Published December 12, 2019

Throwback Thursday with Doctor Strange’s First Comic Series

Open your Eye of Agamotto and travel back to the Sorcerer Supreme’s first appearance!

By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth, have we got a treat for you! This week’s #TBT Marvel Unlimited pick takes you inside the inner chambers of the Sanctum Sanctorum! We’re breaking down the Master of Mystic Arts first ever appearance, and you’ve got a front row seat to the magic. Before you pick up the now-Surgeon Supreme’s brand new ongoing, (on shelves December 26!), we invite you to preview this pivotal chapter of Marvel history!

Read STRANGE TALES (1951) in digital comics mega-library Marvel Unlimited, as well as hundreds of other Strange sagas, including his first titular series, DOCTOR STRANGE (1968)! Our editor’s favorites? Strange’s acclaimed 2015 run, or DOCTOR STRANGE (2018), featuring the Sorcerer Supreme on a galaxy-spanning quest to regain his lost power.

But first, let’s invoke the Vishanti and crack open our spell books to…


The "Dr." is in!

Sure, Strange is only dedicated five pages in his first issue, but co-creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko still inject the narrative with their signature imagination. STRANGE TALES (1951) was an anthology series, primarily used to test the waters with brand new characters and themes so that editors could get a sense of see which stories resonated with readers, and had the potential to spin off into their own series.

Here, the physician-turned-“Master of Black Magic” is a dream doctor. Strange is sought out by a man plagued by vivid nightmares, and it isn’t long before the Doc is traveling to the Dream Dimension for a better look. As far as first appearances go, this one’s light on origin, but we do get a brief glimpse of the Ancient One, Strange’s guru, and the as yet unnamed Eye of Agamotto, his most prized relic. Right off the bat, we learn that Strange can project and travel through an astral form too.


And of course, we need to establish a worthy protagonist…


Nightmare, Fear Lord, and the ruler of the Dream Dimension, asserts himself as a chaotic and slippery foe—he lives beyond our tangible realm in a world only accessible to magic’s best practitioners.

The following issue, STRANGE TALES #111, would introduce another longtime menace—the Ancient One’s fallen disciple Baron Mordo.


Looking for Strange’s definitive origin? Try STRANGE TALES #115.

Strange Tales (1951) #115

Strange Tales (1951) #115

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Steve Ditko in particular deserves a callout for his lush, psychedelic landscapes throughout these tales, as the artist goes full tilt on the weird.

Strange Tales #158. Meet the Living Tribunal.

It’s Ditko who’s responsible for solidifying the visual language around Strange that still exists today. Bold and utterly trippy, it’s him we have to thank for pages like these…

Strange Tales #146. Eternity Vs. Dormammu.

Spinning dreamy worlds of Dyson spheres, spores, ectoplasm, and all manner of cosmological oddities, the whacko niche that Doctor Strange began to carve out built a case to give the Mystic One his very own ongoing...

Strange Tales #138. The first appearance of Eternity.

But if you’re looking to go back to where it all started, breeze through STRANGE TALES #110-168, where you’ll meet Dormammu, the Mindless Ones, Clea, Wong and more of Strange’s stable. And after you’ve sampled these earliest adventures, continue with DOCTOR STRANGE (1968) #169, the inaugural issue to Strange’s solo series…



Binge these issues now with Marvel Unlimited, and gain access to 25,000+ digital comics to read anytime, anywhere. And, try our definitive Doctor Strange Reading Guide, here!


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