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Thread: Week 47- Superheroes & Magic

  1. StevenForbes Guest

    Week 47- Superheroes & Magic

    Iím pleased to announce that itís Tuesday! I know youíve been waiting for it, as have I. Like Iíve said time and again, Tuesdays are the highlight of my week. I mean, really! Spending time with you doesnít get much better. [Well, maybe seeing Prince live in concert again would do it, but only just.]

    Weíve been talking about superheroes for a while, and Iíve been saying Iíd get around to talking about magic within that milieu. Well, this is the week! Letís get into the Bolts & Nuts of it.

    Magic. Generally, when the layperson thinks about magic, they think of Satanism, and misname it witchcraft. This is something that has been forced on much of Western civilization by the Church for many centuries, and is difficult to overcome. To call someone a ďheathenĒ today no longer means that they live on a heathóto the one doing the name-calling, theyíre saying that youíre a damned dirty pagan, doing all kinds of unholy sacrifice and such in order to gain power over man and beast. Thatís what the movies tell you, thatís what books have been telling you, because thatís what the Church has been telling you for fifteen hundred years.

    Just like martial arts and blaxsplotation, interest in the occult in America was something that sprang up in the Sixties and Seventies. Sure, it was there earlier, but it was during this time that it reached something of a groundswell, and started to be brought in front of the national eye.

    If Power Man and Iron Fist are the poster children for blaxsploitation and interest in martial arts, then Doctor Strange is the poster child for magic in comics.

    In comic books, magic has no real rules. Anything can be done with little consequence because it doesnít have to make sense. It is, after all, magic. It doesnít have to make sense, because of what it is. Letís put this in an unusual context, one thatís not often thought of.

    The Catholic Mass. This is a recreation of the last supper Jesus had with his disciples, in which a cup of wine is passed around that has been transformed into his blood, and unleavened bread is given out that has been transformed into his body. Not a comfortable thought, is it? Itís magic, through and through, but itís not really thought of as such.

    This is the same position magic has in a superhero setting. Uncomfortable. Donít believe me? How many times has Doctor Strange had his own series? How well do the magical heroes sell? Look at the recently canceled Captain Britain and MI-13 series. Look at Blade. DC is no better. Their series may last a touch longer because theyíre owned by Warner Brothers, but their magic user series donít last that long, either. What was their longest running series? Shazam? And didnít he just go through a major shakeup, making Captain Marvel Jr. into the new Big Red Cheese, or something to that effect?

    Comic book magic has nothing at all to do with real magick. [Note the spelling.] Especially not in a superhero setting. And for the purposes of this column, Iím defining magic within this setting as anything that is not technological or biological [mutant] in nature. Comic book magic has a ton of strange incantations and finger/hand gestures that the practitioner knows off the top of their heads. There is no preparation, either mental or spiritual, and there are absolutely no limits as to what can be done. Extremely often, these stories are devised by writers who know absolutely nothing outside of a bad comics and worse movies as to how magic actually works.

    Because there are no rules within the superhero setting, series starring magic users often fail. This lack of rules [actually, the lack of consequence] is the reason Joe Quesada is extremely hesitant to green-light a magic user series. [I am pleased to say, however, that the new Sorcerer Supreme of Marvel Comics is now Dr. Jeremiah Drumm, Brother Voodoo, and will have a new series starring him coming out soon. Maybe they have a formula that works now. Weíll see.]

    (Whatís the point in all of this, Steven?) The point is simple: even though you love Glendark the Mystic, your creation for your superhero universe, more than likely heís not going to last long in that setting through todayís readership. If even a stalwart character such as Thor, a frigginí god, canít seem to keep an ongoing series, what makes you think you can do so with your creation, using the same tropes?

