Comics
Published April 28, 2022

Scariest Strange Stories

A handful of Doctor Strange’s most frightening tales to date!

You don't become the Sorcerer Supreme by performing parlor tricks at kids' birthday parties. No, instead you must face the absolute worst threats imaginable on a fairly regular basis. And your reward: you get to do it all over again.

Though he hasn't been the Sorcerer Supreme, Master of the Mystic Arts for his entire Super Hero career, Doctor Stephen Strange has faced his fair share of dastardly demons and ghastly ghouls—all in the name of keeping reality intact and running smoothly!


Read some of Doctor Strange’s most harrowing encounters, from this dimension or the next, with these comic stories on Marvel Unlimited.

THE SHUMA-GORATH SAGA

Shuma-Gorath revealed in MARVEL PREMIERE (1972) #10.
Shuma-Gorath revealed in MARVEL PREMIERE (1972) #10.

Over the years, Doctor Strange has fought all manner of beastly creatures intent on conquest and subjugation. Hailing from a dimension that was the diametric opposite of Strange's, Shuma-Gorath managed to make the transition and fed off of the Sorcerer Supreme in MARVEL PREMIERE (1972) #10. Strange had not yet taken over the title, though, so Shuma-Gorath sought out his master, the Ancient One. The monster used Strange's own suffering as a way to torture his mentor.

Before revealing his horrific visage, Shuma-Gorath forced Strange to experience being buried alive, complete with dirt filling his lungs. Upon experiencing the being's true power, Strange moved the battlefield inside the Ancient One's mind. There, the monster made the mage face his greatest enemies and finally unveiled their one-eyed, tentacled form. Strange realized that he would have to perform a terrible act to stop his foe, one that nearly made him abandon sorcery altogether.

Shuma-Gorath claims New York in MIGHTY AVENGERS (2013) #2.
MIGHTY AVENGERS (2013) #2

Strange managed to stop the dark god's attempts at dominance and has fought him many times since. During the INFINITY debacle, Ebony Maw took control of Strange and used him to usher Shuma-Gorath back to this plane. The attack brought together a new team of heroes who worked together to defeat the entity as seen in MIGHTY AVENGERS (2013) #2-3!

DRACULA'S DARKHOLD DRAMA

Strange enthralled by the power of the Darkhold in DOCTOR STRANGE (1974) #62.
Strange enthralled by the power of the Darkhold in DOCTOR STRANGE (1974) #62.

Dracula has been skulking around the Marvel Universe for centuries. He reawakened in the modern day in TOMB OF DRACULA (1972) and carved a bloody swath through the world from there. Stephen Strange had already encountered the bloodsucker and barely survived as seen in DOCTOR STRANGE (1974) #14. However, with issues #59-62, the vampire king returned to cause more trouble for the Sorcerer Supreme—and all of Earth. This time, Dracula did not just want to use his own power, but that of the ancient book of evil magic known as the Darkhold.

[RELATEDA Brief History of the Darkhold]

After a failed attempt to steal the tome from Avengers Mansion, Strange learned of a spell kept in the Darkhold called the Montesi Formula that could rid the whole world of vampires! To implement the spell, he recruited Wong, Hannibal King, Frank Drake, and Blade to help him retrieve the book from its new hiding place: Baron Mordo's castle! After a bloodcurdling battle with the vampire in present reality, Strange took him to another plane, which gave the others time to concoct the Montesi Formula. The combatants returned just in time for those assembled to succeed and rid the planet of vampires...but only for a time as the spell was later undone.

THE STRANGE SIMULACRUM

Meet the Necromancer in DOCTOR STRANGE, SORCERER SUPREME (1988) #46.
DOCTOR STRANGE, SORCERER SUPREME (1988) #46

What could be creepier than facing off against an evil version of yourself? Especially one who thinks you are the fake! In DOCTOR STRANGE, SORCERER SUPREME (1988) #46-47, Strange left the ongoing Infinity War at Captain America's command and returned to Earth with magical allies the Scarlet Witch, Doctor Druid, Agatha Harkness, and Shaman of Alpha Flight. They were faced with an eerie scene as most people on the planet had been frozen in place by Adam Warlock’s evil future counterpart, the Magus.

