Supernatural Superheroes: 10 Magical Comic Book Characters

<i>by <a href=http://twitter.com/#!/pittsed_off>Lan Pitts, Newsarama Contributor</a></i> <p>While comics primarily bring up the thought of men and women in capes fighting robots, henchmen, and twisted psychopaths, there is an element of comics that has always been around, but not truly capitalized on these days: magic. DC's <i>Justice League Dark</i>, <i>Demon Knights</i>, and <i>Swamp Thing</i> are great examples of the more supernatural side, but with <i>Hellblazer</i> ending with issue #300 and <i>I, Vampire</i> recently canceled, it leaves a void in comicdom that is ripe for filling. With Guillermo Del Toro <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/film/del-toro-justice-league-dark-movie-in-development.html>working on a potential movie with DC's mystical characters</a>, it sure seems they're not going away anytime soon. <p>This year we will see a new <i>Sandman</i> series by Neil Gaiman and J. H. Williams III and <i>Constantine</i> as part of The New 52, but what about the other characters of the arcane? Comics have a vast array of magical heroes that are both underutlized and in the forefront. So today, Newsarama takes a look at the most magical do-gooders out there. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p>

HELLBOY

While not necessarily a wizard by trade, he has extensive knowledge of the supernatural... and being the son of a demon doesn't hurt with his magical prowess, we're sure. Hellboy has had a string of mini-series along the way to both live-action and animated film stardom, as well as spinoffs including the years-long <i>B.P.R.D.</i>. <p>He's fought demon after demon, as well as a plethora of creatures from different folklore around the globe. What keeps Hellboy so alluring is the imagery that Mike Mignola first embedded in our brains twenty years ago: the environments and landscapes of Hell, along with Hellboy's massive silhouette, and the fact that despite his bestial form, Mignola and a slew of creators over the years have made him seem human. <p><b>Recommended Reading</b>: <i>Hellboy: Seed of Destruction</i>, <i>Hellboy in Hell</i>

SCARLET WITCH

Oh, Wanda. The origins of your powers are so back and forth, you almost didn't make the cut. She was originally born with the mutant ability to generate "hex spheres/bolts" that could manipulate probability, then she was a caster of Chaos Magic, and then some sort of combination of the two. <p>She's gotten a bad rap in recent years thanks to that whole "altering reality and killing some of her friends" thing she went through, but we like to remember Wanda as the beautiful combatant fighting side-by-side with Avengers like Captain America and Hawkeye, weaving her spells against her opponents. As a member of the <i>Uncanny Avengers</i> in Marvel NOW!, she seems ready for redemption. <p><b>Recommended Reading</b>: <i>Avengers Forever #1-12</i>

DAIMON HELLSTROM

Much like Hellboy, Daimon has dark magic in his veins, and was sired from a human female and the Devil himself (later retconned into a demon king). Since he's the Son of Satan, Hellstrom possesses supernatural powers derived from his "Darksoul," a demonic counterpart to his human soul, which physically manifested itself in the pentagram-shaped birthmark on his chest. Pretty hot stuff! <p>He's been a member on teams from the Defenders to the Midnight Sons and was a candidate for being the new Sorcerer Supreme, and sometimes acts as both hero and villain. Most recently, he was nearly killed toward the end of Brian Bendis's <i>New Avengers</i> run, and took a dark turn in <i>Venom</i>, binding a demon to the titular character in a storyline that, while taking a backseat, still has lasting implications on that book. <p><b>Recommended Reading</b>: <i>Marvel Spotlight #1224</i>

THE DEMON, ETRIGAN

"Gone, gone the form of man! Rise the Demon Etrigan!" <p>Created by Jack Kirby in the early 70s, Etrigan and his human host, Jason Blood, have been a staple in the magical scene of DC since his debut. With Etrigan having Arthurian ties, it gives a sort of prestige and more mystical feel to him. Being a demon, his powers are pretty profound, and his hellfire breath is notoriously powerful; although, in Etrigan form, he has the same weaknesses as other demons, including being susceptible to iron and holy powers. <p>He's had a few solo ongoings and mini-series that did fairly well, but he now stars in DC's <b>Demon Knights</b>, one of the launch titles of DC's New 52 lineup. <p><b>Recommended Reading</b>: <i>The Demon: Suffer The Children</i>, <i>Demon Knights</i>

TIMOTHY HUNTER

With his round glasses, dark hair, and pet owl, Tim Hunter is often mistaken for Harry Potter's twin (though he predates the boy who lived), and while Neil Gaiman and J. K. Rowling may have been drinking from the same well, the two couldn't be any more different. Tim Hunter was the star of DC/Vertigo's <b>The Books of Magic</b> series that told the story of Tim's destiny to be the greatest wizard of his age. Along the way he met magical guest stars like a blonde Zatanna, John Constantine, Merlin, Phantom Stranger, and of course, Death of the Endless. <p><b>The Books of Magic</b> itself was basically a comic dedicated to the mystical and magical characters of the DC universe, interacting and engaging with one another, with Tim as the focus. Tim recently resurfaced in <b>Justice League Dark</b>, a title that has taken the place of Books of Magic as DC's magic meet-up book. <p><b>Recommended Reading</b>: <i>Books of Magic vol 3: The Land of Summer's Twilight</i>

