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  1. #211
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Venus View Post
    I don't get the impression that she is a loner or is mistrustful of others even with bad experiences. Maybe bouts of depression and lack of confidence but it's something she gets over like Seven Soldiers. Being a more lighter character is how she stands out from DC's other magical heroes.
    Oh, no doubt that Zatanna is lighter than DC's other magical heroes. She is a liminal figure, straddling the magical world, the superhero world, and the mundane world.

    What I tried to convey was rather that I think she is a person who wants to trust people, is predisposed to trust people, and has a need to trust people, but her experiences points her in another direction. In that, she is very different from a character like John Constantine, who is much more of a loner by nature.

    I think Tynion managed to convey that very well in the opening of the current JLD run. Zatanna wanted to help, and wanted to find confidantes, but at the same time discarded every single candidate she had on working with.
    «Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out» (Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History [4.56.1])

  2. #212
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    I guess I don't have that firm a grasp on what I want Zatanna to be. I say what I want her to be, rather than what she is, because she's varied over time and between writers (just like every other long-running comic character). She's much meaner/shorter-tempered in Dini series than in some prior ones. Also a funnier, given the snark. Of course, both those started before that series, I know (don't know when, though). So, should she be funny or short-tempered or not? I do like the idea of some practice needed, but at this point, a panel every three years of her getting interrupted while practicing is sufficient. I think it works that she's basically reached her peak, given her years of experience, and is now just keeping in shape, as it were. She's frequently had a flirty personality, and that's fine. Partially performance, perhaps. Sometimes she's used real magic in her act, and sometimes she's been really fixated on no real magic in the act and compartmentalizing different parts of her life. I'm fine with either of those or with her moving from one perspective to another when she's in different places in her life. I admit to having a fondness for the endgame to be using magic in her act, because I feel like that's more consistent with the history, especially Zatara. And it's probably cheaper - yay pragmatism!

    The looking for confidantes is again variable. I remember early post-COIE when she didn't open up and her manager was all peeved about it. But back before that, of course, she was more open. And it makes sense for a character to change over time. But you also don't want repeatedly have them learn to trust/not trust (you know, where you trust and are betrayed, then learn to open up again and it's a good thing, then get betrayed again and become distrustful again, over and over).

    I'm not really fond of repeated bouts of depression or whatnot. Firstly, I miss heroes who are enjoying themselves and over all emotionally healthy heroes. Also, I'm afraid it just ends up with the character turning into an emotional mess (::cough:: Bruce Wayne) after we go through their problematic relationships with others and their own emotions 50 million times. But, I admit, it's been popular for him, and Zatanna may be less at risk, given that there are fewer stories/titles, so maybe less risk of repetition. Self-doubt is logical and a nice point to identify with,, so long as it's not overused. I mean, a character does need weaknesses, don't get me wrong. I just don't want to feel like magic or being a hero is a net negative in her life or like she's so emotionally unstable she shouldn't be allowed to be heroing (as has happened to several heroes in the name of drama over the decades - including to the point of psychotic breaks).

    I lack the creative to create a supporting cast, but for a friend in the superhero community, I'd actually prefer someone non-magic (different powersets make for better team-up stories, IMO). I'd like a peer instead of a mentor/trainee figure. Zach's fine for a trainee, but it's just not the same dynamic as with a peer. Male or female is fine, but I want a platonic set up. Should it be someone in a similar emotional place or able to identify in some aspect? Or do you want someone very different in personality for fun contrast? Another single or someone married (even with kids) for the different places in life? But please, not someone who doesn't believe in magic.

    Obviously, this being Zee's thread, we think who'd benefit her character, but it'd be nice if the dynamic would work well for the other, too.
    Last edited by Tzigone; 08-04-2020 at 01:24 PM.

  3. #213
    Been lurking since '08 Marik Swift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin30 View Post
    I want Zatanna to have her own solo stories that actually challenge her. It happens so many times in these magical stories that the writer writes himself into a corner and then he has to pull some deus ex machina to carry on.

    In Zee's stories, it can't even be called deus ex machina because she can do everything she can say backward.
    By limiting her powers, the writer can be more creative.
    Also the backward talking magic is more of a weakness than a strength. I can make a collage of the number of times she's been taken out before she can utter a word.
    Surely there must be other ways to do magic but she doesn't try them most of the times and other times her magic simply doesn't work because it might solve the problem instantly.

    I love Zatanna but the writers need to understand that when they make her do goofy stuff like stopping time, they are actually making me think why is anything a challenge to her.

