Be advised, Hocus Pocus, the new comic from Rik Worth, Professor Richard Wiseman and Jordan Collver will mess with your mind. Not only does it present a fascinating look into the history or mediums, psychics and para-psychology through the ages, but it will also read your mind!
From the very first page, Hocus Pocus is a truly mind blowing read. On the surface it is the story of three very different, but equally eminent, characters from the world of para-psychology, however there are secret machinations afoot within every page! We start with Washington Irving Bishop a Victorian mind reader who ends up meeting a sticky end due to an unfortunate case of catalepsy; then there’s J.B. Rind, the father of parapsychology who attempts to commune with a horse (and who created those shape cards we saw Peter Venkman use in Ghostbusters!) see him achieve infamy; and finally Alexander – The Man Who Knows – a wealthy mentalist who managed to escape conviction for various crimes due to his high profile and excessive wealth.
This mix of stories from a bygone age work well together. The characters are suitably over the top and entertaining in their own right, yet they also give us enough of a peak behind the curtain to really feel like we are discovering the secrets of their art. The balance between larger than life characters and fraudulent showmen are delicately balanced and you end up with a fascinating and often hilarious read that doesn’t get bogged down in the minutiae of what they said and did, but concentrate on telling a good entertaining story first and foremost.
This is definitely helped by the gorgeous artwork and panel designs from artist Jordan Collver. His artwork has a wonderful vintage style to it, which is perfect for this semi-historical piece. While he has the detail and gravitas to carry off the historical elements, he also has the cartoonish quality of someone like Roger Langridge, giving the characters expressive faces (especially in the story about Washington Bishop) that as well as some beautifully designed pages and panels helps to really tell the story in a visually appealing and engaging way. He is ably assisted with some outstanding colour work from Owen Watts (Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel), who uses a glorious mix of very contemporary colours such as purples, greens and pinks to create a very stylish and modern book that makes it feel like it could be published by a publisher like Avery Hill or Down and Quarterly.
In any other comic, these three wonderfully written and beautifully drawn stories alone would normally be enough to satisfy our appetite and create a wonderful comic, yet there is more! Thanks to creative consultant Professor Richard Wiseman being the driving force on this book (he is a genuine psychology professor who has worked with illusionist Derren Brown), he, Worth and Colver manage to hide small clues and riddles within each story which use simple psychological tricks to help read your mind or direct the story in ways you don’t expect. It really helps to add an extra dimension to this already wonderful read and makes you think even more about the inventive and manipulative tricks which psychics have used throughout the ages. (And have now used to hoodwink you as well!)
This is an utterly magical read, and one made even better by the fact it is free to download digitally, so you have no excuse for checking it out. (You can pay for a print copy as well if you wish). After reading this review you won’t need to read our mind to know what we think about Hocus Pocus. (We just hope they haven’t included some sneaky psychological trick in there to make us love this book). However even if they did we wouldn’t mind, as we still think this is one of the msot inventive and gorgeous comics we have read this year and think you would be out of your mind not fall under it’s spell!