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Comics' magic men and women.

In the comic book universe, there is a vast population of characters that specialize in practicing magic and exploring the mystic arts. While the comic book medium is dominated by science fiction, there is enough magic in the titles today to please any fan of fantasy. Here is a list of my favorite magical comic book heroes and villains. Avid followers of the supernatural can use this list as a helpful guide as they step into the realm of graphic novels. The following are the greatest magic men and women to ever grace the pages of a comic book.

* Doctor Strange - Stephen Strange is the most popular sorcerer of the Marvel Universe. His label as doctor is not just for show. He is an actual neurosurgeon who also happens to be the world's Sorcerer Supreme. This role means that he is Earth's primary protector against all magical and mystical threats and dangers. He was created in 1963 by the same people behind the origin of Spider-Man, Steve Ditko and Stan Lee. And up to this day, Doctor Strange is a very visible presence in Marvel, as he battles villains like his arch-nemesis Dormammu. Armed with weapons like his Cloak of Levitation, the Eye of Agamotto, and the Book of the Vishanti, Doctor Strange has aided other superheroes throughout his career, whether as an Avenger, Defender, or just alongside his partner Wong.

* Constantine - The modern-day occult hero is now a member of the Justice League Dark. Identified by fans around the world by his trademark trench coat, John Constantine made his name famous in the Vertigo series, Hellblazer, and also with his own live-action film starring Keanu Reeves. Constantine is a threat to any of his enemies not just because of his magical abilities, but because of his cunning nature, vast knowledge of the mystical arts, and manipulative skills and friends in high places (sometimes quite literally). This English superhero has come a long way from his roots as a mystical advisor to the Swamp Thing in 1985. Constantine also provides entertainment to his readers by exemplifying the classic British anti-hero, somebody who constantly curses and antagonizes anybody he comes across.

* Zatanna - Speaking of John Constantine, it would be unfair to not bring up his leading lady, Zatanna. Zatanna is a true magician that hides behind the theatrics of being an illusionist and doing old-school stage magic. Even her most famous costume is a throwback to the classic black and white, tuxedo-wearing magicians of yesteryear. Zatanna, of the Homo magi race, has recently been catapulted into mainstream media, as she has already appeared in shows like Young Justice, Justice League Unlimited, Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and Smallville. From these accomplishments, we can see how she has surely surpassed the legacy set before her by her father, Zatara, who is also a stage and true magician.

* Doctor Doom - There really is no need to introduce this famous villain, since he is the biggest enemy of the world's First Family, the Fantastic Four. But what casual fans do not know is that not only is Doctor Doom a great scientist and inventor, he is also a master sorcerer. This is actually no surprise because he was born of Gypsy origins. His mother was a practicing witch who was murdered by Mephisto. And although he relied more on science as he grew up and became a feared super-villain, Doctor Doom's mystical powers were enhanced when he was taught and mentored by his romantic interest, Morgan Le Fay.

* Madame Xanadu - No list about comic book magic would be complete without mentioning somebody with the power of precognition. Madame Xanadu is DC's premier fortune-teller. If you have questions about career, love, or personal issues, this immortal Tarot Card-user is the woman to consult with. She may sound familiar to you because she was inspired by the same character of Arthurian legend. You will be seeing her soon on the big screen, as she is set to appear in Guillermo del Toro's upcoming Justice League Dark live-action film. Madame Xanadu is often portrayed as a blind woman, somebody with a blindfold on all the time, just to highlight her higher senses of sight.

Comic books are a wonderful door into the wild and fantastic. While the medium has made its name on science fiction themes and storylines, there are also a lot of magical plots you can find when turning the pages of a graphic novel. This list is far from complete, as there is practically an encyclopedia of mystical heroes that appear in comic book form. But I hope from these characters, new readers will find a reason to check out titles they would not have otherwise noticed on the shelves today.


MADAME XANADU and John Constantine are just two of the comic book world's magical heavy-hitters.
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Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Jun 28, 2014
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