Wizards of the Coast and IDW Publishing announced this week that, as part of the ongoing festivities surrounding the 25th anniversary of Magic: The Gathering, the franchise would be returning to American comics. Magic: the Gathering — Chandra No. 1, written by Vita Ayala (Supergirl, Wonder Woman, The Wilds, Submerged) with art by Harvey Tolibao (X-Men, Jean Grey, Green Arrow), will be available in stores this November.
The new book follows one of the card game’s signature characters, the planeswalker and pyromancer Chandra Nalaar, known to many casual Magic fans as “the one whose hair is on fire all the time.” The comic is set slightly ahead of the current story in the card game, and according to the official blurb for the first issue, picks up with Chandra “in the wake of a devastating loss.” She sets out on her own to prepare for her next challenge, and ends up dealing with both old and new threats.
According to Magic‘s senior art director Daniel Ketchum, being interviewed by comicbook.com, the new Magic comic is intended to be set in the same universe as the card game, but is intended to focus on different events than the game’s lore. Specifically, the comic will focus on exploring the Magic universe with Chandra as a viewpoint character, checking in on places and people that the game might not get back to soon, if ever.
Chandra marks the latest in a series of licensed comics for Magic, and the first new one in five years. The franchise’s history in comics began in 1995 with limited series and one-shots by Armada Comics, such as Arabian Nights, Antiquities War, Wayfarer, and Homelands. The line ended suddenly in 1996, as Armada’s parent company Acclaim started to run into financial trouble. The Portland-based independent publisher Dark Horse picked up the next Magic comics, a four-issue limited series by Mike Grell (Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters, Jon Sable: Freelance) called Gerrard’s Quest.
The California-based company IDW (the current home of the Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics, among many other licensed properties) took over publishing duties for Magic‘s comics in 2012, releasing a number of limited series focusing on a new character, Dack Fayden, planeswalker and thief. Chandra is the first new Magic comic in four years, since the final issue of Theros in early 2014.
The new comic is another Magic product intended to celebrate the line’s 25th anniversary, alongside the most recent Pro Tour and the recently released Masters 25 cards.