Magica De Spell
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|Magica De Spell|
|First appearance||"The Midas Touch", 1961|
|Created by||Carl Barks|
June Foray (1986–2013)Catherine Tate (2017–)
Magica De Spell is a fictional character of the Scrooge McDuck universe, an Italian sorceress created by Carl Barks. She constantly steals or attempts to steal Scrooge McDuck's Number One Dime, which she believes will play a vital role in magically obtaining the same fabulous wealth of its owner.
The Sorceress first appeared in "The Midas Touch", first published in December, 1961. According to Barks, he intended to create her as another recurring antagonist for Scrooge, in addition to The Beagle Boys and Flintheart Glomgold. But in contrast to Witch Hazel from Trick or Treat, first released on October 10, 1952, or Mad Madam Mim she would not be in the image of the old hag usually associated with witches. He wanted to create a youthful and attractive enchantress, so he took inspiration for her look from Italian actresses Gina Lollobrigida and Sophia Loren. He also wanted her to be seductive, amoral, and somewhat threatening. In a later interview, Barks identified a similar figure from the comic strips of Charles Addams as another source of inspiration for Magica, namely Morticia Addams of The Addams Family.
All in all, Barks drew nine stories with Magica: The Midas Touch in 1961; Ten-Cent Valentine, The Unsafe Safe, and Raven Mad in 1962; Oddball Odyssey, For Old Dime's Sake, and Isle of Golden Geese in 1963; The Many Faces of Magica de Spell and Rug Riders in the Sky in 1964. In the latter, Barks tried to increase the usability of the character by having plots turn on other magic artifacts, here a flying carpet, not always having to repeat the joke about Scrooge's first coin. Magica also appeared as an antagonist in the Wizards of Mickey comic series as part of a trio of sorceresses who all had rivalries with each other.
According to Barks and his successors, Magica lives on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius, next to Naples, Italy, where she is well known as Amelia, la fattucchiera che ammalia or Amelia, la strega che ammalia ("Magica, the enchanting sorceress"). Her primary motivation is to steal Uncle Scrooge's Number One Dime and melt it in the fires of the volcano to turn it into a powerful magical amulet, capable of granting the Midas Touch.
She sometimes teams up with The Beagle Boys. She also has a raven named Ratface in the comics. Other characters closer to Magica include her grandmother, Granny De Spell, who, although claiming be one of the most powerful of witches, has been no more successful in obtaining the Number One Dime. There is also Witch Child and Warlock, the daughter and son, respectively, of the Wicked Witch of the West, who Magica sometimes is tasked to look after. Witch Child and Warlock are mischievous little magically endowed children who are sometimes playmates and/or thorns in the side of Huey, Dewey and Louie. Besides Child, Magica has another niece called Minima De Spell. Magica already appeared with apprentices in the comics. Samson Hex, a bungling no-hoper, and Witch Matilda, who is also cousin of her. There is also Rosolio, a dim-witted goose, who claims to be her fiancé, but is always rejected by Magica. He is supported in this by a grandmother of Magica created in Italian comics called Caraldina (original Italian name). Granny De Spell and Caraldina cannot be considered as the same character not only because their respective looks and personalities are different, but mainly because the first one is called "Nonna Amelia" in Italian language, according to the Italian version of the story "A Lesson from Granny", where Granny De Spell appeared for the first time.
Magica has an odd relationship with Scrooge, sometimes even manifesting itself in mutual attraction.[when?][clarification needed] In fact, in the DuckTales episode "Till Nephews Do we Part" she and Poe can be seen attending (and being invited guests to) Scrooge's wedding. Sometimes Magica antagonizes Donald Duck and his nephews when they are not with Scrooge. She has also antagonized Gyro Gearloose, Gladstone Gander, Daisy Duck and her nieces on occasion.
Magica was also a semi-regular on the animated television show DuckTales, where she was voiced by June Foray (using a similar Eastern European accent to that of Natasha Fatale from Rocky & Bullwinkle; in the Italian version voice actress Sonia Scotti voiced her with a heavy Neapolitan accent). Magica appears mostly in first season episodes of the show. Her only appearance in the second season is in the episode "The Unbreakable Bin". Although she appears as one of the series' major villains, she is frequently a source of comic relief: In Magica's final scene in the series for example, she attempts to send Scrooge's "tin man back to Oz", but is herself sent elsewhere in a whirlwind when a Quackenyeeken Yeeker bird yeeks in fear, causing her jar of magic dust to break open and carry her away. Scrooge exclaims, "One thing about Magica--she always knew how to make an exit." On more than one occasion her plan to obtain Scrooge's dime backfires so spectacularly that she is forced to work with Scrooge to prevent greater disaster. According to the show, her brother is Poe De Spell, who was transformed into a raven and serves as her magical familiar – this is a reference to Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven". Poe replaces Ratface from the comics. A similar reference had already been established in the German versions of Magica comics, where her raven is called "Nimmermehr" ("Nevermore"), referring to the recurring keyword from Poe's poem.
In the 2017 reboot, she makes a brief non-speaking cameo in silhouette at the end of "The Beagle Birthday Massacre", where it is revealed that she is the aunt of new character Lena. In "Terror of the Terra-firmians", she appears again as Lena's shadow, verbally encouraging her to leave a trapped Mrs. Beakley to the Terra-firmians so she can't prevent Lena from being with Webby and spoiling their plan. In the end, Lena saves Beakley, much to Magica's chagrin. In this incarnation, Magica does not speak with an accent. In this series, she is voiced by Catherine Tate, former Doctor Who costar to David Tennant (who voices Scrooge McDuck in the new series).
