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Michael Busuttil said on August 23rd, 2012 at 9:04 am

Please tell me this is kicking off a new series of “Why I Should Write Doctor Strange”.

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This was an interesting read. The comments about the inherently elitist and misanthropic nature of magic, in particular, shows an understanding of the themes that I rather like.

On a less faux-high brow level: dude, keep these up. I always love your ‘I Should Writes.’

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I have truly missed this feature. Just picturing Doctor Strange heading to Latvia to go through Doom’s library was enough for me to want to see these happen.

And, of course, my personal favourite: Fin Fang Fear.

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It also seems like this would cause many magic users to browse flea markets, estate sales, and storage container auctions looking for letters and magazines that contain hidden information their sellers don’t realize the value of. Imagine Storage Wars combined with hypnosis, mind control, and the occasional outburst of crude offensive magic like lightning bolts and fireballs.

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Mister Terrific said on August 23rd, 2012 at 11:02 am

I think Tales to Enrage has hit upon a new reality program…or Warehouse 13, I’m not completely sure.

Kind of makes you look at those 60’s and 70’s ads in comics a bit differently, doesn’t it?

“The Demon Who Made a Mage Out of Mac”

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ScottyDubsSD said on August 23rd, 2012 at 11:22 am

“The Demon Who Made a Mage Out of Mac”

I read this as “out of a Mac”… and now I can’t get the idea of sentient, magic-capable iPhone assisting Doctor Strange out of my head.

Hello, Siri. Please cast the Shield of Ra spell please.

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squishydish said on August 23rd, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I really would love to see more about this, short stories or books or whatever. One series it reminds me of a little, re the master-apprentice relationship, is Barbara Hambly’s wonderful Sun Wolf series (starting with The Ladies of Mandrigyn). In this world, magic has been nearly eliminated, and surviving sorcerors are in hiding. A budding magician looking for a trainer has a hard job, and the potential teachers he finds are unreliable and agenda-ridden, at best.

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God, now I want to read about a Magic 4Chan page (MG) where the internet trolls and actual trolls.

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This is interesting, and reminds me of the episode of the Tennant Doctor Who “School Reunion” in which the bat-people enslave the kids to solve a Super Powerful Mystery Algorithm.

I mean, imagine if some dumbshit grad student in Math who has been tinkering with magic comes up with a Sudoku-like puzzle that anyone can work on. It sends him a little tiny bit of magic every time one is solved to pump up his spells. So many ways that could go wrong; the puzzles could be opening up a doorway to a Big Baddie, or the puzzle could become wildly popular and this poor guy could just detonate with magical energy in the middle of campus one day.

Really fun concept!

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This is a fun concept. And as many have said, doesn’t need to be for Doc Strange specifically.

The image text made me think of a correspondence course like in “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” and but the synopsis brought to mind the accidental spells in Chuck Palahniuk’s “Lullaby”.

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The thing I most love about this particular one is that the question I was asking myself (“If magic could be taught like this, why isn’t everybody doing it?”) is the question that we were promised an answer to in the final paragraph. That’s a sign of a good, smart writer who shakes their ideas to see if they break. :)

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Enlight_Bystand said on August 23rd, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Bah, we know what Doom’s secret library is really full of…

My Little Pony Comics…

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and now i’m thinking of both Grant morrison’s magic talk about chaos magic, bringing that to the masses… and avenger’s dissambled dr. Strange proclaiming there’s ‘no chaos magic.’ a likable populist bringing chaos to the masses when it’s not that chaos magic (in the marvel universe) doesn’t exist, but for the sake of the universe it NEEDS to not exist. eh, something like that.

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@Brandon: knowing MGK, it wouldn’t be a sudoku-alike, it would be a German board game. You think you’re trading guilders for tin for wool for pepper for bishoprics, but really you’re modeling vishanti->dormammu favor arbitrage. And more than modeling….

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“The floodgates opened, and they never really closed from then on out, and it is not for nothing that in the Marvel Universe, this was when superpowers started emerging around this time in quantity.”

The next time I run a superhero RPG campaign, I am sooooooo stealing this.

(Speaking of tabletop RPG’s, I don’t know how familiar you are with them beyond D&D, but I suspect you would enjoy reading through the Unknown Armies RPG book – parts of your post here reminded me of the ‘feel’ of magic in UA)

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Tim O'Neil said on August 23rd, 2012 at 9:19 pm

“the occasional outburst of crude offensive magic like lightning bolts and fireballs.”

There is nothing crude or offensive about three damage for one mana. And fireball, while often more trouble than is worth, is never a bad card to have.

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Patrick Rawley said on August 23rd, 2012 at 9:59 pm

So you’re blaming Lovecraft? (And not undeservedly so.) What if the Anti-Life Equation was published in a comic book that nobody ever read? (I know, I’m “corssing the streams”, as it were.) And I love the idea of Dr. Strange being able to access Doom’s library because, y’know, Sorceror Supreme. (“Stephen, good to see you again. Tea?” “Not now, Victor. I need to know if you have BOOK X.” Doom [playing for time] “Let’s see. Well, I might. Are you sure you won’t have any tea? Coffee, perhaps?”])

YOU SHOULD write Dr. Strange. Hell, and the Legion.

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YOU SHOULD write Dr. Strange. Hell, and the Legion.

I still hold out hope of getting to write the Doctor one day. DC, though, is not happening, and even if it were happening, at this point I wouldn’t.

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Justin Hilyard said on August 23rd, 2012 at 11:40 pm

I was just about to post about Unknown Armies too before seeing Knightsky’s comment. If you’ve never read any Unknown Armies stuff, you really ought to, MGK. From your Dr. Strange stuff, it’d definitely be right up your alley.

