DR #93: Map Of Magic

Dear Reader,

Know what time it is, Reader?

Ok, yes, it is 12:00 Noon, but that’s not what I meant.

I meant it’s time for some more Adventures Into The Unknown

Map Of Magic

Oh, like the one Harry Potter’s dad made?

“But have you heard of the Map Maker who unknowingly brought to life ghoulish demons who had been dead for over 500 years?” Well no, comic book, I haven’t. If I had I wouldn’t need to read you, would I?

These guys look less “Demon” to me, more “Monastic Goblin Breakdance Troupe.” And they are ready to throw down. The redhead is right to be intimidated, I am certain she will find herself unable to step to their freshness.

I do love these title splash panels that every story starts with. I assume it’s because, when they were originally published, there would have been several stories in each issue, and so you couldn’t do a cover image for each one.

I know when I get frustrated, I like to stomp around the room yelling “Letters about comics, letters about comics, letters about comics!”

Better Go See Old Doc Singer

I hope his office door says ‘Old Doc Singer.”

It’s a good thing they went to see the Doctor, because otherwise how would they have explained the plot to each other? “Yes, your father went insane from the stress of making too many maps! Mapmakers Mania, is it’s called by no one ever. He probably totally suicided in his creepy old house in Maine. I don’t want the same to happen to you, so how about you go to the same creepy old house in Maine to recover from the stress of making too many maps, like he had?”

I Question His Medical Credentials

So Dave heads down to the seaside with… uh… hang on. What’s her name again?

Ok, I just looked back through the whole comic? Nobody’s ever mentioned this lady’s name. It’s on the next page–Marie, by the way–but it takes till page 3 of a 9-page-story to tell us what the love interest’s NAME is.

Which I suppose goes to show how much she’s only there to yell in shock and be rescued from things.

But as I was saying. Dave and Might-As-Well-Be-Named-Marie head down to the beach for some impromptu beachside mapmaking. Marie is just so amused by the very idea of making a map of a place that doesn’t exist! Sitting in one landscape, but thinking about a landscape that’s different? Why, whoever thought of such a thing?! Am I right, every fantasy novel ever?

Into The Map With You

But suddenly!

His father WASN’T insane, he’d merely discovered a magic ink that let you create a world by drawing a map of it! You know, as you do. Wasn’t that the premise of Myst?

Marie, clearly, knows what genre of comic she’s in, and wants to go back to the palatial beach house that her fiance can totally afford on a cartographer’s salary.

Dave, however, doesn’t think it’s even worth TRYING to go back.


Sweet Title Drop, Dave. Marie, you can’t just say things about a tree’s orientation like that. I know you’re from the fifties, but not cool.

Not Cool, Marie

But soon they come across a spooky castle. Before Marie has a chance to assume it’s gay, they hear a mysterious voice!

Wait, so, Dave’s missing father, the one who discovered the magic ink, is in this same Store Brand Narnia. So like… when Dad tried the ink, he just by chance imagined the same country to draw? Or does everyone in the country get pulled into whatever new version somebody happens to draw? Am I putting way more thought into this than the people who wrote it? Probably!


They follow the Voice of Dad up to the spooky castle, where Dave is an oblivious tool who doesn’t notice somebody’s Muppet Hands right the hell behind him. And so they’re grabbed by Orc Monks!

“They do not know resistance is useless against our otherworldly strength and cunning!”

“Well then thanks for announcing it to them, Brother Ugluk! It’s not like that was an advantage we were hoping to keep hidden or anything!”

“Ah, a perfect specimen! But her lipstick is misapplied, and her blush clashes with her natural skin tones! I will give HER a makeover MYSELF! And then take HER heart MYSELF! Just because she’s going to be sacrificed doesn’t mean she can’t look her best!”

Dad is disappoint. “Son–They DID get you. You’re just as much of a wuss as I remember.”

Let Her Alone, You Fiend!

So dad explains the plot, because that’s what people do in these comics. These orc guys are… alchemists. They made the magic ink to lure people into their world. Cartographers, specifically. He doesn’t explain why they’re green. Apparently being an alchemist just eventually turns you into an orc? Somebody warn the Elric brothers.

And why do they want to lure cartographers into their world, well…

Everyone knows that map makers have the best hearts! Are you in need of a living human heart to restore you to a full life? Do you want to bring your occult sorcery and supernatural powers to the 20th century? Do like your hearts pulsing? Living? Most importantly, human? Try Cartographer Hearts(™)!

The Orc Monks drag Marie off, and Dave completely fails to fight them. Seriously, Dave, don’t try to drop what I assume would have been a badass one-liner by fifties standards if you can’t follow through.

Does He Have Any Other Ideas?

Well, he did bring the map with him.

I mean, using the map to alter the world makes sense. I’m just not sure about the Giant Finger. If Dave looks up through this hole will there be a Giant Dave, looking up at an Even More Giant Dave, looking up at an Even More Giant Dave? Does the map contain a tiny version of itself?

But these comics, as a rule, are only interested in the implications of their fantasy ideas as an excuse for men to punch zombies and women to scream. It was a different time. A time when you could publish the phrase ‘David Jenning’s moist forefinger’ without fear of memesis.

Just Saying. These are the kind of shenanigans that an experienced DM does not let his players get away with.

Run Dave Run

Dave and Dad–who never gets a name, I now realize, and what the heck? The incompetent Doctor got a name, and he was only in two panels!–rescue Marie and make a run for it, but Dad gets left behind. And the Orc Monks have them cornered. I don’t know why Dave can’t just giant finger of doom them, but it’s apparently not an option.

To escape the evil alchemists who want to steal their hearts, they leap into the ocean. Because near, far, wherever they are, they believe that their hearts will go on. Once more they open the door… between worlds and escape back to Maine.

Ha ha! That gas station sergeant(?) is right! Ageless undead warlocks almost ritually murdered you, but your overreaction is hilarious!

So that was Map of Magic! I have to say I was disappointed, there was nothing about sacrificing it to search for a basic land and shuffling your library afterward.

RIP Brother Ugluk,

-The Guy Who Wrote This.

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