Revamp This! ZATANNA

Zatanna_by_diablo2003_48 It’s difficult to pull off magic characters with comic fans.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But it rarely works long term.   Dr Strange, Dr Fate, Captain Marvel…  they’re always around, but outside of Vertigo, it almost never sticks around.

I think the issue is really that Magic takes you more into realms of fantasy, whereas most mainstream comics keep one foot in science fiction.  Of course the reason Vertigo works so well with things like Sandman and Fables is that it attracts a more open audience seeking something different.

So that’s what I’m going to suggest with Zatanna.  This pitch is going to need to be able to go to all corners of weirdness, and with that costume, I’m not certain why they’ve never told an adult story before.

The Writer:  Warren Ellis  – few people do weird, abstract tales better than Ellis.  Most would suggest Grant Morrison, but I’m a little sick of him, and he already had his Zatanna series which I’m partially basing this concept on.

The artist:  Michael Gaydos.   He had a short run on the perpetually cancelled Manhunter series (which was beneath him), but aside from that, we haven’t seen the talented Mr Gaydos on a monthly since Alias (RIP) ended.    His character work is fantastic and distinctive, but it’s never clean, and that’s what I want here.  I want this tale to be dirty.

The costume:  I like the cabaret fishnets, but I think she could use a slight revamp.  Nothing as drastic as that hideous purple outfit, though.  Maybe get rid of the top hat and put on a fedora, maybe something leather and lace for the top.   There’s always been an air of goth to Zatanna, so let’s embrace that.

The Pitch:  One of the reasons that Zatanna has never been fully embraced is her powers.   First, they’re ill-defined.  What’s her limits?  Is she on the same level as Fate or the Phantom Stranger?  Secondly- the backwards talk is stupid.  It makes no sense.  I mean, let’s say you’re Ollie Queen, and you’re hanging out with your hot friend and she tells you all you have to do to use magic is speak backwards… what are the odds you would spend the next 3 months at the Playboy mansion saying “Em Tnoum!” It’s both moronic and annoying.  So here’s the sitch.  Zatanna’s powers begin to fade.  The tenth age of magic is slowly stealing her backwards magic.  Zatanna has sixth months before her power fades, and to top it off an old enemy from her past is stalking her.  So she does the only thing she can do.  She runs.

This series would explore the darkest corners of the DCU’s magic. Phantom Stranger, Dr Fate, the Spectre, John Constantine, Wonder Woman (no reason the regular DCU can’t cameo) perhaps even the House of Secrets or Morpheus- she’ll go there.  Zatanna will find a new source of power (NO MORE BACKWARDS TALK) or she’ll die trying.

Why does she always look like a Vegas stripper?

Why does she always look like a Vegas stripper?

Whataya think?

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ADDENDUM

This column is strictly opinion.  If you wish to discuss the ideas or argue against them, I accept all criticism, that said-

please keep a civil tongue.

Making it personal is unwelcome.  If you want to discuss it in personal terms, my email isn’t hard to get hold of.

Comments

  1. why lose the top hat? It’s awesome!! I vote, the top hat stays.

  2. Your vote doesn’t count! I am the Almighty Horshack, God of the Ninth Dimension! I rule! I rule, I tell you!!!!! MWAH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!!!

  3. Well we agree on one thing. Love the fishent stockings, lol! But look what happened when DC made Diana Prince POWERLESS, she looked like a cheap imitation of Emma Peel. When you have a formula that works, enola ti evael! Her magician cosutme is perfect, enola ti evael! Her saying everything backwards, c’mon, that the fun of it to figure out what she says, her dad did that too! Enola ti evael!

    We already had the Leather and lace look from Black Canary, we don’t need more. But other than that, it’s all been done. Comics suck today anyhow. One event and everything you read doesn’t count.

