It’s that time again, boys and girls! That’s right ACB’s Comic Book Monsters has returned! This year, I’ll be looking at a slice of some of the creepiest comic book series of all time! I’ll be covering a series a day in reverse chronological order. So, check under your beds and lock the doors and windows. It’s time to take a look at today’s featured series…
Comic Book Monsters – October 26th: Zatanna
Created by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson, Zatanna Zatara first appeared in 1964′s Hawkman #4. Zatanna has always been a premiere magician who performed on stage just like her father, Giovanni Zatara, did. Giovanni first appeared in the long forgotten Action Comics #1. Just kidding… I’m willing to believe that Zatara’s first appearance is the long forgotten part of Action Comics #1.
Zatanna eventually went on to become a member of the Justice League. We would later find out in Identity Crisis that Zatanna’s involvement with the team would be far more important than we ever knew. When the team returned to the Watchtower to find Sue Dibny (the wife of the Elongated Man) getting raped by Dr. Light, the team narrowly voted to not just erase his memories of the event but drastically change his personality making him somewhat of a dullard who would constantly get beat down by the Teen Titans. It turns out that Zatanna’s little mindwipe trick was called upon several times to protect the identities and loved ones of the heroes. When Batman walked in on her altering Dr. Light, she used the same trick on him to make him forget what he saw. When he finally remembered what happened years ago, not only was her relationship with the Caped Crusader forever changed, but his trust in the members of the JLA was lost.
Being the top magician of the DC Universe, Zatanna naturally ran afoul of several demons and other mystical creatures. In her most recent series, she faced a new threat in Brother Night. This new villain, created by Paul Dini, was more of a mob-like character who ruled the mystical underworld of San Francisco. Another of the villains she faced was a man who once tried to kill her when she was a child, but turned into a creepy puppet by Zatara.
Whenever major mystical forces popped up in the DCU, Zatanna was often called upon. She was part of a group of mystical characters who tried to bring down the Spectre (a being she has often been at odds with) in Infinite Crisis. Prior to the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zatanna assisted her on again/off again lover John Constantine with a few other characters, like her father himself, to help battle a demon known as “The Great Evil Beast”. When things started to look dire for her, Zatara sacrificed his own life to save his daughter’s. Zatara would later be returned by a Black Lantern ring, and forced Zatanna to kill him again. The anguish of seeing her father die twice before her eyes has stuck with Zatanna up to the end of the former DCU.
In the New 52, Zatanna can be found in Peter Milligan’s Justice League Dark. There, she can found alongside the other mystical characters like Madame Xanadu, Constantine, Deadman, and the Enchantress. This new series sees Zatanna as a slightly less experienced wielder of magic, but with a lot of promise. In the first issue, she tricks Batman when he tries to prevent her from facing an out of control Enchantress.
Comic Book Monsters is getting down to the final five articles for 2011. Come back tomorrow as we take our final trip to the House of Ideas to spend a little time at the Sanctum Sanctorum!