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George R.R. Martin, author of the bestselling fantasy epic A Song of Ice and Fire, is a Marvel fan from way back, with a letter in 1964’s Avengers #12 counted among his earliest published writing (he was a New Jersey teen at the time). So it probably should come as little surprise that, in theory at least, he wouldn’t mind taking a crack at writing Doctor Strange, whom he says “was always one of my favorites.”
A comic with “From the Creator of Game of Thrones” slapped across the cover would seem like a license for Marvel to print money. However, before Martin would even consider tackling the Master of the Mystic Arts, he would require an unlikely guarantee from the publisher.
“Before I would ever do that, I would have to have my lawyers to meet with Marvel’s lawyers and work out an absolutely iron-clad contract that would say whatever I did in the story would continue to be canon forever, and would never be retconned, rebooted or reimagined out of the universe when some later writer decided to mess around with it,” Martin tells MTV Geek in an interview recorded at Worldcon. “Because I hate that, I hate — I’ve always hated reboots and retcons and the fact that a writer comes in and undoes what a previous writer did and, y’know, brings dead characters back to life, kills new characters that weren’t intended to die. That’s the one thing I don’t like about comics. That drives me crazy.”
Given Martin’s penchant for killing beloved characters by the score, and the endless nature of superhero serials, it’s likely the “no retcon” stipulation might give Marvel pause. But let’s pretend an agreement could be reached; what would George R.R. Martin’s Doctor Strange be like?
“I’d separate him more, I wouldn’t drag in the rest of the Marvel Universe or make him part of a team,” the author says. “He doesn’t really fit any of that stuff. He’s a guy who hardly even should be known to the other heroes, living on the edge of the Marvel Universe, protecting the world and our dimension and plane from dangers and forces out there that the other characters, like Spider-Man and the Avengers, don’t even dream exists, y’know. He’s our wall against Cthulhu, the Great Old Ones and, y’know, the Dread Dormammu and stuff like that. That was when Doctor Strange was at his best, when Lee and Ditko were doing him in just that manner.”
Watch the full MTV Geek clip below, along with the Comic Book Resources interview conducted with Martin at last year’s Comic-Con International.