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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Zatanna Key Issues Part 3

Alright, this is the last part to this short Zatanna key issues series. Not expecting any of these to be biggies or anything, but you never know.

A lot of the keys in Part 3 aren't all that expensive or even sought out. Of course, there are the few exceptions.

Click this Part 2 link if you missed it. If you're ready to go, here's Part 3.

1st appearance of Homo Magi

Both Zatara and Zatanna are part of the race of magicians known in DC Comics as the Homo Magi. The groups 1st appearance is considered to be in this issue here, but they are called The Hidden Ones.

In the next issue of this comic series, they are referred to as Homo Magus, and then in issue #166, they are finally referred to as Homo Magi. Members of this species also include Amethyst of Gem World, Arion and Atlan of Atlantis, Black Alice, Nightshade, Doctor 13, Tempest, Luigi Zatara, Zachary Zatara, and Zatara II just name a few.

Justice League of America #164 has the cover date of March, 1979. This issue also features Zatanna's mother Sindella.

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DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #5
New origin for Zatara & Zatanna

This issue is an expansion on both Zatara and Zatanna's origin. Call it new, spiffy details.

Actually, in terms of Zatanna, this issue is a prequel of sorts and details the events that lead up to the famous Zatanna's Search story line that features her first early appearances.

So, might be one to consider. The story is "The Secret Spell" and I think it's the 1st all-new story in this comic series.

DC Digest usually just reprints origins from their original source. Gerry Conway, Romeo Tanghal, and Vince Colletta are the creatives behind this new origin for both Zatara and Zatanna. 

This issue also reprints the origins of the Justice League of America from issue #9 of Justice League of America, Wonder Girl, Deadman, and The Demon. An origin story for Zatanna and Zatara was also told in DC Secret Origins #27 that came out in 1988. DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #5 has the cover date of December, 1980.

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1st meeting between Zatanna & Constantine

Ah, this comic is talked about a lot in the comic forums. However, it's talked about for being the 1st appearance of Justice League Dark.

I've already stated my position on that subject matter, but this comic is also the 1st published meeting of Zatanna and Constantine. It may be confusing since Constantine visits both Zatara and Zatanna, and it's revealed that the two share a romantic past.

However, this romantic past was not seen nor discussed in both character's prior appearances. Apparently, it's not the 1st canonical meeting of the two but the first time they are seen and interact in a comic book, at least publishing date wise. 

So still might be one to consider even if it doesn't end up being the 1st Justice League Dark or whatever. Swamp Thing #49 volume 3 has the cover date of June, 1986.

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Death of Zatara
Death of Abnegazar

Might as well put this one here in a Zatanna key issues series since this issue does have the death of Zatanna's father, Giovanni "John" Zatara. Zatara 1st appeared in Action Comics #1, the same issue that introduced Superman, and the character was created by Fred Guardineer.

Swamp Thing #50 also sees the death of  Abnegazar of The Demons Three. He along with his demonic brothers Rath and Ghast 1st appeared in Justice League of America #10 during the Silver Age.

The Demons Three was created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky and this classic Swamp Thing story was written by Alan Moore. This Swamp Thing #50 volume 2 has the cover date of July, 1986.

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1st appearance of Zatara

This four issue mini-series is definitely not part of mainstream continuity and is an Elseworlds imprint. However, issue #2 does introduce Zatara, but this Zatara is the son of Zatanna and John Constantine.

The story line takes place on Earth-22, so I'll just call him Earth-22 Zatara. He's not really a big or major character in the whole scheme of the DC Universe, or even in the mythos of Zatanna and Constantine.

Still, however, he is a part no matter how small currently. You never know how he'll be used in the future.

The Kingdom Come mini-series was written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Alex Ross, and Kingdom Come #2 has the cover date of August, 1996.

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1st appearance of Zachary Zatara?

Zatanna has a cousin and his name is Zachary Zatara. This character is considered part of mainstream continuity.

Zachary is shown in flashback in this issue, so I'm not sure just how much in the story this character is in. Could very well be a 1st brief or a plain cameo.

The character does end up joining the Teen Titans for a brief time. Cover date is May, 2006 for Teen Titans #34 volume 3, and Zachary Zatara was created by Geoff Johns and Tony S. Daniel.

