Multiverse of Madness Reading Guide

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Hey there! Welcome to the ULTIMATE extended reading guide for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Treat this as your “traveler’s guide” across the multiverse, as we take a quick look at the worlds of America Chavez, the Illuminati, Shuma Gorath, Marvel Zombies, dinosaurs, Defender Strange, and many other strangetales to come!

Quick start:

  • The Illuminati: New Avengers: Illuminati (2007) #1-5
  • America Chavez: Young Avengers (2013) #1-5
  • Marvel Zombies: Marvel Zombies 1 (2006) #1-5
  • The Savage Land: Ka-Zar: Lord of the Savage Land (2021) #1-5
  • Captain Carter: Exiles (2018) #8-12
  • Darkhold / Chthon: Carnage (2015) #15-16, Darkhold Alpha (2021) #1, Darkhold Omega (2022) #1

Although Multiverse of Madness will probably be a totally original story by Sam Raimi and Michael Waldron, the worlds our heroes travel to, and the surprising characters they meet, will be rooted in comic mythologies. Presented here are carefully-curated selections based on some of the worlds and characters we expect to see in the film, as well as some extra recommended reading that didn’t fit into the Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch reading guides before. Strong recommendations are in bold. Enjoy reading!

 

 

The Illuminati

The Illuminati were introduced into the Marvel comics universe following the events of Avengers: Disassembled (mentioned in the Scarlet Witch reading guide!). Brian Michael Bendis created the original team in New Avengers (2005), but Jonathan Hickman truly fleshed them out and took the concept further with his own New Avengers run in 2013. The Hickman run also dives into the concept of “incursions” which were briefly introduced in Doctor Strange 2.

  • New Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis
    • New Avengers (2005) #7-10, 44
    • New Avengers: Illuminati (2006) #1
    • New Avengers: Illuminati (2007) #1-5
    • Continues into Avengers (2010) #8-12
    • Ties into Secret Invasion (2007)
  • New Avengers by Jonathan Hickman
    • New Avengers (2013) #1-33
    • Avengers (2013) #28, 35-44
    • Ties into Secret Wars (2015)

 

 

America Chavez

America is an extremely new character, but it didn’t take long for fans around the world to fall in love with her strong personality and status as one of the most prominent Latin-American queer characters in comics.

While her confusing origin story might make you see stars, her ability to jump from universe to universe through star-shaped portals is an invaluable asset on multiversal adventures. She’s had some fantastic runs with the Young Avengers, West Coast Avengers, and the Ultimates, but I would strongly advise AVOIDING her solo series. 

  • Young Avengers (2013) #1-15
  • Ultimates (2015) #1-12
  • Ultimates 2 (2016) #1-9, 100
  • West Coast Avengers (2018) #1-10

 

 

Shuma Gorath

It appears that due to legal reasons, the multiversal monstrosity known as Shuma Gorath was renamed “Gargantos” in Multiverse of Madness. So for comics featuring the actual big bad green tentacle-limbed cyclops creature thing you saw in the trailer (and was possibly teased in What If…?), here are the original and iconic Shuma Gorath storylines you need to read: 

  • Marvel Premiere (1972) #9-10, 14
  • Strange Tales (1987) #13-14

If you’re curious about the namesake, comics Gargantos is also a green one-eyed octopus monster, but that’s where the similarities stop. Gargy has had only two appearances ever in the comics, so you can check them out here if you want, but they’re pretty minor…

  • Sub-Mariner (1968) #13
  • X-Factor Annual (1986) #4 [D Story]

 

 

Marvel Zombies

While zombies will probably be just a small part of the upcoming film (as teased in the trailer), there is an extensive catalog of Marvel Zombies comics which will surely inform the upcoming Disney+ animated series. Since this reading guide is only for Multiverse of Madness, we’ve listed only the core Marvel Zombies storyline to get you up to speed for the movie. Stay tuned to the Cosmic Circus for our complete Marvel Zombies reading guide in the future as the zombies infestation spreads across the MCU!

  • Marvel Zombies 1 (2006) #1-5 
  • Marvel Zombies 2 (2007) #1-5
  • Marvel Zombies Return (2009) #1-5

Fun extras:

  • Marvel Zombies: Dead Days #1, Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness
    • Evil Dead crossover
    • Prequel to Marvel Zombies 1
  • Marvel Zombies Halloween (2012) #1
    • Prequel to Marvel Zombies 1
  • Zombies Christmas Carol (2011) #1-5
  • Zombies Assemble (2017) #0-3, Zombies Assemble 2 (2017) #1-4
    • Based on the MCU

 

 

 

The Savage Land

A hidden world of pre-historic monsters, the Savage Land has a comics history that’s significantly denser and longer than that of Marvel Zombies. Based on a quick glimpse in the trailer, we expect the dinosaur world to have even less screen time than any zombies that may be in the movie. Accordingly, listed here is just a few comics about the crazy chronicles of Ka-Zar and his home the Savage Land. Marvel Studios has long been rumored to be interested in a Ka-Zar/Savage Land project, so these comics may even have strong potential for the future beyond Doctor Strange 2.

