Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Memories on the World of Magic: The Gathering

Collapse
X
Collapse

  • Memories on the World of Magic: The Gathering

    Magic: The Gathering Card BacksI was introduced to Magic: The Gathering in Spring of 1995…and as I remember it, that was within just a few weeks of the end of the Revised ("3rd") Edition. I'd missed Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Legends, and The Dark…and the then-current expansion was Fallen Empires.

    I was there for the arrival of 4th Edition, and the first new expansion I was there for was Ice Age. Shortly after, we got Chronicles, and I remember that the card I most wanted from that set was Chromium--the Elder Dragon. (Which I got in my first purchase of several boosters!) Those gave way to Homelands, which was the first/only set I ever got to get an entire booster box--I remember getting that as a Christmas present that year.

    I remember the release of Alliances, and Mirage…and remember being aware of Visions and then even Weatherlight…though as I recall it, I only got a few boosters of Alliances, and I think only a "starter deck" and a couple boosters of Mirage. (After that, my next cards were obtained through purchasing 10-cent common cards after the fact, to go with a couple of pre-constructed decks I'd bought (one for Tempest, one for Urza's Saga). These likely included Weatherlight, Visions, and whatever other sets had come out, but I'll get to that later).

    Magic: The Gathering NovelsI also remember some of the initial novels of Magic: The Gathering--particularly Arena and the "trilogy" of Whispering Woods/Shattered Chains/Final Sacrifice; Perhaps they weren't a trilogy in the sense of being branded as parts 1/2/3 or such, but they continued off one another and progressed the story as a trilogy. And it was that ongoing story and continuity that I especially enjoyed. I also remember the early comics, published by Acclaim (under their Armada imprint)--stuff like The Shadow Mage, Ice Age on the World of Magic: The Gathering, as well as comics for Fallen Empires, Antiquities War and a number of specials and such based on other sets or even particular cards (Nightmare, Fallen Angel, and Serra Angel come to mind).

    That summer was--if you'll pardon my acknowledging the initially unintended pun--a magical time for me. There were the card sets, there were comics, there were novels; I got to play the game casually with friends and occasionally at a store. The combination of enjoying the game, following the comics, reading novels, getting a couple of magazines (Inquest and Wizards of the Coast's own The Duelist) and so on made for an exciting, immersive experience.

    Unfortunately, the excitement and enjoyment of those first few months had largely faded by the following summer, hence basically only "dabbling" in Alliances and Mirage. I'd also--due to my friends group--shifted to another game, Spellfire (which to this day I hold as criminally under-rated, as it greatly improved with each release and came into its own right as it was getting canceled, after starting as a weak, pale shade of Magic).

    Magic: The Gathering ComicsThe entire realm of "collectible card games" (CCGs) or "trading card games" (TCGs) was still quite new, and there were so very many of the things that popped up trying to cash in on the "Magic model." I personally attempted to dabble in Doomtrooper (based on Mutant Chronicles) and Wyvern (a game of dragons and treasure), and was aware of many others (that I won't list and/or have roughly faded in memory) over the last 20+ years.

    Several years later, though, I came across a new book at the library: The Brothers' War. It was a new Magic: The Gathering novel, by Jeff Grubb. I remember digging the cover, and generally enjoying the book quite a bit. By that time, I'd read the "core" Dragonlance novels by Margaret Weis andTracy Hickman, and found that to be a favorite series, with far more depth to its world and continuity than the initial Magic novels. But this new Magic novel was less "fantasy tie-in" to the game and more the story of the game (such that it would be easy to see the cards as being based on the novel rather than the novel from the cards).

    I read it, enjoyed it, and life moved on. The next year, I wound up getting another novel--Planeswalker (the next in the sequence)--and enjoyed that one so much that I dove into the novel series, loving the rich story that brought the game to life in a way nothing else--even actually playing the game--had for me. Thanks to this "return" to the story/world of Magic, I dabbled with the cards again that next summer (2000); this was when I wound up with the 10-cent commons and pre-constructed decks.

    15 Magic: The Gathering cardsThe next year or so saw the release of Rath and Storm, Mercadian Masques, Nemesis, and Prophecy, and I believe it was Summer 2001 that Invasion hit, and essentially served as--along with Planeshift and Apocalypse--the culmination of the entirety of Magic: The Gathering's story up to that point. The very world all these stories had been set on was rocked to its core, impacted and transformed completely by events of the "Invasion Block." (I would say that what Avengers: Infinity War is to the Marvel Cinematic Universe now is what Invasion was to Magic then, at least story-wise).

