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Archie magics a forgotten comic book hero back into the spotlight with Kardak the Mystic this August

The spooky one-shot will reintroduce a character who originally appeared in the 1940s

Kardak the Mystic #1
Image credit: Butch Mapa/Archie Comics

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A lost hero from the early days of the American comic book industry is set to return this summer, with Archie Comics bringing back Kardak the Mystic for his biggest role in the spotlight in more than 70 years, in August’s Kardak the Mystic #1 — and Popverse has everything you need to know about the latest supernatural story to come from the home of Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

“All John Cardy ever wanted was to be recognized for his talents at magic tricks and sleight of hand,” runs the publisher’s official description of the issue. “He's talented, but not enough to get noticed for it until he comes across a (unbeknownst to him) cursed ruby. This ruby grants John the power of invisibility. As Kardak the Mystic, he performs feats no one else can with this magic. Unfortunately for him, going invisible isn't just a trick of the eyes, but rather entering another realm parallel to our own. And something inside that realm wants to use Kardak to enter our world for dark purposes.”

“One of my favorite projects as Senior Director of Editorial is tasking creators with the ability to bring deep-cut characters from Archie's lore to life,” Jamie L. Rotante, senior director of editorial at Archie Comics, told Popverse via email. “Kardak the Mystic is one Editorial was especially excited about, as we all have a deep love of magicians and were even more intrigued by the prospect of having a horror/sci-fi take on Kardak, where the magic can be a lot more ominous than your typical carnival fare.”

Revamping and updating a character that has barely appeared in comics for more than seven decades — after his run in the 1940s series Top-Notch Comics, he only made one further appearance, in 1966’s Mighty Crusaders #4 before his one-off return in 2022’s Jinx’s Grim Fairy Tales — is no easy task, Rotante admitted.

“Thankfully writer Joe Corallo’s idea to craft a tale that manages to bend worlds, tell a story of fame and fortune, and mix in classic magic was a perfect way to reintroduce this character,” she continued. “And Butch Mapa continuously blows us away with his art that so perfectly merges traditional/retro styles with frightening imagery. Couple this with some gorgeous covers based on classic magic poster illustrations, and you've got a comic that will take your breath away before you can say abracadabra!"

"Getting to revisit the character of Kardak, who I had the opportunity to touch on in a short for Jinx's Grim Fairy Tales, has been an absolute thrill!” added Corallo. “Combining classic elements from his Golden Age Top-Notch appearances such as featuring his fiancé Lorna along with a fresh, updated look and perspective on these characters will excite both longtime and newcomer Archie fans alike!"

“Kardak the Mystic was there at the dawn of the Golden Age of comics, predating even Archie and the Riverdale crew. It's an honor to be able to bring the character back into the spotlight, and to redefine the character for a modern audience,” said Mapa. “As usual with Archie, I'm collaborating with some otherworldly talents in Joe Corallo, [colorist] Ellie Wright, and [letterer] Jack Morelli, each of them a magician in their own right! Readers can expect a lot of spooky atmospheres, dark choices, and creepy monsters. Everyone should follow their dreams, but this issue warns us to be careful, because some of them can lead into nightmares!”

Kardak the Mystic #1 will be released August 14, 2024, with two covers: one from Papa, and another from Skylar Patridge. Check them both out in the gallery below.

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