The Magic Geox comic series is often underappreciated and overlooked. This is especially the case with issue 12 of the series. This issue, titled Magic Geox and…the School of Magic, manages to blend subtle societal commentary with deep, complex characters in a unique setting combining magic and technology with a dash of superheroics. It also reveals much about our hero Magic Geox’s character flaws, and does so with grace on the level of Kino’s Journey.
The story begins on a world called Planet Magix III where a group of young wizard apprentices are tasked with creating shoes that are all but devoid of odor, a practical exercise fitting for a final exam from one of the most prominent magic planets in the galaxy. The young wizards-to-be, in their attempt to find a solid solution to their problem, inadvertently unleash an ancient and terrible pair of demonic shoes with a pungent aroma so foul that they are actually able to control other smelly footwear through the power of their combined stench. Ultimately, it is up to Magic Geox to descend from space and use his advanced technology to put an end to the evil shoes.
It is in this issue that we begin to truly see the level of hatred Magic Geox has for odiferous shoes. Though he hides it well with a smile, and a look of confidence, the sublime artwork really conveys the obsession inherent in Magic Geox.
A lot can be said about the symbolism strewn throughout the story, but three main points come to mind.
1) The young magicians are eager to solve their problem without thinking through the consequences, and their mistake balloons and goes out of control to the point that not even the adults in their community can handle it. This speaks to a growing paranoia in our society that children are growing up faster than their parents and guardians can keep up with, and even those with the power to control matter itself cannot entirely understand the minds of children.
2) Magic Geox is himself a technological being who arrives on a backwater “magical world” in order to save it from the perils caused by its own people. In this sense, Magic Geox is not unlike a Christ figure. Though he uses technology, he chooses to have the word “Magic” in his name, as if to say that his abilities, man-made as they may be, can still cause miracles. It does not appear to be hubris or conceit however, but rather true faith in his cause.
3) The demon shoes themselves possess sharp teeth placed in such a way that if one were to actually wear them as shoes, the pain would be immense despite at first seeming to be very comfortable. When one realizes that the “stink trails” that emit from these shoes are just creatively disguised smog clouds, it is clear that these shoes are a metaphor for pollution caused by industrialization, an interesting contrast to the promotion of technology inherent in Magic Geox’s presence. Much like Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa and Princess Mononoke, this comic wants to show both sides to a situation.
Overall, Magic Geox and…the School of Magic is an ambitious work. Its main flaw may be that it is so densely packed with content in every page and panel that it becomes a difficult read. However, this is also what makes it worth revisiting time and time again.