So all over nerd groups everywhere you will find the debate, who would win Scarlet Witch or Doctor Strange? And while the fact remains that the answer is Scarlet Witch to many people don’t know why, so today we are here with the Doctor Strange side of the argument.
Created by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee, Doctor Strange made his first appearance in Strange Tales #110 in July of 1963. Strange was originally Ditko’s idea, Steve had brought Stan Lee a 5-page pencilled out story that would bring more magic to the Marvel universe. Doctor Strange’s first appearance was a split feature with the human torch and he went onto appear in Strange Tales #110-#114 gaining his own origin story in an 8-page feature in issue #115. Pushing the magic imagery Lee accompanied Strange’s spells with artifacts like the eye of Agamotto and the Wand of Watoomb he also had him use phrases that invoked mysticism, as they usually included the names of existing mythological beings. Ditko’s early artwork gave the character and his stories a disorienting, hallucinogenic quality therefore furthering the magical elements of the character.
It was Ditko who took Strange’s character to more abstract realms when in 1965-1966 he plotted a 17 issue story arc in Strange Tales #130-#146 introducing Eternity, a cosmic character that was the personification of the universe. After issue #168 Strange Tales was retitled, Doctor Strange. His solo title ran for 15 issues, #169-183 from June 1968- November 1969. Strange then appeared in the 1st 3 issues of the quarterly showcase title Marvel Feature in December of 1971 to June of 1972, this was after the announcement for a split book series featuring Strange and Iceman watch in their own solo storylines, but this plan never came to pass. After the showcase title the character starred in a revival series titled Marvel Premiere and taking issues #3- #14 In July of 1972 to March of 1974, this arm brought in the entity Shuma Gorath, a recurring enemy for Doctor Strange.
A major turning point for the character happened when Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner took over as the writing team for the character, their first major arc taking place in May-September of 1973 in issues #8-#10 when Strange is forced to shut down the Ancient One’s mind, causing his death and allowing Strange to assume the title of Sorcerer Supreme. Due to Strange’s growing popularity the Marvel Premiere series was retitled as the characters 2nd ongoing title Doctor Strange: Master of the Mystic Arts, or Doctor Strange Volume 2. This title ran for 81 issues starting in June of 1974- February of 1987. In November of 1988 Strange returned to his own series titled Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme after featuring in a brief crossover series this new solo title ran for 90 issues and concluded in June of 1996.
In issues #48-#49 In December 1992 to January 1993 Strange lost the title of Sorcerer Supreme because he refused to fight a war on behalf of the Vishanti. The Vishanti are the mystical entities that empower his spells, in this time Doctor Strange had to find new sources of magical strength he turned to chaos magic, which as we know is the kind of magic Scarlet Witch is an expert in. He also forms the secret defenders with a rotating roster of heros as well as reunites with the original defenders team. Strange regained his title of Sorcerer Supreme in issue #80 in August of 1995. Strange was also granted more then a few limited series, Doctor Strange: Flight of Bones which ran for 4 issues in 1999, Witches which also ran for 4 issues in 2004, Strange had a 1-year run from 2004-2005, and Doctor Strange: The Oath ran for 5 issues from 2006-2007.
Doctor Strange was a supporting character for much of the 2000s, but did play a role in Civil War as a member of the anti-registration Avengers. The character really takes a beating in recent history, relinquishing his title of Sorcerer Supreme, dying, being possessed, being cut off from a majority of his magic, and losing his cloak of levitation...it's been a rough few years (all things that my dear Scarlet Witch would never have had done to her). He is often referred to as the most powerful magician in the cosmos but as we’ve seen that's only true when the stars are aligned properly, for without the use of artifacts, and the Vishanti he’s not very powerful and easily susceptible to magical manipulation himself. His power relies too heavily on outside forces for him to actually be considered more powerful than a witch where the whole of her power comes intrinsically from her. Doctor Strange gives the illusion of power but the reality is that he is a sorcerer, an easily beatable one given the right opponent.