Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Dark Horse Book of Witchcraft edited by Scott Allie

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse (June 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593071086
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593071080
  • List Price: $14.95
  • I finished this book on Nov 11
So, this little collection was on the "Shelf of Shame" at my school. Meaning that, some other esteemed librarian in the past had found it to be inappropriate for our students. I took it home to investigate.
So, what we have here is a collection of what appears to be a smattering of different animated stories about witches and witchcraft. For example, there is a tale about a toad-like witchie poo who by force of potions gets a young man to have creepy toad sex with her. Note to attractive young men (or anyone really) it is very unwise to drink any concoction cooked up by a crone who you expect to be a witch. Honestly. It's as bad as Ofelia eating the grapes. There was also a comic book treatment given to the witches from Shakespeare's Macbeth as well as a little Hellboy action. Of course, don't forget a story about Tituba and the Salem Witch Trials. That one actually had the illustrations I liked the best.
Now, crammed in the middle of all this is an interview with a Wiccan laywer Phyllis Curott who talks about the actual religious practice of witchcraft. Including something like this is a good idea, however, the questions and answers that make up this particular interview did not particularly do it for me. I feel this book would be aimed at school age kids, and this interview would go right over their heads. If you're really interested in reading about Wicca I recommend trying Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham, or if have goth-leanings then maybe Nocturnal Witchcraft: Magic After Dark by Konstantinos is for you (Konstantinos also has a good Vampire book out there, in case you're interested.)
Anyway, the moral of this whole story is: I didn't find anything in this book that I would think is totally out of hand for my high school students to read. There's a little sex talk in the toad-lady story, but nothing overly graphic (and, thankfully, no in your face picture of toad-boobs). However, there is something of a mixed message in here. The forward and the interview with the real witch trying to dispel the stereotype of old gross crone doesn't really jibe with the wart covered old ladies of questionable hygiene portrayed within. Then again, getting rid of witch stereotypes is about as simply done as getting rid of librarian stereotypes, so what can you expect. (Very few people can refrain from making a crack about my specks when I tell them I'm a librarian.)

1 comment:

Carl V. said...

I really enjoy all of the Dark Horse Book Of... titles. It is a shame that after making 5 different ones, I believe, they decided to discontinue the series. There are some great stories in these.