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Dr. Strange vs. Dr. Craven

Posted by Joshua Glenn  May 12, 2008 12:45 PM

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Last week, apropos of a suggestion that another blogger had made about a Dr. Strange feature film, I posted the following comment.

My friend Greg Rowland (HC) pointed out recently that in Roger Corman's Poe-inspired horror-comedy, "The Raven," the tall, elegant, refined Vincent Price plays a magician [Dr. Erasmus Craven] who uses mystic power bolts in what Rowland calls "a fairly Ditkoesque manner." Since "The Raven" came out on Jan. 25, 1963, and the first appearance of Doctor Strange (in "Strange Tales" #110) was in July of that same year, it seems likely that Ditko might have designed Strange's look after seeing the Corman/Price movie.

Over the weekend, I received a few skeptical emails. For example: "No way was Dr. Strange based on cheeseball Vincent Price," wrote Eddie P. of Jamaica Plain.

Dr. Strange uses mystic power bolts

However, this morning I received an email from Greg Rowland. Turns out that he spent part of his weekend capturing a few screen shots from "The Raven." Check 'em out:

Dr. Craven uses mystic power bolts


Dr. Craven blocks his enemy's attack


So what do you think, readers?

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1 comments so far...
  1. This speculation has been around for a while. For example, here's a Usenet thread on the issue (which, as with many usenet threads, wanders fairly rapidly off-topic). Nonetheless, (once again, typically) the first commenter usefully points out that the publication date of the comic suggests an actual release date of May at the latest and a possible finished product date (to be sent to the printers) of late 1962. I don't know enough about comic book lead times to know if he's right, but comic book lead times are certainly crucial to your timeline.

    Further fun Dr. Strange/Dr. Craven pics here, including a great ad for the '78 Dr. Strange TV movie and another common observation concerning Dr. Strange and Ronald Colman (via Lost Horizon, whose storyline bears an obvious relationship to the Doctor's origin story).


    Posted by Anon May 12, 08 01:43 PM
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Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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