    If i wrote her, I would mention beforehand that Zatanna has created a spell to stop time around an area for a few seconds. It took a few days to make that spell. Therefore it can't be used everytime. Or make the whole thing into a trap in which the target has to lured into by writing magical seals & glyphs on the ground.

    Zee has the potential to carry a solo comic on her popularity alone but DC never gives her a chance to be a serious solo character. Instead they think - "Uhh if we put Zatanna in this situation, what would be a creative way to gag her so other characters can be useful?"
    My point exactly.

    I've always said that Zatanna should have a limit to the amount of backwards spells she can cast in a day or something (about 3-5) and that writers should explore more traditional magic. Magic really shouldn't be shooting lightning beams and stopping time with a thought for everyone. It just completely kills all tension and sense of fascination for magic.

    I want to see Zatanna actually dealing with repercussions for overusing magic. I want to see her go on a hunt for the necessary ingredients for a spell. I've always described magic best as a universal black market. Everything has a cost, whether it be a strand of hair or a person's soul, and to every deity/dimensional energy a magician can channel each of these things mean more/less to them. Most magicians can enter this so called "black market" through meditation, where they choose the best seller for a particular spell they may need.

  4. #214
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    I want to see Zatanna actually dealing with repercussions for overusing magic. I want to see her go on a hunt for the necessary ingredients for a spell. I've always described magic best as a universal black market. Everything has a cost, whether it be a strand of hair or a person's soul, and to every deity/dimensional energy a magician can channel each of these things mean more/less to them. Most magicians can enter this so called "black market" through meditation, where they choose the best seller for a particular spell they may need.
    I think we have fundamentally different views on what type of magic Zatanna's should be. I don't think she should need ingredients. Her spells should be backwards-speaking. The repercussion for using magic to much is a dry throat. It's just an ability, at least for her. Like being able to hit a note while singing or snap her fingers or whatnot. Not dramatic and scary. Now, there are some fandoms/characters where magic does work that way for me - addictive, with dark and light, etc. But not for Zatanna & Zatara.

    Setting consistent limits, however, on what her magic can accomplish would be nice. That goes for every superhero's powers, though.

  5. #215
    Been lurking since '08 Marik Swift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    I think we have fundamentally different views on what type of magic Zatanna's should be. I don't think she should need ingredients. Her spells should be backwards-speaking. The repercussion for using magic to much is a dry throat. It's just an ability, at least for her. Like being able to hit a note while singing or snap her fingers or whatnot. Not dramatic and scary. Now, there are some fandoms/characters where magic does work that way for me - addictive, with dark and light, etc. But not for Zatanna & Zatara.

    Setting consistent limits, however, on what her magic can accomplish would be nice. That goes for every superhero's powers, though.
    I get what you are saying that that's not Zatanna's magic, but I feel like they might as well just make her a meta if at least every now and then writers aren't exploring that kind of magic. It might not be her usual style, but it's still magic, and Zatanna being the mistress of magic and one of DCs premier magic users should show some adeptness in all forms of magic. Like it's bad that in over 50 decades DCs leading female magician has never done something of that sort.

    If today or tomorrow DC put out an announcement stating that Zatanna's magic has been just a superpower all along it would literally change nothing about how her powers or world functions.
    Last edited by Marik Swift; 08-04-2020 at 02:45 PM.

  6. #216
    Savior of the Universe Flash Gordon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin30 View Post
    Here is my pitch for Zatanna
    1. GET RID OF THE BACKWARD TALKING!!
    Or use it as less as you can.
    2. Magic is more like advanced science. It has rules. Any human can learn them but it requires a lot of training, practice, experience etc.
    3. Have an episode for each of the new tricks she learns or make her design props that are magical in nature. Use them as creatively as you can.
    4. Build a limited arsenal of spells for her. Spells that assist her but not solve the problem entirely. It should require an amount of physical effort. Im talking about stuff that happens in shows like Naruto.
    I like where you're coming from on this.

    Too often magic is portrayed frivolously, and a lot of that is due to a lack of understanding- magic should have weight and rules to it. Far too often in comics we get "glowy hands" instead of real honest exploration of the craft (and hell 'the craft' could be something entirely made up for the character without real roots in the real world, it just needs to make narrative sense).
    Last edited by Flash Gordon; 08-04-2020 at 02:44 PM.

  7. #217
    Mighty Member John Venus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    I don't like additional setting of that sort, I admit. Just a personal preference. I don't even like WW spending so much time on Themyscira. I like the "real-world" locations for super-heroes. Again, just preference, no objective reasoning there, and I'm sure plenty love the idea of new, magical locations. The magic-gene (or magic species) doesn't really work for me, partially because of Zachary (on her father's side, still has powers even though they should be rare), but mostly because I find it unnecessarily complicated (with her mom) when she has a perfectly good magical dad to inherit powers from.

