Scrapbook page 85


Another illustration for Book of Pages that never made it into the final story (drawn sometime around 1991). This one is “The Magician”, one of only a handful of characters who appears on more than one page. In an early version of the story, drawn here, Jiriki encounters him in the wilderness, where he is practising his tricks away from all the surveillance cameras. In the final version, Jiriki meets him in a police cell instead, so this illustration was superseded. In the Metropolis, the magician is repeatedly arrested by the authorities because every time he makes a coin disappear the surveillance algorithms report him for embezzlement, and he gets hauled in.

Back when I was working on that early draft of Book of Pages, I wandered into London’s big toy store, Hamleys, in order to ask a magician some things about how people’s perception of magic changes as the technology around them does. It turned out the magician I found was Bruce Smith, who is now something of a legend in the world of live magic (2018: celebrated 30 years at Hamleys!). He was generous with his time and experience in answering my questions (also, he made coins disappear, naturally). The Magician in the book (even though he is a benign character) is considerably more cynical than Bruce Smith was, but if you strip that out, some of the insight that did get distilled into the book is directly from those conversations with him.

Perhaps it’s significant that the Magician ended up with more pages in the book than Jiriki’s abbot did :-)