Art by Steve Ditko.
|First appearance||Strange Tales #110 (July 1963)|
|Notable characters||Doctor Strange|
Sanctum Sanctorum is a fictional building appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), as 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.
The Sanctum Sanctorum has appeared in various media adaptations of the Marvel Universe including the MCU and television cartoons.
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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 popular culture
In other media
- The Sanctum Sanctorum first appears in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "Enter Dormammu". It is also featured in other episodes.
- The Sanctum Sanctorum appears in the 2007 animated movie Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme.
- The Sanctum Sanctorum appears in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- It is one of the primary locations of events in the 2016 film Doctor Strange. 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 rogue sorcerer Kaecilius destroys the London Sanctum to weaken Earth's protection. The zealots then attack the New York Sanctum, killing its guardian. Strange fights them there and holds them off with the help of the Cloak of Levitation, which he acquires at the Sanctum. At the end of the film he returns to the Sanctum to take up residence as its new guardian.
- The Sanctum Sanctorum appears in the 2017 film Thor: Ragnarok. 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. 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.
- The Sanctum Sanctorum appears in the 2019 film Avengers: Endgame. The Hulk time travels to the Sanctum during the Battle of New York as depicted in the 2012 film The Avengers and convinces the Ancient One to give the Time Stone to him, in order to restore those killed by Thanos in Infinity War.
- The Sanctum Sanctorum serves as the heroes' headquarters for a third of the game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. They move there from Stark Tower after learning of Loki's involvement in Doctor Doom's master plan (because he, disguised as Mandarin in Atlantis, managed to sidetrack the heroes' team from getting to Doom). From there, the player can access Murderworld (which first appears as a thinly-disguised Doom Castle, courtesy of a diversion spell by Baron Mordo) and Mephisto's Realm. If the player has Doctor Strange on their team, they can enter his room.
- The Sanctum Sanctorum is also featured in The Incredible Hulk as a landmark.
- The Sanctum Sanctorum also appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man video game as a landmark.
- The Sanctum Sanctorum also appears in the Spider-Man 2 video game as a landmark.
- The Sanctum Sanctorum also appears in the Marvel's Spider-Man video game as a landmark.
- Sanderson, Peter (2007). The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City. New York City: Pocket Books. pp. 24–27. ISBN 1-4165-3141-6.
- Pierre Comtois, Marvel Comics in the 1970s: An Issue-by-Issue Field Guide to a Pop Culture Phenomenon (2011), p. 106.
- 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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- Madesn, Hayes (June 10, 2020). "What Heroes Should Appear in PS5's Spider-Man 2?". Screen Rant.
- "76108-1: Sanctum Sanctorum Showdown". Brickset. Retrieved April 22, 2020.