With Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War taking the box office by storm right now, we’ve got comic books and superheroes on the brain. What sprang to mind immediately was how badly we would like to see some of our favorite comic book magicians take to the silver screen to get the attention they deserve.
Coming up with a list of strictly “magicians” in the sense of illusionists, mentalists and stage performers is naturally tricky because of the fantastical nature of superhero powers, but we think the following individuals are all people that those in our industry would look up to.
Mandrake the Magician
An oldie but a goody, Mandrake the Magician was a comic strip that debuted in 1934. It followed the exploits of the eponymous magician, whose mastery of rapid hypnosis was used to foil criminals, mad scientists, aliens and other villains.
The character was created by Lee Falk, the same individual who created The Phantom two years later. Since both characters predate Superman, one could even say that Mandrake was the first superhero ever!
A nemesis of Spider-Man since 1964, Mysterio has been around the block quite a few times. Quentin Beck was a special effects worker who was a master of illusions and robotics. He is one of the few supervillain foes who does not possess any powers or extraordinary abilities, instead relying on his penchant for illusions, hypnosis and trickery. Sounds like he could put on quite a stage show!
The Scarlet Witch
Wanda Maximoff does not rely on trickery; her powers are the real deal! Yet, her natural sense of showmanship and the mysterious nature of her powers all evoke a sense of magical wonder, something all magicians strive for. Her recent outing in Civil War certainly made some sparks fly!
Like the Scarlet Witch, Dr. Strange’s powers are genuine, but they stem from a strong fixation on the occult, black magic and sorcery. He also uses mystical objects that give him extra powers, such as a cloak of levitation and the Eye of Agamotto.
Stephen Strange’s sense of showmanship also evokes earlier magic acts like Harry Blackstone, Sr. In fact, Marvel character creator Steve Ditko came up with the idea of Dr. Strange after having listened to the Chandu the Magician radio series as a young boy.
The only true magician on this list who has the decency to get dressed for the occasion, Zatanna sports the traditional bow-tie, coattails and black top hat of a classic magician. She is an on-again-off-again member of the Justice League since the late ‘70s and has helped save the world more than a few times. Her popularity surpassed that of her father, Zatara, who first appeared alongside Superman’s debut in Action Comics #1 in 1938.
In between heroism, Zatanna also finds the time to be an actual stage magician, performing genuine sleight-of-hand without having to resort to her mystical powers. She stands as a shining example to the magicians and mentalists everywhere.
While Mio doesn’t have his own comic book series (yet!), Miami residents can see how hard he works to deliver on thrills by watching his latest mentalism videos.