Thursday, January 31, 2013

And The Award Goes To...
...a Different Date.
An Important Announcement About
The 5th Annual Sanctum Awards


We interrupt this blog for an
about the 5th ANNUAL


will NOT be presented here
on JAN. 31st, 2012
as originally planned.

Each year, every January for the past 4 years, we here at the Sanctum Sanctorum Comix Blog, present to you, our esteemed readers, the "SANCTUM AWARDS" - an extensive post showcasing the very best (and absolute worst) of what was produced in the the previous year within the realms of comics, swag and news pertaining to DOCTOR STRANGE and the "6-Dimensions" characters.

It is to our regret that this year, we are not able to present the Sanctum Awards in January, due to scheduling difficulties and other delays (we had to lock Patrick Dempsey out of the building because he kept running around with a red bath-towel around his neck pointing at people screaming; "ZOT! You're now a TOAD!" We think he's trying too hard to win over the lead role in the upcoming Doctor Strange film).

However, LIKE film, whose awards program - the OSCARS - which are presented in FEBRUARY, the SANCTUM AWARDS will likely do the same this year.

 The "OSCAR"

We hope this delay doesn't inconvenience or disappoint our readers too much, but it is for the best.
That way an awards post can be delivered without rush or loss of "quality".

As a good will gesture, for anyone who feels overly upset at the delay, we'd like to take this opportunity to present our readers with this alternate award: 


Just rub this golden idol and find yourself transported to a far-away land of deadly exotic delights; the Sixth Dimension, wherein you may join the exclusive cult club; the Circle of Decay Joy as an abject slave ambassador to its malevolent mirthful kind ruler TIBORO.

For the rest of you who stay behind, come back again soon for other worthwhile postings!
You'll be glad you did!

If you wish to read through previous years' SANCTUM AWARDS, follow the links below.
4th Annual Sanctum Awards
3rd Annual Sanctum Awards
2nd Annual Sanctum Awards
1st Annual Sanctum Awards


Sunday, January 27, 2013


It's not often that I find myself revisiting what should have been a one-off blog post - not just once, but twice more. However, it's not often that Doctor Strange alters his vestments (his "costume", if you prefer that nomenclature). That's not to say that he hasn't done so more than a few times in the past 50 years... but it isn't done often.

Now that I've split hairs on all the semantics above, I'll get down to the subject at hand.

Steve Epting dresses Doctor Strange - from New Avengers v3 # 1 

If I at times repeat points made in either of the previous two entries of this "series", please accept my apologies that the points do deal with the new matters discussed.

As discussed in the previous iteration(s) of this blog post [HERE] & [HERE], since Dr. Strange initially adopted his new Red & Black suit [in the pages of DEFENDERS v4]  it has undergone a few tweaks here and there, either due to artistic preference, or more likely - and the worst reason of all - because the precise design was never fully refined (not "ironed out" if you'll pardon the pun). It had too many vague areas where interpretation could cause confusion.

Terry Dodson's cover to DEFENDERS v4 # 1

Those vague areas included the gauntlets that Strange wore (the origins and image of them found at the first post in this series [HERE]). However, while drawn and designed as intricate and detailed metal armbands by one artist (Gabrielle Del-Otto), they were immediately redesigned and reinterpreted (wrongly) as less detail-specific articles by another (Terry Dodson), which then led every other subsequent artist to reinterpret them as they thought they might be. At best, they had been drawn as simple bands about his forearms (like leggings would be for the lower legs), and at worst, they were drawn as superhero gloves. This mistake was only further confused by the fact that while, originally the gauntlets were gold they were now colored red, and the gloves on Strange's hands -under the gauntlets - were either colored black, red or left off entirely, shown as simple flesh.

Personally, I always thought that the gloves should either be colored black (or left off entirely) to avoid the exact confusion that has been made wherein someone thinks that the red gloves and the red gauntlets are one and the same.

Also of confusion/interpretation was if Strange's suit was skin-tight or comprised of looser fabric. And many artists would leave off the draping fabric "tails" that would flow behind him, instead just having him wear tight-pants.

Then, when the entire look was drawn in it's most crucial moment - at the end of NEW AVENGERS v2 # 34 - when Strange would regain his lost artifacts; the Eye of Agamotto & the Cloak of Levitation, the artist responsible (Mike Deodato) made every wrong choice.

