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Dann Thomas , Roy Thomas

Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme (Series, Book 33): Trapped In A Time Warp! "The Alexandria Quatrain"

YEAR: 1991

COUNTRY: United States of America

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Title of the work

Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme (Series, Book 33): Trapped In A Time Warp! "The Alexandria Quatrain"

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Worldwide

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

1991

First Edition Details

Dan and Roy Thomas, Jean-Marc Lofficier, Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme: Trapped In A Time Warp! "The Alexandria Quatrain" Vol. 33, Marvel Comics, 1991.

ISBN

ISSN: 1044-7172

Genre

Comics (Graphic works)

Target Audience

Young adults

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Ayelet Peer, Bar- Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, lisa.maurice@biu.ac.il

Daniel Nkemleke, ENS University of Yaoundé 1, nkemlekedan@yahoo.com

Female portrait

Dann Thomas (Author)

Dann “Dannette” Thomas is an American comic book writer. She co-writes with her husband, Roy Thomas, mainly All-Star Squadron and Avengers West Coast.


Source:

comicvine.gamespot.com (accessed: April 16, 2020).


Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar- Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com


Male portrait

Roy Thomas , b. 1940
(Author)

Roy Thomas (1940-) is a prolific and award-winning  American comic book writer and creator, the second editor-in-chief for Marvel Comics (Stan Lee’s first successor). Among his various creations are: Wolverine, Carol Danvers, Ghost Rider, Vision, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Valkyrie and many more. He has also written for DC Comics.


Sources:

comicvine.gamespot.com (accessed: April 16, 2020);

web.archive.org (accessed: April 16, 2020).


Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar- Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com


Summary

In this volume of the Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme Comic series, Thanos, an Eternal, a fierce enemy of Dr. Strange, captures Dr. Stephen Strange and his ex-wife Clea in a time warp. Thanos tries to stop Dr Strange from assisting the heroes who gathered against him. Dr Strange tries to find a way out from the warp and arrives in ancient Alexandria during 48/47 B.C.E. while Julius Caesar is assisting Cleopatra. Dr Strange is a powerful sorcerer and a man of high intellect. He quickly understand by seeing the Pharos lighthouse that they have arrived in Alexandria. Stephen and Clea attempt to get to the library in Alexandria to find a magic spell but they discover that it is on fire. Hurrying to the palace, they encounter Julius Caesar and Cleopatra en route. Cleopatra tells them that the library was not burned but a warehouse. Dr strange and Clea arrive at the library where they confront the evil magician Zota of Pergamum who is aiding Ptolemy against Cleopatra. The duo manage to defeat Zota and using an ancient scroll they return to their own time.

Analysis

When Dr. Strange realizes he and Clea are in Alexandria, he quickly concludes that hey must find the library, hence the importance of the library and its reputation transcends time and jump from the pages of history books into comics. The library houses ancient knowledge and therefore it is the appropriate place to keep an ancient magical spell. Thus in this story the mysteries of the ancient past as well as the rich knowledge of Alexandria perfectly fit within the tale of an intellectual sorcerer, whose own powers are part of ancient Eastern magic arts, and who is accustomed to visit ancient civilizations.

Furthermore, the plot also presents an alternative reality; the library was not really burnt down; rather only a simple warehouse was destroyed and the real wealth of the books remained. Strange even finds an ancient evidence for this account. He explains to Clea that “a Roman named Lucan wrote about the defensive fire set by Caesar’s troops near the docks and how it burned some warehouses in which “grain and books” were stored for export.” There is not actual evidence for such story in Lucan  though. Perhaps the author simply wished to mention an ancient writer in order to flaunt Dr. Strange’s knowledge, with little concern for the real Roman author. It could also be a coincidence, a random choice of the name Lucan.

On their way, Dr Strange and Clea accidently meet Caesar and Cleopatra. Julius Caesar is depicted as a more mature man, with brown hair, in full armour and red cloak  and without any laurels on his head. Cleopatra is wearing a yellow-greenish gown, with black hair down to the middle of her back. She wears big orange earrings, a neckpiece and a head tiara with a snake. Her attire is not as elaborate as Elizabeth Taylor’s movie character, and her eyes are painted light blue. The hair and headpiece resemble a more known ancient Egyptian attire but less grandiose.

