Zac Gorman’s put up the entirety of “The Magician and The Snake” online for us all to enjoy here. A very short story illustrated by the mighty Mike Mignola and co-written with his then-7-year-old daughter Katie, it won the Eisner the year it was published for Best Short Story. Thus making Katie the youngest Eisner winner ever. Reading it, one gets the joyous sensation of spontaneous creation that can only come from a child’s imagination, where it’s not second-guessing itself with things like “realism” or “plot logic.” Just, “what’s next?” and “what’s cool?” All great stories, I believe, still start like this. We just have to tap into that pool of imagination without bringing the “adult” parts with us. We can temper the inspiration we bring back, but we’ll be able to surprise ourselves again.
And for such a short tale, it still has an emotional punch. Giving that panel with the kite a sad sting, and especially that last page, is a skill of Mignola’s I’m always in awe of, even with such a flight of fancy as this. Remarkable.
“The Magician and The Snake” will be included in the forthcoming book The Amazing Screw-On Head & Other Curious Objects, collecting Mignola’s non-Hellboy-related short stories over the last several years. Needless to say, it’s gonna be good.