    Unfortunately, with the story after all that going to new territory (setting and tonally), I stopped reading and it all went to the back burner in my life for a number of years.

    In late 2008, a friend got me to revisit the game briefly with an online version (Magic: The Gathering Online), and with the then-recent Time Spiral stuff, I also realized the novels were revisiting the main world all those stories I'd so lived was set on--Dominaria. So I ended up reading the Time Spiral novel that dealt with centuries-later consequences of some stuff that happened during that Invasion series, and even involved a villainous Nicol Bolas, which thrilled me, as here was a portrayal of an Elder Dragon in a way that seemed fitting for an Elder Dragon. Yet, life got in the way again, and I never got around to reading Planar Chaos or Future Sight, though I've since decided I really want to get back to those (an idea at war with whether or not I'll make the time to go back through the entire series of novels first or not).

    Magic: The Gathering novels on a shelfNearly a full decade after reading Time Spiral, I've once again found myself drawn back to the world(s) of Magic. I'd been impressed with art that I saw; I'd been noticing new sorts of packaged editions of the cards in stores like Target and Walmart that I found out were pre-constructed decks based around specific planeswalker characters; then for the heck of it--perhaps for old time's sake--I decided to splurge and buy a boxed set that seemed designed as its own game. Then I decided to buy several booster packs to see if that experience was like I remembered. Then on finding out there was a new set to be released within the week--where the story once more was returning to the original world of Dominaria, with the set named Dominaria, I found myself reading up on the game as it stands via the official site; listening to a lot of podcasts about the making of the game from the point of view of employees of Wizards of the Coast, watching numerous videos on YouTube about the game, and I think I'm on the cusp of checking out the weekly official events of Friday Night Magic at a local game store.

    But ultimately, when I look back across it all--Magic's 25 years, and specifically my 23 1/2 years of experiencing the brand myself--I find that it's the story that I've been most drawn to. There's also the vast quantity of art and imagery that goes with the story, and that's also something I've quite enjoyed. Funny, in a way, that it's taken writing all this to make the connection in my head: story and art working together to draw me into a rich fictional world that's lasted over two decades and seems ready to head into the 30-year range. Comics are story and art, that work together, and I've been drawn into numerous fictional worlds, some that have lasted over half a century.

    • Craig Reade
      #1
      Craig Reade commented
      Editing a comment
      I never got into Magic the Gathering... my CCG of choice ended up being the original Star Trek CCG. I dabbled in a few others, but nothing else ever came close to that level of spending. I remember how exciting it was to finally get a Future Enterprise, or how much I spent on that damned Kivas Fajo Collection...
    You must register in order to comment!

What Do You Think?

Collapse

Latest Articles

Collapse

  • DC Universe: Early Impressions
    Blake M. Petit
    It’s been a couple of weeks now since DC Universe, the new online streaming service, was launched. I’ve spent a good bit of time playing with it, and I know some people wanted to hear my thoughts, so I’m going to give you guys a quick rundown on the three major components of the service, going from the least satisfying to the most.

    First off, the movies. The movie selection is fairly small -- the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, the first two Christopher Nolan Batman movies, several of the animated films. Part of the issue here may be one of availability -- I have no idea who currently has the streaming rights to, for example, the two Swamp Thing movies, so it’s possible that DC couldn’t offer those even if they wanted to. But there are other things that they definitely DO have that aren’t there -- the Burton/Schumacher Batman movies, for example, were put on the site for two weeks following “Batman Day” on September 15, but were then removed on October 1. Why? They...
    10-03-2018, 02:00 PM
  • The Superhero Watch: X-Men Movies United (Part 2)
    Blake M. Petit
    In the beginning, there were Stan and Jack, and yea, they begat the children of the atom. And yea, it was good, And as always seems to happen with good things, eventually they made some movies out of them. In part one of this two-part installment of The Superhero Watch, we looked at the six movies (so far) that make up the main X-Men movie franchise. Today, in part two, we're looking at the three solo Wolverine films, the two adventures of Deadpool, and we glance ahead at the future of the 20th Century Fox X-Men universe once it moves over to its new overlords at the Walt Disney Global Media Consolidation Phalanx and Tiki Bar. And don't forget to read the previous installments focusing on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Spider-Man franchise, and the Superman films. And if you want to keep track of my progress in-between articles, there’s a Letterboxd list just for that purpose.