Strange, Cleopatra and Caesar communicate via a spell which enables them to speak Latin. However, the conversation presented in the comics is entirely in English without any Latin words; hence the reference to the Latin spell is probably meant to explain to the readers how Strange was able to communicate with Caesar and Cleopatra. Caesar and Cleopatra suspect that Dr Strange is part of the rebels yet he assures them that he is not. He also recognizes Cleopatra from a different timeline. Again this plot connects the ancient world with it characters with the comic universal plot. In addition, Cleopatra and Caesar are aware of the magician Zota and this again mixes the plot of the real events with the comic universe. Caesar and Cleopatra do not participate much in the plot and only direct Strange to the real library. Strange even manages to throw the sword form Caesar’s hand, revealing his magical powers.

Julius Caesar is drawn as an imposing character. First he commends Strange to stop when he views them and then he warns him about interfering with the war: “I warn you mage…I mean to put Cleopatra on Egypt’s throne in place of her brother…and when you defy my will you defy Rome!”. The image of Caesar is of the all-conqueror who equals himself to Rome. In addition, we have a hint at his character. Dr Strange mentions Marc Antony yet Cleopatra does not know him. When she asks who he is, Caesar replies: “no one you will ever meet my queen, not while I’m alive.” We get a hint that somehow Caesar foreshadows the romance between the two and is purposely trying to keep them apart. Although at the time, Caesar was fighting in Egypt without Antony and was spending time alone with Cleopatra on the Nile, according to Cicero’s correspondence. Furthermore the writers hint at Caesar’s demise with Caesar’s reference to his own life.Since many readers would be familiar with his murder and the subsequent involvement of Antony and Cleopatra,  the comics character appears to be hinting at its own historical fate. This ending is also referred to by Strange, when he and Clea mange to escape, and he says: “we’ll leave Caesar to his fate in 44 B.C. and Cleopatra to the eventual mercies of Marc Antony, Octavius and an Asp”.Not only does the Asp here mean Cleopatra’s famous death, but it also refers to a different comics tale featuring Cleopatra and Antony in a different time line. Here again the mix of historical events and fictions are mixed together to create a new fictional historical reality within the Marvel universe.


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Title of the work

Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme (Series, Book 33): Trapped In A Time Warp! "The Alexandria Quatrain"

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Worldwide

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

1991

First Edition Details

Dan and Roy Thomas, Jean-Marc Lofficier, Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme: Trapped In A Time Warp! "The Alexandria Quatrain" Vol. 33, Marvel Comics, 1991.

ISBN

ISSN: 1044-7172

Genre

Comics (Graphic works)

Target Audience

Young adults

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Ayelet Peer, Bar- Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, lisa.maurice@biu.ac.il

Daniel Nkemleke, ENS University of Yaoundé 1, nkemlekedan@yahoo.com

Female portrait

Dann Thomas (Author)

Dann “Dannette” Thomas is an American comic book writer. She co-writes with her husband, Roy Thomas, mainly All-Star Squadron and Avengers West Coast.


Source:

comicvine.gamespot.com (accessed: April 16, 2020).


Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar- Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com


Male portrait

Roy Thomas (Author)

Roy Thomas (1940-) is a prolific and award-winning  American comic book writer and creator, the second editor-in-chief for Marvel Comics (Stan Lee’s first successor). Among his various creations are: Wolverine, Carol Danvers, Ghost Rider, Vision, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Valkyrie and many more. He has also written for DC Comics.


Sources:

comicvine.gamespot.com (accessed: April 16, 2020);

web.archive.org (accessed: April 16, 2020).


Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar- Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com


Summary

In this volume of the Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme Comic series, Thanos, an Eternal, a fierce enemy of Dr. Strange, captures Dr. Stephen Strange and his ex-wife Clea in a time warp. Thanos tries to stop Dr Strange from assisting the heroes who gathered against him. Dr Strange tries to find a way out from the warp and arrives in ancient Alexandria during 48/47 B.C.E. while Julius Caesar is assisting Cleopatra. Dr Strange is a powerful sorcerer and a man of high intellect. He quickly understand by seeing the Pharos lighthouse that they have arrived in Alexandria. Stephen and Clea attempt to get to the library in Alexandria to find a magic spell but they discover that it is on fire. Hurrying to the palace, they encounter Julius Caesar and Cleopatra en route. Cleopatra tells them that the library was not burned but a warehouse. Dr strange and Clea arrive at the library where they confront the evil magician Zota of Pergamum who is aiding Ptolemy against Cleopatra. The duo manage to defeat Zota and using an ancient scroll they return to their own time.