She had a proper role in the Darkwing Duck comic published by Boom! Studios, teaming up with Negaduck (whom she had saved from the Crimebots from "The Duck Knight Returns") in the story "Crisis on Infinite Darkwings". By combining their powers and knowledge, they intended to unleash an army of brainwashed, alternate universe Darkwing Ducks on St. Canard, as it would be of benefit to both their agendas – her hope is to force Darkwing's ally Launchpad McQuack to lead her to Scrooge's Number One Dime. Magica and Negaduck had contempt for each other, which they kept hidden behind a 'friendly' facade; early on, Negaduck sarcastically refers to his desire for a city and hers for "...one dime" as being "similar ambitions".
Darkwing's girlfriend Morgana McCawber, herself a witch, would assist the hero and battle Magica in magical combat. She swiftly drained Morgana's magic using a source absorber, doubling her power, but lost it thanks to the intervention of an alternate Darkwing. This ended her control over the alternate reality Darkwings and ended Negaduck's plan, and after the arrival of the monstrous demon Paddywhack, Magica fled the city.
She returned for the final arc of the series, a crossover with the Ducktales comic also published by Boom!, where she teamed up with other female Disney villains and exploited black "slime" that could turn normal people evil and villains into stronger forms. She used it to bring in an army of villains from Duckburg and St. Canard, as well as a brainwashed Phantom Blot, and tried to seize both cities so she could have all of Scrooge McDuck's assets. To her dismay, the slime turned out to be a transformed Negaduck, who seized control of the plan before all the villains were banished to another dimension. This last arc was later rendered to be non-canonical, and not included in the omnibus collecting the series.
Magica appears in the DuckTales video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System as the boss of the Transylvania stage, where she attacks Scrooge with lightning bolts and by transforming into a giant bird. In the remake DuckTales Remastered, Magica uses an expanded set of attacks (such as launching energy beams at Scrooge and summoning mirrors to hide in) and also plays a larger role in the game's overall storyline. Just like in the cartoon, she is voiced by June Foray.
Other video game appearances by Magica include Donald Duck: The Lucky Dime Caper, in which she kidnaps Donald's nephews and steals Scrooge's lucky dime, and in the 2000 video game Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers as the boss of a flying mansion. Magica also appears as the second secret playable character in the 2008 trivia video game Disney TH!NK Fast.
Powers and abilities
Magica De Spell is a very powerful witch with magical powers that include the ability to teleport over long distances, flight, the power to conjure and transmute matter, and the ability to turn herself into any animal she wants. Her actual capability to wield magic varies from writer to writer. Carl Barks' incarnation is quite powerful, with her naivete being her only prominent weakness. Don Rosa's incarnation of Magica De Spell is, however, far more limited as she usually only uses magic through magical objects and in The Quest for Kalevala, Magica acknowledges she can't use magic without a wand.
Unlike other people who think the Number One Dime to be a lucky charm, Magica doesn't believe it to be the source of Scrooge's wealth, but Scrooge's wealth to be the source of the dime's powers, as she only tries to steal it because it's the first coin ever earned by the richest duck (or man) on Earth. It can be noticed when she steals the dime but gives it back when she realized she somehow caused the dime to lose such status. Examples of such stories are Of Ducks and Dimes and Destinies, when she travels in time to steal the dime in the very same day Scrooge earns it and gives it back after realizing that by preventing Scrooge from owning the dime, she would turn it into a coin that never belonged to him, or A Little Something Special, when she teams up with Flintheart Glomgold and the Beagle Boys in a plan made by Blackheart Beagle. She gives the dime back after realizing Scrooge wouldn't be the richest man on Earth after the Beagle Boys steal his money. In Carl Barks's "Ten-Cent Valentine", it's revealed she believes the dime must stay in one piece until she finally melts it or the spell won't work. Huey, Dewey and Louie trick Magica into thinking it was destroyed by a meat grinder.
Magica believes she is the disciple of the ancient sorceress Circe.
A lot of Magica's relatives appear in Italian stories.
- Granny De Spell, Magica's grandmother
- Rosolio, Magica's cousin
- Minima De Spell, her niece
- Matilda, Magica's teenager cousin
- Adelia, Magica's fairy cousin
- Lena, her niece
Poe, also called Mr. Poe, voiced alternately by Terrence McGovern and Frank Welker, is the brother and familiar of Magica De Spell, who was somehow transformed into a non-anthropomorphic raven. How exactly he got this way was never explained in the series. Although Magica has various transformation spells at her disposal, she is unable to turn Poe back into an anthropomorphic duck. In the episode "Send in the Clones", Magica explained she needed the power of Scrooge McDuck's Number One Dime to restore Poe to his normal self.
Because Poe used to be an anthropomorphic duck, he is capable of speech and can interact with the other characters. In addition to having his name be a reference to the Edgar Allan Poe poem "The Raven", Poe often ends his stanzas with the word "nevermore".
Poe's role in the Scrooge McDuck universe is actually fairly limited, as he never made any appearances outside of DuckTales. On top of that, Poe only appeared in some of the episodes featuring Magica, and rarely did anything to advance the plot. Poe's most notable role was in the episode Magica's Shadow War, in which a trapped Magica sent him out to find help in one scene.
The Italian name of Poe is Gennarino (as Ratface in Italian comics), a diminutive form of Gennaro, the name of the patron saint of Naples (Januarius in English), and a very widespread name in Campania. Also, in the Italian version Poe, along with Magica, is voiced with a heavy Neapolitan accent.
- Blum, Geoffrey."The Meaning of Magica", Uncle Scrooge Adventures in Color, no.39, February 3, 1998
- Fahey, Mike (2013-03-22). "Of Course You Want to Watch Nearly Seven Minutes of DuckTales: Remastered". Kotaku. Retrieved 2012-03-22.