Real Name: Zatanna Zatara
Voiced by Jennifer Hale
The daughter of Zatara the Magician, Zatanna splits her time between fighting crime and entertaining crowds in Las Vegas as a stage magician. Fortunately, her magickal abilities, which she utilizes by pronouncing each word of her spells backwards, can easily be used for both.
Dini on Zatanna’s appearance on Batman:
had to learn to be an escape artist from someone, and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t
it be great if he learned from
Bruce Timm on Zatanna (circa 1998): “We wanted to make sure [that] any superhero guest stars would make sense within the context of the Batman show. So we played Zatanna’s down and made her more of a David Copperfield-type of magician so that she had a bit more realistic framework for her appearance (courtesy of Wizard Magazine).”
Paul Dini on Zatanna (circa 2002): “Zatanna is one of the most powerful magic users in the [DC Universe]; she's right up there with Dr. Fate, Tim Hunter, and [Felix] Faust in terms of mystic ability. Anything she can visualize she can make happen, largely through mental focus and will power. She does chant spells and mystic commands backwards as a way of invoking significant magical effects, but she's so adept at sorcery that she can often do smaller things, such making objects move around by themselves with just a look or a gesture. I wanted her own world to be filled with magic, some [of] which is explained in detail, some of which is never mentioned. That's the nature of a magician anyway; they never explain all their tricks.
“I think of Zatanna as a generally benevolent person in an otherwise dark world. She lives equally in the worlds of show business, sorcery, and celebrity; and through a combination of a strong belief in herself, a mastery of her power, and being a genuinely nice person, she gets through okay. That's not to say she doesn't have her dark or down moments; rather, she never allows herself to give into them for too long. Whereas other magic users with shorter tempers wouldn't hesitate to use their powers to settle every argument, Zatanna usually tries to reason things out first before she reaches for her wand. Still, she does display a mischievous sense of humor from time to time, especially when handing out some karma to a deserving jerk.
“Zatanna may be able to create miracles on stage or go toe-to-toe with an evil demon, but magic doesn't necessarily solve every problem, especially when it comes to juggling a hectic performing schedule or dealing with old boyfriends. In that regard, she's not so different from the rest of us in that the same problems that are a part of our everyday lives are her problems, too. She's somewhat of a workaholic and, as a result, is often lonely. Dating is hard, even for stunning female magicians. She has to run a career, a staff of employees, and her home life by herself and that sometimes gets to her. She also has to deal with insecurities, hateful rivals, and the fact that Tony Bennett makes a lot more than she does when they both play Tahoe. Okay, relatively few people have to deal with that last one (courtesy of The Pulse).”
Paul Dini on Zatanna (circa 2004): “I always liked the character and liked writing her on Batman and Justice League and, occasionally, I would throw her into Gotham Girls when I was doing those. I was [also] going to do a series of Vertigo one-shots with the character. I did one and then, due to time [restraints] and some concerns with DC for the character to appear elsewhere, I had to suspend that. At some point I may go back and write more about her.
“[The Justice League Unlimited episode] does kind of get into the relationship with Batman and Zatanna [again], with friends merging toward something else and then going back to friends again. It does kind of examine their relationship. [In addition, the episode also features] a mystical throw-down between Circe and Zatanna. [...] She's kind of on a par with Dr. Fate, so you see major magic from her (courtesy of [website name removed]).”
Bruce Timm on Zatanna’s famed fishnet stockings: “Sadly, no fishnets—I’m afraid someone would have to spend a fortune creating a special ‘mapping’ CG program for it to be done adequately in animation. Take my word for it, they’re hard enough to draw in a still image! The grayish, ‘nylon’ color was the best compromise we could come up with (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Alan Burnett on Zatanna (circa 1998): “Paul Dini wanted to use Zatanna because he’s secretly in love with her. It’s something we try not to talk about too much (courtesy of Wizard Magazine).”
Commentary coming soon!
Images courtesy of Toon Zone and Comic Art Fans.
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