One Universe In Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness Was Named After A Comic Book Legend [Exclusive]

True Believers know that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is the primary architect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, Feige has decades of blueprints to work off of thanks to the multitude of men and women that built Marvel Comics from the ground up. While there's an ongoing conversation regarding the monetary compensation for these comic creators when it comes to these multi-million dollar superhero franchises, many filmmakers have found ways to pay homage to minds that brought Captain America, Spider-Man, and the rest of the Avengers to life.

One of the ways that happens in movies and TV shows is cameos. Of course, there are all the memorable spots for the legendary Stan Lee throughout the MCU, but we've also seen the likes of Walt Simonson, Jim Starlin, and Ed Brubaker appear onscreen with characters that they've famously brought to life. Some of the biggest names in comics have passed away before they could come face to face with their beloved creations, so filmmakers will find other ways to honor those that have paved the way for their stories. For instance, Sam Raimi named an entire universe in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" after one of the most prolific comic book artists of all time: Steve Ditko.

Strange Tales...

While his work with Spider-Man often takes center stage, some of Steve Ditko's most iconic art came into the world (and onto the walls of college students around the world) after he created Doctor Strange in 1963. His surrealistic and almost hallucinogenic style became a staple of the Sorcerer Supreme's books. Naturally, when the good doctor made the jump from the page to the silver screen, Ditko's trademark visuals had to accompany him. But for Strange's latest headlining cinematic outing, Raimi took one step further. As he told /Film's Jacob Hall in our recent interview, the first of many universes seen in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" is named after Ditko.

Your Spider-Man fandom was well-documented when you first made those movies, but were you a Doctor Strange fan growing up? How much of those early comics were you reading at the time?

Mostly I started with the Superman comic books and then I graduated to the Batman comic books. Then my brothers were reading the Marvel comic books, which were a little too complex for me until my brother pulled me and said you got to read Spider-Man, which I did love, but he also would read Doctor Strange, occasionally. He became like my fifth favorite superhero.

Those early Stan Lee and Ditko Comics, they're wilder, cerebral. They're really psychedelic. How much of that impression did they make on you at the time? 

Tremendous impression. I'd never anything like his illustrations for those fantastic worlds, so much scale and scope was put into those illustrations. Sometimes you'd open up a two-page Ditko landscape piece and it was incredible. In fact, if you saw the first 20 minutes of our movie, that universe where the movie starts is really based on what we call the Ditko-verse.

It's certainly a fitting tribute to one of the titans of the comic book industry, especially one that created Benedict Cumberbatch's Master of the Mystic Arts. If you're looking to honor Ditko and take a trip to the Ditko-verse yourself, departures begin when "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" premieres in theaters on May 6, 2022.