Filing Cabinet of the Damned

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Ask a Super-Villain: The Magus

Negotiations to fulfill a reader’s request and engage Raoul Bushman in "Ask a Super-Villain" have broken down. His insistence on having final say over the published text, as well as his personal demands (e.g., a bowl of M&Ms with all brown ones removed; sixteen bottles of Evian, kept at exactly eleven degrees centigrade, etc.) led to an impasse.

Instead, Filing Cabinet of the Damned has located one of the true icons of comics, the Magus. Requesting he be paid only a large supply of Hostess Fruit Pies,* the Magus was more than willing to answer questions emailed in by readers.

Magus Mailbag

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“What is the deal with you and that afro?”
--The Amazing Popeman

As I’m sure you all know, I was the god of the Universal Church of Truth for five thousand years. Over those five thousand years, I found that nothing imparted greater awe from my worshippers than a giant purple afro. A close second: the comb-over.

“You’ve been worshipped as a god, erased from existence, been reborn, and nearly conquered the universe at least twice. What do you do now?”
--D. Campbell

I’ve backed off from the whole “mad god conquering the universe” gig. The stress was incredible, and the hours punishing. Now I live on a small farm in Vermont, where I produce fine jams and marmalades. I’ve also formed a folk trio, the Universal Church of Tunes. Our second CD, “Flippin’ Over Sunshine!” will be available later this year. The first album, "Viva Las Magus," is available from fine record stores everywhere.

You didn’t know the Magus sang, did you? Well, I do. I play a mean guitar, too. I work the Peter, Paul and Mary songbook better than any time-travelling synthetic man you'll ever meet.

“In the seventies, you were a key figure in a cosmic and involving story about faith, free will, ethics, and really cool hair. It’s still considered a classic. Then you came back in the nineties in a brainless story about blowing things up real good. Fans try to forget it was printed. You even lost the ‘fro. What happened?”
--M. Sterling

In the mid-nineties, my son, Magus Junior, was about to start college. At the same time, my daughter, Trish, had a lot of orthodontic expenses. When some fellows approached me with a dump truck full of cash and asked me to “act all villain-y” in some big event miniseries, I jumped at the chance.

You know, I never read the stories. Apparently they were crap. But I don't care. Magus Junior made it through college, graduated cum laude, and now has a great consulting job with Booz Allen Hamilton. Trish has a beautiful smile.

Sometimes you just have to take the work offered.

As for the afro, my agent suggested I go with the ponytail for my comeback. It was the mid-nineties. Afros were out, ponytails were huge.

For those wondering, I’m back to the afro. The ladies love it.

“You’re the future version of an existing super hero. Sorta. Then you didn’t exist. Then you became a portion of your foe’s consciousness, given life. Then you became some sorta ghost-thing. Seriously, dude, WTF?”
--G. Burgas

Tell me about it. My therapy bills are beyond belief.

Like a lot of people, my problems began with my family. I started out as a synthetic person, built by a bunch of scientists called “the Enclave,” trying to create “the perfect man.” It worked. Though I immediately decided the scientists were a bunch of jerks and flew off. For a while, I was a cosmic super hero guy called “Adam Warlock.”

This is enough to give anyone issues. Three fathers? The pressure to be “perfect?” The name “Warlock?” Then there was my messiah complex, which was only made worse by my actual crucifixion, death and resurrection.**

But it doesn't end there. Oh no no no.

After a few years of bumming around the cosmos thinking I'm Space Jesus, I get hassled by a purple man called The Magus. Then I end up captured by a couple of Big Cosmic Entities: “Order,” “Chaos,” and “The In-Betweener.”*** Long story short, the trio torments me for ages, drives me completely loony, and gives me both enormous power and a purple afro. They had their reasons.****

So now I’ve got a full-blown psychosis on my hands, right? At least I got the kickass hairdo.

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Once they got me barking mad, hopped up on cosmic power, and looking great, the bastards sent me back in time five thousand years and stuck me on another planet. Yeah, thanks a lot, Big Cosmic Entities. Assholes.

Trapped in the ancient past and on some godforsaken planet somewhere, I make the best of a bad situation. I kill a bunch of people and become declared a god. Which, okay, was pretty sweet.
Everything was great, on the surface. Deep down, it wasn’t healthy. Neuroses grew, my obsessive-compuslive ways became even stronger (“I have to wash my hands nine times after smiting the unrighteous!”), and, of course, all those codependent relationships. By the time my own birth as Adam Warlock came around, I was such a wreck. But you couldn’t talk to me about it. Oh nooooo.

To make sure I’d exist, I started messing with my past self. I mocked him, tormented him, and did my best to make sure he’d end up in the clutches of the Big Cosmic Entities so he’d become me. (My guilt at doing this is tempered by the fact that my past self was a whiny, self-righteous little bitch.)

Things went wrong. My past self somehow hosed everything up, I’m not sure how, and I was never created.*****

That really hurt.

Later on, Adam Warlock split off his “good” and “evil” sides, bringing me back into the world. I’d argue I’m not his “evil” side (I’m his stylish side, thank you very much), but existing again was nice.

Then came that whole fiasco involving six magic gems, a big gold glove, and more evil twins than a season of soap operas.

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My past self destroyed me again, this time reducing me to a ghost. A ghost. Considering my intimacy issues, this was the absolute limit.

But things are better now. I have a solid body again. My ‘fro is large and in charge. My jams are selling throughout New England. Through a lot of work with my therapist, I’m happier, my relationship with my family has never been better, and I haven’t destroyed millions of lives on a whim in, what, at least a year!

Remember: the Magus says "Keep your eyes on the prize, your feet on the ground, and time-travelling versions of yourself as far away as possible."

Love and kisses,



That’s all the Magus Mailbag we have this time. Come back soon for another round of “Ask a Super-Villain!”

*A common request among super-villains. Those comic strip ads in the comics of the seventies and eighties where villains were captured and/or thwarted by distracting them with Hostess Fruit Pies? More accurate than you’d think. My cousin Steve once saved himself from a homicidal Two-Face by offering him a cherry pie. When traveling to areas with high concentrations of super-villains, always carry at least one fruit pie with you at all times. An important safety tip from us here at Filing Cabinet of the Damned.

**I’m dead serious.
Warlock’s first series tried to model him directly on Jesus, to hilarious results.

***Hee. That name slays me.

****Don’t ask.

*****Remember how a few posts back I mentioned how Marvel Comics of the seventies were really, really weird?


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