Friday, August 5, 2016

Trust Your Mystic Tailor

Of the tasks that might be beyond the abilities of Dr. Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts, to perform, you wouldn't think that mystical sewing would be among them. And, indeed, in a story featured in a 1967 issue of Strange Tales, he seems to be pretty adept with a mystic needle and thread. In that story, one of the most treasured items once given to Dr. Strange by his mentor, the Ancient One--his Cloak of Levitation--was lost in battle with the monstrous Zom:

Of course, when an entity such as the Living Tribunal challenges your rep as a sorcerer by pointing out your apparent inability to mend a garment, and gives you his pledge to spare your world if you succeed, you have a lot of motivation to save face and come up with some skills as a seamster.

And that's just from incanting from the hip. The man is good. (And could probably have a decent career as a tailor on the side.)

Nearly 20 years later (our time), Strange has become the Sorcerer Supreme, but once again has seen his cloak severely damaged in battle, this time with a minor demon known as Khat. But this time, the Tribunal isn't at hand to impress; and having "Sorcerer Supreme" on his business card doesn't seem to be a guarantee for being able to stitch a garment back together.

Has Dr. Strange succeeded here? Well, many of us have made D.I.Y. repair jobs to items that we believed had fixed the problem, only to discover that our solution wasn't as clever as we thought--and somehow it's heartening to discover that Strange can be as fallible as the rest of us do-it-yourselfers.

With his study a shambles, Strange is forced to admit defeat and hit the books and scrolls again in an effort to do what you or I would do at this point: call a professional. It's a wonder he doesn't have to do this more often. Who does one call when the Orb of Agamotto has trouble rising out of its cask? Agamotto? Wouldn't that be embarrassing? And is the Orb still under warranty?

At any rate, Strange finally comes across someone who might be able to help him--a barely-mentioned individual who appears to be the last straw for him to grasp.

Strange has indeed had the good fortune to encounter Enitharmon the Weaver, a delightful character created by writer Peter Gillis and artist Chris Warner, who in this case turns out to be the right... er, individual for the right job. His brief appearance as a character in the mag is like a breath of fresh air--a pleasant interlude that allows Strange some welcome down time, not to mention the relief of finding the one best suited to help him.

Strange eventually departs, with Enitharmon's promise to have the cloak delivered when the repair is finished--and that he does, courtesy of his young apprentice, Rintrah, just in time for Strange's reckoning with the deadly Urthona. And I can guess what you're thinking: Maybe the Tribunal should look up Enitharmon, since it's obvious that the gleaming, naked look just isn't working for him.


Anonymous said...

I'm reminded of that cartoon, The Incredibles, where the Incredible family, kind of an F.F. spoof, are admonished by this super-hero costume designer, "no capes!" See, you can trip over them, or get them caught in turbines or plane propellers and such. In fact, Steve Rogers, on his very first outing as Nomad, tripped over his new cape, much to the amusement of Madame Hydra.
But Doc Strange needs his cape, doggone it, it helps him fly.
Kind of a cool comic here. I hadn't seen this one before, and I enjoyed it! Sometimes PPoC throws something at you that you haven't seen before.
And I had almost forgotten about Zom, and his mystic forelock and generally belligerent attitude. Whatever happened to that guy? He was weirder than a three-dollar bill.

Colin Jones said...

I'm always greatly impressed how the schoolboy Peter Parker made that Spidey costume with all the intricate webbing and everything - now that's a tailor !! As for me, I'm delighted if I sew a button on correctly.

Anonymous said...

How did Daredevil know what color his costume was?

Comicsfan said...

M.P., to tell you the truth, I'm not quite clear on how Strange's cloak of levitation actually hoists him into the air. The cloak seems to be draped over his shoulders and wrapped at the neck (with his amulet pinned to it), rather than attached to his garment in any way--so how the heck is it lifting his body? I suppose we'll have to boil it down to "magically," and leave it at that. :)

Colin, Peter's novice sewing skills were indeed impressive, especially doing it all by hand. The costume couldn't help but look interesting as rendered by Ditko and later Romita--but seen up close in real life I imagine it might have looked a little tacky!

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