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  1. #1
    Mighty Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    Default Can anyone in the Marvel Universe learn magic?

    As the title says, can anyone (theoretically) learn magic in this universe?

    In DC, it doesn't seem like *anyone* can learn it. They have a sub-species of humans called Homo magi, who are attuned to magic. Others are empowered by magic, or are other magical entities.

    In Marvel, I can't find anything to indicate that magic is "exclusive", and I get the impression that anyone could potentially learn how to use it. I wonder, think Reed Richards could learn magic? The reason he doesn't learn magic is that he refuses it to accept it as real, only at best believing it to be a form of science he doesn't currently understand. Doctor Doom, for someone who is either only second to or equal to Reed Richards, never had a problem with accepting magic as a thing.

    In fact, this part is where I feel like anyone can learn it -- Doctor Doom is officially considered to not be truly superhuman, despite being one of the most dangerous villains to ever live. This is because every power he has is learned, and he has no powers to truly call his own. He mastered all forms of science and sorcery, and created a magitek suit that's above everything else, and has that kind of technology supporting his empire. Even his "powers", such as mind transference, was taught to him by aliens. It's actually pretty core to his character, as he's the epitome of a self-made man.

    Which brings me back to the point, can anyone in Marvel learn how to use magic? What's stopping more people from practicing it, other than real life status quo? I'm guessing it'd be very difficult to learn, and some (like the aforementioned Reed) might not accept it as real. I know Tony also doesn't accept magic, and he has a constant hatred for it whenever he encounters mystic elements. There's also the fact that there's not exactly open public schools for teaching magic to anyone, as it seems hard to find a sorcerer who's willing to teach...

    What do you think?

  2. #2
    Latverian ambassador Iron Maiden's Avatar
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    With Stephen Strange, he never displayed any interest or talent in the mystic arts. He learned out of desperation. Unless there has been some change to his back story that I'm not aware of, it's not like it was in his genetic makeup.

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    In Marvel, there's a sense that "magic chooses you to study it" rather than otherwise. It's vague, unexplained, and inconsistent...but that's how magic should be. But in most cases, the people who become magicians and magic users don't seem to have any innate advantage to it. And of course there's stuff with magic that can't entirely be controlled.

    The real idea is of course that Marvel wants magic to be the purview of a certain set of characters and not others. They also don't want it to be common because then magic doesn't get to be weird anymore. Of course, there's also stories where it seems that magic can end or reach a limit. Like Doctor Strange had those stories "The Montessi Formula" and recently "Last Days of Magic".

  4. #4
    Spectacular Member Banner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hybrid View Post
    Can anyone in Marvel learn how to use magic? What's stopping more people from practicing it, other than real life status quo? I'm guessing it'd be very difficult to learn, and some (like the aforementioned Reed) might not accept it as real.
    It is difficult to deny that it's real when you have Doctor Strange on your team. The question about why there are just a tiny handful of magicians in the Marvel universe when everybody has the potential to learn it, is because of what you could call social unrealism for the lack of a better word.
    In fantasy and science fiction, we often have complex world building. "What would happen with the society if..." If superpowers were real, it would change everything. But in comics, it is different. In the old DC comics, it was mostly about "what stories can we write about these superheroes". In Marvel, they asked "what would superpowers mean for the personal life of this person", like Spider-Man for instance. And in the early 60s, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby didn't always bother about realism too much. Remember that Fantastic Four tricked the skrulls to leave by showing them drawings cut out from comic books.
    But even if they asked the question what it would mean for the characters, nobody asked what it would mean for the world. The real world is more like a backdrop where everybody behaves as if superheroes, gods, demons, aliens and sentient robots did not exist. Only when they are directly confronted with it does it matter for them, and as soon as they are gone, everything goes back to normal.
    Instead of using time about asking why nobody else repeat the same actions that gave someone superpowers, or how if would affect our civilization, the stories focus on the characters and their adventures, not the society.

    This have of course changed to some degree with the movies, with the Ultimate Marvel and the X-Men. Mutatans have now changed society, and personally I prefer the stories where that was still not the case. And I disliked Civil War because someone asked "hey, what about collateral damage, accidents and deaths because of vigilants and superheroes fighting villains?", as if they were the first to think it. They were not, but they were the first to actually make a story out of it, and by doing so, broke the unwritten rule that most writers had followed for so long; superheroes and villains live pretty much in the same world as we. If you start going that way, you will soon have to come up with all kinds of explanations or trying to think about what consequences superpowers would have if they were real.

  5. #5
    FF purist/snob CaptCleghorn's Avatar
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    Magic in the Marvel Universe is real.

