entry with that confession. I would be hard pressed to select a favourite Marvel superhero, but if I was forced to do so, the good doctor would definitely make the top five. (Do you sense a list coming? Yes, you should.)

Doctor Strange has one of the coolest CAPES in all of superhero comics.

PREPARE for a HEFTY posting.

Today's blog entry had been in the works for several weeks, like an elaborate magic spell. I do not think it is fully crystallized yet but I have grown weary of re-numbering and delaying writing it, so here is what I have so far.

Right now, I am working about a week ahead with the blog. This may not be as fascinating to you as it is to me, but I do like to analyze process continually and in depth.

I have found that sketching the entries and planning ahead helps with composition, though this only works well when I am actually working ahead, drafting at least a day in advance, and spending time thinking about the composition of each entry.

As I shared, this entry has been in the works for weeks. Originally, it was to be T-shirt #89, and as I listed the topics between then and T-shirt #100, I kept moving my draft of this entry as my process evolved. One such evolution came about when I realized that I did not need to compose one, long, contiguous essay for each blog entry (in fact, some people are now muttering "please,don't" under their breath), and that I could work with labeled sections in short (or what I think of as short) inter-related topics. Though today's work hardly constitutes short by any definition.

And, yes, I have a Doctor Strange toy.

How could I not?


Meanwhile, I often research in bed at night using my Nexus-7 tablet. I look up various sites on the Internet, usually starting with the Wikipedia site.

I found some strange and wonderful things on the Internet devoted to Doctor Strange.

The DOCTOR STRANGE WIKIPEDIA site is pretty decent, though hardly fantastic.

I found many HUGE Doctor Strange fans. Like Ptor, who runs a blog dedicated to Dr. Strange:





Doctor Strange Tumblr
Many of my favorite 1970s Doctor Strange comics were written by Steve Englehart, who discusses them here.


And, of course, there is talk of a Doctor Strange movie (tentatively for 2016) with many posts one can find via Google for Joseph Gordon Leavitt as the front runner to play the good doctor.


Of all the research, one of the craziest sites (and by crazy I mean wonderfully crazy) is



and related materials at


Crazy and wonderful stuff. First of all, the Vishanti book is compiled by Cat Yronwode. I recognized that name when I started reading but I could not place it. Luckily, all these questions are answered on the Internet. Cat Yronwode is one of the leaders/founders of Eclipse Comics, which I wrote about back around the time I first conceived of writing about Doctor Strange in T-shirt #89: Lone Wolf & Cub. I mentioned Mai the Psychic Girl in that blog entry, and how this comic and Cat Yronwode connected to another blog entry I had already started, which is this one, Doctor Strange. It all comes full circle, eh?

Eclipse Comics published all sorts of great stuff back in the 1980s, such as Miracleman (Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman), The Rocketeer (Dave Stevens), and Zot! (Scott McCloud) among many other great and wonderful things.

Apparently, Catherine "Cat" Yronwode is one of the biggest Doctor Strange fans on the planet. She also happens to be a practitioner of folk magic.

Cat's LESSER BOOK OF THE VISHANTI was a project she originally completed in the early 1970s as she was an active participant in various Zines and APAs (Amateur Press Associations). A decade later, I belonged to one devoted to the Teen Titans as I described in T-shirt #62: Nightwing. I wish I had been active in fandom when Cat created this book. It's astounding and super cool.

In 1979, Yronwode printed 177 copies of THE LESSER BOOK OF THE VISHANTI and sent copies to everyone she knew in fandom and in the comics industry. The publication became highly respected, and many creators who tackled Doctor Strange thereafter sought copies for its meticulous research and as a compendium of Doctor Strange lore, spells, and facts.

The contents page shows dozens of links and related articles and appendices.

One core of the work which has many cores is found in the second link I posted in which Yronwode compounds a "Vishanti Cosmology" from what readers have learned of the Vishanti through Doctor Strange comics. It is a 15 page essay with an enormous glossary following. This is the kind of crazy and wonderful thing that makes me love comics even more than I already do. And I think Cat Yronwode is amazingly cool.

If you like comics even a little, but more so, if you like fantasy (as in fiction or role playing games) or magic (as in real spells that actually work in our world), then you might want to do some exploring on your own of the links for Vishanti book and Lucky Mojo. The materials and links and content are all a bit overwhelming, but there is amazing stuff to be uncovered, such as "A proposed Revision of the Theory of Fractional Dimensions" and the "Sacred Sex Home Page."