    You canít. Not in a superhero setting. Not without a set of rules for magic that have to be obeyed. And what does that mean? That means that youíd have to study magick in order to write magic [note the spelling], but because of the religious beliefs that you have [even if you donít consciously hold them], you canít do it. To you, itís either myth or devil worship, and even with ceremonial magick, itís rather difficult to take the religious aspects out of the equation.

    But the truth of the matter is simply this: for your own universe, you have it easier than Marvel does. Marvel is trying everything in its power not to do a ďcrisisĒ with their universe in any form. Joe understands that he needs to find a way to get a set of rules in place for the universe that will still allow all of the old stories to still have merit, without changing the fundamental way magic works in the universe. Change without change, and really, thatís hard enough to do within the stories of the characters themselves. Itís like saying you want electricity to behave like electricity without behaving like electricity.

    DC has done something different. With the resetting of their universe [again], they also ďbrokeĒ the magic, allowing for anything to happen, but also allowing for rules to be put in place to make it more palatable to readers.

    This isnít something you have to worry about with the creation of your own superhero universe. If youíve studied how magick works in order to write believable magic in comics, your rules should be in place to allow you to have consequences for the actions of your characters.

    Time for a story.

    When I was in the Marine Corps, I had a friend that I role-played with. One of his characters was based on Goku, but since I was the Narrator/Dungeon Master/Game Runner, I kept his powers down to a manageable level. I knew the guy was a rules lawyer [role-players know what I mean], and because of that, I had to always be on top of my games when he played.

    We were playing, and he wanted to do an energy blast against my ninja character. I said fine. Then he wanted to be able to manipulate his hands in order to have the energy twist and turn, effectively following the ninja wherever he went until the ninja was blasted. Picture the Omega Effect of Darkseid, when he shoots energy beams from his eyes that can curve and follow you, except it was one continual blast.

    I knew that if I let him do it once, heíd want to do it again. I said no, and I gave him a very compelling, very logical reason why not. He could change the angle, he could ricochet, he could stop and start again, but he could not make it twist and turn. Straight lines only.

    Nope, he wasnít happy. I didnít care, really, because I knew. I knew that if I allowed this one thing, even as a one time stunt, heíd want to do it again. Heíd try to do it again, and when he failed, heíd have a leg to stand on when he whined and cajoled, and then Iíd have to give in.

    This is what youíre going to have to do within your superhero universe where magic is concerned. Youíre going to have to be hard on yourself and for those whom you let tell stories within your milieu, so that your rules stay intact for the enjoyment of your readers.

    For my money, the best use of magic Iíve seen recently within a superhero setting is Dr. Strange: The Oath, written by Brian Vaughn. It had rules, it had consequences, and it looked like the writer did his homework in studying something of magick. It would behoove you to pick up the trade of this and study what was done if you plan on using magic in your superhero universe.

    (But what about outside of the superheroes, Steven? What then?)

    All kinds of doors are open for you, but you still have to follow some sort of structure.

    Your standalone magicians [Iím talking outside of a superhero universe] are another ball of wax altogether. The best example of this would be the Books of Magic, with that Harry Potter forerunner, Tim Hunter.

    When youíre talking about magic within a superhero setting, youíre not really talking about characters, youíre talking about powers. Magic, in a superhero setting, is nothing more than a power.

    When you talk about magic outside of the setting, then youíre dealing with magic in and of itself, and can focus more easily on characterization and story rather than the magic. The magic becomes secondary [and actually becomes part of the character and the setting] instead of the focus of the story itself. The sense of wonder is increased, because the magic user isnít up against other characters in colorful costumes beating the snot out of each other.

    This is why series such as The Books of Magic work so well. The Books of Magic, Lucifer, Sandman, Hellblazer, Swamp ThingÖif you keep your magic users primarily away from the spandex wearers, your magic users arenít competing with anything else [basically, the absurdities inherent within superhero universesóyou have only to pick up a single book, in any era, to see it there plain as day: dressing up gaudily to take the law into their own hands in order to fight crime, powers, pseudo-science, fights that should leave some sort of mark, and the list goes on].

