|First appearance||Strange Tales #110 (July 1963)|
Sanctum Sanctorum is a fictional building appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, as the residence and headquarters 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.
The Sanctum Sanctorum has appeared in various media adaptations, including animated television series, video games, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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The Sanctum Sanctorum first appeared with Doctor Strange in his debut in Strange Tales #110 (July 1963). 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". In a comical turn in Strange Tales #147, a building inspector informs Strange that he has six months to get the Sanctum Sanctorum repainted and make other repairs, or the building will be condemned.
The Sanctum Sanctorum is a three-story townhouse located at 177A Bleecker Street, "in the heart of New York City's Greenwich Village", a reference to the address of an apartment shared in the 1960s by Roy Thomas and Gary Friedrich. 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.
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. 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. The Sanctum consistently has a circular skylight 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. 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. In one story Baron Mordo was able to transport the house to another dimension.
The Sanctum Sanctorum became the headquarters of the New Avengers for a time, having been magically disguised as an abandoned building designated as a future Starbucks cafe. The run-down disguise extends to the interior of the building as needed, undetectable by even the Extremis armor of Iron Man.[volume & issue needed]
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]
After the use of unacceptable dark magics in the fight against the Hulk, the Sanctum is invaded by the Hood's army, who are ultimately defeated amid much damage to the building. 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.
On at least one occasion, Doctor Strange has destroyed the defenses of the Sanctum to avoid their exploitation by a foe.
In the "Marvel Zombies" continuity, a handful of heroes seek 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.
In the "Ultimate Marvel" continuity, a taxi propelled by great force pierces the defense of the house. The top-floor window sigil is shattered, along with the prison that holds monsters. These are let loose, followed by Dormammu. The fight that follows destroys the Sanctum and kills Strange.
In other media
- The Sanctum Sanctorum appears in The Super Hero Squad Show animated series.
- The Sanctum Sanctorum appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series.
- The Sanctum Sanctorum appears in the Avengers Assemble animated series.
- The Sanctum Sanctorum appears in the Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. animated series episode "Stranger in a Strange Land".
- The Sanctum Sanctorum appears in the 1978 live-action made-for-TV film Dr. Strange.
- The Sanctum Sanctorum appears in the 2007 animated film Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme.
- The Sanctum Sanctorum appears in the 2016 animated film Hulk: Where Monsters Dwell.
- The Sanctum Sanctorum appears in live-action films set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- As depicted in Doctor Strange (2016), the Masters of the Mystic Arts utilize three Sanctums in New York, London, and Hong Kong to defend Earth against interdimensional threats via a magical barrier. Kaecilius attempts to destroy the Sanctums so Dormammu can consume Earth, but he and his followers are defeated by Doctor Strange, who becomes the master of the New York Sanctum following the death of its previous master, Daniel Drumm, and takes up residence there.
- The New York Sanctum appears in Thor: Ragnarok (2017). Strange transports Thor to the Sanctum to help him and Loki find their father, Odin.
- The New York Sanctum appears in Avengers: Infinity War (2018). Bruce Banner crashes into the New York Sanctum and warns Strange and Wong of Thanos's threat. Strange summons Tony Stark to the Sanctum to inform him of Thanos and the Infinity Stones. However, Strange is kidnapped by Ebony Maw, forcing Stark to pursue him while Wong becomes the acting master of the Sanctum.
- An alternate timeline version of the New York Sanctum appears in Avengers: Endgame (2019), in which Banner time-travels to 2012 and encounters the Ancient One outside the Sanctum.
- The New York Sanctum appears in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021). Wong transports Shang-Chi and his friend Katy to the Sanctum to discuss the Ten Rings with Banner and Carol Danvers.
- The New York Sanctum will appear in Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022).
- The Sanctum Sanctorum appears in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. This version serves as the heroes' headquarters while they combat Doctor Doom's Masters of Evil.
- The Sanctum Sanctorum appears as a landmark in The Incredible Hulk.
- The Sanctum Sanctorum appears as a landmark in Ultimate Spider-Man.
- The Sanctum Sanctorum appears in Lego Marvel Super Heroes and Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2.
- The Sanctum Sanctorum appears as a landmark in Marvel's Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Miles Morales.
- Sanderson, Peter (2007). The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City. New York City: Pocket Books. pp. 24–27. ISBN 1-4165-3141-6.
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- Strange Tales #147.
- Gina Renée Misiroglu, David A. Roach, The Superhero Book: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Comic-book Icons and Hollywood Heroes (2004), p. 183.
- Strange Tales #110 (1963)
- New Avengers Annual #2
- Strange Tales #117 (1964)
- World War Hulk #3
- M. Keith Booker, Encyclopedia of Comic Books and Graphic Novels (2010), p. 156.
- Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness #3 (July 2007)
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