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Dave Ziegler said on August 24th, 2012 at 1:40 am

What MGK writes: “the occasional outburst of crude offensive magic”

What I imagine: a storage shed that spontaneously erupts into farts, belches, and swearing…

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or years the only option was master/student in person, typically with the master demanding the student pay him a stipend or be a servant or what have you.
While I greatly enjoyed your writing, this part shows a great misunderstanding of a master/student relationship. Having been a member of a small scientific lab for seven years (started out as an undergraduate research assistant and left as a Ph.D.), I know a thing or two about being in such relationship. For a grad student in a physics lab with a good professor is in a relationship that is based on similar loyalty and respect as the master-apprentice relationship of old.

A learned man does not, unless his inherently greedy or desperate for living, want to make money by teaching. When you take a student under your wing, you do it for other reasons: building a cadre of followers, encouraging learning by a promising youth and personal liking. On the other hand, when you become a disciple (or a junior member of a lab) your position as a servant is not a way of payment. It’s a prerequisite to learning the craft which you can’t learn by yourself. Although having students may be necessary for the teacher to get things done in the workshop or in the lab, this is not the primary reason to take them.

Most importantly, it would have been this way especially in magic. Because a magic user would be already wealthy, he would not have a need for tuition money or a bond-servant. In a pre-capitalist world, teaching for money would simply hurt his standing. Instead, an established magician would be bound by custom and love of his craft to take students. And the students would be his servants as any apprentice of craftsman was, by custom and the practical needs of instruction.

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This reminds me of a comment I made on a previous post about the DCU, that taking 1% of the US population an appropriate number of times still leaves you room for there to plausibly be a couple super villains themed off of any popular American series you care about.

And I totally approve of this post being the Marvel equivalent of that comment. (Where the logic is 1% is really passionate about magic pulp type literature, 1% of those actually can do something with it, and 1% of those are actually dangerous.)

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@squishydish oh yah Sunwolf stories, those were excellent books, showing how having even a bit of working knowledge of magic can be dangerous is just one of its themes. Hambly is an excellent writer.

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The reference to the “good old days” of the aristocracy reminded me strongly of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

As for the “I Should Write…” series, I have to say that I personally would eagerly anticipate “I, Flapjacks Should(n’t) Write”

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auf_weiderzen said on August 24th, 2012 at 1:25 pm

As for the “I Should Write…” series, I have to say that I personally would eagerly anticipate “I, Flapjacks Should(n’t) Write”

Seconded.

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It’s back! The promised days are upon us!

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@Ben: I thought the ‘master/apprentice vs. correspondence/found information’ dynamic was a lot more representative of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians and the Magician King. Hedge witches messing around with powers they only half understand is a pretty dangerous thing for everyone.

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I see DC becoming more like the OLD 52 at some point, so it could happen.

As for the idea, I always figured most magic users were self taught

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mymatedave said on August 25th, 2012 at 11:16 am

Some of the comments here remind me a bit of Charlie Stross’ Laundry series where maths can affect the universe and if you write the wrong computer program Lovecraftian horrors can come out of the walls.

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I would imagine that, as the practice of magical correspondence expanded to include more particpants, protocols were devised by which one sorceror could gain access to the archives maintained by another.

So Strange discovers an old letter that hints at a great threat, but vital pieces of the puzzle are held by others such as Doom, Mordo, etc, and Strange has to negotiate the very treacherous waters of protocol to assemble the ritual he must perform without giving his host an excuse to destroy him.

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Halloween Jack said on August 27th, 2012 at 7:31 pm

@mymatedave: MGK’s last paragraph-and-a-half is Stross’ Laundry series, only with an arcane spy agency doing the watchdogging (the closest thing that they have to a Sorcerer Supreme is based directly on James Jesus Angleton, and he’s not a very nice fellow). People who accidentally (or not-so-accidentally) stumble across the universe’s cheat codes are given the choice to join the Laundry, and they usually accept when they find out what the alternative is.

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Halloween Jack said on August 27th, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Feh! I meant, “only the Laundry is an arcane spy agency” blah blah.

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Brimstone said on August 27th, 2012 at 8:51 pm

“(Speaking of tabletop RPG’s, I don’t know how familiar you are with them beyond D&D, but I suspect you would enjoy reading through the Unknown Armies RPG book – parts of your post here reminded me of the ‘feel’ of magic in UA)”

This does remind me of UA magic, which is the best of all possible magic, the magic of obsession and lost things.

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Bass is Loaded said on September 4th, 2012 at 11:07 am

If MGK were writing Dr. Strange I would be reading comics again.

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Black Rabbit said on September 7th, 2012 at 3:45 pm

This reminds me a great deal of the “will and vision vs. consensus reality” conception of magic in the old Mage: The Ascension RPG. Politicizing magic (at least, with a real understanding of politics) is an all-too neglected aspect of fantasy, and a perfect angle for the MU.

Also:
(Chupacacabras did not, in fact, exist until 1922, at which point they always had.)
Sentences like these are why I come here.

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I absolutely LOVE these! I stop back every few months to catch up on new ones and reread the older ones!

Tales to Enrage’s comment had me thinking: I could totlly see Dr Strange going to a comic book show, looking for old magic papers and stuff! See him hanging out at SDCC or talking to one of the guys who scripted or drew his comic book, assuming it exists in the Marvel Universe. Or maybe it does, but he buys the original art, just to make sure it doesn’t get published…

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