The 15 Best Doctor Strange Comics You Need To Read

After much speculation, "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" has finally arrived! The film sees Benedict Cumberbatch reprise the role of Stephen Strange, though as with most Marvel movies, precious few details have emerged regarding the plot. With all the excitement, you might be wondering what MCU movies and TV shows you need to catch up on to enjoy the film. Or, perhaps you've never delved into comics starring the Sorcerer Supreme and you're hoping to find a good starting point. If that's the case, don't worry, we've got you covered!

Doctor Strange was already mostly formed in the mind of Steve Ditko when he went to Stan Lee with the idea for the character's initial story, which premiered as a backup in "Strange Tales" #110 in 1963. Lee added some extra dialogue to Ditko's already plotted pages and one of Marvel's most wonderfully eccentric heroes was born. As with any character with a history this long, it's not easy to decide where to begin. Here are 15 Doctor Strange stories, most of which would be a great jumping-on point for new readers, as well as a few for those who've already dabbled in the mystic arts and are just looking to dive further into Stephen's fantastical adventures.

Strange Tales

For Doctor Strange, the beginning is definitely one of the best places to start. Like I will say about pretty much every run I mention, it's best to read the whole thing, beginning with "Strange Tales" #110, which was released in 1963. For one, both art and story only get progressively better as the book continues. Admittedly, these early appearances of Doctor Strange have dialogue by Stan Lee, which might be difficult for modern comics readers to make their way through in 2022 — though you'll probably get a kick out of seeing phrases such as "By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth!" make their debut. However, these issues are well worth the trouble for Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko's art alone. Everything readers love about the Master of the Mystic Arts begins right here and Ditko's amazing work largely provided the template for what followed.

"Doctor Strange" has had plenty of jaw-dropping art throughout the decades, but so many of those artists were influenced by Ditko's work. Aside from that, Stephen's origin is revealed and all the classic enemies of Doctor Strange were born in these issues. From the dread Dormammu to Nightmare to the Mindless Ones to Baron Mordo, the majority of Stephen's most formidable foes debuted in this historic run. "Search for Eternity," which unfolds from #130-146 is definitely a high point. Because Stephen's earlier adventures were all backup stories, the easiest way to read these is probably the Marvel Masterworks volumes.

Strange Academy

There are plenty of very serious Doctor Strange comics, so why not add some fun ones as well? "Strange Academy" was first released in 2020 (it's still ongoing) and while I have to admit that Stephen himself doesn't get a ton of time on the page, it's just so delightful that I have to add it to the list. Who doesn't love a magical school setting? Well, this comic written by Skottie Young sees Doctor Strange founding his own school to train young sorcerers. The art from Humberto Ramos and colors by Edgar Delgado are absolutely incredible. I've been a fan of Ramos for some time, but he honestly outdid himself with the art on this book.

"Strange Academy" introduces a lovable new class of sorcerers, which includes a young Frost Giant, a fairy, and even the son of Dormammu. If that's not enough to hook you, consider the instructors are Nico Minoru, Doctor Voodoo, Scarlet Witch, and Magik, just to name a few — don't worry, Strange shows up from time to time as well. Like any magical school, much of earning a passing grade just involves surviving, so these kids are in for a hell of a time. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!

Strange Trip

This two-issue story unfolds in "Captain Marvel" vol 10 #6-7. Released in 2019, these issues were penned by Kelly Thompson and drawn by Annapaola Martello, with colors by Tamra Bonvillain — though the above cover art is by Dave Johnson and Amanda Conner. The tale begins with Enchantress causing some trouble and of course, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, and Black Widow are standing in her way. Not to worry though, because she has the best plan ever to defeat both Carol and Stephen: switch their bodies! This Mephistophelian scheme works perfectly, considering how stubborn these two characters can be. One of the true joys of this story is the banter between Stephen and Carol, as well as watching them try to figure out how to use the other's power set in order to put things back the way they were. It's a really enjoyable comic that definitely shows another side of the Master of the Mystic Arts.

The Oath

This 2006 story comes from one of my favorite comic writers, "Saga," Y the Last Man, and "Runaways" scribe Brian K. Vaughan, and has art from Marcos Martin, Álvaro López, and Javier Rodríguez. The tale begins with Strange being shot and Wong bringing him to the Night Nurse in an effort to save him. Strange was wounded by a man named Brigand, who was there to steal a magical elixir from him. The main issue is that said elixir is the only way to save Wong, who is dying. However, it's quite complicated because this potion is actually far more than just a cure for Wong. "The Oath" is a well-crafted story with gorgeous art and some genuine surprises. Plus, I'm always happy to see the Night Nurse. How was the Sorcerer Supreme shot, you ask? Well, you'll have to read to find out.

