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Doctor Strange: New Beginnings

Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo might be leaving DOCTOR STRANGE with #20, but that doesn’t mean the magic stops there. In fact, a completely new creative team stands ready to pick up the Master of the Mystic Arts’ adventures with the following issue, which hits on May 31.

Writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Niko Henrichon will kick off their run just as Secret Empire invades the Marvel Universe. As Stephen defends the world against the magical forces involved, the neophyte creative team will continue getting to know their lead.

We talked with Henrichon about tackling an event tie-in, working with Hopeless, and the appeal of Doctor Strange’s wild world.

Marvel.com: What is it about Doctor Strange that attracted you as an artist?

Niko Henrichon: Until recently, the character was very mysterious to me. I saw him from time to time in various comics but never really followed closely. It’s only recently that I discovered the fantastic work of Steve Ditko on the original [Doctor Strange stories in STRANGE TALES]. Obviously, I enjoyed the recent movie and thought they really nailed the psychedelic aspect of the parallel worlds featured in an amazing way in Ditko’s Doctor Strange.

So, when I [received an offer] to follow with Dennis Hopeless as the writer, after the run of Aaron and Bachalo, I immediately accepted. I’ve spent the last seven or eight years doing albums for the French European market. I had the chance to work on ambitious projects there, but now it feels great to come back to comics. There’s something fresh and dynamic about [American] comics. The fast storytelling, the smaller pages, I love it.

Marvel.com: Do you have plans to give Stephen a new look for the series?

Niko Henrichon: The story picks up after Aaron and Bachalo’s run so we’re keeping the look as it was before. For the future, I guess it will depend on how the story develops.

Marvel.com: As it happens, your first issue with Dennis on the book coincides with the Secret Empire crossover. How will that play into the story?

Niko Henrichon: That question would be more suitable for Dennis but I feel like we’re really focusing on Doctor Strange’s own journey, along with his colleagues.

Marvel.com: Do you enjoy the challenge of designing the kinds fantastical and supernatural elements that appear in a book like DOCTOR STRANGE?

Niko Henrichon: Yes I do! I love the monster design job. This book has a lot of them so it’s a real delight.

Marvel.com: How has it been working with Dennis on these issues so far?

Niko Henrichon: Really bad! No seriously, Dennis is great to work with. His writing [perfectly balances] between creative freedom and storytelling tightness. The way you want a Marvel book to feel like.

To see what happens when the Sorcerer Supreme feels the effects of Secret Empire, check out DOCTOR STRANGE #21 by Dennis Hopeless and Niko Henrichon on May 31!

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Black Panther: Panthers Past

If there’s one perk to the job of being The Black Panther that T’Challa, king of Wakanda may value most, it’s not the wealth, its not the technology, and it’s not the special panther abilities—it’s access to all those who held the post before him.

That’s right: centuries worth of Black Panthers stand ready to advise and inspire T’Challa, Shuri, or whoever wears the mantle from the Great Beyond, and they’ll really need them in May 24’s BLACK PANTHER #14 when Wakanda’s stirred up again and danger’s on the wind. Who might answer the call this time? Let’s look at a few of the former heroes to mull over the possibilities.


T’Chaka

T’Challa’s father and the Black Panther immediately before him, T’Chaka rose to prominence when he lent his aid to none other than Captain America and Nick Fury in a battle with The Red Skull. T’Chaka continued his fight after the war and up until his murder at the hands of Klaw, when the criminal attempted to seize precious vibranium metal from Wakanda.

Check Out: FANTASTIC FOUR #53, CAPTAIN AMERICA/BLACK PANTHER: FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS #1-4


Azzari

Known as “The Wise,” T’Chaka’s father wore the mantle of the Black Panther during World War II and kept the small country neutral during the global conflict, despite helping Captain America against Nazis. Azzari’s renown also included the ability to fight with many weapons.

Check Out: BLACK PANTHER #1, CAPTAIN AMERICA/BLACK PANTHER: FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS #1-4

Chanda

King of Wakanda during World War II, Chanda welcomed Ulysses Klaue to Wakanda, unaware of the man’s Nazi ties and the evil eye he set upon the nation’s stores of vibranium. When Klaue dealt his hand, he lost it to Chanda in a fight, an event that set him upon the path to becoming the super villain Klaw. Chanda’s also known for his attempt to elevate the Panther Spirit as a god, a situation that didn’t go well for him.

Check Out: FANTASTIC FOUR UNLIMITED #1


Bashenga

The grand-daddy of all Black Panthers and an ancestor of T’Challa, Bashenga’s wisdom and fearless nature set in motion the legacy of the chieftains of Wakanda and their eternal guardianship of the nation’s vibranium mound. In the centuries that followed his life and rule, a special spear named in his honor became an invaluable weapon to all Wakandan kings.

Check Out: BLACK PANTHER #7, FANTASTIC FOUR #609

T’Challa seeks the aid of his ancestors in BLACK PANTHER #14 by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Wilfredo Torre on May 24!