While investigating the devastation, the mystical crew discovered a far more terrifying truth: Magus planned on replacing the entire universe with his own twisted version of existence! They received some help from Sleepwalker, but he did not lend a hand when the heroes were attacked by a small army of demons all looking to tear them apart. That was nothing compared to a masked copy of Strange mimicking his (brief) Super Hero look. This “sinister Strange” captured the heroes and actively tortured them all. The being, also known as Necromancer, revealed his origins and their ties to Counter-Earth. Ultimately, our hero managed to overcome this evil doppelganger, but the battle surely rings through Strange’s mind still. A living reminder of what could have been.

[RELATEDThe Dark Side of Doctor Strange]

DOORWAY TO NIGHTMARE

Cloak, Dagger, and Strange enter the realm of Nightmare in STRANGE TALES (1987) #7.
STRANGE TALES (1987) #7

Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen met each other as teen runaways and became friends who were both forcibly given drugs that kick started their superhuman powers. As the crime fighting duo Cloak and Dagger, Johnson can make portals via the Darkforce Dimension while Bowen can create knives of light. Dagger once used her powers to help Cloak alleviate the creeping darkness he felt from within, exacerbated by the interdimensional villain Nightmare. Cloak wanted a consult from Doctor Strange, but the Master of the Mystic Arts had used a spell to make the world think he had been killed by the Beyonder.

In STRANGE TALES (1987) #7 the young heroes found Strange only for a huge hand to thrust out from Tyrone's cloak and pull everyone present into Nightmare's realm! The villain attempted to destroy Strange as he had tried so many times before, while explaining how he planned on remaking the world in his image. During the ensuing battle, Cloak lost control of his Darkforce powers and Dagger did her best to help him with her own. Ultimately, light burned away the darkness, but you'll have to read the issue to find out how!

TRIUMPH AND TORMENT

Mephisto towers over Doom and Strange.
Original Graphic Novel DOCTOR STRANGE & DOCTOR DOOM: TRIUMPH AND TORMENT (1989)

As a genius level megalomaniac with the resources of an entire nation at his back, Doctor Victor Von Doom was already an intensely powerful force to reckon with. But he's also an accomplished sorcerer! As readers learned in the legendary Original Graphic Novel DOCTOR STRANGE & DOCTOR DOOM: TRIUMPH AND TORMENT, Doom dove further into the mystical world after the accident that left him scarred and prompted him to don his metal mask. When the Aged Genghis called a meeting of the world's most prominent sorcerers, both Doom and Doctor Strange showed up.

Having proven his magical mettle, Doom sought assistance in his quest to save his mother Cynthia's soul from Mephisto. Cynthia was a high-level mage herself who made a deal with the devil to set her people up as the leaders of Latveria before dying when Victor was but an infant. To help save Cynthia's essence, Strange traveled to the hell realm with Doom. Once there, the duo faced all manner of monster and creature, but none more fearsome and duplicitous than Mephisto himself. Far more terrible than the foes faced though are the choices that these two leads must make as the devil offers them their hearts' desires. As you will see when reading this one, it absolutely lives up to its name.

WHAT IS IT THAT DISTURBS YOU, STEPHEN?

Electra terrorizes Strange in her twisted realm of Ditkopolis.
Original Graphic Novel DOCTOR STRANGE: WHAT IS IT THAT DISTURBS YOU, STEPHEN? (1997)

The question in the title comes from a fortune cookie that Strange enjoys after a quiet dinner alone. He returned to the Sanctum Sanctorum to find Wong missing and went in search of him at the Temple of Ganesha, where Wong once trained as a warrior monk. His investigation lead him to yet another realm, this one filled with undead oarsmen, massive sea serpents, and perhaps the most dangerous denizen of them all, the life-absorbing Electra. She not only seemed to be able to control everything there, but also the shining city of Ditkopolis (named in tribute to classic creator Steve Ditko).

Stephen agreed to help Electra in exchange for Wong's safety. She explained that her father had granted his magic to her sister Celeste which lead to the slow death of the city itself. She wanted the Sorcerer Supreme to help transfer that power to her. While there, Strange learned a bit more about the sisters and how a fallen angel came between them. Though Ditkopolis and its surroundings offered plenty of grotesqueries, the worst of the bad bunch came from a person craving unearned love and power. Even when faced with the clear truth, Electra could not accept it and lashed out, wanting to take everyone down with her into the sucking void.

 

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