Friday, May 17, 2013

Making a Splash: Frank Brunner's Dr. Strange

Ya know, Groove-ophiles, ya'd be hard pressed to find a more beautifully illustrated comic than one featuring Frank Brunner applying the pencils to Dr. Strange. Though his reign was relatively short, (Marvel Premiere #'s 6, 9-14 and Doctor Strange Vol. 2, #'s 1-5--though as you can tell from the credits, a couple'a these jobs were framing sequences for reprints), was it ever suh-weet! Brunner masterfully combined a Neal Adams-inspired realism with the classic Steve Ditko psychedelia to create his own brand new style that would re-define our Master of the Mystic Arts for the Groovy Age. Check out these splashes for a sampling of the sublimity that was Frank Brunner's Doctor Strange!


  1. Right on ol' Groove! Those are some truly awesome splash pages of the Sorcerer Supreme!

    - Mike from Trinidad & Tobago.

  2. I bought these when they were new, and didn't realize at the time just how much Dick Giordano's inks (and those of the Crusty Bunkers) reigned in the 'wobbly' quality of Brunner's rather amorphous pencils. The end result is fantastic, and a perfect combination of a then-up & comer (Brunner) and a seasoned pro (Giordano). Steve Englehart's scripts delve so deeply into the occult as to be disturbing, especially for an impressionable pre-teen reader (which I was when these were new), but they are wildly imaginative and quite effective. I prefer more outright fantasy (like Lee-Ditko's work) than actual sorcery in this title, but Steve wanted to 'method act' his scripts and immersed himself into a lot of spiritual darkness for artistic 'authenticity' (long before Alan Moore's PROMETHEA). Not a place I'd care to be.

    Chris A.

  3. Brunner also heavily finished very light pencils/layouts by Barry Smith in Marvel Premiere #4. Also, Ralph Reese inked the first 2 pages of Marvel Premiere #6, and Englehart and Brunner have both emphasized in various interviews and articles throughout the years that they were co-plotters on their Doctor Strange stories. - Jeff Clem

  4. correction: I wrote "reigned" when "reined" was meant. Mea culpa. Chris A.

  5. My first exposure to Doctor Strange was in a bed & breakfast-type log cabin/hunting lodge somewhere in the wilds of British Columbia...during a thunderstorm.

    There were animal heads all over the walls and the thunder and lightning was relentless. It was straight out of a haunted house movie. The owner of the place saw my eight-year-old terrified self and asked, "Hey, do you like comics?"

    When I told him I loved comics, he produced a box full of Doctor Strange comics...from the original Ditko issues up to the Brunner issues. I sat there in that creepy hunting lodge, reading until my parents made me go to bed.

    With today's post, I can still hear the thunder cracking and see the lightning flashing.

    1. Just have to say love this site, completely new here and came cross it on my phone searching Frank Brunner, Dr Strange series.

      I really love Brunners comics from the Dr Strange run and Marvel Premier issues he did. They are so unique and he shows he had his own vision for how Dr. Strange's world should appear. His interior work in the books are just as impressive as the covers themselves.

      As an avid reader now for over 20 plus years and still working on finishing the 70's into the 80's series of Dr Strange series, I only have about 10 issues left to pick up for a set. The Brunner issues themselves are just so cool with his lines and the layout design. Dr Strange maybe in the class of B or C tear within the marvel universe but he is certainly a unique character all within his own.



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