Magic and Digital Comics

This issue: The Major Spoilers Crew discuss why magic does or doesn’t work in superhero comics, and Chip Mosher from Boom! Studios stops by to talk about digital comics and news from Boom! Studios.


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About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. One of the few good things of “Reign in Hell” was how Zatana nearly died using her powers, in this particular series she was stil all powerfull but affecting her target demanded her power proportional to the powers the creature wielded. So immobilizing Lobo made her spit blood and was only temporary.

    Another good use of magic was in JSA Classified, when the Bolt’s powers were used to repair houses and stuff like that, but everytime a house was raised from the ground another was destroyed somewhere in the world. The idea was that when magic destroyed something using magic to restore it was fine because it balanced itself out (destruction/creation) but if you repair something that was destroyed by none magical means (or simply create something out of thin air) something has to be destroyed to pay the price. It also explained why magic user in DC don’t go around curing cancer, ressurecting the dead, feeding the hungry,etc.

    Comic books is one of the few medias without rules for magic, every movie/manga/book has it’s own set of permanent rules regarding the use/limits of magic, in comics it’s writters whim/deus ex machina…

    • I’d say that in SUPERHERO comics it is as you say, other comics that are actually based around magic have their own internal logic.

      • You are quite correct… most of the time (like 99.9% of the time). I mean, as you have said yourself the Witchblade has yet to have an actual power limit/clearely defined power set.

  2. Fine discussion, sirs. I was never a big fan of Shaman and his Felix the Cat-like bag … OK, so things had to be small, but the Marvel Universe isn’t exactly short on miniaturisation.

    I agree that magicians should have limits, though – I loved that the White Witch would always have some basic spells to fall back on for Legion of Super-Heroes missions, but more ambitious effects would require preparation not necessarily possible on the battlefield.

  3. Great subject material, but one title that was missed that I think would have added to the conversation was the DC/Vertigo series, Books of Magic. The series was created by Neil Gaiman in the early nineties and had guest appearances ranging from John Constantine to Death. Haven’t read the series since it ended back in the late nineties so I’m not sure how well it holds up but I remember really loving the book.

    It provided an interesting take on the “greatest wizard of his generation” who was young, unsure of his parentage and rarely, if ever, laid down any major arcane smack downs on the bad guy. Really, he barely pulled out the successes in his life and if I remember correctly an aspect of himself ended up being a major threat to the world.

    I think Neil Gaiman, John Ney Rieber and Peter Gross did a good job on this first series and it may be worth a review. The follow on series left a bit to be desired though.

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