  • Wolverine and the X-Men: Savage Learning (2013) #25-28
  • Ka-Zar: Lord of the Savage Land (2021) #1-5

 

 

Captain Carter

A version of Captain Carter called Captain America debuted in 2018’s Exiles as part of a multiversal time-traveling superhero team. The popularity of this character is likely part of the inspiration for the similar What If…? episode, which in turn inspired the new upcoming Captain Carter 5-issue series from Marvel comics. An all-new title from the stellar team of Jamie McKelvie and Marika Cresta, the Captain Carter miniseries will begin releasing monthly starting March 9, 2022. Dubbed a “superhero spy-thriller,” the comic will follow a version of Captain Carter in the 21st century that’s similar (but slightly different!) to the Captain Carter of the What If…? animated series. We saw her shield teased on the poster, so we should expect some version of Captain Carter to appear in the movie.

  • Exiles (2018) #3, 8-12
  • Captain Carter (2022) #1-5

 

 

Dark Magic

Continuing from the Darkhold and Scarlet Witch reading guides we released last week, here are some extended reading suggestions related to the dark magic we expect to see in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness but might not tie into the movie directly.

Doctor Strange Reading Guide: The Darkhold

  • Dreamwalking
    • Domination Factor: Fantastic Four (1999) #4.7
      • While not involving the Darkhold, this story features Wanda Maximoff and other heroes possessing the bodies of their variants across the multiverse
  • The Book of the Vishanti
    • Strange Tales (1951) #116 [B Story Only]
    • Doctor Strange (1974) #32-33
  • Chthon
    • Spider-Woman (1978) #44
    • Thor Annual (1966) #10
    • Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1964) #22 [C Story]
    • Silver Surfer Annual (1988) #2 [G Story]
    • Mighty Avengers (2007) #21-23
    • Carnage (2015) #15-16
    • Secret Empire (2017) #1-9 
  • The Darkhold
    • Mighty Avengers (2007) #21-23
    • Carnage (2015) #4-5, 8-9, 15-16
    • Darkhold (2021): Darkhold Alpha #1, Darkhold: Iron Man #1, Darkhold: Blade #1, Darkhold: Wasp #1, Darkhold: Black Bolt #1, Darkhold: Spider-Man #1, Darkhold Omega #1

An anthology of alternate-reality horror shorts, the brand-new Darkhold event follows the disturbed nightmares of the “Darkhold Defenders,” a team of fan-favorite heroes Chthon corrupts into the “Darkhold Defiled.” A confusing miniseries with great art and good individual “What If” stories, the real merit of the event is Scarlet Witch’s big moment in the finale, Omega #1. Triumphant, powerful, and fully in control, Wanda finally gets the big victory we’ve been waiting for for years.

Don’t forget to check out our complete Darkhold Reading Guide for more twisted tales!

 

 

Doctor Strange Variants

Sinister Strange

While not the same “Sinister Strange” as in the movie, this is a really cool What If…? issue where the devilishly cunning Baron Mordo becomes the Sorcerer Supreme instead of Stephen Strange. Like the Multiverse of Madness, the story ponders the consequences of ultimate magical power falling into the wrong hands and takes a new look at Mordo’s motivations.

    • What If…? #40 

Defender Strange

The black-and-red outfit worn by Defender Strange is literally based on a suit Doctor Strange wore when he was on the Defenders during Matt Fraction’s 2011 run. I don’t think the movie will take any story inspiration from here, but it’s a pretty cool looking suit and a good comic, so it might be fun to read! 

    • Defenders (2011) #1-12

 

 

Classic Doctor Strange

These are tales involving our classic Doctor Strange that aren’t essential for Multiverse of Madness, but are still strong reading recommendations and alternate storylines to enhance your reading experience before the movie! There’s also potential for some of these selections to factor into the future beyond Doctor Strange 2. Make sure to check out our Doctor Strange reading guide here! 

  • Doctor Strange with the Midnight Sons
    • Spirits of Vengeance: Rise of the Midnight Sons
    • Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme (1988) #60-61
      • Ties into the Midnight Sons “Siege of Darkness” crossover
      • Ties into the end of Darkhold: Page from the Book of Sins 
  • Doctor Strange Season One
    • The best modern Doctor Strange origin story
  • Doctor Strange: The Oath #1-5
    • Doctor Strange fights to save Wong’s life in one of the greatest Doctor Strange stories of all time

  • Doctor Strange: Don’t Pay the Ferryman
    • Doctor Strange (1974) #75-81
      • Introduction of Rintrah and the Cloak of Levitation needs to be repaired
      • Also features the Darkhold and the Book of the Vishanti 
  • Doctor Strange by Jason Aaron
    • Doctor Strange (2015) #1–20, Last Days of Magic #1, Annual #1
    • What if Doctor Strange started to lose his magic?
    • Wanda Maximoff makes a guest appearance during the Last Days of Magic arc 
  • Doctor Strange by Donny Cates 
    • Doctor Strange (2018) #381-390, Damnation #1-4
    • Shuma Gorath in #388-389
    • What if Loki became the new Sorcerer Supreme?
    • The new Midnight Sons are assembled during Damnation

 
This is just a glimpse of all the worlds we might visit in May as we travel across the Multiverse of Madness! Which comics have you already read, and what do you want to read next? Let me know on Twitter @vinwriteswords and remember to follow the site @MyCosmicCircus!
 
Be sure to check out our other reading guides here and stay tuned to the Cosmic Circus for more coming soon!

 
All images courtesy of Marvel.

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Reviews, reading guides, and crazy theories. Currently obsessing over Moon Knight, Blade, and Doctor Strange. Find me on Twitter @vinwriteswords!
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