    It seems anyone can learn it, although there are few who have. Also, there is almost no one who has tried and failed. But trying to lay out a structure for Magic when over 50 years of stories have been written by well over 100 writers, many of whom added something else to the mix, is a challenge.

    Magic has a price is a tenet that is a big part of Dr Strange's world. I could go with an idea that few are able and/or willing to pay that price. It's also possible that the means to start requires learning from someone who knows and that teaching may also be accompanied by a price. It certainly hasn't been widespread. Imagine Mordo or someone else buying a half-hour infomercial for overnight TV and seeking students. The process of learning seems rather intense and rigorous.

    Why doesn't anyone see that Clark Kent is just Superman wearing glasses? Somethings in funny books we need to just go with. I can go with what I just wrote, unless of course, I get a cool story idea to add to it. And then I just make things worse. Superman and eyeglasses. Don't ask, don't tell.

  6. #6
    Mighty Member
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    Hank McCoy taught himself to be a sorceror based on sole intellect, which mirrors what Strange did, what Doom did, and what Stark in various realities and alt futures has done. Now Strange had teachers, as did Magik, and Doom grew up around it with his mother. I'd say anyone has the potential to do it, but like anything else, intellect and mental faculties are necessary to pull it off successfully.

  7. #7
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    Didn’t Mark Waid write a story in which Reed had to learn a bit of magic? That is to say, I know that story exists...I just forget the details of the situation.

  8. #8
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davew128 View Post
    Hank McCoy taught himself to be a sorceror based on sole intellect
    I'm so damn mad he's never going to use magic again even though he's learned it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Franklin Richards
    Fragile creatures, we are taught to fear the Reaper!
    Ever running, we are dead before we meet Her!
    Quote Originally Posted by Valeria Richards
    Fearless creatures, we all learn to fight the Reaper!
    Can't defeat Her, so instead I'll have to be Her!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hybrid View Post
    As the title says, can anyone (theoretically) learn magic in this universe?

    In DC, it doesn't seem like *anyone* can learn it.
    John Constantine, Khalid Nassour, Anita Fite and others have been shown as being taught magic rather than being empowered by it.

  10. #10
    Amazing Member JTHM's Avatar
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    Yes. But it's like watching Rick and Morty; You need a high IQ to understand it.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member King_Thor13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snoop Dogg View Post
    I'm so damn mad he's never going to use magic again even though he's learned it.
    His skills would be rusty though right? As it's been like a decade or something in-story since he last cast a spell.

    You're probably right though. I'd be surprised if Beast showcased any magical proficiency, just because writers have yet to acknowledge much of the O5 inheriting the memories of their younger selves. Speaking of which, in inheriting the memories of their younger selves, I'm still hoping that Jean makes use of her Psychic Siphoning ability that teen Jean showcased,

  12. #12
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by King_Thor13 View Post
    His skills would be rusty though right? As it's been like a decade or something in-story since he last cast a spell.

    You're probably right though. I'd be surprised if Beast showcased any magical proficiency, just because writers have yet to acknowledge much of the O5 inheriting the memories of their younger selves. Speaking of which, in inheriting the memories of their younger selves, I'm still hoping that Jean makes use of her Psychic Siphoning ability that teen Jean showcased,
    I don't want him to suddenly become a wizard, but if writers started pulling that white demon Beast form out of their hats I'd lose my mind. It would be so cool.
    Quote Originally Posted by Franklin Richards
    Fragile creatures, we are taught to fear the Reaper!
    Ever running, we are dead before we meet Her!
    Quote Originally Posted by Valeria Richards
    Fearless creatures, we all learn to fight the Reaper!
    Can't defeat Her, so instead I'll have to be Her!

  13. #13
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    Depends.

    Back in the day, there were three basic types of magic.

    Trained magic, which ended up manifesting as telepathy and telekinesis, mostly, and it indeed seems that many magicians like Strange and Mordo and Clea and Jennifer Kale can do, but also various humans taught by aliens, like Moondragon, Mantis and 'Bob' the Uranian / Marvel Boy.

    'Personal power,' which seemed to be something Dr. Strange was notable for having 'a lot of' potential for, even before training (which was one of the reasons the Ancient One had such high hopes for him in the first place), which might be the sort of magic that some people can develop, and other people really can't. Personal power was a limited pool, and didn't always replenish itself, so it was possible that some impulsive or poorly trained (or deliberately misinformed...) young wanna-be magicians could show off and 'burn themselves out' before learning to supplement their personal power with the other two less-finite resources.

