Monday, June 22, 2009

Let's talk about chicks, man: Zatanna Zatara

Now it's no secret I have a thing for leggy, magical brunettes. Zatanna, of course, being my favorite DC heroine, so let's shine a little spotlight on her for a moment, shall we?

Okay, where to begin? I guess the beginning is as good a place to start if anything. She was created in 1964 by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson. Her first appearance was in Hawkman #4, which I am proud to say I own. In the story she is looking for her father, the great Zatara, Master of Magic. Zatara actually made his debut along with Superman in a little thing called Action Comics #1. What's most interesting about her is that if you take a look at the characters around that time, everybody was given a more scientific origin. Take Alan Scott for example, the Golden Age Green Lantern. When Green Lantern was repackaged, it was Hal Jordan and his ring wasn't magical but actually connected to sort of space-police. Barry Allen, the Flash? Same deal, lab accident involving lightning and chemicals. And of course around this time Marvel had started what is known as the "Atomic Age". x-Men, Hulk, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Spider-Man...all of course made possible due to an act of science.

Now let's talk about heroes being repackaged. Green Lantern, the Flash, the Atom, Hawkman...all originally based on heroes from the Golden Age, but when comics began being hot again in the 60's they were brought back, but just a little different. That's what makes Zatanna so unique. Instead of the writers just bringing back John Zatara, they created a whole new character instead: Zatara's curvy, cute daughter that shared his magical abilities. Now I know some of you may counter this discussion with "Well, Dr. Strange was created in the 60's, and Dr. Fate never went away and they're both magical." Yes they are. However, Strange was created as a b-story character and Fate actually was revived in the 60's, too. Though, like I said, comics were serious business again and DC brought back almost everybody. Though, Strange and the rest of the super-natural of Marvel really thrusted in the spotlight in the 70's with the huge horror boom.

I digress.

Another interesting fact is that when she was introduced, she was looking for her father and actually was the first person to be involved in first major cross over. She appeared in Green Lantern, Batman, Superman, Justice League, The Atom (and of course Hawkman when she debuted). That makes her a pretty important character in the DC mythos. She is 98% of the time connected to Batman somehow. Ever since Paul Dini started writing Detective Comics a few years back, he's integrated her a lot in the Batman mythology. God bless him for that. Though a few years back, she did a heinous crime against Bruce and it took time for his wounds to heal. They teamed up a few years back to solve the murder of some magician's assistants and Bruce was extremely cold towards her. Though it seemed by the end of the arc, they had made a sort of amends.

It's also no secret I have a pretty impressive Zatanna art collection. Even Allison Sohn, Adam Hughes' girlfriend, gave me props for my "impressive Z lovin'". I don't plan on stopping anytime soon, either. She's had some interesting costume changes over the years but my favorite (as I'm sure it's also the fan favorite and most well-known) is the tux and fishnets, you know, sexy standard magician attire. She's also been in animated in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series, though she was just an illusionist, compared to her stint on JLU where she was a full-blown sorceress.

This past year, she finally made her live-action debut on "Smallville", portrayed pretty well by Serinda Swan. They touched on many levels of her origin from her missing father, to her home in Shadowcrest. Needless to say, I had a huge fangasm and actually did the review for that episode for Newsarama.

Zatanna is currently seen in the pages of Justice League of America and soon to have her own series this fall by Paul Dini and Stephane Roux. *giggity*

Next time on "Let's talk about chicks", Jean Grey, aka Marvel Girl aka Phoenix.

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