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I’m pretty shocked that we’ve got to 50 comments and no one’s mentioned “Why I Left Harry’s All-Night Hambergers” (I never figure out how to do links, so: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Why_I_Left_Harry's_All-Night_Hamburgers)

It’s pretty much the same idea, except that it’s a diner for extra-dimensional travelers, not a crappy tex-mex plance for wizards. Also, it’s located in West Virginia cause if you’re going to port into Earth-2836 by mistake, one of those post-apolocaptic worlds, no one’s going to take a shot at middle-of-nowhere WV.

It’s also got nice gimmick I’d like to see incoporated in this idea: An unflappable owner who has to figure out how make change from Next-Earth-Over currency (Herbert: That’s the ES-Pecilaity de la Casa, and a deep-fried ice cream. $16.37. Or 6 seer crystals. No, I won’t take a check. Need a reciept?). I mean, Strange takes a few lunch meetings with visiting beings, right?

And Deadpool is quite fond of Chimichangas. They remind him of the sound of his skull knitting back together.

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Apropos of Dr. Strange in Disney World, one of the many pleasures of “Marvel: Ultimate Alliance” was driving Strange (in his 1602> garb) around Murderworld in a bumper car.

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(and also Strange forgetting to properly close markup tags.)

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Which is to say: Herbert’s actively has the magic sucked out of it by the physically improbable electromagnet that surrounds it, just like the hobo who lives under 101 North is always trying to tell me happened to him.

I mean, you can rationalize it any way you want. It just seems kinda silly to make the least magical place on earth within driving distance of at least three major ley line nexus points. It would be like putting a desert in the middle of the ocean. You can wave your hands and make it happen (really big desert island!), but it’s going to make suspension of disbelief just that much harder. Especially after the whole proximity to ley lines as an explanation.

If MGK wants to just fiat this place as a magical dead zone and drop the ley line explanation, go nuts. It’s magic. It just doesn’t flow for me from the build up.

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Given the chance, I’d tackle this concept from a slightly different angle. I’d tell the story from the point of view of the people who work at the restaurant, while showing the various conversations between more well-known characters happening in the background. It could even overlap with ongoing stories, simply telling select moments from a less often seen prospective.

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Stressfactor said on April 24th, 2009 at 12:26 pm
“May I suggest the western half of Kansas?”

May I suggest Garden City, Kansas?

I even have a good catch. Garden City actually has a lot of Mexicans (43-44% Hispanic), but that doesn’t stop Herbert from opening his heavily Americanized Mexican food.

So, who would eat Herbert’s inauthentic offerings with so much authentic food available? A wizard did it.

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I can imagine the interns causing real trouble here.

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Western Kansas is certainly a desolate wasteland (I can say that, I’m a Kansan) but putting something that’s already similar to the Center from AG in the same state is just asking for trouble. It’s not hard to find other flat prairie wastes. Oklahoma, eastern Colorado, parts of Nebraska or Montana….

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I live in the desert southwest, and I can tell you we have plenty of white boy mexican joints here. Real Mexican population doesn’t mean they are running all the restaurants in an area.
I think that what Zifnab was getting at is that the better parts of human civilization tend to thrive in the presence of ley lines while a lack of ley lines tends to discourage creative thought and even joy. Thus, monuments, art centers, and even sports stadiums tend to grow at their junctures. That doesn’t preclude a dead zone, though. Ever heard of a Faraday cage? Properly configured, running current through a structure prevents signals from entering or exiting.

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Oh, I don’t know…I think if you’ve got a place where a whole crazy bunch of ley-lines intersect with improbable density (like Doc’s Sanctum, let’s say for the sake of argument), you might expect some relatively nearby zone to be swept pretty free of them — the lines that might have intersected there in the normal course of events instead being all clumped up a few miles away.

Sounds plausible enough to me. Pseudo-mathematical, even.

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Christian said on April 24th, 2009 at 11:53 pm

Have any of you guys read/played Unknown Armies (the tabletop RPG)? its kinda based on Tim Power… anyway this is more of a UA idea then a Dr Strange idea. They’ve got a loose group of mages who all work at McDonalds, give out random magic in Happy Meals, and stopped the Y2K bug

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Christian said on April 25th, 2009 at 12:01 am

also: http://www.weirdnj.com

i love the whole ‘places of power in historically signifcant areas’ thing but i think Gaiman/Powers magic dosen’t really fit in with over the top insane Dr Strange magic

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Brad Reed said on April 25th, 2009 at 6:48 pm

Thanks for the inclusion, MGK. I appreciate it.

I placed the restaurant (originally called “Taco Cabeza” after a joke in the TV show “Breaking Bad”) in Jersey City, which is pretty darn close to NYC, which is supposed to be super-duper magical. Why? If you’ve ever been to Jersey City, you’d instantly recognize it as the least magical place on Earth.

If it helps, forget Ley Lines and instead think of magical potential as bumps in the fabric of the world. NYC is a huge spike in magic that creates a pit right next to it. (Or maybe the pit in Jersey City created the spike in NYC — whatever.) Really, we’re deep, deep into handwaving territory here.

