I’m looking for magic school-type content to fill the void of Harry Potter. I’m trying to distance myself from the fandom for now. I follow comic writer Daniel Barnes on Twitter and he was posting about a graphic novel he wrote called The Black Mage. Barnes describes The Black Mage as a Harry Potter meets The Boondocks. The Black Mage is the diverse magical school world I wanted to read about.
Tom Token is invited to attend St. Ivory Academy, a Wizarding school floating above the land. Tom is the first Black student in the school as St. Ivory wants to be more inclusive. As Tom attends school, he is met with racism right away from various students and teachers. As Tom explores the school, he finds evidence that he may not have been the first Black mage as he once believed. If that’s the case, what happened to the other Black mages who attended the school?
The Black Mage touches on racism in a way that many fantasy stories don’t. It begins with Tom hearing about various unrealistic stereotypes applied to Black mages. The racism increases steadily leading to a violent vendetta. I find it hard to believe that a Wizarding society wouldn’t have racism and The Black Mage writes about what this could look like. In addition to writing about racism in this wizarding society, St. Ivory has ties back to the Civil War and how various Civil War heroes were mages. I liked seeing Harriet Tubman casting spells.
I liked the art in The Black Mage. It seemed to draw inspiration from manga in the way the characters were drawn. It also reminded me of fighting games because when Tom would release a spell, there would be a “Boom” or a “Miss” above the panel.
The Black Mage was an adventurous and fun magic story. It’s nice to see other magical Wizard-type stories with more diversity than Harry Potter ever had. I rated The Black Mage four stars on Goodreads.