comic books Mystery science fiction

Doctor Fate Essential Reading List

As some of you may already know, Doctor Fate is one of my all-time favorite superheroes.  A buddy of mine, Justin Clarke, recently asked me to recommend some Doctor Fate stories worth reading.  I compiled the list and realized this would make a great post!  So here is my DOCTOR FATE ESSENTIAL READING LIST!

If you don’t care about Doctor Fate… indulge me.  It’s my birthday today.

While there are some fantastic Doctor Fate stories out there, there are very few collections.  Most of the items on this list would require you to pick up individual issues.  Check your local comic shops or order from an online retailers offering back issues.  Today I’m just listing the comics worth reading.  Another day we’ll talk about the character of Doctor Fate and all the various incarnations.  If you need clarification in the meantime, check out the Wikipedia entry on Doctor Fate.


1) My top pick for Doctor Fate is a three-issue mini-series from 1985 entitled, THE IMMORTAL DOCTOR FATE.  These issues reprint older Doctor Fate stories, including “The Mummy that Time Forgot” by Martin Pasko and Walt Simonson from 1st Issue Special #9 (December 1975).  That single story revamped the original Doctor Fate for the Bronze Age and beyond; it was the beginning of the most iconic version of Doctor Fate.  Also included in these reprints are the Doctor Fate back-up stories (1981) from the FLASH.  Reprints featured in this mini-series are by Martin Pasko, Walt Simonson, Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen, Steve Gerber, Joe Staton, Gardner Fox, and others.  Great stuff!

The Immortal Doctor Fate mini-series 1985

2) Next up are two stories featuring the fourth incarnation of Doctor Fate (Hector Hall).  Start with JSA: ALL STARS #3 (September 2003) by Geoff Johns, David Goyer, Barry Kitson, and Darwyn Cooke.  Then continue to the DOCTOR FATE five issue mini-series (October 2003 – February 2004) by Christopher Golden, Don Kramer, and Prentis Rollins.  Hector Hall made an awesome Doctor Fate and he really shines in these stories!

Doctor Fate in JSA: All Stars #3 2003

Dr. Fate five issue mini-series 2003

3) You can check out the first appearance of the current Doctor Fate in the trade paperback DR. FATE: COUNTDOWN TO MYSTERY (November 2007 – July 2008).  This is one of the few items on the list that has been collected.  This mini-series was written by Steve Gerber and drawn by Justiniano.  Sadly, Mr. Gerber passed away before the series could be completed.  Four other writers worked together to complete this mini-series.

Dr. Fate Countdown to Mystery collection

Those are the three most critical Doctor Fate works.  Beyond that there are some others I’d recommend:

If you are interested in following the current incarnation of Doctor Fate, he appeared in the REIGN IN HELL mini-series and has recently joined the JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA.  You can find him in these trades:

Reign in Hell

Justice Society of America: Bad Seed

Justice Society of America: Axis of Evil

Another series I’d recommend is the DR. FATE four-issue mini-series from 1987.  In the story, the original Doctor Fate is destroyed and the second incarnation of Doctor Fate begins.  The mini-series featured the writing of J.M. DeMatteis and the pencils of Keith Giffen.  This Doctor Fate version is very different from the current one, but it’s still very entertaining.

Doctor Fate by JM DeMatteis and Keith Giffen

If you dig the mini-series referenced above, then be sure to continue on with the DR. FATE ongoing series from 1988.  The first 24 issues were written by J.M. DeMatteis and featured artwork by Shawn McManus.  In my opinion, this is McManus’ best work of his career!  Those first two dozen issues are definitely worth your time.

Dr. Fate ongoing series 1988

Finally, I would be criminally negligent if I didn’t recommend the various CRISIS ON MULTIPLE EARTHS trade paperbacks.  These collections feature pre-Crisis crossovers between Earth-1 and Earth-2, primary from the annual JLA/JSA meetings.  Doctor Fate appears in several of these stories, but not necessarily as the lead character.

Crisis on Multilpe Earths

If you’ve read any of these issues or decide to pick them up, please drop me a line in the comment section.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

6 thoughts on “Doctor Fate Essential Reading List

  1. Countdown to Mystery is a very good read. I also like the Eclipso story which was originally printed in that series, and is collected on its own. It starts out kinda slow, with the Jean Loring Eclipso, but picks up when she gets the boot.

    JSA All-Stars is a great series all together. The Doctor Fate issue was the first one I bought and then I went and filled in the rest. I tried to get the follow up miniseries but I didn’t have a legit comic shop at the time so I nevr found it.

    The first DC title I collected “from the start” and the first hero I considered “my own” was the Jared Stevens Fate! Maybe it was a function of being 14 at the time of its release but I LOVED that book. In fact I wrote an entire blog post about it!

    I may be one of a very small minority who liked Jared Stevens, but I always appreciated it when he would show up inside Doctor Fate’s helmet in JSA or whatnot. I still think that the character could have worked, maybe not as a replacement for Doctor Fate but perhaps as an alternative or counterpoint.

    Great list, though! I have liked Doctor Fate ever since I got his Super Powers toy (which remains one of the absolutely snazziest of the line) as a kid!

  2. Shag:

    Great list! Obviously, I’m partial to the Bronze Age stuff reprinted in The Immortal Doctor Fate, though I really enjoyed the later DeMatteis/Giffen mini, too.

    Andrew Wahl

Leave a Reply