Sanctum Sanctorum

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Sanctum Sanctorum
Sanctum Sanctorum.jpg
Sanctum Sanctorum
Art by Steve Ditko.
Type Residence
Notable characters Doctor Strange
First appearance Strange Tales #110 (July 1963)
Publisher Marvel Comics

The Sanctum Sanctorum is a fictional building appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics and is the residence of Doctor Strange. The building first appeared in Strange Tales #110 (July 1963) and is located at 177A Bleecker Street in New York City's Greenwich Village neighborhood, a reference to the address of an apartment once shared by writers Roy Thomas and Gary Friedrich.

Publication history[edit]

It first appeared with Doctor Strange in his debut in Strange Tales #110 (July 1963).[1] The details of the building have varied by artist, with one reviewer noting, for example, of Marvel Premiere #3 (July 1972) that "[n]ot since the heady days of Ditko for instance, did the doctor's sanctum sanctorum appear in such scrumptious detail, laden it seemed, with the heavy odor of burning incense".[2]

Location[edit]

The Sanctum Sanctorum is a three-story townhouse located at 177A Bleecker Street, "in the heart of New York City's Greenwich Village",[3] a reference to the address of an apartment shared in the 1960s by Roy Thomas and Gary Friedrich.[1] In the comics, the building was said to have been built upon the site of pagan sacrifices, and before that Native American rituals, and is a focal point for supernatural energies.

Architecture[edit]

The building's depiction has varied over the years but some elements remain consistent. Notably, that there seems to be more space inside than there would seem to be from outside.[1] Some corridors form labyrinths, and the arrangement of rooms seems to change by itself. The house holds many powerful magical items, some of which have an innocent appearance. Some are dangerous, such as a radio which is fatal to the touch. The basement contains storage, a furnace, and the laundry. The first floor contains living rooms, dining rooms, and the general library. The second floor holds living quarters for Strange, Wong, and any guests they may have. The third floor of the building is specifically the Sanctum Sanctorum, for that is where Strange has his meditation room and occult library, where he keeps the Book of the Vishanti, and his repository of ancient artifacts and objects of magical power, such as the Orb of Agamotto.[1] The Sanctum consistently has a circular window with four swooping lines; this design has stayed with the building despite the window's destruction on many occasions. The design of the window is actually the Seal of the Vishanti; it protects the Sanctum from most supernatural invaders. It is also called the "Window of the Worlds," or the Anomaly Rue.[4] Certain members of the New Avengers appear to acknowledge this. Chemistro, a super-villain member of the Hood's army, though possessing no such power to directly break that of the Vishanti's, was able to change the chemical composition of the wood that held the seal to break it.[5] In one story Baron Mordo was able to transport the house to another dimension.[6]

Residents[edit]

Its main residents, apart from Strange, have been his lover/apprentice Clea, his manservant Wong, and the apprentice sorcerer Rintrah.

The Sanctum Sanctorum became the headquarters of the New Avengers for a time, having been magically disguised as an abandoned building designated as a construction site for a future Starbucks cafe. The run-down disguise extends to the interior of the building as so needed, undetectable by even the Extremis armor of Iron Man.[citation needed]

The building has formerly served as headquarters of the Defenders as well.[1]

Defenses[edit]

After constructing the house, Doctor Strange cast a permanent, intricate spell of mystical force to protect it. Despite this, it was seemingly destroyed in a siege by mystical forces, during the Midnight Sons storyline, while various heroes such as the Nightstalkers, Ghost Rider, and Johnny Blaze were hiding inside.[volume & issue needed]

During the World War Hulk storyline, the Sanctum was partially invaded by the forces of the alien Warbound, its defensive enchantments and illusions shattered by Hiroim.[7]

After the use of unacceptable dark magics in the fight against the Hulk, the Sanctum is invaded by the Hood's army as mentioned before. The fight devastates the Sanctum, though the villains are defeated. Doctor Strange is forced to retreat when the battle allows the government-sanctioned Mighty Avengers to take over the Sanctum. Brother Voodoo is called in to neutralize the remnants of the defensive magics.[5]

On at least one occasion, Doctor Strange has destroyed the defenses of the Sanctum to avoid their exploitation by a foe.[8]

Other versions[edit]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

In the 'Marvel Zombies' continuity, a handful of heroes try to find help and information at the Sanctum. Wong is slain there by a zombified Doctor Druid, who is then killed by Ash Williams. Some of the semi-living books in the house provide vital assistance in the zombie-resistance effort.[9]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

In the 'Ultimate Marvel' continuity, a taxi propelled by great force is enough to pierce the defense of the house. The top-floor window sigil is shattered, along with the 'prison' for a large amount of monsters. These are let loose, followed by Dormammu. The Sanctum is demolished in the process. Strange does not survive the resulting fight with Dormammu.[10]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Film[edit]

  • The Sanctum Sanctorum appears in the 2007 animated movie Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme.[11]
  • The Sanctum Sanctorum appears in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
    • Its first appearance is in the 2016 film Doctor Strange.[12] Besides the New York Sanctum, there are two others: one in London (which is destroyed in the course of the film) and one in Hong Kong. Together, they form a protective shield to defend the Earth against interdimensional threats.
    • The Sanctum Sanctorum appears in the 2017 film Thor: Ragnarok.[13] While visiting Earth, Thor and Loki are directed to the Sanctorum by Doctor Strange, who reveals to them the location of their father Odin.
    • The Sanctum Sanctorum appears in the 2018 film Avengers: Infinity War.[14] After the Hulk loses a battle with Thanos, Heimdall sends him back to Earth, where he crashes into the Sanctorum and transforms back into Bruce Banner. Doctor Strange then summons Tony Stark to the Sanctorum to inform him of Thanos' intentions. Following Strange’s disappearance and capture at Ebony Maw’s hands, Wong becomes the acting master of the Sanctum.

Video games[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Sanderson, Peter (2007). The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City. New York City: Pocket Books. pp. 24–27. ISBN 1-4165-3141-6. 
  2. ^ Pierre Comtois, Marvel Comics in the 1970s: An Issue-by-Issue Field Guide to a Pop Culture Phenomenon (2011), p. 106.
  3. ^ Gina Renée Misiroglu, David A. Roach, The Superhero Book: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Comic-book Icons and Hollywood Heroes (2004), p. 183.
  4. ^ Strange Tales #110 (1963)
  5. ^ a b New Avengers Annual #2
  6. ^ Strange Tales #117 (1964)
  7. ^ World War Hulk #3
  8. ^ M. Keith Booker, Encyclopedia of Comic Books and Graphic Novels (2010), p. 156.
  9. ^ Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness #3 (July 2007)
  10. ^ Jeph Loeb (w). Ultimatum 1-5 (January - September 2009), Marvel Comics
  11. ^ Olivieri, Joshua (March 3, 2018). "8 Animated Marvel Movies Better Than Anything In The DCAU (And 7 Much Worse)". CBR.com. 
  12. ^ Faraci, Devin (June 28, 2015). "Expect "Mind-Bending Weirdness" From Doctor Strange, Says Kevin Feige". Birth. Movies. Death. Archived from the original on June 29, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  13. ^ Leadbeater, Alex (February 22, 2018). "Thor: Ragnarok's Deleted Scenes Hide Odin's Original Death". ScreenRant. 
  14. ^ Francisco, Eric (April 27, 2018). "'Thor: Ragnarok' Explains Why Hulk Is Missing in 'Infinity War'". Inverse.