A MOST INTERESTING SECTION FROM THE COSMOLOGY ARTICLE: "This brief survey of the Vishantist faith would be incomplete without one final note: on the letters page of STRANGE TALES 129 a reader wrote to ask whether the deities mentioned in hte stories were "the gods of some long-dead religion" or whether Stan Lee "made them up as [he] went along". Lee offered "a late-model no-prize" to the person who could come up with the best answer to this question...The Vishantist faith, as documented above, embraces a world-view which can best be labeled "intersubjective." If one were to ask Baron Mordo or Dr. Strange whether their deities had been "made up" or were remnants of an ancient cult, they would probably laugh and turn away. To even ask would be to reveal oneself as a cowan, an outsider. Actually, to the subjectivist-magician, the question, as phrased, is utterly meaningless. It matters not at all whether the deities were or were not at one time "made up" because they are now in Dormammu's words, "a shared belief" and, as such, they have become the goddesses and gods of a cult as ancient and as "real" as its collective adherents believe it to be...The existence of "other dimensions" cannot be disproved by any known objective science, at least not at this time, and the nature of "other dimensions" is open to any interpretation one chooses to make. One theory of "other dimensions", the so-called "Omniversal Theory", postulates that "all 'fiction' is 'real' -- somewhere" and that there are "alternative universes" where "comic books" are "reality." Omniversally speaking, the Vishantist pantheon was neither "made up", nor is it the remnant of "some long-dead religion." Vishantist deities are exactly what they purport to be -- the living goddesses and gods of an active Occult Order on another continuum, the "alternative universe" we call Earth-Marvel. 'Nuff said, Hoggoth-lovers -- and may your Amulet never tickle!" (Yronwode, 1978-2010).


Given that I have written about my affection for and current playing of Dungeons and Dragons on this blog before, it should come as no surprise that I also played Magic the Gathering, the customizable "trading card" game. Though I think re-sale is a more accurate term as I have not seen so much trading where this game is concerned. I am not going to write about also playing Magic the Gathering, at least not today. In the mid-1990s, I was quite obsessed with the game. I made decks. I planned strategies. It all ruined a relationship (which was best in the long run).

So, at this point, I do not own a Magic the Gathering shirt, but you never know. If you have not figured this out, I like T-shirts.

Now, why am I mentioning MTG? Well, Dr. Strange is one of the most magic-oriented of superheroes, and magic makes me think of Magic The Gathering as well as the magic spells in D&D, the latter I borrowed many of the greater spellcaster/creators, such as Oshtur, Hoggoth, and the Vishanti for magic in the game. I mean, really, the "Crimson Bands of Cyttorak" and the "Flames of Faltine" are just too cool not to swipe and use in D&D.


I performed magic semi-professionally as a young boy (ages 13-19). I went by the stage name El Christo. As a freshman in high school, I was cast as the Wizard in Gull Lake High School's production of Once Upon a Mattress, and I had to devise a costume. My aunt sewed the costume for me, and the cape was based on Doctor Strange's cape. You can see the cape in the two photos here (above and left). Obviously, these are not photos from my magic performing days. I have no scans of those handy. However, I may add some at a future date in an update here or in a future blog entry.

These photos also reveal a future T-shirt for Captain Marvel or Shazam as he is known by many for the name he utters to activate the hero within. I will feature this shirt separately another time and probably include the rest of the photos from this party at the home of my friend Darrough West.

My goal in dressing up in these photos was to attend a superhero-themed party in which I was attempting to dress like Doctor Strange; however, I did not have the actual shirt with the symbol Strange wears, so this was the best I could do.

As for performing magic, I do not perform anymore, though I am still interested. I am considering going to the magic get together in Colon for the first time since I was 17 or 18 years old. I do not have any T-shirts featuring magic as an entertainment and performance art form, like theatre. But that may change...


Of all the heroes of the 1960s and early 1970s, Doctor Strange is probably the best example of one that embodies the psychedelic culture of the times.

