*Levitation — Recommended

Subtitled Physics and Psychology in the Service of Deception

Along with Jim Ottaviani’s Wire Mothers, this book initiates GT Labs’ new series exploring “the science of the unscientific”. This time, it’s an exploration of stage magic.

Levitation cover
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There’s a surprising amount of scientific knowledge needed to make impressive illusions work, and this book shows you how some of them accomplish their tricks. A good show requires experimentation ahead of time to make improvements and work out the bugs.

Then there’s the component of human nature. A brash American wants to buy the secret of the levitation trick from its developer, but his principles outweigh money, so much research and even a bit of gall is necessary to get the American what he wants. Toss in showmanship and a pretty girl or two, and voila! Magic! I never would have guessed that’s how the trick was done.

Janine Johnson’s art is lovely, with what looks like a watercolor wash giving everything an old-fashioned feel that’s well-suited to the material. Her panel choices are wonderful, balancing mid-range location images with close-up insets, often focusing on a magician’s hands. Figures are realistic, caught in the proper moment of action to give a feel of movement. It’s very easy to read, a sign of true skill. Like a magic trick, her art requires study to understand just how much work went into it; otherwise, the reader just follows along, enjoying the show.

Find out more at the publisher’s website or through this interview with the creators.

Levitation is now available for order through comic shops with Diamond code MAY07 3508. This review was based on a draft online preview copy.

2 Responses to “*Levitation — Recommended”

  1. Sci-Fi Zombie Cats » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Ottaviani, writer of true science graphic novels such as Wire Mothers, Suspended in Language, and Levitation, has a new Sunday comic strip appearing at […]

  2. SPX Impressions » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Ottaviani – Picked up Levitation, which is about the history of the levitating person magic trick. It’s a great book with tons of […]




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