    If you create a story that has magic inherent in it and it is outside of a superhero universe, PLEASE, for the love of midget clowns everywhere, DONíT treat the magic like powers. Itís not a power, itís not a ďthing.Ē Treat it as a natural extension of the character, like a hand or an arm. [Yes, the same can be said for superhero powers, but itís rarely done this way, which helps keep superhero tales being perceived as kiddie fare.] If you do that, and keep it outside of a superhero setting, youíll have something nice on your hands. Donít believe me? Go read Hexed from Boom!. Youíll be pleasantly surprised at what you see.

    No matter what you do, though, I urge you to study something of magick if you plan on writing it. Your artist is going to have to do research on the subject when you ask for ďmagical symbolsĒ and ďtriangles within circlesĒ and such. Go out and study. Get a few books on it. Expand your horizons a bitóand I mean beyond Witchcraft for Dummies/Idiots. Study something, so you donít seem like a blithering idiot when you publish your stories. Believe me, your readers will be able to tell.

    And thatís it. Next week, weíll talk about the lack of true villainy and the lack of true heroics in superhero comics, and explore some ways to change it.

    See you then!



  2. Sliverbane Guest

    Excellent read.

    I have dozens of thoughts spring up after reading this... Can't quite single any one topic out. ( Would love a chat room to talk in) But I can offer this...

    Knowing is little about how 'magic works' is very important - and I love the research involved. SO much fun.

    Is that all? No more magic discussion? *pout*



  3. Dungbeetle Guest

    Excellent post.

    Being a fan of both John Constantine (duh) and having inherited a lot of books on Crowley as well as a lot of stuff on I Ching and Taoism from my old man, I'm a bit of a magick pedant.

    Prime example; recently I stumbled across the Deviantart site of the artist for a certain long-running occult-themed Vertigo title. No quibbles with his skills as an artist, guy has skills. But there was one particular page where the main character was drawn with "magical symbols" behind him. I queried it and the artist told me "oh, the writer had just asked to put some magical symbols. Not insinuating that I could do a better job or anything, but if I were writing it, I would've given a more thorough description of the symbology involved... I mean, here we have you know who, standing in front of a taiji (yin/yang) and a massive eye of Horus. The character himself, in previous incarnations, would've hate that. I know him well enough.

    Just for the record, I have an old book from the 70s on Wicca and Stone Henge ritual called "The Roll Right Ritual"... there's a part in it where the author talks about how people say that the use of "witch" as a negative term is a misconception, but the etymology of the word is actually something like "one who does harm". So a witch is, in fact, a negative magic user, at least if you're going to be a pedant about the original meaning. I dunno.

    Most of my friends who've read it haven't noticed, either, but the attention to detail regarding The Invisibles is amazing... I mean, Morrison is a real Crowley buff, and it shows. The 3rd TBP, where you have a toff agent trying to infiltrate King Mob/Kirk Morrison's brain, and being confronted with images of the moon undressing... these are basically pictures portraying scenes from the major arcana, or trumps, of the Tarot. Crowley believed they told a story, like a play, and that it was basically about the revolution of ages, similar to the Hindu belief in different aeons, or "Kalpa", and the Mayan calendar's apocalypse cycle. If you've seen the dubious web-documentary "Zeitgeist" you'll know what I mean. Crowley believed that the 21st century was the end of the age of Pisces and this would mean big change in the world. This is all built into The Invisibles.

    Anyway, what you said about magick being a universe of it's own is right... I mean, the best magickal characters are the ones who see a problem, go away, and set up some sort of long-term solution, or trap. If they were just blasting the enemy with ice-beams, well, they'd be Iceman wouldn't they? Role playing is a perfect example of this. Your mage characters are intellect based. They have the potential of doing the most damage, but it takes longer, and they need protection to do what they have to. Ergo they can't be the main hero. That's your paladin. I might've said something before about the universal quality of the class system in D&D... I mean, if you've got a post apocalyptic novel, you might have the ex club bouncer who has religious faith (your paladin) a convict on the run (rogue) and an intellectual character who understands, lets say, computers, or biology, or whatever, but who is physically uselss on his own. Different setting, differenty symbols, but still fulfilling the role of the mage, no?

