Every once in a while, I wake up in the morning and a classic comic book pops in my head. Most often on Saturdays, it’s a Doctor Strange story. Today my mind travelled back to 1972, Marvel Premiere #3: Barry Smith and Stan Lee on the good Doctor Strange.
As you can tell by the terrific splash page, Smith plotted the full story with Stan providing the words and captions. What we like to call Marvel Style! Except I always think that classic Marvel style was when Stan at least gave a page of notes or at least a conversation with the artist. You have to admire how well it worked at the time. It was only possible due to the fact that Kirby, Romita, Buscema, Colan, Smith, etc., were all great storytellers. I can’t possibly imagine any of Marvel’s current creators working this way.
Barry Smith knocked himself out on the artwork for this story. Look at this panel where Doc is walking through the streets of New York City, as the rain starts to fall. He’s brooding on this and that. Who could capture this feeling, or draw those raindrops, as well as Smith could?
This is the other panel that always stuck in my mind—the one where Doc smashes open his window and discovers that the world outside has changed. He’s trapped in his astral form while his body remains in a coma. It’s unreal, like a dream. Gee, which classic villain could cause this situation? Nightmare, of course.
This comic has been reprinted a few times. The scans you see here were taken from a Marvel Milestones reprint. Nuff said!