  4. Adam, though your review of the Zatanna revamp was entertaining, I have to disagree with your ideas. 1. you mention that “Maybe get rid of the top hat and put on a fedora, maybe something leather and lace for the top. There’s always been an air of goth to Zatanna, so let’s embrace that. ” NO, NO, NO ADAM..THATS WHATS WRONG WITH COMIC BOOKS NOWADAYS, EVERYTHING HAS TO BE REVAMPED JUST TO APPEAL TO CERTAIN READERS. ZATANNA’S TOP HAT IS WHAT MAKES HER UNIQUE AMONGST THE OTHER DC HEROINES. TAKING AWAY HER TOP HAT IS EQUIVALENT TO TAKING AWAY WONDERWOMANS GOLD PRINCESS CROWN. A FEDORA WOULD ONLY CHEAPEN ZATANNA..WE HAVE ENOUGH FEDORA INFLUENCE ON POP CULTURE ( SEE CHE GUEVARA TSHIRTS ON HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE KIDS ACROSS AMERICA ). LEATHER IS A BAD MOVE FOR HER, AND LETS FACE IT, WE HAVE THE WACHOWSKI BROTHERS OF MATRIX FAME TO BLAME FOR ALL THE LEATHER FETISH THATS UNECCESARILY PLACED IN COMICS, TV, AND MOVIES. GRANT YOU ZATANNA HAS JUST A SLIGHT AIR OF GOTH TO HER, BUT WE DON’T NEED HER RUINED IN AN UNECCESARY REVAMP COSTUME WISE JUST TO APPEAL TO THE GOTH CROWD ( GOTHS ARE A WHOLE NOTHER ANIMAL AND TOPIC ). 2. YOU SAID THAT “One of the reasons that Zatanna has never been fully embraced is her powers. First, they’re ill-defined. What’s her limits? Is she on the same level as Fate or the Phantom Stranger? Secondly- the backwards talk is stupid. It makes no sense.” HER POWERS ARE ILL-DEFINED, BACKWARDS TALK MAKES NO SENSE? OH REALLY. BUT SEE ADAM, THATS THE BEAUTY OF ZATANNA..SHE’S DIFFERENT, WHICH IS THE WAY IT WAS INTENDED. HOW COME THE CURRENT COMIC BOOK FANBASE ARE SO OBSESSED WITH EVERY CHARACTER BEING SIMILAR TO THE NORM? IN MY OPINION, ZATANNA HAS NEVER BEEN FULLY EMBRACED BECAUSE DC COMICS HAS NEVER MADE A REAL EFFORT TO PUT HER OUT THERE. ITS ALWAYS ZATANNA MAKING A GUEST APPEARANCE IN A BIGGER THAN LIFE TITLE ON DC LIKE BATMAN/SUPERMAN FOR EXAMPLE, SEVERAL YEARS AGO DC PUT OUT A SERIES CALLED 7 SOLDIERS, IN WHICH ZATANNA WAS FEATURED IN A 3 OR 4 PART STORY. IT WAS EXCELLENT..WHY DIDNT DC GIVE HER A TITTLE THEN? THE ANSWER IS THAT THEY WEREN’T INTERESTED IN GIVING HER THE SPOTLIGHT..SO WHO LOSES..YOU GOT IT, THE ARTISTS, WRITERS, LETTERERS, AND OF COURSE THE FANS. WHATS THE POINT OF HAVING 8-9 BATMAN TITLES ON BOOK STANDS AND NOT ONE ZATANNA BOOK? HER POWERS ARE VERY WELL DOCUMENTED…JUST READ JUSTICE LEAGUE BOOKS FROM THE 1970S AND OTHER VARIOUS DC TITLES WHICH SHE MADE AN APPEARNCE IN DURING THAT TIME, AND EVEN IN THE 1960S IN SUCH BOOKS AS ELONGATED MAN, HAWKMAN AND HAWKWOMAN, JUST TO NAME A FEW. THE BACKWARDS TALK ISNT STUPID ADAM, ITS UNIQUE AND MAKES HER CHARACTER THAT MUCH COOLER. OK DUDE, IN CLOSING ( BECAUSE I’M ALL TALKED OUT ), ZATANNA IS A GREAT CHARACTER, WHOM I’D LOVE TO SEE MORE OF, INSTEAD OF A CONSTANT DOSE OF CATWOMAN, SUPERGIRL, AND WONDERWOMAN. WE’VE SEEN WHAT HAPPENS TO OUR FAVORITE COMIC BOOK CHARACTERS WHEN THEY’RE REVAMPED….SEE GREEN LANTERN & AQUAMAN. ALL THE CURRENT ARTISTS AND WRITERS NEED TO DO IS KEEP ZATANNA AS WE KNOW HER. IF THE WRITING AND ARTWORK IS GOOD THE JOB IS DONE…BUT THOSE TWO TRAITS ARE WHATS CONTRIBUTED TO THE DOWNFALL OF COMICS..GIMICK WRITING ( SEE THE PLETHORA OF STUPID EVENTS IN COMICS LIKE BLACKEST NIGHT, CIVIL WAR, FINAL CRISIS ( AGAIN, SIGH )…JUST TO NAME A FEW ). GOSH, THIS IS WHY I DONT READ COMIC BOOKS NOWADAYS..EVERYTHING HAS TO BE DARK ( BLAME DARK KNIGHT MOVIE FOR THAT ) HAS TO WEAR LEATHER ( BLAME THE WACHOWSKI BROTHERS AND THE MATRIX ), OR IS JUST FILLED WITH SEX AND UNECCESARY VIOLENCE ( JUST CLOSE YOUR EYES AND POINT TO ANY COMIC BOOK IN YOUR LOCAL SHOP ). WHEN WILL THE INDUSTRY GET BACK TO ITS ROOTS, WHICH IS RESPECT FOR GOOD WRITING AND ART??? I’M STILL WAITING FOR THAT DAY..MAYBE THEN I’LL START READING COMIC BOOKS AGAIN.