    As for people's spiritual prejudices getting in the way of the study of magick, I'd say - pish posh. Crowley, for one, drew most of his influence from Quabbalah which is Jewish mysticism. I don't know if he's right but also said this, and the Egyptian mysticism that preceeded it, were the forebearers to the zodiak as well as the Tarot. The Tarot relates directly to the Jewish Tree of Life, and there's a lot to be said for it if you take it as what it is, a tool for meditation, rather than divination... there's also a lot to be said for Tarot as a tool for characterisation. Look at the trumps, what great skeletons for the characters in your books - The Fool, with his outward madness but inside, infinate potential. The Heirophant, the lawgiver... it goes on. The Book of Thoth is worth a read... a bit hardgoing but very interesting in terms of how he links these archetypes to various different characters and themes throughout literature from different cultures.

    Anyway, I'll stop, uh, gobbling up interwebs real estate now.


    Need to get my hands on some Hexed, and revisit Doc. Strange.
    Peace.



  4. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenForbes View Post
    In comic books, magic has no real rules.
    I know you're talking in broad generalizations, but, even with that, I think this is a bit of a stretch. Almost all magical characters have had rules of one sort or another. The problem is that the rules, even within a given "universe", have never matched - not character to character, and sometimes not even writer to writer.

    What was their longest running series? Shazam?
    Considering he's been around almost as long as Superman, that's not really that bad a track record for a magical character.

    That means that youíd have to study magick in order to write magic [note the spelling], but because of the religious beliefs that you have [even if you donít consciously hold them], you canít do it. To you, itís either myth or devil worship, and even with ceremonial magick, itís rather difficult to take the religious aspects out of the equation.
    To most people magic (or magick if you really must :rolleyes absolutely is myth. They aren't scared of it, they simply don't believe in it. And that's perfectly fine. You don't need to believe that magic is real to write fiction involving magic. And the only time most people who don't believe in magic get uncomfortable over the religious aspects is if they're confronted with some wide-eyed believer trying to convince them it's all real (and, heck, I can see that. I get creeped out much the same way around certain overly enthusiatic Christians).

    But to get around that vibe in their research material, all they have to do is choose objectively written sources (which, in my experience, starts by avoiding any author who insists on spelling magic with a "k"). Even if they do want to dive into a highly subjective viewpoint, I'd still recommend first looking at some broader and more objective works that look at and compare various different belief systems, because (despite what some will claim) there is no such thing as a single "real" magic system.

    I'd also like to point out that Doctor Strange is not a Wiccan, or a follower of Crowley, or a Voodoo priest, and he doesn't need to be. No magical character needs to be, unless you actually want them to be (especially, I would think, in a superhero comic). The structure of rules and parameters is important, but tying it into any particular real-world belief system... not so much. Like with anything else, the research can only help, even if just as idea fodder. But don't think you have to slavish follow any particular established system. A fictional magic system can be pieced together out of completely unrelated bits or even invented from whole cloth, if the writer chooses to take that approach - fantasy novels do it all the time. As long as it's internally consistent, the readers won't mind (at least not unless they have some bizarre obsession with fiction having to match their perceived reality).



  5. StevenForbes Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by Sliverbane View Post
    Excellent read.

    I have dozens of thoughts spring up after reading this... Can't quite single any one topic out. ( Would love a chat room to talk in) But I can offer this...

    Knowing is little about how 'magic works' is very important - and I love the research involved. SO much fun.

    Is that all? No more magic discussion? *pout*
    I've finally gotten some sleep! I feel like a new man, instead of Zombie Forbes.

