The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005
Zatanna, The Magician
DC Comics, first appeared in 1964.
In 1964, DC Comics considered reviving their old magician hero Zatara (see next entry). Instead they created a new character, his daughter Zatanna.
According to the plot-line, 14 years after Zatara’s mysterious disappearance, his daughter comes looking for him. She knows little about him or his disappearance but during the search, in which she is aided by various superheroes including no less than Batman, Zatanna discovers her own magic powers. Just like her father, by speaking backwards she can create wonderful, powerful magical transformations.
Zatanna was revolutionary because she is a female character who conforms to the theme of the illusionist who is really a magical practitioner in disguise. Like the medieval sorcerers, that type of conjurer is virtually always identified as male. (And for good reason: men do dominate the field of illusionists, most of whom today are genuinely only illusionists.) (See HALL OF FAME: Black Herman Rucker; Jan Eric Hanussen.)
Zatanna adapts the costume of the traditional male stage magician to suit herself, including top hat, tuxedo jacket with tails, high heels, and fishnet stockings. Zatanna made periodic appearances during the years as a guest star in various series including Batman, Hawkman and The Green Lantern. (She is a member of DC’s Justice League.) The circumstances of her birth remained unrevealed until 1980. Without revealing any secrets, let’s just say she inherited many magic powers from her mother’s side too.
Eventually Zatanna succeeds in rescuing her father from his magical imprisonment and comes into her own powers as a superhero. (In one story she journeys to the magical Breton kingdom of Ys. See DIVINE WITCH: Dahut.)