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DC's Zatanna gets some Black Label magic with a new comic book series launching this summer

Creators Mariko Tamaki and Javier Rodríguez are combining to "explore every nook and cranny of the language of comics" with the new series

Zatanna: Bring Down the House #1
Image credit: Javier Rodríguez/DC

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Looc si arataZ annataZ. Or, if you don’t speak backwards magic — and, really, I’d argue that too few of us do — Zatanna Zatara is cool. That’s something that fans of the DC character, who debuts in 1964’s Hackman #4 and went on to become a mainstay of the Justice League throughout the 1980s, already know, and a new comic book series launching in summer 2024 is set to convince everyone else, as well.

The series in question is Zatanna: Bring Down the House, from writer Mariko Tamaki and artist Javier Rodríguez. Released under DC’s experimental mature readers imprint Black Label sees Zatanna — one of the world’s most powerful magicians — have to come to terms with returning to her birthright when an interdimensional portal opens in Las Vegas, unleashing a demon hellbent on killing her. (Really, that doesn’t sound like the worst gimmick for someone hiding in Vegas as a stage magician, but there’s always the fact that other people might get hurt in the process.)

Tamaki, known as much for her independent work like Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, This One Summer, and Roaming as her other superhero comics, said in a statement from the publisher that she’s “very excited for people to see this weird little story we’ve whipped up for their reading pleasure,” while Rodríguez added, “There is nothing more fun than working on a character like Zatanna who, issue after issue, invites you to explore every nook and cranny of the language of comics.”

Even more than the idea of Zatanna getting her time in the spotlight again, it’s those two statements, and those two creators, that should act as the selling point for Bring Down the House to comic book readers looking for something a little out of the norm. While Tamaki has experience on big name DC books like Wonder Woman and Detective Comics, she continually finds something unusual, off-kilter, and unexpected about the characters she’s writing about, and centers around a human story instead of something more superpowered and abstract in scope; Rodríguez, meanwhile, has become known for daring and inventive storytelling on books at Marvel and DC that push at the envelope of what mainstream comics can support, all while featuring line work in the tradition of Javier Pulido, Marcos Martin, and Chris Samnee.

In other words, this is a team unlikely to hew towards tradition or cliche, actively calling their collaboration both weird and exploring the language of comics. What doesn’t seem thrilling about the potential being teased here? (That it's happening as part of the 17+ Black Label line only adds to the potential here, in my not-so-humble opinion.)

To accompany the announcement of the project, DC released four covers for the first issue — from Rodríguez, Alvaro Martinez Bueno, Mikel Janin, and Jorge Jiménez (Artgem will also provide a cover for the issue, as yet unreleased) — as well as three glimpses of interiors from the issue; you can see them all in the gallery below. Zatanna: Bring Down the House will be released June 25, 2024.

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Graeme McMillan: Popverse Editor Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.
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