The two reasons to put The Least Magical Place on Earth in a cheap Mexican restaurant in Jersey City (or twenty miles away from Newark, whatever) are the only two reasons that should matter when creating a “Doctor Strange” story.

First, for dramatic effect — the contrast,
proximity, and ridiculousness of the site recommend it strongly as a story tool. “The most magical places on Earth” are always grand, dramatic vistas loaded with history, both magnificent and horrible. Thus, as an obvious reversal, such a site’s opposite should be as quotidian as possible. Dull. Depressing, even. Since Doc stories are human-focused, that means that the site couldn’t simply be a dull, natural craphole. It’d have to be a man-made eyesore of no special meaning.

Second, Wong loves tacos, and it’s best to stay on Wong’s good side. Dude will end you if you get between him and a platter of Herbert’s chicken tacos.

The Taco Hut’s believability and acceptability in a Doc story would be directly tied to how good the story is that invokes it. If the first story with “Herbert’s Taco Hut” were a modern classic, few readers would give a rat’s heinie why it was the way it was. It’d be accepted as part of the regular Doc mythos. If the story stank, no matter how well it fit into “magical logic,” the setting would tank and people would find reasons to hate it.

PS — I’ve never read Gaiman’s novels, but, as others have pointed out, this is a very obvious idea. It’s a simple reversal of a common Doctor Strange story element, and I don’t think it’s been done in a Doc story before. Plus, mmm, tacos.

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Sounds fun…reminds me of the bar from the Dresden Files.

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…I was all set to demand that Herbert’s Taco Hut be replaced with Giovanni’s Pizza in Milford, PA because I just really want to see Dr. Strange and (House, MD style) Co. + Defenders + Dr. Doom have a really tense dinner of delicious homemade pizza and delicious homemade vanilla ice cream while Wong and the Night Nurse try to keep the peace. (Night Nurse is chauffering, because obviously: no magic transportation.) Also, I lived there this one time. Milford, that is, not Giovanni’s. It was pretty epic.

Plus. How nerdy-as-shit would it be to have Dr. Doom stop into the Frazetta museum in PA? PRETTY DAMN.

Then I remembered Newark, NJ makes me feel a little like dying, so I concede that anywhere best described as “just outside of Newark” really has nothing going for it at all. Besides magical superheroes eating tacos in costume, that is.

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Evil Abraham Lincoln said on April 27th, 2009 at 7:57 pm

All of you need to stop hating on Newark! I live in North Dakota. NoDak makes Newark look like a haven of culture and sophistication.

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I would have chosen Beyonne NJ, for it’s connection to Marvel history…but Newark is good.

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Why do the online pharmacies love Herbert’s Tacos so much?

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It’s not that Herbert’s is really devoid of magic. It is away from most of the ley lines, & seems to have an inhibitor of most conjuration. But what makes it so good as a meeting place is that while offensive magic & divination mostly don’t work there; there is one intermittent flash line that runs nearby, allowing a mage to teleport out but not for his destination to be consistently trackable.

Finding another spot with such a low magical potential isn’t that hard. Finding one with this particular combination of restrictions is quite rare, & neither the interior of an avionics factory in Wichita nor an auto body shop in the Shi’Ar galaxy, to give a couple of known examples in temperate climes, is as appealing as a place where they expect human customers.

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I’m just thinking about the normie side of this whole situation. I figure the most amusing way to play it would be to have most or all of the staff and normal customers ridiculously and *willfully* oblivious to what their witnessing. Like they see somebody levitate a bottle of ketchup and their reaction isn’t “what did I just see?” it’s “fuck this shit I don’t care I’m going home in 10 minutes”, and then like refusing to acknowledge it happened unless somebody drags it out of them.

The staff reaction to the costumes would be something like in a denny’s next to an anime convention: Mocking disdain mitigated by indifference.

And I want the ley line that would permit teleportation out to be in the bathroom, so when somebody on the wrong side of a grudge sees Doom walk in, they all up jump from their steaming burritos at once and make a break for the restroom. Really I just like the idea of high level magical beings sneaking out through the bathroom.

These are all horrible ideas for what mgk is going for with this pitch (which really is a great one, btw). Really, they’re more deadpool joke ideas than anything.

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Ty Myrick said on June 14th, 2013 at 5:40 pm

I’ve just recently started reading your 30 reasons you should write Dr. Strange, and I’m really enjoying it. I stopped to reply because of the picture in the post. Herbert’s Taco Hut is a local landmark in San Marcos, Texas. http://goo.gl/maps/xHNhF.

It has some of the best Tex-Mex food and strongest margarita’s around. They also have a wall covered in photographs of famous and semi-famous people. I think it is hilarious to imagine all those photos replaced by pictures of sorcerers and wizards.

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[…] me as a reasonable man as well as being chock-full of good comics ideas (although probably the most intriguing comic idea he ever presented was a collaboration), but I have no doubt in my mind that he means it when he says in panel number […]

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