    Invoked power, from generally otherworldly entities like Cytorrak, Watoomb, Ikonn, etc. The sorcerer makes pacts with these entities, and can then draw upon their power, instead of using his own, for certain preset 'spells.' (Crimson Bands of Cytorrak, Winds of Watoomb, Images of Ikonn) Presumably evil magicians could theoretically invoke power from forces like Chthon, Set, Shuma-Gorath, D'Spayre, Mephisto, Loki, the Gibborim, the Great Beasts, etc. but that hasn't been established... In any event, that's just pacts to be made and invocations to utter, which I'd assume anyone could do, regardless of 'personal power.'

    None of this may be canon any longer, and it certainly seems that more recent Marvel writers don't know any of it, so who knows.

    I would imagine that the 'witches' of the Salem's Seven, for instance, might be examples of folk who have put in the training, perhaps learned a few invocations, but don't necessarily have a ton of personal power, and could never be Dr. Strange level sorcerers. Ditto, Nekra. She's learned some necromancy, but pretty much plateaued there, and would need to invoke power from elsewhere to fuel a big working, or cast something fast and dirty. Quite a few Marvel magic-users seem limited to a lower tier than the magic zaps and shields level of Dr. Strange and company. (For the longest time, Dr. Doom was at that lower tier. He talked big smack about magic, but rarely ever used any. These days, he seems more actively a magic-flinger, as much as a technologist.)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sutekh View Post
    Depends.

    Back in the day, there were three basic types of magic.

    Trained magic, which ended up manifesting as telepathy and telekinesis, mostly, and it indeed seems that many magicians like Strange and Mordo and Clea and Jennifer Kale can do, but also various humans taught by aliens, like Moondragon, Mantis and 'Bob' the Uranian / Marvel Boy.

    'Personal power,' which seemed to be something Dr. Strange was notable for having 'a lot of' potential for, even before training (which was one of the reasons the Ancient One had such high hopes for him in the first place), which might be the sort of magic that some people can develop, and other people really can't. Personal power was a limited pool, and didn't always replenish itself, so it was possible that some impulsive or poorly trained (or deliberately misinformed...) young wanna-be magicians could show off and 'burn themselves out' before learning to supplement their personal power with the other two less-finite resources.

    Invoked power, from generally otherworldly entities like Cytorrak, Watoomb, Ikonn, etc. The sorcerer makes pacts with these entities, and can then draw upon their power, instead of using his own, for certain preset 'spells.' (Crimson Bands of Cytorrak, Winds of Watoomb, Images of Ikonn) Presumably evil magicians could theoretically invoke power from forces like Chthon, Set, Shuma-Gorath, D'Spayre, Mephisto, Loki, the Gibborim, the Great Beasts, etc. but that hasn't been established... In any event, that's just pacts to be made and invocations to utter, which I'd assume anyone could do, regardless of 'personal power.'

    None of this may be canon any longer, and it certainly seems that more recent Marvel writers don't know any of it, so who knows.

    I would imagine that the 'witches' of the Salem's Seven, for instance, might be examples of folk who have put in the training, perhaps learned a few invocations, but don't necessarily have a ton of personal power, and could never be Dr. Strange level sorcerers. Ditto, Nekra. She's learned some necromancy, but pretty much plateaued there, and would need to invoke power from elsewhere to fuel a big working, or cast something fast and dirty. Quite a few Marvel magic-users seem limited to a lower tier than the magic zaps and shields level of Dr. Strange and company. (For the longest time, Dr. Doom was at that lower tier. He talked big smack about magic, but rarely ever used any. These days, he seems more actively a magic-flinger, as much as a technologist.)
    Well, this catergorization seems a bit off to me.
    Since how you distinguish "Trained Magic" and "Invoked Magic", people like Strange will have to learn spell and knowledge of a certain deity in order to call upon their power.(In other cases maybe just their artifacts.)
    A lot of magic would require both knowledge and the approval of certain deities I think?(Or say simply making contacts to a certain deity/demon require knowledge and training.)
    Invoked Magic would be of more a sub-branche of Trained magic since it's really an inclusive concept I think.

  15. #15
    Be Seeing You… DigiCom's Avatar
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    Learning magic is pretty easy in the Marvel U. It's simply a matter of study. There's a darkly humorous scene in Warren Ellis' DRUID run where a drugged-out loser named Scurve manages to summon Daimon Hellstorm (who, at the time, held his father's throne). Daimon's not particularly pleased by being summoned by a "hideous little character" (at least, without phoning first ) because, and I quote:

    "…I detest know-nothings with a bit of parchment to play with."

    So, learning magic, even fairly powerful spells, is easy. Being any GOOD at it required discipline, wisdom, and a good teacher. Sadly for him, Scurve had none of these.

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