I really love the work Aspen Comics puts out. The company, founded in 2003 by artist Michael Turner, puts out some of the best looking comics on the market. Their “house style” really appeals to me, and they’ve put out some really fun books – stuff like Fathom, Lady Mechanika, Iron and the Maiden, and Shrugged. Not only that, creators like JT Krul, Talent Caldwell, Jeph Loeb, and Marcus To have worked with them, and produced some fantastic work. My main issue with Aspen is their consistent lack of timely books. I don’t think they advertise their books as monthly, per se, but some of them seem to come out very infrequently and, if there’s one thing that’ll make me drop a book, it’s when the momentum of the story is completely lost because of delays.
Unfortunately, that’s what happened when Charismagic came out. I was immediately taken with the cover, showing one of the leads, Sudana, and her glowing tattoos. I picked up issues 0-2, but the delays between issues just had the series drop off my radar until this week, where Andrew (during our most recent recording of Funnybooks) reminded me about the series, and mentioned that volume 2, The Death Princess, had recently just started. The entire first volume was available for $9.99 on Comixology, so I decided to give it a shot, and I’m glad I did.
Charismagic tells the story of Hank the Magnificent, a Las Vegas magician in a failing relationship who’s main magic trick is teleportation. One night, during his show, all the people on Earth vanish suddenly, as a magic being long trapped in a prison-like void, escapes, bringing all of mankind to the void realm and allowing magic beings to roam the Earth. Hank, along with his cat Sparkles, meets Sudana, a druid who has an idea of how to save the world, and they venture from Vegas to Costa Rica to get help.
Charismagic is a ton of fun. I really enjoyed the issues I read when they were released, but to a certain extent, I’m glad I waited for them to be collected. A quick glance shows that the second issue came out 4 months after the first, and then another 3 months between each issue following that. And while the art on the series is fantastic, 3 months between each issue is a bit of stretch. As a monthly, or even bi-monthly (with that expectation established), I would have definitely kept on it. Despite my complaints about the delays, though, I think the series is well worth picking up (especially at the aforementioned Comixology price). The magic aspects of the story are very well done, and, though a lot of different concepts are introduced, I never felt lost, or that I was getting a “data dump” of info that overwhelmed me. The story and characters were first, and that helps. The relationships in the series are maturely handled, and Sudana, besides being a character that could very obviously be pushed for cheesecake factor, never comes across that way (and is fully clothed the entire time!).
A great story and, despite some strong language that puts it at about PG-13, could really appeal to readers of many ages. Definitely recommended.