Magica De Spell
is a fictional character
of the Scrooge McDuck universe
, a witch
created by Carl Barks
. She constantly steals or attempts to steal Scrooge McDuck
's Number One Dime
, which she believes will play a vital role in magically obtaining the same fabulous wealth of its owner.
The Sorceress first appeared in "The Midas Touch"
, first published in December, 1961. According to Barks, he intended to create her as another recurring antagonist for Scrooge, in addition to The Beagle Boys
and Flintheart Glomgold
. But in contrast to Witch Hazel
of Trick or Treat
, first released on October 10
, or Mad Madam Mim
she would not be in the image of the old hag usually associated with witches. He wanted to create a youthful and attractive enchantress, so he took inspiration for her look from Italian actresses Gina Lollobrigida
and Sophia Loren
. He also wanted her to be seductive, amoral, and somewhat threatening. In a later interview, Barks identified a similar figure from the comic strips
of Charles Addams
as another source of inspiration for Magica, namely Morticia Addams
of The Addams Family
, the malevolent fairy
from Walt Disney
's Sleeping Beauty
, first released on January 29
, has been suggested as a third source of inspiration (the latter widely regarded to be one of the most visually impressive characters appearing in Disney's films, along with Chernabog
All in all, Barks drew nine stories with Magica: The Midas Touch in 1961; Ten-Cent Valentine, The Unsafe Safe, and Raven Mad in 1962; Oddball Odyssey, For Old Dime's Sake, and Isle of Golden Geese in 1963; The Many Faces of Magica de Spell and Rug Riders in the Sky in 1964. In the latter, Barks tried to increase the usability of the character by having plots turn on other magic artifacts, here a flying carpet, not always having to repeat the joke about Scrooge's first coin. Presumably dissatisfied, later claiming that Magica "demanded a strong plot", he did not use her after 1964. Later writers have been perfectly happy to have her eternally pursuing the Number One Dime. Italian Duck artists picked up the character already in 1962. In italian comics, her name is Amelia; the German translations, keeping up with the tradition of same-intial first and last names, call her "Gundel Gaukeley", with "Gaukelei" (sic) originally meaning "jugglery", but also commonly associated with magic tricks.
According to Barks and his successors, Magica lives on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius
, next to Naples
. Her primary motivation is to steal Uncle Scrooge's Number One Dime
and melt it in the fires of the volcano to turn it into a powerful magical amulet, capable of granting the Midas Touch
She sometimes teams up with The Beagle Boys or her best friend and sometimes housemate Mad Madam Mim. She also has a raven named Ratface in the comics. Other characters closer to Magica include her grandmother, Granny De Spell, who, although claiming be one of the most powerful of witches, has been no more successful in obtaining the Number One Dime. There is also her niece, Witch Child (Séraphine Sorcerette in French, Nocina Maghetta in Italian, Wanda in German) a mischievous little girl witch who can be a playmate and a thorn in the side of Huey, Dewey and Louie, depending on the story. Magica even has an apprentice, Samson Hex, a bungling no-hoper. There's also Rosalio, a dim-witted goose, who claims to be her fiancé. He is supported in this by Granny DeSpell, but always rejected by Magica. Magica has an odd relationship with Scrooge, sometimes even manifesting itself in mutual attraction.
Unlike other people who think the Number One Dime
to be a lucky charm
, Magica doesn't believe it to be the source of Scrooge's wealth, but Scrooge's wealth to be the source of the dime's powers, as she only tries to steal it because it's the first coin ever earned by the richest duck (or man) on Earth. It can be noticed when she steals the dime but gives it back when she realized she somehow caused the dime to lose such status. Examples of such stories are Of Ducks and Dimes and Destinies
, when she travels in time to steal the dime in the very same day Scrooge earns it and gives it back after realizing that by preventing Scrooge from owning the dime, she would turn it into a coin that never belonged to him, or A Little Something Special
, when she teams up with Flintheart Glomgold
and the Beagle Boys
in a plan made by Blackheart Beagle
. She gives the dime back after realizing Scrooge wouldn't be the richest man on Earth after the Beagle Boys steal his money. In Carl Barks's "Ten-Cent Valentine", it's revealed she believes the dime must stay in one piece until she finally melts it or the spell won't work. Huey, Dewey and Louie
trick Magica into thinking it was destroyed by a meat grinder.
Magica was also a semi-regular on the animated television
, where she was voiced by June Foray
(using a similar Eastern European accent to that of Natasha Fatale
from Rocky & Bullwinkle
). Magica appears mostly in first season episodes of the show. Her only appearance in the second season is in the episode "The Unbreakable Bin"
. Although she appears as one of the series' major villains, she is frequently a source of comic relief: In Magica's final scene in the series, for example, she attempts to send Scrooge's "tin man back to OZ", but is herself sent elsewhere in a whirlwind when a Quackenyeeken Yeeker bird yeeks in fear, causing her jar of magic dust to break open and carry her away. Scrooge exclaims, "One thing about Magica--she always knew how to make an exit." On more than one occasion her plan to obtain Scrooge's dime backfires so spectacularly that she is forced to work with Scrooge to prevent greater disaster. According to the show, her brother is Poe De Spell
, who was transformed into a raven and serves as her magical familiar — this is an obvious reference to Edgar Allan Poe
's poem "The Raven
." Poe replaces Ratface from the comics. A similar reference had already been established in the German versions of Magica comics, where her raven is called "Nimmermehr" ("Nevermore"), referring to the most recognizable keyword from Poe's poem.
Sometimes Magica antagonizes Donald Duck and his nephews when they are not with Scrooge. She has also antagonized Gyro Gearloose, Gladstone Gander, Daisy Duck and her nieces on occasion.
In the italian DuckTales, Magica (named Amelia in Italian
) is dubbed with a strong neapolitan accent.
A lot of Magica's relatives appear in Italian stories.
- Nanny Calandrina (Nonna Calandrina), Magica's grandmother
- Rosolio, Magica's cousin
- Minima and Streghella, her nieces
- Matilda, Magica's teenager cousin
- Adelia, Magica's fairy cousin