Power & Magic: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology
Joamette Gil (Editor)
Inside all queer people is magic. When honed correctly we can cast our magic out and spread a rainbow that can save others. One such spell has been cast and I have had the pleasure to have fallen under it. Power and Magic: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology (or Power and Magic for short) is that spell. This anthology joins the likes of other amazing grayscale anthologies like Chain Mail Bikini. After reading over 150 pages of fantastic empowering stories about queer people, magic, and witches, I am very ready to share this with you all.
Queerness is a factor that, now more than ever, is so important in our media. This book is all about giving queer people a chance to tell their stories while getting paid. It is a blessing every time a book like Power and Magic comes and puts a hex on me. This book’s got some of the most engaging short romance around, and all of them featuring lady types (aka folks on the feminine spectrum of gender, all the way to bigender) loving other lady types. Even when romance isn’t a story’s theme, the queerness is defined. I never thought I would want characters that share so little time together on panels to smooch, but even short little scenes had me wanting cute characters to get together.
The queerness isn’t the only area of inclusivity that Power and Magic infuses into its stories—it is also a widely diverse book. This isn’t Marvel diversity either; We’re talking about women and non binary people of color expressing themselves in fantasy. You get to see so many different perspectives and cultures enchanting every story. As a collection of stories, it expresses queerness in so many wonderful ways, from talking about gender, to anxiety, to new romance, to death, to new beginnings. It’s a book where every member’s unique contribution radiates this empowering force I have almost never felt in a comic before.
I don’t think I have ever felt so fully represented without having to write a story myself. There was something that had me spellbound in every page of brown girls casting spells. This experience was simply unlike any other. Free of the continuity of a long, ongoing plot, the book is just a series of beginning middles and ends—short stories that for the most part flow fantastically into each other. These stories are unified by the loose themes of queerness and magic that give them this nice sense of unity with one another. It’s a pleasure to finish one great one and then still feel that “just one more” rush.
I said “for the most part,” because this anthology did have one small issue. There was a story about death, sad but very well done, that was followed by what I would call the book’s most artsy piece. Since it didn’t use words and had a lot going on, it didn’t manage to reset the tone for me and it left me more confused and expecting bad things. I think I would have maybe gotten just a bit more from the story if it was placed elsewhere.
That said, this book has no story I would call bad; every single piece is stunning in at least one regard, but often in every regard. The art in each story is fantastic, showcasing so many stunning artists who need to get more and more paid comics work. You can go from Coco Candelario’s amazing, almost animated looking style to the striking lines of Nivedita Sekar. The power is really in how each art style so handily enchants the story inside, showing off each artist or creative teams strengths at their best. The unique stylings make stories like “Capture The Stars” just that extra bit of charming where the love and joy simply burst out of each page.
The anthology also includes one of the most important little touches I actually missed on my first time reading: in the table of contents we have a content warning list next to each story with content that could upset the audience, or worse. In stories that bring so much joy in a book I will be picking up whenever I want to feel inspired, having that content warning is great; it will allow me to just avoid things that may spoil my mood. However, it’s bigger than just mood spoiling; it will actively help protect readers who could be be impacted horribly by particular themes.
Power and Magic will put a spell on you and now your its. Luckily you won’t need special magical phrases or ingredients to get it. You can go on Gumroad and buy it for freaking 10 dollars. I believe strongly in considering a consumer’s dollars and 10 dollars for this is a steal considering what joy I got from every single page. You pay less than a dollar a story there! Sadly getting it physically is a bit harder since it is a Kickstarter book, but it does retail for 20 dollars if you can find it and I think that’s such an amazing price. Its official physical release is in April so it might be up when you read this but when reviewing copies were not around for the general public to fill kickstarter orders first.
I feel like I want to say so much more but I also want to say nothing more. I don’t want to spoil the contents inside. I want to let the readers experience every story. I will say “Fluid” by Veronica Agarwal was particularly powerful to me as a nonbinary trans lady. It’s hard to boil Power and Magic down since it gives so many things in its pages, but overwhelmingly I feel hope reading the book. Not every story is happy but every story makes me feel hope. Not just hope for the character but for a brighter tomorrow in comics. These people poured their hearts out and I hope my review can convey part of what editor Joamette Gil’s masterpiece did for me. Give this comic a shot and embrace your own power and magic.