Thee Comic Column #144: Black Magick

Black-Magick-1When I first saw the preview of Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott’s Black Magick in the back of a recent issue of Lazarus I was immediately drawn to it. Since I’ve heard some people predict a similarity to Caitlin Kittredge’s Coffin Hill and I’ll be honest, there might be something to that. However, I only followed Coffin Hill for a few issues before it kind of fell off my radar (I need to do the trades) so I’m not the one to do any kind of accurate comparison. Besides, if there are two books about Occult-involved police women I’m not one to have a problem with that. I spent a pretty fair amount of time studying certain pockets of the Occult and even though I no longer actively practice I am still fascinated by it. And an honest-to-goodness, well-researched incorporation such as Black Magick appears to be (we all know Mr. Rucka does his homework) is a treat. Not since The Witching – which granted took some liberties, as I’m sure Black Magick will for story’s sake, but still managed to work in historical and “orthodox” elements – has there been a book that made me feel as kindly toward it so quickly due to a realistic portrayal of Magick in a fictional setting. This first issue actually begins with an actual Mabon ritual (the Autumn Equinox – so it’s timely too!) that is extremely well-researched. Ms. Scott’s art here is particularly fantastic; she’s able to convey the enigmatic mystery and sacred space of a circle without giving it too dark an edge. This feels Occult and ancient but not sinister, and that is the exact essence of ritual in the real, practicing sense.

I was lucky enough to grab a copy of the magazine-sized edition of Black Magick #1 and let me tell you, along with the titillating set-up the issue gives us to what looks like a much bigger story, and larger pages to help display Nicola Scott’s dark and moody art, this particular edition, at $5.99, is one of the best examples of “the most comic for your money” I’ve seen in a while. This isn’t really a surprise as Mr. Rucka’s other creator-owned books are notorious for the amount of content they give the reader, and here that economy is very much on display. Along with the standard no ads, there about as many pages of supplemental material in this over-sized issue as there is story, so it will take a while to chew through all this material and when you’re done you’re going to feel that much more familiar with the characters and ‘world’ the story takes place in. Supplements include the first part of a prose story that refers to the history of the Black/Du Noir family from which our main character Rowan hails; a “Raw Guide to Portsmouth”  which is a kind of historical fleshing out of the setting; an alternative covers gallery; an interview with Rucka and Scott, as well as the latter’s annotated sketchbook for the main characters. Finally theres an ‘Autopsy of a Scene’ breakdown of a portion of Mr. Rucka’s script. That’s quite a bit of information to begin taking us through Rowan’s world, and there’s actually even more material than that, but I’m kind of assuming if you were interested and on-the-fence I’ve probably swayed you by now.

Black Magick 2


It’s Halloween and we’ve got a great new book that was released just in time to help cultivate the mood of the season. I’m excited to be going on this journey with Rowan Black, especially with Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott driving.


Can’t find a comic shop? You can always use old reliable Comic Shop Locator at 1-800-COMIC-BOOK. Or you can take some of my recommendations. If you live in the greater Chicagoland area I recommend any of the wonderful four locations of Amazing Fantasy Books. In Los Angeles it’s The Comic Bug. Las Vegas it’s Alternate Reality Comics. San Francisco? Try the Isotope Comic Lounge and if you happen to venture a little further North I’d say you have to visit The Escapist Comic Book Store in Berkley (with the wonderful Dark Carnival Books next door and owned by the same folks). Read on!!!

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

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