    Putting this post up was the last major thing I did before the darkness came and dragged me away. Nice, right? Now, for some food, and I'd be one billion percent better. That's next, after this...

    There's going to be a little more on magic, but that's going to be in the horror discussion I'll be writing in a few weeks. Have to finish superheroes first. Horror, and fantasy, within their own columns, so no worries. There's more coming. And believe me, given a few topics, we could go round and round for days in a chat room.

    If you want to start a magical discussion here, feel free. I think the column can handle that.



  6. StevenForbes Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by Dungbeetle View Post
    Excellent post.

    Being a fan of both John Constantine (duh) and having inherited a lot of books on Crowley as well as a lot of stuff on I Ching and Taoism from my old man, I'm a bit of a magick pedant.

    Prime example; recently I stumbled across the Deviantart site of the artist for a certain long-running occult-themed Vertigo title. No quibbles with his skills as an artist, guy has skills. But there was one particular page where the main character was drawn with "magical symbols" behind him. I queried it and the artist told me "oh, the writer had just asked to put some magical symbols. Not insinuating that I could do a better job or anything, but if I were writing it, I would've given a more thorough description of the symbology involved... I mean, here we have you know who, standing in front of a taiji (yin/yang) and a massive eye of Horus. The character himself, in previous incarnations, would've hate that. I know him well enough.

    Just for the record, I have an old book from the 70s on Wicca and Stone Henge ritual called "The Roll Right Ritual"... there's a part in it where the author talks about how people say that the use of "witch" as a negative term is a misconception, but the etymology of the word is actually something like "one who does harm". So a witch is, in fact, a negative magic user, at least if you're going to be a pedant about the original meaning. I dunno.

    Most of my friends who've read it haven't noticed, either, but the attention to detail regarding The Invisibles is amazing... I mean, Morrison is a real Crowley buff, and it shows. The 3rd TBP, where you have a toff agent trying to infiltrate King Mob/Kirk Morrison's brain, and being confronted with images of the moon undressing... these are basically pictures portraying scenes from the major arcana, or trumps, of the Tarot. Crowley believed they told a story, like a play, and that it was basically about the revolution of ages, similar to the Hindu belief in different aeons, or "Kalpa", and the Mayan calendar's apocalypse cycle. If you've seen the dubious web-documentary "Zeitgeist" you'll know what I mean. Crowley believed that the 21st century was the end of the age of Pisces and this would mean big change in the world. This is all built into The Invisibles.

    Anyway, what you said about magick being a universe of it's own is right... I mean, the best magickal characters are the ones who see a problem, go away, and set up some sort of long-term solution, or trap. If they were just blasting the enemy with ice-beams, well, they'd be Iceman wouldn't they? Role playing is a perfect example of this. Your mage characters are intellect based. They have the potential of doing the most damage, but it takes longer, and they need protection to do what they have to. Ergo they can't be the main hero. That's your paladin. I might've said something before about the universal quality of the class system in D&D... I mean, if you've got a post apocalyptic novel, you might have the ex club bouncer who has religious faith (your paladin) a convict on the run (rogue) and an intellectual character who understands, lets say, computers, or biology, or whatever, but who is physically uselss on his own. Different setting, differenty symbols, but still fulfilling the role of the mage, no?

    As for people's spiritual prejudices getting in the way of the study of magick, I'd say - pish posh. Crowley, for one, drew most of his influence from Quabbalah which is Jewish mysticism. I don't know if he's right but also said this, and the Egyptian mysticism that preceeded it, were the forebearers to the zodiak as well as the Tarot. The Tarot relates directly to the Jewish Tree of Life, and there's a lot to be said for it if you take it as what it is, a tool for meditation, rather than divination... there's also a lot to be said for Tarot as a tool for characterisation. Look at the trumps, what great skeletons for the characters in your books - The Fool, with his outward madness but inside, infinate potential. The Heirophant, the lawgiver... it goes on. The Book of Thoth is worth a read... a bit hardgoing but very interesting in terms of how he links these archetypes to various different characters and themes throughout literature from different cultures.