Analysis

When Dr. Strange realizes he and Clea are in Alexandria, he quickly concludes that hey must find the library, hence the importance of the library and its reputation transcends time and jump from the pages of history books into comics. The library houses ancient knowledge and therefore it is the appropriate place to keep an ancient magical spell. Thus in this story the mysteries of the ancient past as well as the rich knowledge of Alexandria perfectly fit within the tale of an intellectual sorcerer, whose own powers are part of ancient Eastern magic arts, and who is accustomed to visit ancient civilizations.

Furthermore, the plot also presents an alternative reality; the library was not really burnt down; rather only a simple warehouse was destroyed and the real wealth of the books remained. Strange even finds an ancient evidence for this account. He explains to Clea that “a Roman named Lucan wrote about the defensive fire set by Caesar’s troops near the docks and how it burned some warehouses in which “grain and books” were stored for export.” There is not actual evidence for such story in Lucan  though. Perhaps the author simply wished to mention an ancient writer in order to flaunt Dr. Strange’s knowledge, with little concern for the real Roman author. It could also be a coincidence, a random choice of the name Lucan.

On their way, Dr Strange and Clea accidently meet Caesar and Cleopatra. Julius Caesar is depicted as a more mature man, with brown hair, in full armour and red cloak  and without any laurels on his head. Cleopatra is wearing a yellow-greenish gown, with black hair down to the middle of her back. She wears big orange earrings, a neckpiece and a head tiara with a snake. Her attire is not as elaborate as Elizabeth Taylor’s movie character, and her eyes are painted light blue. The hair and headpiece resemble a more known ancient Egyptian attire but less grandiose.

Strange, Cleopatra and Caesar communicate via a spell which enables them to speak Latin. However, the conversation presented in the comics is entirely in English without any Latin words; hence the reference to the Latin spell is probably meant to explain to the readers how Strange was able to communicate with Caesar and Cleopatra. Caesar and Cleopatra suspect that Dr Strange is part of the rebels yet he assures them that he is not. He also recognizes Cleopatra from a different timeline. Again this plot connects the ancient world with it characters with the comic universal plot. In addition, Cleopatra and Caesar are aware of the magician Zota and this again mixes the plot of the real events with the comic universe. Caesar and Cleopatra do not participate much in the plot and only direct Strange to the real library. Strange even manages to throw the sword form Caesar’s hand, revealing his magical powers.

Julius Caesar is drawn as an imposing character. First he commends Strange to stop when he views them and then he warns him about interfering with the war: “I warn you mage…I mean to put Cleopatra on Egypt’s throne in place of her brother…and when you defy my will you defy Rome!”. The image of Caesar is of the all-conqueror who equals himself to Rome. In addition, we have a hint at his character. Dr Strange mentions Marc Antony yet Cleopatra does not know him. When she asks who he is, Caesar replies: “no one you will ever meet my queen, not while I’m alive.” We get a hint that somehow Caesar foreshadows the romance between the two and is purposely trying to keep them apart. Although at the time, Caesar was fighting in Egypt without Antony and was spending time alone with Cleopatra on the Nile, according to Cicero’s correspondence. Furthermore the writers hint at Caesar’s demise with Caesar’s reference to his own life.Since many readers would be familiar with his murder and the subsequent involvement of Antony and Cleopatra,  the comics character appears to be hinting at its own historical fate. This ending is also referred to by Strange, when he and Clea mange to escape, and he says: “we’ll leave Caesar to his fate in 44 B.C. and Cleopatra to the eventual mercies of Marc Antony, Octavius and an Asp”.Not only does the Asp here mean Cleopatra’s famous death, but it also refers to a different comics tale featuring Cleopatra and Antony in a different time line. Here again the mix of historical events and fictions are mixed together to create a new fictional historical reality within the Marvel universe.


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