Trial and Torment

What's a cooler team-up than Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom? In this story written by Roger Stern and drawn by future Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, and Mark Badger, the two are actually fighting on the same side. They are attempting to free the soul of Doom's mother from Mephisto's realm, which as you may have guessed, isn't easy. Aside from Mignola's art, this is worth reading just to see these two characters who are usually adversaries actually working toward a common goal. It's not like they're pals or anything, though the 1989 graphic novel definitely gives them something of a begrudging respect for one another by the end. "Trial and Torment" also humanizes Doom, who is undoubtedly one of Marvel Comics' greatest villains. Seriously, do this character justice in a movie already!

The Way of the Weird

I've read a lot of Doctor Strange comics, but this run, which began in 2015, from Jason Aaron, Chris Bachalo, and Tim Townsend is definitely one of my favorites. "The Way of the Weird" is merely the first story arc of "Doctor Strange" vol 4, but this entire run is worth reading. Bachalo is one of my favorite artists and his work is uniquely suited to rendering the world as it appears to Stephen Strange. Seriously, this artwork is beyond what magic looks like in my wildest dreams. Plus, Aaron comes up with some truly original ideas, delving not only into what the Sorcerer Supreme's life is like on a daily basis, but also the cost of his tremendous power. Plus, who doesn't want to see Doctor Strange wield a magical ax and spend some quality time with fellow sorcerers? All in all, a brilliant take on the good doctor!

God of Magic

Picture this: Doctor Strange is no longer the Sorcerer Supreme, and has had to hand over pretty much everything that matters to him to the new one ... Loki. That's right, the God of Mischief has ostensibly taken over the mantle fair and square, but this is Loki we're dealing with, so Stephen can't be sure. Seriously, Loki has the Cloak of Levitation, Stephen's house, and even has Zelma Stanton working as his assistant. Oh yeah, and since he no longer holds the title of Sorcerer Supreme, Stephen works as a veterinarian and has an adorable talking dog named Bats.

Comics are confusing, so beginning with this run in 2017, Marvel did something known as Legacy numbering, which is adding up all previous volumes and going from there. So, this story is a new series, but it starts with #381. Again, "God of Magic" is just the first arc from Donny Cates, Gabriel Hernandez Walta — whose work you will hopefully recognize from Tom King's incredible "Vision" book — and Jordie Bellaire. Cates' path for Strange is completely different from what came before, a totally new direction for Stephen and the art is not only excellent in this arc, but future arcs also feature the likes of Frazer Irving and Niko Henrichon, so definitely keep reading after this story ends.

Into Shamballa

This 1986 graphic novel is probably the weirdest Doctor Strange story I have ever read, which is certainly saying something, because the Sorcerer Supreme's comics get weird! "Into Shamballa" is written by J.M. DeMatteis (known for many classics, perhaps most notably "Kraven's Last Hunt") and has fantastic art by Dan Green. The less you know going in, the better, but the story begins with Stephen visiting the now-departed Ancient One's home in the Himalayas to pay respects to his former master. However, when he arrives, he discovers an odd and somewhat perplexing gift. From that point on, prepare for plenty of trippy weirdness and metaphysical musings. By the story's end, you might not be clear on everything that happened, but you'll be glad you went on the journey.

The Death of Doctor Strange

"The Death of Doctor Strange" is the most recent story on this list, beginning in 2021 and wrapping up with #5 quite recently. The miniseries comes from Jed MacKay (if you're not reading his Moon Knight run, do so immediately) and Lee Garbett, with colors by Antonio Fabela. Stephen Strange has been murdered and who better to solve the case than...Stephen Strange? It's actually not as confusing as you might think. In one of the most Doctor Strange-est moves ever, Stephen had cut a week from earlier in his timeline just in case something like this ever happened. Plus, there's a rather entertaining twist: this is a much younger version of Doctor Strange, the one who still says things like, "Zounds!"

With Strange down for the count, the world is more vulnerable than ever to magical attacks, so it's pretty important to get this case sorted out. This is a twisty tale that definitely doesn't wrap up the way you'd expect and lays the groundwork for MacKay's next title, "Strange," which just started. I cannot wait to read it!

Across the Universe

You know what I had never considered before reading this "Across the Universe?" Doctor Strange in space. Well, thank Mark Waid for turning such a wacky idea into a compelling storyline. Waid is the writer that made me fall head over heels in love with the Fantastic Four, so I know he's capable of charting new territory for Stephen Strange. This is just the first arc of Waid's run, which began in 2018, and it has great art from Jesus Saiz. 

When magic disappears from the world without a trace, what is a Master of Mystic Arts to do? Well, if you're tight with Tony Stark and he's willing to fund your mission to space in the hopes of finding some intergalactic sources of magic, I guess that's exactly what you decide. Of course, it doesn't go exactly as planned and Stephen winds up a prisoner on a hostile planet — though he does make a pretty awesome new friend. Check out this run, as well as the work Waid did next with Kev Walker and Java Tartaglia on "Dr. Strange, Surgeon Supreme." Consider that a bonus recommendation!

