Sunday, January 23, 2011

Why Doctor Strange?

Have you ever travelled to the Dark Dimension and fought its demonic ruler, Dormammu, and won? Me neither, but Doctor Stephen Strange has... several times in fact. How can a mere doctor have achieved such a thing, I hear you ask. Well, you curious little scamp, it turned out that the skilled, yet arrogant, doctor was destined to become Sorcerer Supreme. Long story short, he's now lost that title--as well as the stylish medallion and cape that went with it--and is just a plain old sorcerer... and doctor.

So why does he deserve to grace the pixellated pages of Thoughtballoons? Why has it taken this long, is my question. It may just be me, but I sense a distinct lack of mysticism in its wordy portrayal of ones and zeros. This must surely be remedied, and quickly, lest the extradimensional forces of evil find a way to take advantage of weaknesses in any one of our scripts, and open a gateway to our world from within!


  1. Dr. Strange – There IS a Doctor in the House - MK Stangeland Jr.

    For reference, the location is a medical conference. There, Dr. Strange has just encountered Dr. Donald Blake.

    “DSN” refers to narration notes intended to come across as being written by Dr. Strange (It’s short for ‘Dr. Strange Note), and are meant to be mentally written in the infamous style of “Doctor’s shorthand”. No prior reference – I’m just playing up and having fun with the Doctor angle.

    (5 Panels)

    Panel 1: Having recognized one another, DR. STRANGE and DR. BLAKE greet and shake hands in a friendly manner.

    DR. STRANGE: Fancy seeing you here.

    DSN: Unsurprising – he is a doctor, after all.

    DR. BLAKE: Likewise.

    DR. STRANGE: I presume you’ve also learned of the sinister plans the forces of darkness have for this place?

    Panel 2: DR. BLAKE has a worried look on his face, as he is disturbed by what DR. STRANGE has told him.

    DR. BLAKE: Actually, no. This was strictly business. Is there something I should be aware of?

    Panel 3: Panel focuses on DR. STRANGE’S head, and looks at him from over the shoulder of DR. BLAKE. DR. STRANGE has his hand to his chin as he looks off in no particular direction – the scene should make it clear that he is deep in thought.

    DR. STRANGE: Hmmm…interesting.

    DSN: Perhaps fate has a hand to play here.

    Panel 4: DR. BLAKE has his staff up, and should be standing in a manner that subtly suggests that he could rush off and transform into THE MIGHTY THOR at a moments notice. DR. STRANGE has his hand up, index finger extended, though he’s not pointing directly at DR. BLAKE, but rather indicating that he has a better idea in mind.

    DR. BLAKE: Should I be ready for something?

    DR. STRANGE: No, not yet. They would expect me to be here. You, however, would no doubt have been overlooked.

    Panel 5: DR. STRANGE has half-turned away from DR. BLAKE and begun to walk away in order to prepare himself for what’s to come. DR. BLAKE has a knowing look on his face, suggesting he has an idea what DR. STRANGE may have planned for him.

    DR. STRANGE: Don’t worry, if it doesn’t become obvious when I’ll need you, I’ll be certain to let you know.

    DSN: An ace in the hole, perhaps.

    (END PAGE)

  2. PAGE 22:
    This page is framed by pictures of angels and demons looking like a stained glass window.

    Panel 1: Small shot. A long thin frame that fill half the length of the page and one third of the width. Dr.Strange picking himself up from an floor of an alley way. His cloak of levitation limp on his body.
    SFX: CRASH!!
    CAPTION: Cloak failing me. Its never done that before.

    Panel 2. Small shot. Medium close up of Dr.Strange’s face shot from birds-eye view.
    CAPTION: Just glad I wasn’t higher up...

    Panel 3. POV shot of Dr.Strange’s hands. They are shaking. Glyphs forming around them.
    DR.STRANGE: Its got to be linked with my lessened ability to use my Magics.
    CAPTION: My hands have started shaking again. The nerve damage that the ancient one fixed so many years ago.
    CAPTION: This nerve damage makes it impossible for me to move my hands in the right way in order to perform my incantations.

    Panel 4-6. The next three shots are of Dr.Strange’s face getting closer and closer.
    CAPTION: My lessened abilities can mean only one thing
    CAPTION: He has returned...
    DR.STRANGE: Dormammu!

  3. Oh sorry my story is called Doctor Strange: more (Part 2 of the return of the ancient one)

  4. @MK - I like the idea of it, and wonder if it has been played on before?

    Of course, if the DSN were true to a Doctor's form, we wouldn't be able to read them, right?

    @Sam - A simple panel, but tells the story well. My one issue is the amount of exposition from Doc Strange. I think you could still get your ideas across without needed to gloss over Doc's history with his hands too much. FOr example, you could have written:

    "My hands...shaking? No, I can't preform my incantations."

    Or I could just be spouting poppycock.

  5. @MK: Nice little set-up. Despite Strange's powers, it would always be nice to have Thor on-side. My question is, how could we read the notes when doctor-writing is nigh indecipherable ;)

    Sam: Loved it! You even managed to fit a history lesson into Panel 3. Keep up the good work! :)

  6. I like the idea of taking out a little bit of the exposition, I am trying to forshadow that it isn't Dormammu but The Ancient One's return that is causing the flux in his powers (maybe I should have put that in)

  7. @MK - an obvious, and awesome, team up. I like it and like that this scene is just these two chatting, the trouble doesn't actually start yet, that's kind of nice.

    @Sam - man, this reads exactly like the old Lee/Ditko stories from Strange Tales. I like it.

  8. Well I have been reading the creeper

  9. On the DSN and the Doctors Shorthand, I imagine there would be an opportunity to cheat it a little in order to avoid making it impossible to read, but I imagine it would still be messy and not obvious as to what it says unless the reader puts some effort into it.

    But it's still a good point to bring up.

    Thanks for the feedback, all! :-)

  10. MK - I love the slightly lofty, arrogant voice you've given Strange here - even when addressing someone with the power potential of Donald Blake.

    Oh, I see Ben has beaten me to my thoughts on the DSNs.

    Sam - a nice, neat hook. I presumed the exposition that Ben picked up on feeds into the larger story and wasn't just thrown in for background. In other words, I'd see the roots of this story as going all the way back to Strange's origin... would I be right?

  11. A shorter one this week. Hope you like it!

    Two panels of equal size in the top third of the page. The last panel takes up the remaining two-thirds.

    1 – A faraway shot of a nondescript park in the middle of a busy city. There is a blast crater in the center of the park. Recently created, smoke rises slowly from it.

    DR. STRANGE (caption): I have felt a great magical disturbance.

    2 – In the park itself. Dr. Strange walks among the trees. From the background, it is clear that he is close to the epicenter of the destruction. He wears a look of wonder and concern, looking off-panel to the right.

    DR. STRANGE (caption): A power unlike anything I have encountered before, in this dimension or any other, has appeared without warning.

    DR. STRANGE (whispering to himself): What manner of devilry is this?

    VOICE (off-panel) (groggily): W-who are you? What have you done to me?!

    DR. STRANGE: I am unsur--

    3 – A shot of Zatanna. She stands amidst the destruction. Her costume is a little worse for wear. Confused and angry, she is clearly ready for a fight. Magical forces swirl around her as she casts a spell.


    DR. STRANGE (caption): This does not bode well.

  12. @Grant: Effective, yet simple. Nice work. Even though I know little about Zatanna, I loves me a company cross-over :)


Feedback is what every good writer wants and needs, so please provide it in the white box below
If you want to play along at home, feel free to put your scripts under the Why? post for the week.