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1st full appearance of Zachary Zatara?
1st Zachary Zatara cover?

I may as well put this one in here just in case. So this is the next appearance of Zachary Zatara and he appears to be in this issue a lot more. He is seen as the arrogant cousin of Zatanna in this issue.

This could be the character's 1st or 1st full appearance since Teen Titans #37 only has him in flashback. If not, this also could be the 1st Zachary Zatara cover.

This issue has the same cover date as 52 #21. Teen Titans #39 volume 3 has the cover date of November, 2006.

However, the publishing and on sale date for this comic is September 13th, 2006. 52 #21 has the publishing and on sale date of September 27th, 2006, so I'm guessing this one has the better chance of either being a 2nd appearance or a 1st full appearance.

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1st appearance JLD
1st New 52 appearance Zatanna

Alright, I'm still standing by this issue as the 1st appearance of Justice League Dark. As I've mentioned before, the credits that go to creating this team are Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin. 

It's not Alan Moore, and if it were, Alan Moore would get the credit as the creator of Justice League Dark. Sure, Alan Moore may have used many of the characters that are featured in the JLD prior, but that's just a crossover of characters.

It makes no sense whatsoever when Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin actually created the team in 2011 and then say that the team's 1st appearance is in a comic written by Alan Moore nearly 25 years prior.

Still, some sellers on ole eBay are noting Swamp Thing #49 or #50 as the 1st appearance of the JLD team and I think that's insanely absurd. Welcome to Phase 2 of the Speculators Market.

So, since Alan Moore doesn't have the credit of actually creating Justice League Dark, I stand on the debate that the 1st appearance of Justice League Dark is in Justice League Dark #1. 

This issue also has the 1st New 52 or Prime Earth appearance of Zatanna if that impresses you any. This key issue comic is pretty hot now anyways. Justice League Dark #1 has the cover date of November, 2011.

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Well, that's all folks for this key issues series. If you got any suggestions for other Zatanna related keys, feel free to sling them out in the comments section if ya feel up to it.

Zatanna did star in her very 1st headlining series in 1993 written by Lee Mars. It was only a 4 issue mini-series, and the big bad of that comic series is Tannarak, who made his 1st villainous appearance in Phantom Stranger volume 2 issue #10.

I still have no idea why Zatanna got her 1st on-going headlining comic series so late, but that series came out pretty recently in 2010. I don't think it lasted very long, though, and there were a few one-offs or one-shots she was in as well.

Zatanna's 1st on-going comic series was spearheaded by writer Paul Dini and artist Stephanie Roux. It's still pretty much an over-looked, cheap buy currently if you really feel like taking a chance on hard speculating  

Hope you enjoyed and good luck and happy hunting. See ya soon for more comic key issue goodness coming soon!


  1. Hey big M,

    I have just one issue to ad. Namely the Zatanna Special from 1987. It came out before the two Zatanna series and so it might be considered her first solo book.


  2. Hi Mayhem,

    this time you didn' t do your homework. I just flipped through my collection and found the one shot Zatanna - Everyday Magic by Paul Dini and Rick Mays. I remember this one getting some love from collectors and selling for over 20 bucks a few years ago. I think it belongs in the collection, just my opinion. Dini really is a great writer, as I have just seen once again in the Harley & Ivy 3 part mini series.

    Max Rebo

    1. Rebo, I fully know about Zatanna Everyday Magic TPB, but if you didn't notice throughout this entire Zatanna keys series, it's quite boring and uneventful.

      The character's mythos is pretty lackluster when it comes to keys, not a great supporting cast for the character or even specific villains for the character.

      Like 90% of the keys in this entire series, there wasn't much to write about concerning Zatanna key issues. In terms of key significance, what's there to really write about Everyday Magic?

      Maybe you know something more to that issue about it's key worthiness that I'm over-looking?

  3. I was also going to suggest Zatanna Everyday Magic one-shot as well. I'm also going to suggest the last few issues of the ongoing series - very low print runs with great Adam Hughes covers.

  4. Zatanna 1-6 Variant covers by Bolland are great too

  5. The Adam Hughes covers from the 2010 Zatanna run (11-16) are pretty collectible. #16 specifically easily goes for over $50 because of its low print run.