Let’s talk about your graphic novel, “The Millionaires Magician,” how did that start?
Well, you already know the answer. The answer is Doug Henning… Yeah. You’ll never believe it but when I was a little boy, about eight or nine years old, I used to draw my own comic books. One of the cartoon characters that I drew was Doug Henning performing his stage illusions.
I remembered the joy of creating my own comic books, and years later decided to do it for real. I had been getting a little bit bored in the monotony of my career. At the time, Chamber Magic had been running for 15 years. I had already created my own TV show, “Lost Magic Decoded” on the History Channel. I had already done a solo show at Carnegie Hall, which is the pinnacle of any artist’s career. But I was confused: what would I do next? Something just clicked in my head, comic books!
Fortunately, I have some buddies who work in the world of comics. One artist used to draw for Marvel, another guy drew for DC Comics. I asked these guys, do you know anyone who could help me write a comic book, draw the panels, and complete the whole process? They advised me to skip a traditional publisher, and take on the project myself, as a self-published book. So, I basically became a general contractor, wrote the story with my friend, and found artists who had the style that I like. I wanted to recreate Frank Miller’s “Batman: Year One” style of artwork. From beginning to end, the entire project took two years of work.
An ancillary purpose of the comic book was to have merchandise to sell to Chamber Magic visitors. The book provides a backstory of the character that they just witnessed. It may make them wonder how much of the story is true. But, it provides a well-rounded character study of someone who they had just seen on stage. When you’re a magician, I think that your backstory should contain some legend-building elements.
In closing, when you think back on Doug, after all these years, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
The first thing that comes to my mind now is the joy that he helped me feel when I was a seven or eight-year-old boy. That joy launched a lifetime love of magic, and that joy also inspired me to create a lifetime career.
Steve Cohen, thank you so much.
For information on “Chamber Magic” click below: