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  1. #481
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    Quote Originally Posted by IonRyner View Post
    I had no idea that for a period of time Scarlet Witch was Doctor Strange's apprentice. I wonder when that was and how long it lasted and where I can find it at. Also how he had a apprentice but left her with a demon and completely forgot about her and his promise to her. The apprentice's name is Casey Kinmont in one of his miniseries. I found the info here, for his apprentice he forgot

    https://whatculture.com/comics/10-th...strange?page=8

    and the one that mentions for a period of time Scarlet Witch was Doctor Strange's apprentice - under number 7

    https://screenrant.com/trivia-facts-...trange-marvel/
    For the first link, #5 is wrong. He never sent the journalists that statue. They found it themselves. And he didn't do it to prove magic exist since in that era, his whole thing was keeping magic under wraps. It wasn't until the modern era, where that was removed.

    In the second, Wanda was never his apprentice in the 616. She was trained by Agatha.

  2. #482

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    Quote Originally Posted by IonRyner View Post
    I had no idea that for a period of time Scarlet Witch was Doctor Strange's apprentice. I wonder when that was and how long it lasted and where I can find it at. Also how he had a apprentice but left her with a demon and completely forgot about her and his promise to her. The apprentice's name is Casey Kinmont in one of his miniseries. I found the info here, for his apprentice he forgot

    https://whatculture.com/comics/10-th...strange?page=8

    and the one that mentions for a period of time Scarlet Witch was Doctor Strange's apprentice - under number 7

    https://screenrant.com/trivia-facts-...trange-marvel/
    I think they got him confused with Agatha.
    Love is for souls, not bodies.

  3. #483
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    Quote Originally Posted by GenericUsername View Post
    I think they got him confused with Agatha.
    that could be a possibility, that is why I asked if that was true or not.

  4. #484

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    To clarify the Casey Kinmont thing.

    Casey was a magical prodigy who had mastered one particular spell (which dumped things in another dimension). She overused it, and the owner of said dimension indicated that if he had Earth's garbage dumped on him ONE MORE TIME... there would be consequences.

    While helping Stephen out on a case involving a demonic junior beauty pageant, she temporarily lost her soul. Before she could get it restored, she was forced to use the spell one more time to save Stephen's life. The owner of the dimension dragged her off, leaving her soul quite literally in Stephen's hand.

    Stephen worked furiously to rescue her, and started neglecting his duties as Sorcerer Supreme, leading to him agreeing to have the memory of her existence erased from his mind temporarily so he could work. Unfortunately, the demon who did it (a mutual ally named Larry) died before he could restore said memories.

    Later on, a soulless Casey returned, disguised as Stephen himself, seeking vengeance (and her soul). This is where Waid messed up, as Stephen should have known where her soul was, once those memories were restored. In any case, they parted as allies (but not friends).

    Saying "he left her wirh a demon and forgot" is a DRASTIC oversimplification.

  5. #485
    Astonishing Member Albert1981's Avatar
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    I believe former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada described Doctor Strange thus:

    "...You can place Doctor Strange in peril but it never really seems like much because at any moment he can cast a spell of crimson bands or what have you and he's out. There are no rules to his universe and from a storytelling perspective that's problematic. When you look at imaginary situations, worlds like the world of Toy Story or even Roger Rabbit have rules of their universe clearly defined. Heck in Roger Rabbit it's very clear how to kill a 'toon, so the viewer gets the feeling that the characters can be placed in peril and have their backs placed against the wall. This is exactly what I'm looking for in regards to our magic characters. Rules that govern them. How do you kill Doctor Strange? How do you hurt him?"

    Here are some responses to Quesada's comments that I found which I think are pretty interesting:

    "This is a common description, and fairly accurate for how Dr. Strange is typically written from what I've read elsewhere. But clearly it's neither desirable or necessary. Look at the Lee/Ditko Dr. Strange stories (in Essential Dr. Strange, for instance, which I highly recommend), and you'll see that the magic actually has some pretty well-defined rules and limitations. I've usually found Dr. Strange to be a pretty tedious character, because he's usually written as Quesada describes. But he doesn't have to be, and I found, to my surprise, that I love his early stories."

    That's PRECISELY why I'm asking Clea to give me more information on the earlier Strange stories. I can't believe that they actually had way more "rules" imposed on magic in the 60s and 70s than they do now. And the stories were WAY more interesting too. That's why I'm willing to overlook any high-brow prose and esoteric dialogue in them which I hold a deep disdain for. I'm looking forward to her recommendations!
    Last edited by Albert1981; 04-11-2021 at 10:31 AM.

  6. #486
    Astonishing Member Albert1981's Avatar
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    Y'all might be wondering, how did a fantasy "amateur" such as myself get SO interested in magic in such a short period of time? There's a reason for that. Actually one EXTENSIVE post online changed my whole perspective on magic in fiction. It described EXACTLY what "soft" and "hard" magic is in a way that even a buffoon like me could understand. I will share the text with you here (it was part of a writing workshop discussion for "magical" stories):

    "Making Magic: A Guide

    Giving writing advice:

    Presumably, most of us like to write fantasy at least in part because it lets us write about magic. Magic is cool and exciting; it can help make your story feel fresh, individual, and unique. Of all the different setting elements you might create for a story, the magic is often what leaves the biggest impression on the reader.

    Magic is also the thing a lot of writers get stuck on. I've whipped a guide to help with that; I'm mostly focusing on creating magic for the purposes of narrative fiction, but most of this will also apply if you're wanting to come up with a magic system for a homebrew campaign setting, a TTRPG, or a roleplay forum.

    Decide if you want a harder or softer system of magic. "Hard magic" is magic where the reader is given the exact rules of how magic functions in the world, while "soft magic" is more vague and undefined. Hard magic systems tend to run on something very similar to rational, scientific logic; the hardest magic systems often resemble alternate physics. Softer magic systems tend to run more on poetic or metaphysical logic. Hard/soft magic exists on a spectrum and isn't strictly an either/or: Mistborn is harder than Fullmetal Alchemist which is harder than A Song of Ice and Fire which is harder than traditional fairytales. Keep in mind, you can easily convert a harder magic system to a softer one simply by keeping some of the cards closer to your chest and not revealing to the reader the exact mechanisms of the magic. Here are some pros and cons of each type.

    Hard Magic Pros:

    Allows the reader to solve problems alongside the magic using characters, since both are equally aware of how the magic works; it's actually good for solving problems in general

    Works nicely when a main (POV) character is some sort of magic user

    Can help avoid making magic a deus ex machina; I don't personally believe this is as big of a benefit as some do since you can just as easily avoid deus ex machina with softer magic by just, like, writing well... but it still bears being said

    Absolutely ideal for any sort of RPG; knowing all the rules keeps things fair and makes magic easier to "play"

    Hard Magic Cons:

    To seem readers, hard magic is less appealing for no reason other than that it feels less mystical

    Conveying the rules of your system to the reader in a way that feels organic and not infodumpy can be a bit of a challenge

    Generally more difficult to tie into a story's themes

    Soft Magic Pros:

    A sense of wonder, awe, and/or dread is much easier to maintain when the exact mechanics of magic are hidden; this makes it ideal for both especially whimsical stories and especially scary stories

    Great for creating problems

    Easier to tie into a story's themes because it can run on emotional/poetic logic rather than rational/scientific logic

    Necessitates significantly less exposition than hard magic

    Soft Magic Cons:

    Makes solving big narrative problems with magic more difficult

    Harder to work if you want a main (POV) character to be a magic user

    Generally not great for RPGs where player characters can use magic and really not great if your players are more game-focused than story-focused

    Once you've gotten that decided, regardless of whether you decide to use a harder or softer approach to magic, you'll need to decide what you want your magic to be able to do for sure, as well as what it absolutely cannot do. With a harder system, you'll make these limitations explicit in the story. With a softer one, you won't.

    Decide who can use magic. Anybody who wants to learn? All elves? Only the royal family? People who have made pacts with demons/spirits/fairies? Only the Great Old Ones? In general, magic that is more accessible to more people usually works better if it's a little on the harder side of the spectrum because of its resemblance to science—something anyone can do if they make the effort.

    Decide how magic is performed. With the softest magic—think fairytales—it may be as simple as "it just happens sometimes" or "when it feels right" but most magic will have some boxes that need to be ticked before magic can happen. Maybe potions need brewed, maybe the moon needs to be a waning gibbous, maybe incantations need spoken, burnt offerings to dark gods made—there are plenty of possibilities.

    Keep in mind the tone you want your story to have. If you're wanting a lighthearted adventure romp, you probably shouldn't use excruciatingly painful blood magic in your story. Likewise, if you're wanting to write something gritty and raw, Avatar: The Last Airbender style elemental manipulation may seem a little too kid-friendly.

    See if you can tie your magic in to the theme of the story; it's not strictly speaking necessary, but it can be really powerful, compelling, and emotionally satisfying. For example, my favorite video game, Shadow of the Colossus is fundamentally about the extreme lengths someone would go to save someone they loved. The "magic" of that game involves killing living colossi whose existence keeps a dark god who can bring the dead back to life imprisoned. To drive that theme home, killing the colossi is painted as less and less triumphant as the game goes on until the player realizes that it was always a terrible price to pay. The game doesn't give you the answer, but it does lead you to consider whether it was worth the price. It's a perfect example of a story's fantastical elements supporting its themes."

    I think Marvel and DC would be extremely well-served by following this advice on how to deal with mystical stories in its publications. And I believe the movies and shows would benefit from it as well.
    Last edited by Albert1981; 04-11-2021 at 08:52 AM.

  7. #487

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    IMO, Quesada is wrong, because he focuses on what Strange CAN do, not WHY. Or even if he SHOULD do it.

    There's ore to storytelling than "defeat the bad guy". There are moral dilemmas, hard choices, and unexpected consequences. Being able to fix the problem with a wave of a hand IS easy, sure... but knowing what the problem actually IS and whether or not fixing it is the right thing to do is quite another.

    For that matter, the rules we've mentioned up-thread (the three kinds of white magic) were actually laid out in the original Marvel Handbooks in the 1980s. If they weren't being followed, that's the fault of the editors, not the character.

  8. #488
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    Quote Originally Posted by DigiCom View Post
    IMO, Quesada is wrong, because he focuses on what Strange CAN do, not WHY. Or even if he SHOULD do it.

    There's ore to storytelling than "defeat the bad guy". There are moral dilemmas, hard choices, and unexpected consequences. Being able to fix the problem with a wave of a hand IS easy, sure... but knowing what the problem actually IS and whether or not fixing it is the right thing to do is quite another.

    For that matter, the rules we've mentioned up-thread (the three kinds of white magic) were actually laid out in the original Marvel Handbooks in the 1980s. If they weren't being followed, that's the fault of the editors, not the character.
    Basically this. In single series having rules is easy because there is one single author to keep it the same. Berserk, Full-Metal alchemist, and Naruto all have magical systems guided by one author. They were all very popular mangas. Doctor Strange had Ditko set down the original rules and so did Stern who tried to follow those rules as closely as possible, likely because he went back to try to make sense what Ditko wrote. I am accrediting Ditko as DS primary creator, here. While there was some oddities, they were for the most part consentient. And it's important that in the Ditko days, he almost never won by being stronger. He was smarter. In fact many of the times, his enemies were stronger than him. Famously, in the original run he never defeated Dormammu in a magical battle in the original run or Umar. Rather he won though other means and by playing on the foible.

    Stern did the same thing with the good doctor winning mostly through wit. In the case of Dracula, it was a reversal of most tales. In it Dracula was the being try to use wit and subterfuge to avoid direct conflict with Strange and it worked because he was much of an active character as Strange.

    The problem is that most writers and Joe see himself, see him as a deus-ex-machina because they use him like that. Someone could write down the rules in a hand written bible (which fans have done in the past to write their own rpgs and writers in handbooks) and future writers will still ignore them because they just want to. The last writer who was supposed to establish rules was the Bendis himself and he didn't do that. If anything he did the opposite, muddying up what came before in the name of speculation and talk. Rules only works if editorial guides their new writers or the writers are fans.Ootherwise it's not going to work and editorial clearly doesn't want to do that.

    Also rules don't make a story good like DigiCom said. I'm reading a very popular webcomic right now where the rules of magic is very open ended and I'm having a blast. Journey to the west is incredibly nebulous. So are most epics but they are extremely popular. The value of the story and the scale is what makes it great and DS has a huge scale in the reality. It's just most writers aren't creative about it. He has plenty of characters and worlds. It just most don't do anything with it.

  9. #489

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    Quote Originally Posted by Albert1981 View Post
    I believe former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada described Doctor Strange thus:

    "...You can place Doctor Strange in peril but it never really seems like much because at any moment he can cast a spell of crimson bands or what have you and he's out. There are no rules to his universe and from a storytelling perspective that's problematic. When you look at imaginary situations, worlds like the world of Toy Story or even Roger Rabbit have rules of their universe clearly defined. Heck in Roger Rabbit it's very clear how to kill a 'toon, so the viewer gets the feeling that the characters can be placed in peril and have their backs placed against the wall. This is exactly what I'm looking for in regards to our magic characters. Rules that govern them. How do you kill Doctor Strange? How do you hurt him?"

    Here are some responses to Quesada's comments that I found which I think are pretty interesting:

    "This is a common description, and fairly accurate for how Dr. Strange is typically written from what I've read elsewhere. But clearly it's neither desirable or necessary. This is a common description, and fairly accurate for how Dr. Strange is typically written. Look at the Lee/Ditko Dr. Strange stories (in Essential Dr. Strange, for instance, which I highly recommend), and you'll see that the magic actually has some pretty well-defined rules and limitations. I've usually found Dr. Strange to be a pretty tedious character, because he's usually written as Quesada describes. But he doesn't have to be, and I found, to my surprise, that I love his early stories."

    That's PRECISELY why I'm asking Clea to give me more information on the earlier Strange stories. I can't believe that they actually had way more "rules" imposed on magic in the 60s and 70s than they do now. And the stories were WAY more interesting too. That's why I'm willing to overlook any high-brow prose and esoteric dialogue in them which I hold a deep disdain for. I'm looking forward to her recommendations!
    I really honestly can't care what storytelling perspective Quesada has after he messed up the Avengers titles for so many years with his theories on things.

    And him being the one that felt mutants couldn't be marginalized nor a minority with millions in the universe. Even though there's billions of people overall. And people can be marginalized and have even an equal population number.
    Love is for souls, not bodies.

  10. #490

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    Regarding "hard" vs "soft" magic, it's really a continuum. And how hard magic is in a particular setting is usually a combination of artistic choice and the medium.

    • Something like a video game or tabletop RPG NEEDS hard magic, because the nature of the setting demands it. Rules are baked in.
      "According to page 23 of the rules, he can't do that. Sorry."
    • A self-contained story of finite length (a book, manga, or movie) can afford to go softer, and hand-wave a few things, as the audience will allow a certain suspension of disbelief.
      "I didn't know he could do that, but it makes sense based on other things he did".
    • When you start getting into open-ended narratives like a webcomic, TV show, or book series, softer is better, because you don't know going in whether or not the story will head in a direction where the rules become an obstacle.
      "I know I said he can't do that back in 2017, but if he doesn't, the story doesn't work, so I'm going to introduce an exception. Well, maybe a couple of exceptions, because this could be handy later."
    • Comics are a problem. Because the narratives are not only open-ended, but under the control of a host of different creators, with different visions of where the character should go.
      "Steve said he couldn't do that back in 1968. n the other hand, Roger said he could in 1982, but that story was retconned in 1997. And he was doing it all of the time in the 2000s. I'm not sure if he can or not, so I'm just going to do what I want."

    See what I mean?

    I think Strange was handled in an interesting way in the Avengers movies. In Infinity War, he pulled out all sorts of tricks we'd never seen and didn't know he could do... but in Endgame, he was taken off the board quickly to deal with a massive flood. Technically "soft" magic, but never a deus ex machina.
    Last edited by DigiCom; 04-11-2021 at 09:49 AM.

  11. #491
    Incredible Member Eto's Avatar
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    OMG OMG OMG
    Strange Tales #138 was E P I C.
    Friggin first appearance of ETERNITY!
    :0
    Stephen is the second human being (first is Ancient One) to have come eye to eye with Eternity.

  12. #492
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eto View Post
    OMG OMG OMG
    Strange Tales #138 was E P I C.
    Friggin first appearance of ETERNITY!
    :0
    Stephen is the second human being (first is Ancient One) to have come eye to eye with Eternity.
    The entire Eternity Saga was top-notch and is possibly in the running for the best DS story ever written.