    The Wolverine Trilogy: X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), The Wolverine (2013), Logan (2017)....
    09-12-2018, 04:13 PM
  • The Superhero Watch: X-Men Movies United (Part 1)
    Blake M. Petit
    Before the MCU, before Spider-Man on the screen, and well after Howard the Duck, there was a different sort of Marvel Movie Universe. It wasn’t Marvel’s first hit -- that honor belongs to Blade-- but it was the series that redefined the superhero movie. In many ways, I don’t think the current dominance of superhero movies would exist if it weren’t for 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise. Today in the Superhero Rewatch Project (you’ll notice I dropped the “2018” -- I’ve resigned myself that there’s no way in hell I’ll finish this before the end of the year), we’re going to look at the eleven films that make up that universe thus far. And of course, feel free to read the previous installments focusing on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Spider-Man franchise, and the Superman films. And if you want to keep track of my progress in-between articles, there’s a Letterboxd list just for that purpose.

    The story of the X-Men films to date is the story of three trilogies, plus Deadpool....
    09-11-2018, 03:25 PM
  • Someone is Dying in the DCU, and Honestly, That's Okay
    Blake M. Petit
    In a few weeks we’re going to be treated to the first issue of Heroes in Crisis, DC’s latest event series, which is being promoted as a “murder mystery.” Sanctuary -- a hidden location in the DCU where heroes can go to recover from traumatic ordeals, both physical and emotional -- is supposed to be a safe place for champions, so someone getting killed there is a shocking concept. And DC is doubling down on the shock value, with the latest issue of DC Nation magazine proclaiming “in 21 days, one of these characters DIES!” and giving us the six candidates for the victim that will kick things off. These days, though, comic book characters die and come back to life with such regularity that it’s almost impossible to get worked up about it. Heck, one of the potential victims -- Tim Drake -- has already “died” and came back since the Rebirth relaunch two years ago. So it’s really hard to believe that this death, whoever the corpse-to-be is, is going to stick.

    But the more I think...
    09-06-2018, 05:02 PM
  • Fantastic Four #1: A Wonderful Welcome Home
    Blake M. Petit
    Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel Comics)
    By Dan Slott, Sara Pichelli, Elisabetta D’Amico, Marte Gracia, Simone Bianchi, Marco Russo, Skottie Young, Jeremy Treece & Joe Caramagna


    When Marvel cancelled Fantastic Four in 2015, with no plans to relaunch it yet, there was an uproar. Some people, some of those marvelously cynical people who live on the Internet, argued that nobody cared about the Fantastic Four anyway. But that’s clearly not true. The Fantastic Four is my favorite Marvel property. The Thing is my number two character in all of comics (after Superman). And having them missing from my life for three years has created a hole that’s just gotten bigger and bigger.

    In one issue, Dan Slott has made me feel like we’re finally coming home.

    Ben and Johnny, both still believing Reed, Sue, and the kids are dead, are trying to get on with their lives. Ben and Alicia are evaluating their relationship (as they often do), Johnny is palling around with...
    08-08-2018, 06:39 PM
  • In Which I Try to be a Ghostbuster
    danahammer
    When my friend suggested I come along on a real, live ghost hunt, my immediate and obvious reaction was “Fuck yeah!” The idea was, we would go to a haunted house, the homeowner would give us ghost hunting equipment, we would participate in a seance, and supernatural shenanigans would ensue.

    ”But you don’t even believe in ghosts,” said my husband, who often misses the point.

    ”So?”

    ”So, why do you want to go on a ghost hunt when you don’t believe in ghosts?”

    ”Um, if I have to explain to you why I want to pretend to be a ghostbuster, I don’t even know why we’re friends.”

    Anyway, the haunted house in question was supposedly the site of some gruesome murders that took place in the 1970s. The night of our ghost hunt was supposedly on the anniversary of those murders. (wooo-oooo!) Of course, after arriving at the house, I was skeptical. First of all, the house was built in the 1990s, which, for fall of...
    08-06-2018, 05:29 PM
Working...
X