This week’s Coven member is a sketch card of Madame Xanadu by Robert R. Smith. She is a DC comics character who has been around since 1978. At first she was a mysterious wise woman who helped people who came to her fortune teller shop. She was a part time character in her own series as the story would focus more on the people who come for help. The reader knew little about her which was typical for magic characters in the 70’s.
That changed with Matt Wagner’s wonderful Madame Xanadu series in 2008. Running only 29 issues, Madame Xanadu is revealed to be a fairy woman who survived the Fall of Camelot and traveled the world trying to find her place. She has amazing divination abilities but knowing the future rarely helps you prevent the future from happening. The series takes place over centuries, allowing for some neat historical stories. By the end of the series, she realized that she best she can do is try to help others. It is easily one of my favorite comic series.
In pop culture magic, I find Madame Xanadu to a be useful spirit when performing your own divination. Her willingness to help as well as her connections to magic that predates Merlin makes her useful. Unlike a lot of prophecy characters in fiction, Madame Xanadu doesn’t have the self-defeating baggage that a character like Cassandra does.