The Books Of Magic: The Deluxe Edition
Written By: Neil Gaiman
Illustrated By: John Bolton, Charles Vess, Scott Hampton, Paul Johnson
Originally Published 1990, 1991 by DC Comics
“From Neil Gaiman, the bestselling novelist and creator of the world-renowned comics title The Sandman, comes a mesmerizing tale of the dangers and opportunities of youth, and its endless possibilities. Illustrated by four of comics’ most accomplished artists, John Bolton, Scott Hampton, Charles Vess and Paul Johnson, THE BOOKS OF MAGIC collects all four issues of the original
miniseries that introduced the character of Timothy Hunter and set the stage for his continuing adventures.
Timothy Hunter could be the most powerful magician in the world, but does he really want to be? Guided through the magical world starting at the begining of time by a group of DC Universe magicians, often refered to as the Trenchcoat Brigade (John Constantine, Phantom Stranger, Mister E, and Doctor Occult), they attempt to aid Timothy in his decision whether or not to embrace his gift. However, by the time Timothy makes a choice, it may have already been made for him.”
This edition has all four books:
Book I: The Invisible Labyrith
Book II: The Shadow World
Book III: The Land Of Summer’s Twilight
Book IV: The Road To Nowhere
The “Trenchcoat Brigade” (Constantine, Doctor Occult, Mister E, and an unnamed stranger) take twelve year old Timothy Hunter on the most amazing journey to the past and future.
“It is up to the four of us to ensure that he chooses his path correctly”.
Timothy first travels to “the void” where he sees angels and archangels. Here he learns that people kill what they fear. John Constantine then takes Timothy on a plane to New York where Timothy meets Boston Brand. Boston warns Timothy that people are looking for him. Boston Brand is quite an interesting character who takes control of the minds of random people a few times throughout the story in order to warn Timothy of danger. Mister Fate, AKA Doctor Fate, AKA Kent Nelson, also visits Timothy to warn him that there is now a price on his head. Nelson pleads Constantine to find sanctuary.
Timothy continues on his journey with his other guides, meeting more interesting characters, is chased by a witch who owns a house with legs, and in the end must choose either an exciting, but dangerous life with magic, or a less exciting, but safer life of science.
I’ve only read one other graphic novel that I can remember, so I’m afraid I can’t offer an weighted opinion. The art was fantastic, very dark DC comic feeling. The Books Of Magic reminded me of A Christmas Carol with appearances by fate, fairies, and witches. I did find it quite strange that Timothy is a young teen who wears glasses, has a pet owl and is learning about magic…remind you of anyone? I’m all for authors taking an idea and running with it, and J.K. Rowling certainly did create an entire world that had nothing in common with Gaiman’s world that I could tell, but Harry Potter and Timothy Hunter sure have a lot in common. Perhaps she hasn’t even read The Books Of Magic and it’s a huge coincidence. Neil Gaiman has written about it on his blog if you’d like to see his opinion.
I gave it three stars on Goodreads because I did like the characters, the worlds were creative, the art was beautiful, but the plot was predictable for me and I feel like there could have been a bit more detail into the Trenchcoat Brigade’s motivations.