Mage Book One, the Hero Discovered, Volume One

Matt Wagner
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Dec 21, 2017

Matt Wagner's comic Mage: The Hero Discovered, originally published from 1984 to 1986, is a personal work that also taps into universal stories and themes. The main character, Kevin Matchstick, is modeled on Wagner himself (in the sequel series, Mage: The Hero Defined, published 1997-1999, Kevin Matchstick's hairline has receded much like Wagner's has) and the depression he speaks of in the first issue is the frame of mind Wagner was in when he began the comic. But that's where real life ends and fantastic heroism begins.

Kevin Matchstick, lonely, angry, feeling unimportant in our world, meets a mysterious, whimsical man in rags, encounters strange monsters, and finds himself in a world of magic and mythology, hidden in the shadows of our own world. Kevin tries to deny what he's been thrust into, but quickly realizes he can't turn away from the call to be a hero.

What could be a standard retelling of the Hero's Journey is made fresh by Wagner's smart writing and bold, dynamic art. Rereading it after many, many years, I've found it as delightful and uplifting as I did the first time around. It can be a little too wordy at times, but overall, Mage: The Hero Discovered is a terrific, classic comic.

Reviewed by Josh N.
See their Lists and Reviews in our Catalog!