    I do think it helps a solo hero to have a good supporting cast and rogue's gallery (which only applies when one has their own title or section in an anthology, which doesn't happen anymore). It can be a weakness when team heroes go solo. Instead of just borrowing enemies from other characters (or copying with new family members, the way they do with Supers), they need to have their own created. Zatanna's had some effort made with professional colleagues, but they don't seem to stick. But I don't know that a movie is the best place to create new supporting characters or villains (could work with a series), and I do understand the draw power of another known name. Obviously, with team heroes, you build bonds between the team, and I've seen some neat suggestions here. I do think some of them just depend on the flavor you want (dark or light, all magic or standard superhero flavor). One thing I do dislike is when people want to demote other heroes sidekicks/support for their favorites, but fortunately haven't seen that suggested here.

    Really dislike her (or any hero) teaming up with villains and just pretending they aren't the murderers they are because of character-popularity. But comics have been doing it for decades and aren't going to stop because I dislike it.
    I guess our preferences go in opposite directions. I love the magical otherworldly locales of the DCU and I think that's what makes the universe so rich and layered. Marvel was always the 'real world' while DC has always been modern mythology/fantasy to me. Even Gotham and Metropolis works for me, not as thinly veiled substitutes of real cities but as idealized fantasies of one as depicted in the Burton movies, B:TAS and S:TAS.

    As I understood it, 'Homo-Magi' denoted any homo sapien capable of doing magic and both Zatara and Sindella were identified as such.

    There have been attempts to give Zatanna a supporting cast but they never seem to stick. There was her hapless manager/love interest/dude in distress in the 70's (I fogot his name) and there was the cop in Paul Dini's run, whom Dini seemed to be going somewhere with before the series was abruptly cancelled. Of her supporting characters, I like Zachary the best. As for villains, well, in Zatanna's Search there were actually a couple of villains but they were all products of their times, I would love to see a writer trying to modernize them. The most interesting one is probably Allura who was poised as an archnemesis for both Zatanna and her father but also suffers from not being fleshed out. I like Brother Night whom Paul Dini used in his book but he too needs more fleshing out so he won't be just another Freddy Krueger wananbe.

    A movie did wonders for Iron Man whom I wasn't really interested in until that point. It really depends on what elements that they choose to draw from. I think it's important to give the character her own space first. Most of Zatanna's existence involves her being a guest star in someone else's space even in JLD where it feels like she is just guesting in Constantine's world (or rather DC's impression of his world). I like what Dini was doing in her own book, there was a lot of subtle stuff that went over a lot of people's heads at the time. I would like to see someone continue what he was doing but also bring back long forgotten characters and elements like Sindella, the Hidden City and Alura. Give the whole thing a modern spin. Comic history is too rich to be ignored. I would like supporting cast to include characters like Zachary, Dale Colton and anyone else from various mini series over the years. For guest stars, I think you can have the occasional popular one show up in the book to boost it like Batman, Superman, Black Canary or Constantine but I think you could also have characters like Madam Xanadu, Phantom Stranger or Gypsy to help elevate her character.


    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin30 View Post
    Here is my pitch for Zatanna
    1. GET RID OF THE BACKWARD TALKING!!
    Or use it as less as you can.
    2. Magic is more like advanced science. It has rules. Any human can learn them but it requires a lot of training, practice, experience etc.
    3. Have an episode for each of the new tricks she learns or make her design props that are magical in nature. Use them as creatively as you can.
    4. Build a limited arsenal of spells for her. Spells that assist her but not solve the problem entirely. It should require an amount of physical effort. Im talking about stuff that happens in shows like Naruto.
    You can't get rid of the backwards talking, that's her native language. :P

    Like another commenter said, there is no perfect system for magic and Dini's ongoing frequently showed her practicing backwards talk as well as improving her non magical talent like escape artistry and sleight of hand.

    When it comes to rules, you don't want to make it too stifling. If I had to restrict anything, it would be stuff like casually warping reality, time traveling and talking to the dead. Note the word 'casually'. There has to be a cost to magic and certain conditions to be met before you can pull it off.


    Quote Originally Posted by kjn View Post
    Oh, no doubt that Zatanna is lighter than DC's other magical heroes. She is a liminal figure, straddling the magical world, the superhero world, and the mundane world.

    What I tried to convey was rather that I think she is a person who wants to trust people, is predisposed to trust people, and has a need to trust people, but her experiences points her in another direction. In that, she is very different from a character like John Constantine, who is much more of a loner by nature.