    Anyway, I'll stop, uh, gobbling up interwebs real estate now.

    Need to get my hands on some Hexed, and revisit Doc. Strange.
    Peace.
    Thanks, Joe.

    I've found that there are more Europeans are pagan in their practices than Americans. If I could get through your damned accent, (heh!) I'd love to just sit and talk in real time about magic and its aspects. I personally haven't done as much studying as I could--not enough hours in the day--but I do consider myself pagan.

    I'm not as deep as I could be, but from a writing standpoint, I can generally spot a faker. There are few that are so good that they can fake it well. Gaiman is one of them.



  7. StevenForbes Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by madelf View Post
    I know you're talking in broad generalizations, but, even with that, I think this is a bit of a stretch. Almost all magical characters have had rules of one sort or another. The problem is that the rules, even within a given "universe", have never matched - not character to character, and sometimes not even writer to writer.
    Which proves my point. If the rules don't match from character to character or writer to writer for the same character, then there are no real rules, just like I said. Thanks.


    Quote Originally Posted by madelf View Post
    Considering he's been around almost as long as Superman, that's not really that bad a track record for a magical character.
    Being around and having your own series are two different things. Really, if you're going to compare, at least do it apples to apples.


    Quote Originally Posted by madelf View Post
    To most people magic (or magick if you really must :rolleyes absolutely is myth. They aren't scared of it, they simply don't believe in it. And that's perfectly fine. You don't need to believe that magic is real to write fiction involving magic. And the only time most people who don't believe in magic get uncomfortable over the religious aspects is if they're confronted with some wide-eyed believer trying to convince them it's all real (and, heck, I can see that. I get creeped out much the same way around certain overly enthusiatic Christians).

    But to get around that vibe in their research material, all they have to do is choose objectively written sources (which, in my experience, starts by avoiding any author who insists on spelling magic with a "k"). Even if they do want to dive into a highly subjective viewpoint, I'd still recommend first looking at some broader and more objective works that look at and compare various different belief systems, because (despite what some will claim) there is no such thing as a single "real" magic system.

    I'd also like to point out that Doctor Strange is not a Wiccan, or a follower of Crowley, or a Voodoo priest, and he doesn't need to be. No magical character needs to be, unless you actually want them to be (especially, I would think, in a superhero comic). The structure of rules and parameters is important, but tying it into any particular real-world belief system... not so much. Like with anything else, the research can only help, even if just as idea fodder. But don't think you have to slavish follow any particular established system. A fictional magic system can be pieced together out of completely unrelated bits or even invented from whole cloth, if the writer chooses to take that approach - fantasy novels do it all the time. As long as it's internally consistent, the readers won't mind (at least not unless they have some bizarre obsession with fiction having to match their perceived reality).
    All excellent points.

    I'm currently reading Jim Butcher's Dresden series. Well-written pap, where I can just sit back and enjoy the ride. I don't care about the "mysteries," I care about the characters.

    Jim has done his research, and it shows in his books, but his characters follow their own rules of magic. His magic is internally consistent, and has its own consequences for use. I'd go so far as to say that Harry Dresden (Jim's character) would work VERY well as a comic book character in his own ongoing series.

    Now, when it comes to finding objective sources on the subject of magic--good luck. That's like trying to find an objective source on quantum mechanics, string theory, or time travel. Magick is a belief system, just like science and atheism. How are you going to write objectively about it if you don't believe in it?

    And there are so MANY different systems to choose from, just like flavors of Christianity. However, unlike the bulk of Christians I know and have run into, pagans rarely claim that their way is the one true way to worship. They understand that it is a way that works for them. Big distinction there.

