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‘Doctor Strange’ includes an Easter egg about tripping on mescaline

The latest Marvel movie features some pretty unusual reading material.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Nov 1, 2016   Updated on May 25, 2021, 4:33 pm CDT

Warning: This post includes a spoiler for Doctor Strange.

Marvel is very proud of Doctor Strange‘s psychedelic origins, with director Scott Derrickson touting the film’s trippy visual effects, inspired by the work of artist Steve Ditko.

After watching the movie, we agree that Doctor Strange looks refreshingly weird compared to, say, The Avengers. But its best callback to the psychedelic ’60s comics may actually Stan Lee‘s cameo scene, where we see him reading a copy of The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley.

Better known for his dystopian novel Brave New World, Huxley also wrote nonfiction. The Doors of Perception is a personal account of experimenting with the drug mescaline, and the book’s cover is strongly reminiscent of Doctor Strange’s mystic “third eye” and Eye of Agamotto amulet.

Strange Tales #137

Marvel movies are often peppered with pop culture references, but Luke Cage and Doctor Strange surely gave us the best reading material—with Luke Cage offering a wide-ranging syllabus of black literature.

As a book about opening one’s mind to new experiences, The Doors of Perception is both thematically appropriate for Doctor Strange and a great deal edgier than the movie itself. Maybe somewhere out there, some adventurous Marvel fan will decide to try mescaline for the first time after watching this PG-13 rated movie.

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*First Published: Nov 1, 2016, 8:00 am CDT