Problem No. 1: Dr Strange Looks Kind Of Like a Greasy 70’s NightmareBy way of background, Dr. Stephen Strange was a brilliant ,but narcissistic, New York City neurosurgeon who lost his ability to operate after a car accident. He traveled the world for a cure and found instead instruction from the Ancient One who trained him as a master of the mystic arts. And absolutely none of that explains why he looks like the love child of Confucious and Pancho Villa, replete with a high top fade. Indeed, many people don’t know this, but the comic actually started as a mere one panel strip in the back of Amazing Tales #34 in which readers were asked to guess the mysterious wizard’s ethnicity.
But as the character aged and the seventies came, Dr. Strange started looking increasing like Mr. Brady’s cousin on his way to an audition for the Village people. Not surprisingly, when the comic was made into a short-lived live action 70s show, nobody thought it odd when CBS cast porn star John “the wad” Holmes in the lead role.
The Solution: Embrace the 70s!
That’s right. Why pretend? Go full blown 70’s. Fill up Dr. Strange’s lair with lava lamps, pet rocks, and Zep IV posters. Have him borrow liberally from progressive rock lyrics to spice up his incantations and lose that outdated “eye of Ashanti” business. And then there’s his appearance. KEEP the moustache, and rock that fro. His name is Dr. Strange. Let’s earn it, people. A little 70’s glam rock make-up and platform shoes never hurt anyone.
Problem No. 2: Dr. Strange is Simply Too Powerful
Part of the appeal of Spider-Man and Batman is that they’re vulnerable. Bullets can kill them. They can’t fly. They get hurt. But Dr. Strange, as a master of the mystic arts, is far too great a match for standard criminals. This was made painfully clear to me at the tender age of four when I watched in horror as Dr. Strange sent Kingpin quite literally to Hell in a Spider-Man ”rockomic”.
With one incantation, Dr. Strange decimated a villain who kicked Spidey’s ass on a routine basis. The comics solve this problem by creating other incredibly powerful dudes for Dr. Strange to battle in worlds that looked like Salvador Dali paintings. And while that might be cool for college kids to drop acid to, that shit just looks awful on a lunch box. No eight year old wants to pull his peanut butter sandwich out of a dayglo rendering of Dr. Strange’s spectral form trapped in the third moon of the Euripides Galaxy, while his mortal body exists somewhere on the frontier of doubt.
The Solution: Sexual Kryptonite
Here, Dr. Strange should take a page from Superman. Let’s face it. Without Kryptonite, the substance that robs Superman of his powers, Lex Luther would have been murdered a million times over. Kryptonite brings Superman down to earth – literally—and lets him do battle with mere mortals. And Dr. Strange is no different. But for 21st century audiences, we need something sassier than a fictitious element. Enter plot twist. In our movie, we find out that due to some ancient mystical phenomenon, Dr. Strange loses all his mystic powers for one hour after having sex. And yes, I know what you’re thinking, masturbation counts! With one plot twist, Dr. Strange goes from being omnipotent and inaccessible to powerless and sexually fearful just like some of your favorite Cracked columnists! Also, it helps with obstacle number three.
Problem No. 3: Dr. Strange is Pretty Gay
Let’s not ignore the obvious. When Dr. Strange emerged in 1963, they dressed him in vibrant silk, adorned him with style and panache, and gave him a New York City apartment in the Village. No wonder Marvel made him so powerful. In 1963, it would have been impossible for anything less than an omnipotent homosexual to walk safely from McSorley’s Pub back to his home. And though we’ve made wonderful strides in the forty years later, Hollywood still wants its summer blockbuster comic superheroes to dig chicks.
Solution: Outfit change
Ok. This one’s tricky. And I must confess, my earlier suggestion for glam rock make up and platform shoes probably wasn’t that helpful in retrospect. But there’s nothing that can’t be fixed, right? Now in X-Men they solved this little problem by putting everyone in black leather, but considering Dr. Strange already bears a strong resemblance to the leather man from the Village People, I’m going to suggest we forego that route. For the most part, our options are limited. I mean, very few super hero fashion staples scream “hetero”: capes, cod pieces, spandex. Not easy. Ultimately, the answer lies in keeping it simple, mostly by maintaining Strange’s traditional ensemble and adding one item of a clothing no self –respecting gay man would wear.
O.K., Hollywood? Got all that? Now get to work.
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