There’s Power Hidden in the Style of Black Magick 11

by Drew Baumgartner

Black Magick 11

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

As a medium, comics are limited to two dimensions and single moments in time, but those are really the only limitations. Even so, it can be easy to forget that comics art can be anything but representational, as so many mainstream comics tend to default to some much more restrictive rules. This is particularly strange given the popularity of supernatural or superhuman powers in comics. In a medium with infinite possibilities, these powers tend to be depicted in the same ways, again and again; a hard punch (like, a really hard punch), a big explosion (like, a really big explosion, a massive spaceship (like, a really massive spaceship), etc. It takes a much more thoughtful, much more subtle hand to actually take advantage of the medium’s possibilities to represent the otherworldly, which is exactly what Nicola Scott does in Black Magick 11, cashing in some of the stylistic choices she’s made from the beginning of the series to really sell the magic at hand. Continue reading

Black Magick 10 Defines its Allegory

by Drew Baumgartner

Black Magick 10

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

[W]e conceive the Devil as a necessary part of a respectable view of cosmology. Ours is a divided empire in which certain ideas and emotions and actions are of God, and their opposites are of Lucifer. It is as impossible for most men to conceive of a morality without sin as of an earth without ‘sky’. Since 1692 a great but superficial change has wiped out God’s beard and the Devil’s horns, but the world is still gripped between two diametrically opposed absolutes. The concept of unity, in which positive and negative are attributes of the same force, in which good and evil are relative, ever-changing, and always joined to the same phenomenon — such a concept is still reserved to the physical sciences and to the few who have grasped the history of ideas.

Arthur Miller, The Crucible

I don’t think I fully appreciated The Crucible until this last year. Or, more precisely, without any direct reference for McCarthyism, I couldn’t fully appreciate the allegory that underpins The Crucible. That we once again live in a world where problems can be made up and pinned on innocent individuals gives The Crucible an unfortunately renewed relevance, suggesting once again that we haven’t come as far from 1690s Salem as we might like to think. Black Magick 10 carries a similar allegorical weight, also centering around the persecution of witches, with the obvious difference that the witches in Black Magick actually exist. In this way, the parallels to our modern political climate (and, heck, that of McCarthyism) might be stronger — the persecuted class does actually exist, they just aren’t the scapegoats society has made them out to be. It reflects the attitudes that politicizes someone’s very identity, suggesting that peace and happiness should only be reserved for those who conform to society’s norms. Continue reading