    I think Tynion managed to convey that very well in the opening of the current JLD run. Zatanna wanted to help, and wanted to find confidantes, but at the same time discarded every single candidate she had on working with.
    I can agree to that.

  8. #218
    Writer of Jack The Hunted Power Torch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin30 View Post
    Here is my pitch for Zatanna
    1. GET RID OF THE BACKWARD TALKING!!
    Or use it as less as you can.
    2. Magic is more like advanced science. It has rules. Any human can learn them but it requires a lot of training, practice, experience etc.
    3. Have an episode for each of the new tricks she learns or make her design props that are magical in nature. Use them as creatively as you can.
    4. Build a limited arsenal of spells for her. Spells that assist her but not solve the problem entirely. It should require an amount of physical effort. Im talking about stuff that happens in shows like Naruto.
    I see where you're coming from about her needing limitations with her spells, but I think the backwards words could be her limitation. Like others have said Dini had it right, she needs to know how to say what she's doing backwards. I've tried it, it's hard and takes practice haha. However, I wouldn't mind her using spells outside her backwards ones. So when you say episodes? Are you talking about a tv show idea or? Cause I would agree that a show would need more limits then a comic, however doing as Dini did in her last solo should work for a tv show lol.

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  9. #219
    Boisterously Confused
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marik Swift View Post
    My point exactly.

    I've always said that Zatanna should have a limit to the amount of backwards spells she can cast in a day or something (about 3-5) and that writers should explore more traditional magic. Magic really shouldn't be shooting lightning beams and stopping time with a thought for everyone. It just completely kills all tension and sense of fascination for magic.

    I want to see Zatanna actually dealing with repercussions for overusing magic. I want to see her go on a hunt for the necessary ingredients for a spell. I've always described magic best as a universal black market. Everything has a cost, whether it be a strand of hair or a person's soul, and to every deity/dimensional energy a magician can channel each of these things mean more/less to them. Most magicians can enter this so called "black market" through meditation, where they choose the best seller for a particular spell they may need.
    I can see introducing the idea that spells exhaust her. The bigger the effect, the bigger the drain. Still, don't completely rewire her because there's some Silver Age wonkiness to her. DC's got enough depressing characters in its stable, and could use more fun.

    Of course, my solution requires DC to set up some hard rules about how demanding her given feats are. DC has never been good at that.

  10. #220
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marik Swift View Post
    My point exactly.

    I've always said that Zatanna should have a limit to the amount of backwards spells she can cast in a day or something (about 3-5) and that writers should explore more traditional magic. Magic really shouldn't be shooting lightning beams and stopping time with a thought for everyone. It just completely kills all tension and sense of fascination for magic.

    I want to see Zatanna actually dealing with repercussions for overusing magic. I want to see her go on a hunt for the necessary ingredients for a spell. I've always described magic best as a universal black market. Everything has a cost, whether it be a strand of hair or a person's soul, and to every deity/dimensional energy a magician can channel each of these things mean more/less to them. Most magicians can enter this so called "black market" through meditation, where they choose the best seller for a particular spell they may need.
    I really like your idea of a magical black market and going on a hunt for the necessary ingredients for a spell.
    I actually had this idea for a story where she is like a magical Indianna Jones on the hunt for magical relics.

    I don't think there should be a limit to the amount of backwards spells she can cast in a day but there should be a limit to the power of the spells she can cast casually or on the fly.

    Right now Zatanna can be put on both sides of the power spectrum.
    She can be like Batman. With enough prep time, he is able to take on gods eg. Hell Bat Suit.
    Why not put the same concept to Zee's stories but instead of making suits, she makes magical artifacts that gives power to cast a specific powerful spell but breaks after one or a few uses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    I think we have fundamentally different views on what type of magic Zatanna's should be. I don't think she should need ingredients. Her spells should be backwards-speaking. The repercussion for using magic to much is a dry throat. It's just an ability, at least for her. Like being able to hit a note while singing or snap her fingers or whatnot. Not dramatic and scary. Now, there are some fandoms/characters where magic does work that way for me - addictive, with dark and light, etc. But not for Zatanna & Zatara.

    Setting consistent limits, however, on what her magic can accomplish would be nice. That goes for every superhero's powers, though.
    A soar throat is a highly unlikely event to occur.
    Most of her spells take no more than 5 words and those spells are extremely specific and efficient.
    Therefore I disagree. For more powerful spells, there should be greater repercussions or greater cost.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marik Swift View Post
    I get what you are saying that that's not Zatanna's magic, but I feel like they might as well just make her a meta if at least every now and then writers aren't exploring that kind of magic. It might not be her usual style, but it's still magic, and Zatanna being the mistress of magic and one of DCs premier magic users should show some adeptness in all forms of magic. Like it's bad that in over 50 decades DCs leading female magician has never done something of that sort.