  13. #493
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eto View Post
    OMG OMG OMG
    Strange Tales #138 was E P I C.
    Friggin first appearance of ETERNITY!
    :0
    Stephen is the second human being (first is Ancient One) to have come eye to eye with Eternity.
    I especially loved the Ditko art in this issue, especially the sequences of Strange traveling through different dimensions. Movie special effects have finally caught up to the imagery that Dikto drew in these comics.



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  14. #494
    Astonishing Member Albert1981's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DigiCom View Post
    IMO, Quesada is wrong, because he focuses on what Strange CAN do, not WHY. Or even if he SHOULD do it.

    There's ore to storytelling than "defeat the bad guy". There are moral dilemmas, hard choices, and unexpected consequences. Being able to fix the problem with a wave of a hand IS easy, sure... but knowing what the problem actually IS and whether or not fixing it is the right thing to do is quite another.

    For that matter, the rules we've mentioned up-thread (the three kinds of white magic) were actually laid out in the original Marvel Handbooks in the 1980s. If they weren't being followed, that's the fault of the editors, not the character.
    According to folks on this thread, Strange has an EXTREMELY choppy history, regular reinvention, inconsistent powers, frequent depowering-by-plot, and uncertain mythology. It's no wonder people have had a hell of a time writing for the good Doctor.

    I like your ideas. Were I to rework the character, I'd make the moral consequences of magic the major limitation on his power.... magic isn't like a mutant eye beam or a gamma irradiated muscle- how you use it is intimately to why you use it. I'd do more of that- Strange as an explorer in strange ethical and moral conundrums. I know Strange is not a medical practitioner any more, but moral and ethical dilemmas should be things he understands because of the very nature of that profession. But I DOUBT Marvel will ever go down that route. They're addicted to the pew pew pew.

  15. #495
    Astonishing Member Albert1981's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DigiCom View Post
    Regarding "hard" vs "soft" magic, it's really a continuum. And how hard magic is in a particular setting is usually a combination of artistic choice and the medium.

    • Something like a video game or tabletop RPG NEEDS hard magic, because the nature of the setting demands it. Rules are baked in.
      "According to page 23 of the rules, he can't do that. Sorry."
    • A self-contained story of finite length (a book, manga, or movie) can afford to go softer, and hand-wave a few things, as the audience will allow a certain suspension of disbelief.
      "I didn't know he could do that, but it makes sense based on other things he did".
    • When you start getting into open-ended narratives like a webcomic, TV show, or book series, softer is better, because you don't know going in whether or not the story will head in a direction where the rules become an obstacle.
      "I know I said he can't do that back in 2017, but if he doesn't, the story doesn't work, so I'm going to introduce an exception. Well, maybe a couple of exceptions, because this could be handy later."
    • Comics are a problem. Because the narratives are not only open-ended, but under the control of a host of different creators, with different visions of where the character should go.
      "Steve said he couldn't do that back in 1968. n the other hand, Roger said he could in 1982, but that story was retconned in 1997. And he was doing it all of the time in the 2000s. I'm not sure if he can or not, so I'm just going to do what I want."

    See what I mean?

    I think Strange was handled in an interesting way in the Avengers movies. In Infinity War, he pulled out all sorts of tricks we'd never seen and didn't know he could do... but in Endgame, he was taken off the board quickly to deal with a massive flood. Technically "soft" magic, but never a deus ex machina.
    Love your description of "soft" and "hard" magic systems. If I join other message boards and forums, I might have to claim your words as my own! I think what we're really talking about on this thread are more than rules and limits to the use of magic (or anything else) in fiction. I believe all we're asking for is some INTERNAL CONSISTENCY in the stories that we read. And often times, we don't get that in mystical tales. To me, that's really frustrating. As a reader and/or viewer of this stuff, I can definitely maintain a suspension of disbelief. I think that's reasonable. BUT, I would definitely like some TENSION in the fiction that I consume. And I didn't get that in Catwoman and Wonder Woman 1984. And a HELL of a lot of people didn't get that in the last season of Game of Thrones (which I didn't watch). I thought Strange was handled fine in his movies. I liked how he used creativity and imagination in his fight with Thanos in Infinity War. I actually don't mind that he got "Balroged" in Endgame. Let him do his thing in his OWN movies I say.
    Last edited by Albert1981; 04-11-2021 at 10:58 AM.

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