    And I also believe you're wrong about the general populace not being afraid of magic. Man fears what it doesn't understand, and we like to think we understand a ton of things. We still don't know what the basics really are, such as fire and electricity, and the more we 'learn', the more we understand how very little we truly understand--at least, wise ones understand that.

    But in America, founded on Christian values, you'll find that, even though people say they don't believe in magic, they're afraid of it. They'll do 'superstitious' things, based on a system of belief they don't believe in. They'll apply the Rule of Three willy-nilly, and have only the vaguest rudimentary knowledge of how karma works. That fear is fostered by the Church, because anything that is strange and foreign has to come from the 'devil.'

    So, I believe there is an unconscious belief in, and fear of, magic. You may disagree, and that's perfectly fine, but the facts are there for anyone to see, and if you wanted to do research yourself, I'm quite sure you could do enough research on your own to come up with a set of about fifty simple questions to ask one hundred random people, and get results that would back up my statements.



  8. MartinBrandt Guest

    Dresden, good stuff.

    Another fun ride is the Kitty Norville stuff. (Yeah I feel like I am coughing up my man card when I admit that, but hell it's fun.)

    Speaking of Dresden comic:


    Great column again. I got more to say, but I'll wait till I get some sleep first.
    Attached Thumbnails 395px-Jim_Butcher's_The_Dresden_Files-_Welcome_to_the_Jungle_1.jpg  



  9. StevenForbes Guest

    Thanks, Were-lock.

    I haven't read any of the Kitty Norville stuff, nor any of the Anita Blake books. (I like my man-card exactly where it is, thanks!) However, I'll take your word for it.

    As for the Dresden comic...I no longer consider the Dabels a real publisher. Too many problems with their line. I don't think they're going to be around in two years, which is a shame, because they had promise.

    I would really love to see a true ongoing comic series of the character, not just adaptations of the books, or original limited series'. To my mind, an original limited series is just a novel in graphic form.

    However, at the same time, I'm thinking that he would have to stop publishing the novels, if he were to pursue the character in an ongoing comic. The two mediums would be competing with each other instead of working together. Sure, you could attempt to write the ongoing around the books, but it would be frustrating to do when things can happen to delay the release of the next novel.

    Wishful thinking on my part, but it's still something I'd love to see.



  10. Dungbeetle Guest

    I'll save the magical rant for another time then.

    Calvin... I understand your annoyance with the "k" in magic. It's like people who insist on spelling fairy "faerie" (don't get me started on dwarves/elves dwarfs/elfs, crazy yanks)... but you also have to remember that people who spent their lives writing and reading about magic wrote about it with a k. To dismiss them is plain old ignorant. Most people, even secular people, are afraid of magic, or at least, very dubious about anyone with a more than superficial interest in it. We'll do an experiment' transfer my books to your house, put them on plain view in the sitting room and then you have a tea party. Great ice breaker.

    No-one said Strange was this or that. The point was, that it would do the writers some good to research what they were writing about. That doesn't have to be evident in the story. I don't care if your latin chants are correct or whatever. But there's still a fine distinction between someone performing works of magic, and someone just throwing fireballs about willy nilly. To research magic properly would be it's own reward. No-one's saying anyone has to be an authority on it, just show some interest, and it might enrich your writing, in the same way that a knowledge of spiders or journalism might enrich the writing of someone working on Spidey.

    Stephen, don't consider myself pagan really. I have a lot of respect for Taoism but not pious for anything in particular. I know what you mean about Gaiman. Stardust (yeah, I know it's a kids book, but still) read like a version of Piers Anthony's Xanth with all the awesome bits taken out (i.e. the smut). He's best when he's working with other peoples stuff, using characters from old fables etc. and doing things like Marvel 1602.
    Last edited by Dungbeetle; Wednesday, July 01, 2009 at 08:51 AM.



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Fanboy Buzz is home to Comic Book News, Comic Book Reviews, Comic Book Columns, Comic Book Forums and Comic Book Podcast
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