    If today or tomorrow DC put out an announcement stating that Zatanna's magic has been just a superpower all along it would literally change nothing about how her powers or world functions.
    I agree Magic should be a form of craft rather than an ability.
    A craft that anyone can learn but requires training to master like any form of martial art.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flash Gordon View Post
    I like where you're coming from on this.

    Too often magic is portrayed frivolously, and a lot of that is due to a lack of understanding- magic should have weight and rules to it. Far too often in comics we get "glowy hands" instead of real honest exploration of the craft (and hell 'the craft' could be something entirely made up for the character without real roots in the real world, it just needs to make narrative sense).
    That is exactly what I want when I read stories related to magic.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Venus View Post
    You can't get rid of the backwards talking, that's her native language. :P

    Like another commenter said, there is no perfect system for magic and Dini's ongoing frequently showed her practicing backwards talk as well as improving her non magical talent like escape artistry and sleight of hand.

    When it comes to rules, you don't want to make it too stifling. If I had to restrict anything, it would be stuff like casually warping reality, time traveling and talking to the dead. Note the word 'casually'. There has to be a cost to magic and certain conditions to be met before you can pull it off.
    Ok the Backward Talking stays but the Backward words should be like activation codes for specific magic she has prepared beforehand.
    Her words shouldn't dictate what the spell does.
    Also the Backward talk looks cool and is very informative in a comic format but in cartoons and games, especially if the spell is too long, its sound can become really grating.

    Quote Originally Posted by Power Torch View Post
    I see where you're coming from about her needing limitations with her spells, but I think the backwards words could be her limitation. Like others have said Dini had it right, she needs to know how to say what she's doing backwards. I've tried it, it's hard and takes practice haha. However, I wouldn't mind her using spells outside her backwards ones. So when you say episodes? Are you talking about a tv show idea or? Cause I would agree that a show would need more limits then a comic, however doing as Dini did in her last solo should work for a tv show lol.
    Its not really that hard. Try saying EMIT POTS. Its too easy for a spell that powerful.
    Now try saying SREWOLF NRUT OT ETALOCOHC. That's hard for a spell that she may cast casually for fun.
    Therefore, the power of a spell shouldn't be proportional to the difficulty in saying that spell.
    Mispronouncing spells should be the least of her concerns. Her magic deals with reality altering stuff and blaming mispronunciation for a spell gone wrong just sounds puerile.

    Yes, when I say episode I mean a TV show because it almost feels futile to suggest DC to give more attention to Zee and develop her powers in a meaningful way.
    Last edited by Edwin30; 08-05-2020 at 03:39 AM.

  11. #221
    Astonishing Member Robanker's Avatar
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    Oh man, I have to disagree. Zatanna's backwards speak is probably her most identifiable element, even moreso than the fishnets. It's fun and sets her apart from every other sorcerer at DC. She would feel so much less unique as a result, much like taking away Bizarro or Harley's speech patterns. That's the hill I'll die on for Zee. She'd be poorer for loss of the backwards speak.

  12. #222
    Mighty Member Gaius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robanker View Post
    Oh man, I have to disagree. Zatanna's backwards speak is probably her most identifiable element, even moreso than the fishnets. It's fun and sets her apart from every other sorcerer at DC. She would feel so much less unique as a result, much like taking away Bizarro or Harley's speech patterns. That's the hill I'll die on for Zee. She'd be poorer for loss of the backwards speak.
    Agreed, it's one of her most basic character quirk/traits associated with her and makes her standout from DC's other magic characters.

  13. #223
    Savior of the Universe Flash Gordon's Avatar
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    I'm sure there's a way to present actual magick with rules and rich stories of character and consequence, and still have her do the backwards talk thing occasionally for a throwback.

    Maybe that's her way of 'charging' or something she does to focus. Speak the words and speak them backwards. More of a quirk.
    Last edited by Flash Gordon; 08-05-2020 at 09:22 AM.

  14. #224
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flash Gordon View Post
    I'm sure there's a way to present actual magic with rules and rich stories of character and consequence, and still have her do the backwards talk thing occasionally for a throwback.
    For me, it shouldn't be occasion for a throwback - it should be the primary way her magic works. It's her [family's] defining characteristic among all the other magical comic characters.

  15. #225
    Been lurking since '08 Marik Swift's Avatar
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    Literally nobody is saying get rid of Zatanna's backward speech...

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