|The secret appears to involve gut-punches|
Who's the real master of magic, you might find yourself asking as you read these stories; is it the blue-skinned genie for whom reality is only warm clay to be changed, shaped and guided by his merest whims, or is it the tow-headed kid with his card tricks and palmed coins? Gosh, it's hard to say.
Magicmaster debuted in the back pages of Harvey's Double-Dare Adventures no.1 (December 1966), the same book which brought the world Bee-Man and the Glowing Gladiator - characters who snagged the splash page intro the book as the titular "Double-Dare" characters. Magicmaster is unceremoniously introduced in the backup and, truth be told, I'm not even sure who he is.
|"Terms and conditions may apply. If your erection |
lasts for more than four hours, seek immediate
Possible Magicmasters (or is that "Magicsmaster"?) begin with blonde nabob Jimmy, a junior prestidigitator and son of the second contender to the title and "the world's greatest magician," Apollo. Both Jimmy and his pop - the latter of whom enters the story by driving his car off a cliff to his death, and yet who still stars in a solid half of this comic - practice the art of stage magic. More to the point, they ruin the art of stage magic by constantly explaining their tricks. They neglect to explain absolutely nothing they perform - from palming a key to blacking out the sun. This is bad magic manners, at least among the sawing-a-lady-in-half crowd. This would get them kicked out of the Magic Castle, nevermind being the Magicmaster ...
Second contender to the title is Infernus, "one of the black darwishes who practices the rites of evil magic," according to Jimmy's recollection upon hearing the news of his father's death. Jimmy's cold. Infernus, on the other hand, is apparently also only a stage magician, but he uses his tricks to enslave the exurbs of Egypt, until Apollo is sent by the Egyptian government to disprove the villain's so-called magic and break his control over the simple villagers. Egypt has soldiers and cops, why they didn't just send a bunch of them, I dunno. Card tricks can't stop a bullet, you know?
|This is the magical equivalent of pulling out your scrunchie.|
Shamarah possesses a pigsticker called the Dagger of Dharath, of which he thinks "So long as the mystic dagger of Dharath is mine to possess, all the magic arts are under my mastery." That's gotta settle it, that's the Magicmaster. Also, why are we wasting times with these carny folks pulling rabbits out of a hat, we have a legit blue genie here!
By the second issue, Jimmy's summoning Shamarah with a magic amulet and the magic words "Presto Mercuro," which I bet is really offensive in genie language. And yet, the stories are almost exclusively given over to explaining the mechanics behind Jimmy's stage performances - how he appears to lift an elephant, how he picks locks. They never bother to explain how Magicmaster himself performs honest-to-god magic. What, is "Beholden to the powers of darkness" somehow less interesting than "put a quarter in your palm?"
Jimmy Apollo and Magicmaster knock out a couple of adventures, battling - naturally - evil magicians and putting to accounts the murderer of the elder Apollo. That is, of course, why Shamarah came by in the first place, but he seems content to stick around inside a magic amulet until a child shouts in his face. Maybe career options are limited for all-powerful sorcerers.
|One of these tricks seems less impressive than the rest.|