A post from my long-ago Marvel blog about comics I edited that flew under the radar a little bit. Though this one has become better remembered since, largely thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch
Okay, last one of these for the time being, and we’ll move ahead onto something else.
I had precious little to do with setting up DOCTOR STRANGE: THE OATH. It was one of those good times where you’re taking the paycheck without having to do much in the way of work.
As I recall, Brian K Vaughan mentioned to C.B. Cebulski that he had a Doctor Strange story that he was interested in doing with Marcos Martin. C.B. told me about it and asked me if I’d be interested in editing it, I said yes, and that was just about that.
Brian did come into the office at one point, and we had one discussion about Doc of a decent length–I can remember talking about the fact that Wong would be the guy to deal with the physical day-to-day stuff of Doc’s like fighting, in the manner of the Green Hornet’s Kato. And I think I might have suggested the notion that Doc’s Cloak of Levitation acts almost like a character, like a pet, floating around Doc’s Sanctum on its own when Doc isn’t using it. But that’s really about all there was to it from my end.
As with THE HOOD, as scripts came in on DOCTOR STRANGE: THE OATH, they were in immaculate shape. Brian knew precisely what all of the beats of his story were, and he struck his marks flawlessly. And Marcos Martin, whose design-oriented approach to comics, was a joy to work with. He’d always plan everything out in meticulous detail beforehand, producing roughs of half the book at a time to look at, go over and comment on. He was always excellent about being able to art direct the page as a whole, balance the placements of his darks, and lead the eye through the story. His storytelling is so superb that you can virtually follow all but the subtlest of nuances of the story just from the thumbnails. (Some of these thumbnails, as well as script pages and other background materials can be found in a series of posts called Comics Tutorial ’round about November of 2006)
DOCTOR STRANGE: THE OATH was a beautiful book, and a critical darling, but at the end of the day it was a Doctor Strange project, and Doc’s never had a sustained track record of high sales. Nonetheless, I think the series did an excellent job of knocking some of the cobwebs off of the presentation of Strange, showing that he could still be mysterious and powerful and formidable while still being charismatic and engaging and fun to watch in action. And by bringing in the Night Nurse character that Brian Bendis had introduced in DAREDEVIL and NEW AVENGERS, BKV was able to make Doc a romantic lead again in a way he really hasn’t been in a dog’s age. It was probably the best comic book series I put out that year.