Magica De Spell
|Magica De Spell|
|First appearance||"The Midas Touch", 1961|
|Created by||Carl Barks|
|Voiced by||June Foray (1987–2013)|
Catherine Tate (2017–present)
Magica De Spell (magica being the feminine of magico, Italian for '"magical"') is a fictional character of the Scrooge McDuck universe, an Italian sorceress created by Carl Barks. She constantly 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.
De Spell 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 ugly old hag usually associated with witches. Barks instead decided to create a witch who was young and beautiful, 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. Her primary motivation is to steal 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.
While she has worked with criminals such as The Beagle Boys to get Scrooge's Dime, Magica typically works with individuals such as a raven named Ratface in the comics and apprentices like Samson Hex, a bungling no-hoper. Magica's family members have also appeared in the comics, such as her grandmother Granny De Spell, who has been no more successful in obtaining the Number One Dime despite claiming to be one of the most powerful witches; her sister the Wicked Witch of the West; the Wicked Witch's mischievous daughter and son Witch Child and Warlock, who Magica is sometimes tasked with babysitting; another niece called Minima De Spell; and a cousin named Witch Matilda, who has served under Magica as an apprentice. Another character connected to Magica is Rosolio, a dim-witted goose who claims to be her fiancé despite always being rejected. He is supported in this by a grandmother of Magica's (separate from Granny De Spell) created in the Italian comics called Caraldina (original Italian name).
Magica has an odd relationship with Scrooge, which sometimes manifests itself as mutual attraction.[when?][clarification needed] For example, in the 1987 DuckTales episode "Till Nephews Do we Part", she and Poe are invited to and attend Scrooge's wedding. However, she has maintained an antagonist relationship with him and his family, such as Donald Duck, Huey, Dewey and Louie, Gyro Gearloose, Gladstone Gander, as well as Daisy Duck and her nieces.
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. 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 a greater disaster. According to the show, her brother is Poe De Spell, who was transformed into a raven and serves as her magical familiar – in reference to Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven"; replacing 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, Magica speaks with an English accent as she is voiced by Catherine Tate, former Doctor Who costar to David Tennant (who voices Scrooge McDuck in the new series). Within the reboot's storyline, Magica has a history with Clan McDuck and a vendetta against Scrooge after he sealed her physical body within his Number One Dime during a climactic battle atop Mount Vesuvius fifteen years prior to the start of the series. Throughout the first season, Magica manifested as a shadowy specter and forced her niece Lena De Spell (who is later revealed to be a familiar she created) to gain the Duck family's trust in order to acquire Scrooge's Dime and regain her body. While Magica eventually regained her corporeal form during an eclipse that occurred in the season one finale before proceeding to decimate Duckburg, she is defeated and forced to flee after being stripped of her powers by the combined efforts of Scrooge and his family destroying her staff. In the second season episode, "A Nightmare on Killmotor Hill!", Magica uses a telepathic helmet to invade Lena's dreams and get her powers back from her, though she is foiled once more and Lena destroys her helmet. In a later episode, "GlomTales!", she joins an alliance of Scrooge's greatest enemies (led by Flintheart Glomgold) in a joint effort to destroy Scrooge and his family. However, Glomgold ends up losing his fortune (as well as that of the other villains') to Louie Duck, causing the villains to turn on the former second richest duck in the world.
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
The 1987 DuckTales series introduces Magica's brother Poe (voiced Frank Welker), who has somehow transformed into a non-anthropomorphic raven, while maintaining his ability to speak. Although Magica has various transformation spells at her disposal, she is unable to turn Poe back into an anthropomorphic duck. In Poe's debut episode, "Send in the Clones", Magica explains that she needs the power of Scrooge's Number One Dime to restore Poe. His name is a reference to Edgar Allan Poe, and Poe often ends his stanzas with the word "nevermore", quoting the poem "The Raven".
Following "Send in the Clones", Poe reappeared in "Magica's Shadow War" and "Raiders of the Lost Harp". Outside these three DuckTales episodes, Poe's only other appearances are a couple of DuckTales comic book stories. Poe is not to be confused with Ratface, Magica's pet raven from the Uncle Scrooge comic books.
In "Magica's Magic Mirror" she mentions her great grandma Tragica.
The 2017 DuckTales reboot has yet to mention Poe, but it does introduce Magica's "niece" Lena (voiced by Kimiko Glenn) – who's eventually revealed to be a magically created shadow creature and Magica's spy. Even though Lena refers to Magica as her "Aunt", the sorceress is technically more comparable to her mother (in the creator/creation sense). During the series' first season, Lena meets Webby Vanderquack in order to gain access to Scrooge's Number One Dime so Magica can regain her corporeal form, but she slowly befriends her and later sacrifices herself to save her from Magica. During the second season, Webby manages to restore Lena, allowing her to exist independently of Magica. She's also revealed to have access to Magica's powers, which initially scared her due to the possibility of becoming her. With the help of her friends, she's able to overcome that fear and use her powers for good.
- Wells, John (2015). American Comic Book Chronicles: 1960-64. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 52. ISBN 978-1605490458.
- Blum, Geoffrey."The Meaning of Magica", Uncle Scrooge Adventures in Color, no.39, February 3, 1998
- "Creating New DuckTales Art with Mondo | Disney Insider". Oh My Disney. 2013-08-27. Retrieved 2019-08-18.
- Fahey, Mike (2013-03-22). "Of Course You Want to Watch Nearly Seven Minutes of DuckTales: Remastered". Kotaku. Retrieved 2012-03-22.