Okay, here’s the thing. I came to comic books late in life. Despite my current squishy appearance, I lived an active childhood that had me outside climbing trees from dawn until dusk. There was this humongous mulberry tree behind our house that grew out of the hill, and I was obsessed with it. I spent most of childhood climbing around in its branches, eating berries, and making up stories about me and my friends living in a network of tree houses like the Swiss Family Robinson. It wasn’t until I moved to Philadelphia in my mid twenties and met a swath of nerdy people that I started to get interested in comics. My brother-in-law, Megan-Anne’s husband, introduced me to Vertigo’s Fables and Unwritten, and they were like a gateway drug for me. Which means that most of my knowledge of peripheral superheros like Zatanna comes from cartoons like Young Justice, Batman the Animated Series, Justice League Unlimited, or Batman Brave and the Bold.
TL;DR – I’m sorry everything I know about the lesser known superheroes comes from cartoons.
But not sorry enough to let someone else take the wheel. You’ll probably get tired of me saying this by the end of the year, I already talked about it in the Shazam post, but I don’t care. Young Justice was a fantastic cartoon. It took them a few episodes to find their sea legs, but considering that you can binge it on Netflix, you can knit through the set-up episodes. Watch it, my fellow knitting nerds.
Alright, so. Here’s what I know about Zatanna Zatara, other than the fact that she wears a sexy magician’s outfit with a super cool top hat.
Her ancestors are cooler than yours.
Zatanna is a direct descendant of the famed artist Leonardo da Vinci, who was a magician in the DC universe. She is also related to the prophet Nostradamus and the alchemist Nicholas Flamel.
Hex Appeal: The Modern Girls Guide to Magic
I ran into this fact when I was trying to remember something someone told me before about her dating Constantine. After Zatanna left the Justice League, she wrote a successful book on how to use magic. The name of her book gets me every time. I can’t help but giggle. That title could be the catch phrase of her gritty CW television show, and I would watch it shamelessly.
Her boyfriend killed her dad.
I was right. She did date John Constantine, and their stable relationship ended after he accidentally burned her father alive. Kind of a deal breaker, right?
Her origin story reminds me of Supernatural meets the the Dresden Files.
Jim Butcher must’ve been a fan, because there are a few similarities between her and Harry Dresden. Raised by her stage magician father after her mother seemingly died during childbirth, Zatanna Zatara became a successful stage illusionist before she discovered her true magical powers while investigating the disappearance of her father. Sounds pretty familiar, eh? Unlike Harry Dresden though, both of Zatanna’s parents were from the magical race of people known as the Homo Magi. And as a side note, Zatanna eventually discovers that her mother faked her death to return to her magical peeps.
Her list of abilities is ridiculous.
We’re talking elemental control, telekinesis, telepathy, teleportation, dimensional travel, and a whole lot more. But, what makes it adorably delightful instead of just another obnoxiously overpowered superhero is the fact that she has to say the incantations backwards in order to execute them. I don’t know why, but you just can’t fault someone when they have to say, “Egnahc sehtolc otni ruo smrofinu,” which loosely translates to, “Change clothes into our uniforms,” just to transmogrify her and Artemis’s clothing into their superhero outfits. That takes a lot of brain power to turn those words around on the fly. She’s hardcore.
Whether you’re knitting, crocheting, or cross stitching this square, you can download the Zatanna pattern here. Instructions and charts for both knit and crochet are listed in the pattern. When you’re finished making it, don’t forget to Instagram your squares at us @lattesandllamasyarn with the hashtag #geekalong!
If you’re having trouble with double-sided knitting, we have a how-to video here and a tutorial on crochet here. Want to hang out with other people making the blanket? You can find moral support in the Geek-A-Long group on Ravelry here.
I’m not kidding. Netflix should turn her origin story into a mini-series. I would watch the HEX out of that.
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