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This ‘Doctor Strange’ Comic Is Half Art Nouveau and Half ‘Yellow Submarine,’ and I’m Enchanted

Detail from the cover of Doctor Strange: Fall Sunrise. Strange stands with his hand on his hip.

I love Doctor Strange because he stretches the boundaries of what superheroes can do, and what superhero stories can be. Consider the final battle in the first Doctor Strange movie: instead of the usual giant fistfight, we get an infinite time loop and a battle of wits. Even the very first Doctor Strange comic in 1968, Strange Tales #110, hinges on Strange revealing that the “villain” in the story is actually the victim’s own worst impulses. Doctor Strange is one of the Marvel properties that’s endlessly trippy and psychedelic.

Now, the new Doctor Strange 4-issue limited series, Tradd and Heather Moore’s Fall Sunrise, is pushing the title even further.

In the Marvel Comics universe, Doctor Strange is currently dead. But no one ever stays dead in comic books for long, and it looks like Fall Sunrise is setting the stage for his inevitable return. In issue #1, which came out on November 23, Strange wakes up in a strange land called Pleoma. After struggling to regain the memories of his life and death, Strange wanders through the landscape, encountering various allies and monsters. Pleoma is in the midst of a celestial event called “The Day That Is Seven,” in which the sun stays in the sky for seven days, and Strange has to figure out why he’s been sent there.

The plot is fun so far, but where Fall Sunrise really shines is its art style. The comic is drawn in a style reminiscent of art nouveau and 1960s psychedelic art, and each panel is dripping with color and detail. It’s somewhat of a departure from the Strange that many of us are used to, but it stays true to the comic’s fantastical roots.

A two-page spread from Doctor Strange: Fall Sunrise. Doctor Strange lies under a tree, thinking, "I was searching for something ... something ... something ... something ...
(Marvel Comics)

In an interview with Marvel, Tradd Moore explains that he’s drawn to the creativity inherent in Doctor Strange. “There’s broad creative freedom in Doctor Strange stories, and in that freedom there’s a challenge. Magic makes the world wide open; what do you do with that space? … Doctor Strange stories should compel us to reach beyond what we know, what we expect, what we dream; they should compel us to look inside ourselves and be honest with what we see. I love fantasy, and philosophy, and abstraction, and extremes—that’s the attraction of Strange to me.”

Moore is also known for his work on Silver Surfer and Ghost Rider.

Fall Sunrise issue #2 comes out on December 28. At its best, Doctor Strange makes you feel like you’ve left the reality you know behind, and I can’t wait to see where Fall Sunrise will take us next.

(featured image: Marvel Comics)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) lives in Los Angeles, where she reads tarot and watches Marvel movies. You can check out more of her writing at linktr.ee/juliaglassman, or find her on Twitter at @juliaglassman.