Monday, 30 December 2013
The Books Of Magic, Book One
Hunter's mentors are the Phantom Stranger, Doctor Occult, John Constantine and Mister E, three well-established characters and one who, at about the same time, appeared in his own miniseries. Constantine tells Tim:
"...don't try to bite me. There are things in my blood stream you really don't want in your mouth."
- Neil Gaiman, The Invisible Labyrinth (New York, 1990), p. 10.
In his own title, John Constantine: Hellblazer, Constantine received a blood transfusion from the demon Nergal and prevented a cult's divine incarnation by contaminating their Mary.
Tim tells the four-man "Trenchcoat Brigade" (p. 5) that he believed in magic when he was a kid and sometimes wishes "...there was magic..." (p. 11). Gaiman tells us elsewhere that he believed in the Sandman when he was a child and swore that he would always remember.
The Stranger shows Tim the past by time traveling invisibly, mostly without interacting. They see:
the silver city, which the Stranger cannot approach (in Alan Moore's Secret Origins story, the Stranger was a neutral angel, cast out by both sides after the War in Heaven);
the molten Earth;
Arion of Atlantis, who addresses Tim without seeing or hearing him because he knows by spells that he is there;
the Yellow River;
Merlin, canny enough to see them;
the old religion in the forests and high places and beside the great stones;
Faerie leaving as science rises - a parallel with Poul Anderson's The Merman's Children;
Zatara, who first appeared in Action Comics no 1, the same issue as Superman, and died at a seance led by Constantine in Alan Moore's Swamp Thing no 50;
Sargon the Sorcerer, who died at the same seance.
Listing the contents shows me that there is more in this one Book than I had realized.