DR. FATE

There has been more than a handful of characters who have worn the Helm of Nabu and been bestowed the mantle of Dr. Fate, all of them powerful in their own right. Except, that is, for Jared Stevens as the monosyllabic "Fate" that was a less than stellar run. <p>The spellcasting abilities actually come from the helmet, but the rest of the costume doesn't leave the wearer totally defenseless, giving them flight, super strength, and limited telekinesis. A new Dr. Fate is about to make his debut in Earth-2 next month, so we will have to see where this new incarnation stacks up to the legacy. <p><b>Recommended Reading</b>: <I>The Immortal Dr. Fate</i>

JOHN CONSTANTINE

The star of Vertigo's longest running series, <b>Hellblazer</b>, John Constantine has had his share of magical adventures, without really using magic at all. Though Constantine is quite an adept sorcerer, his primary skill use resides in sleight-of-hand and hypnosis, though he is known for busting out his hellfire cigarette lighter and necromancy when things get a bit thick. <p>His occult knowledge has come in handy countless times when aiding fellow supernatural beings and humans alike. <b>Hellblazer</b> left its mark over at Vertigo, and the now DC-branded solo series simply called <i>Constantine</i>, has a lot to live up to. Until then, you can check out Constantine in <i>Justice League Dark</i>, alongside his quasi-girlfriend, Zatanna. <p><b>Recommended Reading</b>: <I>Hellblazer: All His Engines</i>

ZATANNA

Speaking of Zatanna... <p>DC's Mistress of Magic. Everyone's favorite fishnet-garbed, raven-haired, sassy sorceress. Created in 1964 by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson, Zatanna was involved in DC's first major crossover, as she searched for her father, the famed magician Zatara, who was a character back in the WWII era. Instead of relaunching Zatara as DC had relaunched titles like Green Lantern and The Flash (giving them more sci-fi based origins this time around, and igniting the Silver Age), DC created a completely different character entirely. <p>Her powers have shifted over the years from powerful spellcasting to just controlling the elements and everything in-between. Her magic is verbally controlled (sdrawkcab slleps reh yas ot sah ehs), but during the rare occasions that she's rendered voiceless, she can write out what she needsbackwards and in her bloodand it works just the same. Zatanna has served as a member of the Justice League and now, <b>Justice League Dark</b>, as one of its founding members. <p><b>Recommended Reading</b>: <I>Zatanna #1-16</i>

DOCTOR STRANGE

Stephen Strange started out as a renowned neurosurgeon who lost his way and found a new life as Earth's Sorcerer Supreme. Trained by the Ancient One in the mystical arts, Dr. Strange was given powerful artifacts, most notably the Eye of Agamotto to aid in his quest to stop the threat of malevolent warlocks and demonic entities alike. <p>Strange has been a member of the New Avengers, Defenders, Midnight Sons, and the Illuminati - with whom he now serves in the Marvel NOW! relaunched <b>New Avengers</b>. Though he has lost the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme more than once along the way, he's always managed to prove his worth and retain it once more. His powers are unsurpassed in the Marvel Universe ranging from astral projection and telepathy to stopping time and unconsciously destroying galaxies! <p><b>Recommended Reading</b>: <I>Dr. Strange: The Oath</i>

LORD MORPHEUS, DREAM OF THE ENDLESS

While the others on this list are conjurers of magic, Dream is the physical manifestation of dreams and stories. Now we're talking <i>serious</i> magic here. <p>Dream is one of the Endless, created by Neil Gaiman over twenty years ago. They are all inconceivably powerful beings, and older than gods, each a manifestation of a universal constant. Morpheus has the reign over dreams and his own realm called the Dreaming. Dream's powers are more cerebral than physical. <p>When we're introduced to him in the first arc of <b>Sandman</b>, we see what he is capable of. He tricked the Devil himself and let his enemies suffer with eternal nightmares. He's prideful and angry, and conscious of his responsibilities, yet does not accept, nor want change. His magic is infinite, and when he died, he was reborn into infant Daniel Hall with even greater power. <p>The "year one" story of sorts, telling how he came to be captured at the beginning of his series, comes from Vertigo in 2013 by Neil Gaiman and artist J.H. Williams III. <p><b>Recommended Reading</b>: <I>Sandman vol 1: Preludes and Nocturnes</i>

Supernatural Superheroes: 10 Magical Comic Book Characters

Date: 22 January 2013 Time: 09:02 PM ET