Search for the Sorcerer Supreme

This 2005 story from Brian Michael Bendis, Chris Bachalo and Billy Tan isn't exactly for beginners because there is quite a bit of Avengers backstory required to properly enjoy it. However, for the art, story, and inclusion of one of my favorite characters, Young Avenger Billy Kaplan, aka Wiccan, I felt it necessary to include. Bendis' entire run on this book is worth reading, but "Search for the Sorcerer Supreme" ran from "New Avengers" #51-54. Bachalo and Tan are both perfect for showing different aspects of the magical side of Marvel.

After Stephen loses the title of Sorcerer Supreme, it's anyone's guess who the next candidate will be. Even Doctor Doom is on the table apparently! This volume features some fun interactions between the Avengers, particularly Spider-Man, who unlike the rest of the team, is uncomfortable taking his mask off at dinner. There are also appearances from several magical characters you don't see often, including my boy Billy — please someone make a Young Avengers movie already! — and the choice for the new Sorcerer Supreme might surprise you.


This 2004 tale comes from another great writer, J. Michael Straczynski, and the art from Brandon Peterson and Justin Ponsor works really well with the story. "Strange" is a modern origin for the Sorcerer Supreme with some twists and turns along the way. While it is quite different, the basics are there. Stephen Strange is an arrogant, but incredibly talented surgeon who doesn't learn the value of pretty much anything until an accident robs him of the function in his hands. With so many comics focusing on a well-established Master of the Mystic Arts, it's particularly interesting to see who Stephen was before taking up the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme. We also get an updated version of Wong, as well as Strange's sometime love interest Clea — though she's kind of unrecognizable — in a pivotal role.

What is it That Disturbs You Stephen?

I can't lie to you, Marc Andreyko writes a fine story, but it's the stunning art from P. Craig Russell and Lovern Kindzierski's colors that really warrants the inclusion of "What is it That Disturbs You Stephen?" on this list. This 1997 one-shot pays loving tribute to Steve Ditko with the trippiest of trippy places, Ditkopolis, another realm Stephen must travel to so he can rescue Wong from the clutches of Electra — not the one you're thinking of. It is actually a retelling of Doctor Strange's first Annual from 1976, which was also drawn by Russell much earlier in his career. Written by Marv Wolfman, who's responsible for co-creating most of the Teen Titans characters modern audiences are familiar with, that Annual is worth reading as well, but Russell had come a long way as an artist since then. For this reason, "What is it That Disturbs You Stephen?" emerges victorious over the original story.

The Mystic Hands of Doctor Strange

This 2010 black and white comic is something of a deep cut, but it's got several impressive creative teams telling these stories. The first is "The Cure" from another one of my favorite writers, Kieron Gillen (seriously, read everything he writes) and Frazer Irving, whose art, as usual, is beautiful. This is probably my favorite tale of the four and Gillen accomplishes quite a bit in not very many pages. The gist is that there's a psychiatrist who has a disturbing method of helping both his patients and humanity, but the answer to what Strange should do about it isn't as straightforward as he initially believes.

The next story, "Melancholia," comes from artist Frank Brunner (who did some fantastic work on Doctor Strange in the 70s that you should also read) and writer Peter Milligan. This story sees Strange attempt to help a man who hopes to have his painful memories magically extracted, though the Sorcerer Supreme has different ideas. Written and drawn by Ted McKeever, the third story, "So This is How it Feels," is probably the wildest of the four. There's a drunken Strange in an alley with a homeless man who's dealing with more than figurative demons. However, the last story in "The Mystic Hands of Doctor Strange," "Duel in the Dark Dimension" is a bit of a letdown. Mike Carey's writing is strong as always, but the prose style of the tale leaves little room for Marcos Martin's wonderful art. Ultimately, that's a minor quibble though.

New Avengers: Illuminati

Not a solo Doctor Strange story, but with the Illuminati confirmed to appear in some form in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," it might be time to brush up on their history. The best place to start is probably the "New Avengers: Illuminati" special from 2006. Written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by artist extraordinaire Alex Maleev, with colors from Dave Stewart, this story is an important part of the buildup to Civil War, though you don't need much context to understand what's going on. Following the special, there was a five-issue miniseries from Bendis and Brian Reed. The art is done by Jim Cheung (whose work on Young Avengers I will always treasure), Mark Morales, and Justin Ponsor.

This immensely overpowered group pulls the universe's strings behind the scenes. It is comprised of: massively intelligent Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, ultra-powerful mutant Charles Xavier, Inhumans monarch Blackbolt, Ruler of Atlantis Namor, Master of the Mystic Arts Doctor Strange, and of course, Avenger Tony Stark. These guys are making all kinds of decisions they shouldn't be and even though they have the best of intentions, it definitely doesn't work out well for them. There's a reason Black Panther turned down the offer to be a part of their secret society.