Hey everybody, welcome to another great character spotlight right here in Marvel Snapshot! As a long time Dr. Strange fan, it occurred to me that I’ve spotlighted many of his friends and foes, but never his predecessor and mentor The Ancient One! Well, that day has finally arrived! So get ready for a look at the man who was the teacher and Sorcerer Supreme for a long time before Stephen Strange was even born! He was created by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko in 1963 (Strange Tales #110).
500 years ago, the man who was known as Yan is a peaceful farmer, but his friend Kaluu discovers magic (through the influence of Varnae, and the Darkhold), and eventually turns evil. The Ancient One has also taken up mystical studies, and defeats him eventually. He then begins his journey to becoming the sorcerer supreme. After a couple centuries of battling all sorts of demonic beings and the like, the Ancient One, while meditating, encounters Eternity. He’s then given the Amulet of Agamotto, and soon after acquires the Book of the Vishanti as well. Later, he settles in the HImalayas, and takes an apprentice named Mr. Jip. Jip is later banished for studying black magic. He eventually was part of a tournament, and came out as the winner, becoming the Sorcerer Supreme.
Sometime later, the Ancient One took on another apprentice named Baron Mordo. This nobleman seems to genuinely want to learn and be a hero, but the Ancient One can see evil in his heart. Mordo gets very jealous when the Ancient One protects a young man named Stephen Strange. This young man eventually gets into a horrific car accident, disabling his hands that he needs to perform surgery. He exhausts every means possible, but then turns to a healer in the Himalayas. This is where Strange meets Mordo and the Ancient One.
The Ancient One then trains Strange in the ways of the mystic arts, and then Strange must fight a jealous Mordo and his new master, Dormammu. Shortly after that, Stephen Strange is away and Shuma-Gorath attacks the mind of the Ancient One. Strange has no other choice but to destroy part of his mentor’s mind, thus killing his physical body, to stop the threat. The Ancient One would always be around in spirit to assist Strange, who then took up the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme.
As usual, take a look at my recommended reading list, and some of the best images of the Ancient One! See you next time!
Essential Dr. Strange vol. 1 & 2 – Tpb
New Avengers #34 (2010)