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5 'Doctor Strange' comics you should read before seeing 'Multiverse of Madness'

Before Stephen Strange's next big-screen adventure, let's check out some Marvel comics.

By Matthew Jackson
Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness

The Sorcerer Supreme of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is back in action this summer with his second movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, a film that pairs Stephen Strange with fellow Avenger Wanda Maximoff to battle inter-dimensional monsters, extra-dimensional threats, and even other versions of himself. Everything we've learned about the film so far seems to suggest that director Sam Raimi's return to superhero films and to Marvel will be one the wildest MCU installments ever, and that means we're all counting down the days until we get to see what's in store.

While you're waiting, of course, you may be looking for some of Strange's comic book tales to whet your appetite until the movie opens May 6. But which comics should you read? While we can't definitively predict which stories will most influence the film, we can point the way to a few that will get you excited about all the magical, multiverse mayhem that's coming to the big screen. So, from classic strange tales to more modern stories, here are five Doctor Strange comics to get you excited for Multiverse of Madness

1. "The Eternity Saga" (Strange Tales #130-146)

You can credit many of the trippiest visuals and concepts in all of Doctor Strange's history to artist Steve Ditko, who co-created the character with Stan Lee and steered many of Strange's original, formative stories. Of all of Ditko's Strange stories, though, the massive 17-part "Eternity Saga" remains the most ambitious and far-reaching. It introduces the cosmic entity known as Eternity, features Strange adventuring through the cosmos, and sets the stage for some of the Doctor's biggest future adventures. If you want Stephen Strange grappling with all of existence in the Marvel Universe, this is where it starts.

2. "The Way of the Weird" (Doctor Strange Vol. 4 #1-5)

Doctor Strange Vol. 1: The Way of the Weird Book Cover

Jason Aaron's spent the past decade or so as Marvel's go-to writer for reinvigorating characters and concepts, and his run on Doctor Strange continued to prove that. The first story from the Aaron era, with art by the great Carlos Pacheco, sees Strange facing the cost of his magical reign as all of his gifts seem to be drying up, even as incursions from other dimensions are escalating. It's funny, it's scary, and it's a really good story of the backlash that comes when Strange and other Marvel sorcerers push things too far, something Multiverse of Madness will definitely end up dealing with.

3. "Time Doom!" (Marvel Premiere #11-14)

After Ditko, writer Steve Englehart stepped in as a key influence on Doctor Strange's direction and future, delivering many memorable tales over the years. Off all the Englehart stories, though, Time Doom! is arguably his most controversial. Crafted alongside artist Frank Brunner and set in the aftermath of Strange's origin story, Doom! centers on Strange's first adventure after succeeding The Ancient One as the Sorcerer Supreme. In the book, Strange searches for Baron Mordo and a dangerous book of spells, all while on a mystical journey through time that culminates with Doctor Strange being present at the creation of the world itself. It's a trippy time warp packed with wonderful visuals from Brunner, and a great way to prep for Strange battling all manner of creatures and fellow sorcerers. 

4. The Death of Doctor Strange

Death of Doctor Strange Book Cover

Launched in 2021, this event miniseries from writer Jed MacKay and artist Lee Garbett explores a very important question in the Marvel Universe: What happens if Stephen Strange, the guardian of all things magical, suddenly dies? What happens to that guardianship? The answer is quite a bit stranger (pun intended) than you may have imagined, as Strange's death reveals the kind of magical backup system he's put in place in the event of his passing. Alongside what happens when the wider Marvel Universe comes to understand what all of that entails. It's a blast of a tale, featuring an alternate Stephen Strange, plenty of magical clashes, and a surprising ending. 

5. "The Montesi Formula" (Doctor Strange Vol. 2 #59-62)

Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, has a major role to play in Multiverse of Madness, so it makes sense to read comics where she crossed over with Stephen Strange in the past. There's obviously more than one instance of these two magic users teaming up, but the most fun (and weirdest) is The Montesi Formula, which features Strange searching magical texts (including the Darkhold) for a formula that will kill all vampires. Written by Roger Stern, with art by Dan Green and Steve Leialoha, Formula is an inventive and riveting story that builds to a team up of Strange, Wanda, Monica Rambeau, and Blade working together to bring down Dracula himself, and that's as exciting as it sounds.