Supreme Sorcerer. Stylistically Sub-par.

Thus, not only was the Cloak drawn incorrectly (as I discussed in the previous entry of this "series"), but Strange was drawn with a skin-tight super-suit, at the loss of the draping fabric at his waist, but also the gauntlets were reduced to simple super-hero gloves.

It is this look that is being repeated in the newest volume (v3) of New Avengers, by artist Steve Epting.

I've no love... for the gloves.

Another artistic choice by Epting is that, while he is also following the erroneous design of having the Cloak of Levitation be gilded improperly (see the previous entry for that information), he has also chosen to drawn the high collar (cowl?) of the Cloak in a manner more likened to Strange's original blue cloak - that of a uniformly edged barrel-shape than the sloping and angular collar we've known the past 50 years.

Strange Tales # 126 - Art by Steve Ditko. Words by Stan Lee

As of yet, we've not seen Steve Epting render the entirety of Strange's new garb. For the most of his appearance in the first 2 issues of NEW AVENGERS v3, Doctor Strange has been wrapped in the folds of his cloak, and further draped in shadow. So it is unknown if Steve Epting has decided to follow suit in regards to Strange's...suit. Will he render it as a super-hero skin-tight garment, or do otherwise?

Strangely, the only glimpses we've seen of Strange's entirety come from variant covers, drawn by others. In each of those, it is drawn differently, but for the most part, in keeping with the Deodato redesign.

Variant cover for # 5 by Joe Quinones.
I won't even show the Simone Bianchi variant for # 4 
- as the costume is quite obviously a fantasy-inspired version -

However, in the pages of New Avengers v3 # 2 , Epting showed glimpses of what could either be seen as a look into the happenings from other parallel Earths, or what could be future events of our "own" (616) Earth. In that vision, we saw a NEW look for Doctor Strange - with a new symbol at his chest.

Gone is the classic Ditko-designed "demon" spirit, to be replaced by a stylized "EYE" (of Agamotto). Only time will tell if these glimpses prove to be prophesy or mere phantoms of other worlds.

I'm fairly sure the images are events showing what had occurred on OTHER Earths.
And while I doubt that they represent future looks at OUR Illuminati, for my part, I will go on record saying that you'll not get any argument from ME if he does change his look (again).
I like that new symbol!
However, design-wise... it is aesthetically confusing, as it makes 3 "eye" shapes on his uniform (the EYE of Agamotto itself, that symbol and the golden belt buckle).

Still, when all is said and done, I have always liked Steve Epting's artwork - as far back as his 1990's run on the Avengers, and all things considered, he did draw this piece of Doctor Strange (a commission piece?) a scant year or so ago, so it can't be that he's totally forgotten what Strange is supposed to look like.

More than likely, he's just trying some new things.

I'm unsure how I feel about that. I'm unsure how it will all look (and will most likely have to have a final 4th installment to this "series" when Doctor Strange is fully revealed - in issue # 3?), but I'm willing to wait and see.

Since this new volume of NEW AVENGERS looks to be the title that I will have the closest interest, what with writer Jonathan Hickman laying down such coolness as Strange's statement in the scan below... I am willing to invest in it - with my dollars and my faith that all will be worth it.

THIS is every kind of awesome!
I can only hope that we get to SEE Strange's journey.

While it is said that "clothes make the man"... it doesn't hurt to have a haberdasher like Steve Epting and a gentleman's gentleman such as Jonathan Hickman to keep Doctor Stephen Strange at his best.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Time Warp :
- The Modern Marvel Calendars

Happy (belated) New Year - 2013, Sanctum Dwellers!

In this, the first second post of the new year, I once again thought it appropriate to blog about the passage of time. Well... honestly, about calendars.

This post also doubles as an updated add-on to an old post from this time in 2009 wherein I showcased all of the various Marvel Calendars - from 1975 - to the "present"... well... at least the ones that featured Doctor Strange or any of my "6-Dimensions" interests.

The original series can be found at the following links:
(Part I : the "CLASSIC" calendar series can be seen - HERE)
(Part II : the "MODERN" calendar series can be seen - HERE)
(Part III : the 1980 Doctor Strange calendar - in its entirety - can be seen - HERE)

Anyway, this entry is just to post an added entry into the "Part II - MODERN" portion of that series (however, while a part of the Marvel Calendar collection, this added entry will not be added to that post directly - only mentioned with a link to this addendum, for the reason in the very next sentence...)

