Zatanna and The Magic Wiki
Basic Information
Real Name: Giovanni Zatara
Gender: Male
Race: Human
Relatives: Zatanna (daughter)
Zachary Zatara (nephew)
Affiliation: All-Star Squadron, Black Lantern Corps
Abilities: Sorcery
First Appearance: Action Comics #1
Created by: Fred Guardineer

Giovanni "John" Zatara is a character that debuted in Action Comics #1 and is the father of Zatanna.


Giovanni Zatara is a human mage. His gradfather, Luigi Zatara trained him in magic as well as in illusions. His genuine magical powers, he focused through speaking backwards: he could do anything so long as he could describe it in sdrawkcab hceeps ("backwards speech", spelled backwards). His love of magic began early when he was given a magic kit by his uncle, himself a professional illusionist. Although he began learning the craft in childhood, his early attempts at performing professionally were unsuccessful until he realized that he needed to work on his showmanship.

To that end, he dug up old diaries of Leonardo da Vinci, who was a direct ancestor. While reading the diaries, which Leonardo wrote in backwards spelling as a security precaution, Zatara learned that his family had the command of magic. He discovered this inadvertently when he accidentally gave a command to a mannequin to begin waving an arm wildly. Zatara realized that he could command it to stop by giving the order in backwards spelling.

With this new knowledge, Zatara developed a successful show. During the premiere performance a fire broke out on stage, forcing Zatara to use his command of real magic to put it out. While the audience mistook the incident as part of the act, Zatara realized that this power could be invaluable in helping people and he resolved to use it as such between shows.

Giovanni Zatara, his daughter Zatanna, John Constantine and Sargon the Sorcerer, among others, come together to help demonic and divine forces in other hellish dimensions battle the Great Evil Beast. The Beast takes notice of their group twice. The first glimpse burns Sargon, whom Zatara convinces to "die like a Sorcerer" and not break the holding of hands. Sargon burns to death nobly. The second glance literally heats up Zatanna but Zatara willingly takes the effect onto himself, dying but sparing his daughter's life. The Beast is ultimately neutralized by other forces.

Since then he has made sporadic appearances in the afterlife, including resurrecting Mason O'Dare. His nephew, Zachary, now uses the Zatara name as a stage magician and crime fighter.

Powers and Abilities[]


Sorcery: Zatara is a human, from a line of powerful human mages. He casts spells by speaking backwards. For example, saying "pots" would cause the target of the spell to stop in their tracks. He can only cast the spells he wants by speaking or reading backwards, because that's the only way to focus her magic.

  • Elemental Sorcery: With his magic Zatara has shown a greatest affinity to manipulate the elements of the Earth.
  • Pyrokinesis: Generation and Control of fire
  • Aerokinesis: Generation and Control of Air
  • Geokinesis: Control of Earth/Rock
  • Hydrokinesis: Control of Water
  • Cryokinesis: Generation and Control of Ice
  • Weather Manipulation
  • Telepathy: Zatara can use his magic to manipulate the minds of others. He has displayed the following abilities.
  • Read Minds
  • Memory Manipulation: He is able to wipe minds completely and/or remove specific memories.
  • Chlorokinesis: Control over plants
  • Thermokinesis: He has used this ability a few times to stay warm in frigid environments.
  • Superhuman Strength
  • Superhuman Durability
  • Flight
  • Force Field
  • Teleportation: Able to teleport himself and/or others to anywhere he desires.
  • Dimensional Travel
  • Probability Manipulation
  • Magical Awareness: supernatural sensitivity to occult activities and mystic phenomena.
  • Dispel: Able to remove illusions and holographic images that his opponents have set up.
  • Telekinesis
  • Elemental Conversion
  • Molecular Conversion
  • Regeneration: Able to heal himself and others
  • Size Alteration: He can increase or decrease his overall volume to nearly any size he chooses
  • Elemental Transmutation: Zatara has the ability to rearrange atoms and molecules in both inorganic and organic matter. He can change an object’s or creature's shape. In addition from one chemical into another.
  • Magical Manipulation: Zatara is also capable of using all personal and universal magic
  • Extraction and Transportation of Souls: Able to extract and move souls from organic/inorganic structures to another organic/inorganic structure. In addition, he can attack his opponents by thrusting a soul at them.
  • Mystical Invulnerability: After casting this specific spell, he is safe from any offensive magic that comes his way.


Prestidigitation: Zatara is skilled in stage magic, performing simple tricks and elaborate illusions.

Occultist: as Chronicler of Magic he possesses an extensive understanding of Occult lore due to his Mystic Background


Improvisation: He prepares specific spells (a couple of hundred) but improvises a good bit for the unpredictable situations he encounters.

Other versions[]

  • Zatara is shown in a crossover comic in The Batman Adventures and Superman Adventures. The two comics show Batman and Superman in respective pursuit of red and blue amulets owned by Zatara that opened ways to another dimension. The comics also show a flashback of a teenage Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent both seeking magic lessons from Zatara, although neither come into contact with each other, but both use the pseudonym "John Smith".
  • Giovanni Zatara appears in the comic book: DC Super Friends Vol 1 issue 13 "The Greatest Show on Earth".


see Zatara Gallery

See Also[]