I do not usually dump so much quoted material (and quotes within quotes for which I provided the Wiki reference list), but all of this is written so clearly that I can hardly improve on it. AND if I have kept your attention this far, dear reader, then I am honored to serve, much like Wong is honored to serve Doctor Strange despite the racist-laden stereotypes of the original depiction.
 "Comics historian Mike Benton wrote, "The Dr. Strange stories of the 1960s constructed a cohesive cosmology that would have thrilled any self-respecting theosophist. College students, minds freshly opened by psychedelic experiences and Eastern mysticism, read Ditko and Lee's Dr. Strange stories with the belief of a recent Hare Krishna convert. Meaning was everywhere, and readers analyzed the Dr. Strange stories for their relationship to Egyptian myths, Sumarian gods, and Jungian archetypes"[3].
"People who read 'Doctor Strange' thought people at Marvel must be heads [i.e., drug users]," recalled then-associate editor and former Doctor Strange writer Roy Thomas in 1971, "because they had had similar experiences high on mushrooms. But ... I don't use hallucinogens, nor do I think any artists do."[4]
As co-plotter and later sole plotter, (in the "Marvel Method"), Ditko would take Strange into 
ever-more-abstract realms. In an epic 17-issue story arc in Strange Tales #130-146 (July 1965 - July 1966), Ditko introduced the cosmic character Eternity, who personified the universe and was depicted as a silhouette whose outlines are filled with the cosmos.[5] As historian Bradford W. Wright describes,
Steve Ditko contributed some of his most surrealistic work to the comic book and gave it a disorienting, hallucinogenic quality. Dr. Strange's adventures take place in bizarre worlds and twisting dimensions that resembled Salvador DalĂ­ paintings. ...Inspired by the pulp-fiction magicians of Stan Lee's childhood as well as by contemporary Beat culture. Dr. Strange remarkably predicted the youth counterculture's fascination with Eastern mysticism and psychedelia. Never among Marvel's more popular or accessible characters, Dr. Strange still found a niche among an audience seeking a challenging alternative to more conventional superhero fare.[6]
From the beginning, Doctor Strange used magical artifacts to augment his power, such as the Cloak of Levitation,[7] the Eye of Agamotto,[8] the Book of the Vishanti,[9] and the Orb of Agamotto.[10] From the first story, Strange's residence, the Sanctum Sanctorum, was a part of the character's mythos"
  1. [3]^ Benton, Mike (1991). Superhero Comics of the Silver Age: The Illustrated HistoryDallasTexas: Taylor Publishing Company. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-87833-746-0.
  2. [4]^ Green, Robin (September 16, 1971). "Face Front! Clap Your Hands, You're on the Winning Team!"Rolling Stone(via fan site Green Skin's Grab-Bag) (91): page 31 of print version. Archived from the original on September 14, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2011 deadurl= no.
  3. [5]^ "Strange Tales #134"Grand Comics Database. "Indexer notes: Part 5 of 17. First mention of Eternity. Strange would finally find it in Strange Tales #138 (Nov. 1965)."
  4. [6]^ Wright, Bradford W. (2001). Comic Book Nation: Transformation of a Youth CultureJohns Hopkins University Press. p. 213. ISBN 0-8018-7450-5.
  5. [7]^ The blue "novice" version first appeared in Strange Tales #110 (July 1963), with the red "master" version first appearing in Strange Tales #127 (Dec. 1964).
  6. [8]^ a b Lee, Stan (w), Ditko, Steve (p), Ditko, Steve (i). "The Origin of Dr. Strange" Strange Tales 115 (December 1963)
  7. [9]^ Lee, Stan (w), Ditko, Steve (p), Ditko, Steve (i). "Return to the Nightmare World!" Strange Tales 116 (January 1964)
  8. [10]^ Lee, Stan (w), Ditko, Steve (p), Ditko, Steve (i). "The Possessed!" Strange Tales 118 (March 1964)

JUNG? Did someone say JUNG? Look for more Jungian rhetoric hereabouts soon since I already have some posts in the works. I am a huge Jungian, and I take every chance I can get to pander and promote, advocate and proffer the ideas of Carl Jung.

Surreal landscapes have always been a favourite of mine, and Steve Ditko's work in this arena is unparalleled in comics. Many great artists followed creating their own excellence with Doctor Strange, such as one of my all-time favorites: Gene Colan.

And yet, I could not include Steve Ditko, as much as I love his work, in the top five favourite 1960s comic artists, which I detailed in T-shirt #83. After Kirby, Kane, Adams, Colan, and Romita, I would surely place Ditko sixth.


I like collected editions. Back in the 1970s, there were few collected editions of comic books. Origins of Marvel Comics and the series of books that followed were among the very few.

As you know, and if you don't know it, then you are learning now, I am an extremely sentimental soul. So not only is this Pocket Book of Doctor Strange dear to me, but so is the inscription written by my mother. It was a tradition in our family to inscribe books given as gifts, as this one was for my birthday in 1979. I debated sharing such a personal thing as this inscription written by my mother. But since my mother has lost the ability to write at all, examples of her careful and beautiful cursive handwriting are very dear to me.


Cape are cool. It's a rule. Doctor Strange's cape is the special Cloak of Levitation given to him by the Ancient One in Strange Tales 126-127. It is a magical artifact that floats of its own accord.

How cool is that?


Yes, here it is, the list you have been waiting for. It was difficult to make this list. I had to confine myself to male Marvel heroes who either did not have their own books or who had/have solo books but are not considered the pillars of the Franchise (like Spider-Man and Captain America). Doctor Strange heads the list.
  1. Doctor Strange
  2. The Silver Surfer
  3. The Black Panther
  4. The Vision
  5. Adam Warlock
  6. The Black Knight
  7. Son of Satan
  8. Iron Fist
  9. Killraven
  10. Falcon
  11. Ka-Zar
  12. Deathlok
  13. Hawkeye
  14. Black Bolt
  15. Ghost Rider
  16. 3D Man
  17. Machine Man
  18. Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu
  19. Quasar
  20. Captain Marvel

Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 292 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1604.22 - 9:06
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