Note: Longtime P:R readers know Jemma Salume. She won our Black Canary Canary on the Catwalk contest and did a great Collection of would-be Sorcerers Supreme in the Marvel U. Now she returns to the mystical arts to bring a new fashion sense to Doctor Strange’s most potent foes — and a special image at the end! These pieces will have you saying, “By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth!” – Chris A.
Dormammu & Umar
Jemma: It’s can’t read about Dormammu and his sister Umar’s history as Faltines without seeing parallels with real mythology – Namely the Islamic concept of a Djinn and the story of the fall of Iblis/Shaitan. For that reason, I pulled the majority of their design influence from pre-Islamic Middle-East (with a dash of a shout-out to Guy Davis’ second Black Flame from BPRD for flavor). Umar is in a psuedo-Egyptian garb, with a collar and crown fit for a queen, and Dormammu is in disintegrating armor, most of the cloth and flesh of his upper body burned away by his own fiery power. With an army of Mindless Ones at their command, only Doctor Strange stands between our universe and their all-consuming ambitions!
Jemma: Marvel’s Lovecraftian horror! Well, one of them. Doctor Strange was willing to kill the Ancient One to prevent this guy’s manifestation on Earth, so any redesign has to underscore visually how much of a threat to our realm he really is. Making him too huge to exist is a start, and I went further by basing him on a crown-of-thorns starfish, with deadly spikes on his back and creepy tube feet adorning his horrible tentacle arms. The single hateful bloody eye stays, of course.
Jemma: My favorite thing about Doctor Strange’s rogues gallery is that there’s really nobody whose abilities rely on physical prowess. Most of what we see of these jerks is an illusion anyway – What need do they have for huge muscles? There’s other ways to look like you’re going to mess someone up, and Satannish served as my proof of concept. I tried to build him like a hateful, emaciated old man, stretching his face to resemble something from one of those old etchings of Satan or Ba’al, and worked to up the creepy factor on that face in his torso. The guy’s in the biz of stealing souls – and while having your soul stolen is bad enough, you really don’t want to be the one he gives to his second maw to gnaw on. Naturally, he is still on fire, because demons on fire is awesome.
Jemma: Nightmare is a fantastic concept. Humans brush against the borders of his realm every time they close their eyes, maybe even wander in a little and wake up screaming, drenched in a cold sweat… And once in a while, someone gets pulled in so far it’s up to the Sorcerer Supreme to get them out! It’s like a tug-of-war with people’s sanity. But man. Demon horse? Green longjohns? I’ve seen scarier in videogames. This new Nightmare’s taken design cues from medieval kings by way of Slenderman, with ghostly little servants running around his feet, perhaps shades of the people who fell into his grasp long before there was a Sorcerer Supreme to save them.
Jemma: A classic – Baron Mordo! The cockiest and cruelest of the Ancient One’s students, I kitted him out in a variation on an Eastern European military dress uniform to reflect his noble Transylvanian background. His eyes have been darkened by his alliances with shadowy powers, and his sleeves bear the burning eye of his earliest benefactor, Shuma-Gorath. He doesn’t need swords, really, but I gave him some anyway – He strikes me as the kind of guy who, despite his imposing mystical power, would derive a lot of satisfaction from personally cutting Doctor Strange to shreds. Sans magic.