The Magicians #1: Preview of Boom! The next studio spin-off series

The world of Lev Grossman magicians ushers in a new era of sorcery next month as Boom! Studios opens admission records on a controversial class of self-taught wizards in Magicians #1 — and SYFY WIRE has an engaging look at the first issue as well as a conversation with its architect.

Arriving on stage from November 6, this five-issue original miniseries reunites series creator Grossman with award-winning writer Lilah Sturges and acclaimed artist Pius Bak following their successful release on The Magicians: Alice’s Story graphic novel earlier this year. This new series takes place in The Magicians’ The Fantasy Universe features the primetime academic appearance of the next generation of magickal practitioners headlined by the rogue Hedge Witches.

The story takes place several years after Quentin Coldwater and his friends graduate from Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, as Dean Fogg welcomes a historic group of students to the prestigious university – the very first class of hedge magicians who perform unauthorized forms of magic. But the student body of classical magicians isn’t exactly thrilled to have the rule-breaking outcasts in their cherished classrooms, and tempers flare as the two sides go head-to-head to prove their superiority, not realizing not that a menacing new evil force has emerged to threaten them all.

“Obviously it had its genesis in Lilah and my work in Alice’s Story“, Grossman tells SYFY WIRE about the evolution of this latest adventure. “It’s interesting to share magicians universe with other people and collaborate in it. It was the whole process with the TV show and I learned to start all over again with the comic… It was very clear that Lilah as a writer can improvise in magicians world in a way that feels very authentic and integral with the books. Once we all realized she could do it and Pius could be there with her, it only made sense for her to start creating her own characters and stories.”

His and Sturges’ story begins in Brakebills with Dean Fogg still there, so they haven’t strayed too far from the books timeline.

“Circumstances have conspired to create a few openings in one of the classes, and Fogg decides to fill them with Hedge Witches,” Grossman explains. “He brings in these people, who have always been the kind of [the] below the magical, messy and chaotic and anarchic world, where Brakebills is this tedious and orderly ivory tower. Obviously, the combination of these two opposite worlds is instantly harmonious and nothing bad happens as a result. [Laughs.] This clash provides an opportunity to explore tensions that we’ve never really addressed in the books.”

Grossman thinks Pius Bak’s captivating art on this project reflects the team’s added freedom.

“The first time I saw pencils coming from him, I felt this greater freedom – the characters are so expressive and I noticed a change, especially in the appearance of magic” , he recalls. “It’s very striking and it has this reality that Pius can do. Supernatural or unreal things, when he draws them, have this texture and weight that makes them very real and you really see that in these pages.”

Seeing magicians going beyond novels, to the small screen, and then into comics and graphic novels has been a rewarding experience for Grossman.

“I’m a huge comic book fan,” he reveals. “That’s kind of what I came out of as a creator and I had never been able to do comics before, for many reasons. I hadn’t had much success as a writer fiction until magicians. It was something new for me and I really found my voice with it. To see him continue like this is incredibly special and quite emotional for me.”

Check out our exclusive preview of the first issue in the full gallery below. Magicians #1 is featured with a main cover by Qistina Khalidah, as well as the first in a series of special tarot card variants by artist Alexa Sharpe (buffy the vampire slayer) spotlighting an all-new magician as a Hierophant. The first issue arrives November 6.

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Brian L. Hartfield