Zatanna is one of those characters who hasn’t been fully explored in television and movies.  Yes, she had three episodes in Smallville but is that enough?  The Mistress of Magic is an interesting enough character and could easily tie in to a Justice League Dark or Swamp Thing movie.  Let’s get Zatanna on the big screen, JJ Abrams!  

Detective Comics 336Enough begging, on to her first appearances in comic books.  One of the weirdest quirks regarding Zatanna’s first appearances is related to Detective Comics #336.  The story from February 1965 has a gnarly old witch fighting Batman and Robin throughout the story.  There are no clues in the story that this is Zatanna like backward speaking or talking about her father.  Two years later in Justice League of America #51, Zatanna explains that she was disguised as the witch to find her father, Zatara.  We never see Zatanna out of the witch costume, so we have a special designation for Detective Comics #336.  We are calling this book a “Retroactive Continuity Appearance of Zatanna” instead of a numbered appearance.  

Here are her first 12 appearances in order as I did with Harley Quinn Appearances.

Order Issue Date Cover Artist
1st Hawkman #4 10/1964 Murphy Anderson Cover
Retcon Detective Comics #336 2/1965 Carmine Infantino Cover
2nd The Atom #19 7/1965 Gil Kane Cover
3rd Green Lantern #42 (vol. 2) 1/1966 Gil Kane Cover
4th Detective Comics #355 9/1966 Carmine Infantino Cover
5th Justice League of America #51 2/1967 Mike Sekowsky Cover
6th The Flash #198 – 1st Solo Story 6/1970 Gil Kane Cover
7th Justice League of America #87 2/1971 Neal Adams Cover
8th World’s Finest #207 11/1971 Curt Swan Cover
9th World’s Finest #208 12/1971 Neal Adams Cover
10th Adventure Comics #413 12/1971 Bob Oksner Cover
11th Adventure Comics #414 1/1972 Bob Oksner Cover
12th Adventure Comics #415 2/1972 Bob Oksner Cover



The Atom 19Shockingly, DC didn’t put Zatanna on many of those early appearances.  She appears on only four covers out of the first 12 appearances. 

The Atom #19 as a floating head for her 1st cover appearance
Green Lantern #42 in the damsel in distress pose
Justice League of America #51 engulfed in flames
Adventure Comics #413 as a floating head, again

Based on the lack of covers you would think that DC was ashamed of the Magician Zatanna.  When DC Super-Stars of Magic #11 came out 13 years after her first appearance, she finally got a great cover.  Thank you, Gray Morrow.  Since then she has had several fantastic covers.


by Ron Cloer