However, for the first time, the calendar I am about to showcase has absolutely NO appearance by Doctor Strange whatsoever!

It DOES, however, have an appearance by one of my "6-Dimensions" interests: the SCARLET WITCH.

Left side: Thor, Scarlet Witch, Captain America.
Right side: Havok, Rogue, Wolverine.
Artwork by John Cassaday, from the cover to Uncanny Avengers # 1

A FREE promo item, this calendar showcases images for the upcoming year's publications and events. 
(Sadly, I don't yet have one, and have made due with scans from online. Anyone have one of these they can spare? I'll probably have to hit up eBay or something. Found one on the cheap via eBay. Not FREE as it should be, but pretty close.)

It's an in-house publication. With a few tiny images of some Marvel characters on certain holidays, this calendar, much like previous few years in-house Marvel calendars, is a tiny throwback / homage to those "classic" Marvel calendars of old (as can be seen in this post [HERE]) wherein most of the days had cool little Marvel art within. (Like the odd little scene of NAMOR kissing the INVISIBLE WOMAN (or is that EMMA FROST?) in a heart-shaped box on VALENTINE's DAY... hmmm...)

Unfortunately, like the similar in-house Marvel calendar of last year (blogged [HERE]), this one also does not showcase Dr. Strange in any of its interior pages.

What I find very curious is that in EVERY interview with writer Jonathan Hickman about his plans for Marvel flagship titles; AVENGERS & NEW AVENGERS, he states that the plans he has for NEW AVENGERS (which features Doctor Strange and the rest of the Illuminati [Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Black Bolt, Namor, the Beast - who takes the place of the dead-for-now Professor X, and Black Panther]) would make it THE MOST IMPORTANT title that Marvel would publish all year. And yet, images of that title/group is strangely snubbed in the calendar.

It looks like 2013 will be the same as many a year previous in that...
it is not easy being a Doctor Strange fan.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2013 New Year's Resolutions


I don't tend to make 'New Year's Resolutions' any more.
While an admirable attempt to prompt some manner of positive change (at least we hope it's a positive direction that one is resolving to follow. I pray no one is vowing to be a worse person in the new year) the very act of the resolution oftentimes is merely a hard-to-meet set-up to a subsequent sequence of fretting (about meeting the expectations), frustration (if all doesn't go according to plan) and failure (y'know... when you fail at a successful resolution).

However, I do try to set certain goals for myself.
I just don't hold them as adamantly as the "resolution" paradigm.

For 2013, among some personal goals, I also have a few for the Sanctum Sanctorum Comix blog.

 I'd love a return to the original mission-statement of this blog: showcasing the swag in my collection. That is the actual "Sanctum Sanctorum Comix" - it's what I named my collection, and thus, the blog (and the comic shoppe that I one day would love to open). There are several series that I had begun in years' prior and would like to complete them this year (including the "Idol Pursuits" series, featuring action figures, statues, and assorted figures, as well as the "Graven Images" series - featuring posters and prints, and so many more).

 There are many series and sub-series of an informational nature that I've done on the blog (really...waaaaay too many to list here) and more that I have long sought to do. For instance; I had started a series detailing the History of the Sorcerer Supreme and never had a chance to complete it. Now that Dr. Strange has regained the title, that doesn't negate the need for such a series. I've also got a complete and insanely thorough list of all the varied changes in the look of Doctor Strange, as well as a complete look into the creative teams who have handled the character... and much more!

 That was a very popular series, and there are still many instances in the comic canon for me to have let it lie fallow for over a year. Expect a return of that fun feature.

 (They just make me sad. It seems good issues and stories have been too few and far between, and writing diatribes of epic length which make Ulysses seem like a limerick, only makes it harder for me to; A] enjoy comics - and B] enjoy working on the blog). Note, I didn't say "NO reviews", because every so often, I WILL feel the burning desire to write one (for good or ill), but I just can't write as many as I feel I "should".

 I want this to be an outlet of all the things about comics (and my Doctor Strange / "6-dimensions" obsession) that bring enjoyment - for me and hopefully, for you! The last thing I want is for this blog to feel like tedium.

See you for more fun in 2013!
Tamam Shud!