Some of you out there may know that I have the distinction of having one of the two largest collections of Doctor Strange comics and collectibles on the planet. The other collection is owned by my friend P'Tor over at The Sanctum Sanctorum Comics blog, and he shares my pain.
Both of us go out of our way to collect every tiny little piece of merchandise that features Dr. Strange or some of his compatriots such as Dormammu, Clea, Wong and the Ancient One. You'd be surprised how much useless crap there is out there that must be consumed to feed the hunger. Although Dr. Strange isn't Spider-Man or Batman, there is a consistent barrage of items made available from the Mighty Marvel Merchandising Machine...
That being said, both P'Tor and I do pretty well in collecting the major stuff. But there are a few items that Dr. Strange has been featured in that are just too cost prohibitive or rare for me to obtain. Below is a list of my personal top 10 unobtainable grails:
10. 2012 MARVEL'S GREATEST HEROES CARD BOX
Doc is on the box and appears on a card within. I have the card and can't justify spending $70-$100 for the box art alone. (Amazon link)
9. MARVEL OMNIBUSES AND MASTERWORKS TITLES WITH DR. STRANGE ON THE COVER BUT NOT PROMINENTLY FEATURED WITHIN
Sure... I'll get the Dr. Strange and Defenders titles, but the $60 Thor Marvel Masterworks that has a Doc floating head on the cover and features him in one issue? No way. The $100 Fantastic Four John Byrne Omnibus that has him in a Marvel group shot cover? Forget it.
8. ULTIMATE MARVEL VS. CAPCOM ARCADE STICK BY HORI
Available in different colors too. $150? AAA! Dammit! No way in hell. (Amazon link)
7. THIRD EYE MARVEL DISPLAY POSTERS
Two super rare display posters for the 1971 series of Marvel psychedelic blacklight posters and postcards put out by Third Eye. You won't find either one for under $500.
6. STUSSY DR. STRANGE & ETERNITY SHIRTS
Almost got one of these but it was in the wrong size. (All my t-shirts are XL in the collection and I like to be consistent.) For the complete Stussy shirt saga, click here. These are extremely rare and had very limited press runs. Too bad. Nice shirts.
5. VISIONS #4
I used to own this comic. Only 3000 were made for the 1982 Atlanta Comic Convention and it featured the fifth appearance of Bob Burden's Flaming Carrot. I sold mine with my Flaming Carrot collection a few years ago and never expect to find another one. Sadly, it did feature a full page Dr. Strange and Clea drawing by June Brigman and Roy Richardson inside.
4. THE BOWEN ETERNITY BUST
Last year Bowen put out this exclusive bust of the embodiment of the Marvel Universe, who made his first appearance in the Dr. Strange backup story in Strange Tales #138. One of my personal favorite characters from the series, the bust was an exclusive for Bowen sculpture subscription holders only. If you can find one, expect to spend AT LEAST $400 or more.
3. 1970'S DR. EXTRANO REPRINTS FROM SPAIN WITH PAINTED COVERS
The art looks like beautiful vintage sci-fi paperbacks. I would need to go to a comic convention in Barcelona to track these down. Not impossible, but very very tough to think I would ever find even one, let alone a complete set. Published by Ediciones Vertice. Images from comics.org.
2. CGC 9.0 OR HIGHER COPIES OF STRANGE TALES #110, 111, 114, & 115
I see them from time to time on Comiclink or eBay and drool. Encapsulated and hermetically sealed Platonic-ideal copies of the first four appearances of Dr. Strange.
1. A STEVE DITKO ORIGINAL ART PAGE FROM STRANGE TALES
Maybe if I won the lottery I could afford to track down an original Ditko. You won't find anything he did for Doctor Strange or Spider-Man under $10,000. The one pictured here is owned by a guy named Stephen Fishler on Comic Art Fans and I bet it would fetch at least $75,000 if he ever decided to bring it up for auction. I read he has it up in his bathroom. Lucky bastard...