I recently relived my youth by watching the Defenders of the Earth series.

I know Mandrake, the Magician predates Doctor Strange, did Stan Lee ever talk about the character being an influence on the character creations?

  • 1
    It's not really an answer but in Doctor Strange Vol. 1 Issue 181 there is a reference when a street thug calls Strange Mandrake. I've also seen that Stan Lee did read and liked Mandrake but nothing explicit between the two.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Oct 25, 2019 at 13:18
  • Mandrake was an illusionist. Strange does real magic.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Oct 25, 2019 at 13:18
  • @ZeissIkon Mandrake did have supernatural powers, and that's on top of having supernatural equipment.
    – Marvel Boy
    Oct 25, 2019 at 13:32
  • The incestuous nature of comics certainly makes it plausable. You see the same powers pass back and forth it takes a lot of effort to find out who did what first. I read the answer and see it wasn't this particular case this time, but....
    – Paul TIKI
    Oct 25, 2019 at 22:24

2 Answers 2


I spent maybe half of my life reading everything I could find on both Stan Lee and Doctor Strange, who happens to be my favorite Marvel character. I cannot find a single quote from Stan Lee himself about Mandrake.

Stan Lee probably had read some Mandrake comics, which predate the creation of Doctor Strange. But another character had a greater influence. In his autobiography Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir, Stan Lee makes a mention to Chandu the Magician, which is widely recognized as his inspiration for Strange.

Chandu was pretty big at the time. They even made a series of movies with Bela Lugosi as the heroic sorcerer. As you might imagine, when things stick with you for that long, they tend to manifest in later years in the most interesting ways. In this case: Dr. Strange, Master of Black Magic!

Amazig Fantastic Incredible page 98: Stan Lee mentions Chandu the Magician as an inspiration for one of his creations. Amazig Fantastic Incredible page 99: Stan Lee comments on the debut of Doctor Strange.
Click images to enlarge.

In my opinion, Chandu's mysticism is more in line with Doctor Strange than Mandrake's stage magician vibe.

A mention to Mandrake is made in Doctor Strange Vol. 1, issue 181 (as commented by TheLethalCarrot in the question). However, the writer for that issue was Roy Thomas, not Stan Lee, so most likely Thomas is the one who intended the reference.

Either Mandrake there just zapped you into a snowman... or we've both been partyin' too long!

Page from the comic mentioned above with the relevant section quoted above
Click image to enlarge.

Stan Lee wrote the lyrics for the theme song for the show Defenders of the Earth, which is about a team of superheroes in which Mandrake happens to be a member. The show was originally produced in 1986, decades after the creation of Doctor Strange. This, along with the aforementioned reference in an issue of Doctor Strange, are about the only connections between Mandrake and Stan Lee that can be found on the internet.

  • 3
    "He also wrote the lyrics for the theme song for the show, Defenders of the Earth..." OK, that's my random fact of the day. Was he a known song-writer?
    – Darren
    Oct 25, 2019 at 14:43
  • 1
    @Darren it's hard to search for that because 1) there is another guy by the same name who is a musician 2) many search hits are for songs mentioning Stan Lee, not written by him. But he did compose a couple famous songs: The Merry Marvel Marching Society's theme song and Screaming Along With Marvel (you can find both in Youtube). He was also writing a whole live action musical before he died, called "Yin Yang: The Battle of Tao".
    – Marvel Boy
    Oct 25, 2019 at 15:13
  • 1
    Dr. Strange was also heavily influenced by Vincent Price's character Dr. Erasmus Craven in Roger Corman's movie The Raven from 1963 (a few months before the debut of Doctor Strange). Steve Ditko has said he based the looks on Price. There's a magic duel at the end of the movie with special effects very reminescent of Doctor Strange's magic. See clip here: youtube.com/watch?v=xHunA6CYHvo Oct 28, 2019 at 8:51

Mandrake the magician is the very first superhero of comic books, He was created for King features in 1934 (wich predates even superman) by comic legendary artist Lee Falk (also creator of the first masked vigilante, The Phantom), Mandrake also can travel between dimensions and trough time, fought powerfull beings and can use real Magic (read Kings watch), so, why not mentioned Strange is obviously (maybe partialy) influenced by Mandrake the magician.

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