Thursday, October 20, 2016

True or False: I Can Explain the Difference Between Magic, Sorcery, and Wizardry




And if you think you're feeling pretty smug, then explain this -


15 comments:

Edo Bosnar said...

False. I have absolutely no idea. And I think most comic-book writers don't, either.

As for Scarlet Witch - whooo-boy. She seems to pretty much do anything a given comic-book writer wants her to at any given moment. She's a mutant, with those rather poorly-defined probability altering powers, but she also dabbles in magic. Sometimes she seems to be the most formidable super-being in the room, but then sometimes she's apparently a damsel in distress who needs to be rescued by, say, Cap or Vision.

Rip Jagger said...

All of them are variations of "deus de magica" (my coinage) or simply giving character powers needed to solve a plot problem when they needed a problem solved. Rarely do these comic book types actually use spells, mostly they just gesticulate invoke a name or two and lights erupt their their fingers and/or eyes or both. It's Superman's eye beams by another name. Just finished reading a bunch of Doc Strange by Ditko and he got close to having a sort of realistic magical thing working but by the end of the run he was just shooting beams out of his hands.

As for the Scarlet Witch, she is a mystery inside an enigma like most dames except she can kick your butt in a number of distinctive and often unpredictable ways.

Paging Agatha Harkness!

Rip Off

Colin Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dbutler16 said...

False, but I can fake it. Magic is much more benign than sorcery, which we should always view askance. Wizardy falls somewhere in between. It's more like neutral good, to borrow a phrase from Dungeons and Dragons.

And no, I'm certainly not feeling smug enough to explain the Scarlet Witch's costume.

Doug said...

Haha, dbutler -- you should have seen some of the other image choices I had. To say I went conservative would be an understatement.

That being said, I also noticed that many artists seem to feel that Zatanna has the same... uh, assets... as Power Girl. ;)

Doug

david_b said...

Ok, sorry, I'm with dbutler16 as well. I'll just go on-record as Wanda having the best Bronze Age outfit of all sorcerers and wizards, bar none.

I do believe Steve Englehart was onto something with Wanda turning to witchcraft more with Agatha Harkness in ish 128 and later issues to make her a bit more distinctive regarding her powers, but I don't recall that influence lasting too long after he moved on to other titles, and most of the potential coolness was lost when she married Vish anyways.

dbutler16 said...

I agree with david_b that the Agatha Harkness influence on Wanda was a positive move, and I, too, don't remember it lasting very long.

Zatanna's assets, Doug? You made me google!

Anonymous said...

Uh...definitely False for me. Consulting Merriam-Webster just confuses me further. It seems that there is the connotation of evil associated with sorcery while not necessarily with wizardry. Evil sorcerer...good wizard (like Harry Potter). Can you be a good sorcerer? Apparently they both practice magic. Then the thesaurus uses them interchangeably so...I dunno.

And Doug I'll see your Zatanna and Power Girl and raise you an Enchantress and a Clea.

Tom

Edo Bosnar said...

On the subject of Wanda's costume, for the longest time as a kid, I thought those pink parts were just her skin, i.e., it was that color, hence her name. It was only when, in the Nights of Wundagore story, Chthon possessed her body and the bathing suit part was ripped or burned off that I realized that it was some kind pink skintight bodysuit.

Anonymous said...

Well, according to the D&D explanation, Wizards learn magic by studying it, while Sorcerers have the magic within them, either because of something in their bloodline or some event that happened to them. There are also Warlocks (who get their power from pacts with demons and the like) and Clerics (whose powers come from the Gods). I think "magic" would refer to the powers/abilities themselves.

I'm not sure how many comic book writers are into D&D though, so the distinctions are probably meaningless in that context.

Mike Wilson

Karen said...

It does seem like sorcery tends to refer to "the Dark Side" more often than not. Although Dr. Strange was the Sorcerer Supreme. Hmm. At least during Englehart's run, the process behind the magic became more consistent, due to the Stainless One doing a lot of research into that area, most likely while 'enhanced'. I think he and Frank Brunner actually visited many of the dimensions Doc was hanging out in.

Redartz said...

Have to go with false on this one. How does the old saying go? "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it". And yes, Karen, those Englehart / Brunner Dr.Strange issues were pretty 'otherworldly'...

Anonymous said...

Mostly false in my opinion. I do recall, rather fuzzily I admit, in the pages of an issue of the original Defenders Dr Strange telling Luke Cage that magic as he saw it was merely the manipulation of the energies of the universe, or something like that.

Scarlet Witch's powers to this day confuses the heck out of me. OK, she's a mutant with hex powers. What's that? Oh, wait, she's also studied magic. Hmmm.....

I guess it's tied in to how some characters use their powers. Chris Claremont wrote that Storm controlled the weather by reading and manipulating energy patterns (IIRC in the issue where the X-men first meet Alpha Flight).

I personally don't have a problem with magic, witchcraft or sorcery except when it's used as a deux ex machina like Rip said. Even magic is supposed to have limits and boundaries if a story is well written. Dr Strange can summon the crimson bands of Cyttorak but he can't bring people back from the dead. Well, unless he gets his hands on the Darkhold and uses vampiric spells ....


- Mike 'magic Mike' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Dr. O said...

True, but it take 8 years of schooling to understand the difference, so I won't bother trying. ;)

Kenn said...

The best writing I can recall for a magical character was Paul Levitz' White Witch in the Legion Of Super-Heroes. She had a few spells that were practiced "go to's" like protection etc., but she had to study and collect items to use in particular spells for individual missions. If a new adversary entered the fray that she had not planned for, she was at a total loss. That way she was both awesomely powerful and vulnerable at the same time, and limited the "Deus de magica" of the character.
And, no, I cannot tell you what the difference is between the various terms used for magic-wielder.
The Scarlet Witch, so far as I can surmise, is able innately to alter probabilities, and has been taught "real magic" by Agatha Harkness, a witch, which means she can do "spells", or somesuch. Her current series by James Robinson and rotating artists (they do a decent explanation of having her traveling the world to explain a different artist for each locale)focuses almost entirely on her as a witch, and I am enjoying it. Until they cross her over with the rest of Marvel, in which case I will drop it, as I refuse to do crossover events with any company.

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