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Zatanna's Search
Search for 'Zatanna's Search' on Amazon

The first crossover
This unassuming story, which was published over the course of two years, sometimes in the unheralded "backup" story position in issues otherwise devoted to more popular characters, was nevertheless a milestone in American comic publishing. It was the first real "crossover event", obliging readers to purchase several different titles if they wanted to obtain the complete narrative.
Other significance
Because of the way the story was written and sprinkled throughout various titles, even careful readers might have missed the fact that it introduced a brand new character. Various headlining heroes are shown to be quite willing to help Zatanna on her quest, so it's easy to assume that she was already an established character before the outset of this story. She wasn't.

It's possible that other characters are reacting to Zatanna matter-of-factly because of her father. Giovanni "John" Zatara had been a famous stage magician in the DCU within the lifetimes of the other DCU characters. Thus, meeting his daughter would've been more like meeting a celebrity than a stranger. Indeed, some readers might have still been familiar with Zatara, as he had only been absent for about 13 years from the pages of DC comics.

It is the timing of Zatara's "disappearing act" that is of particular interest to the careful modern reader. Zatanna is described as having been on her Zatara quest "for years" when the story opens. Indeed, it's implied that she didn't have her father around for most of her childhood. Given her apparent age, the logical inference is that he went missing shortly after his last Golden Age appearance. Since the story was largely penned by the architect of the multiverse, Gardner Fox, it's interesting to note that the multiverse is in no way used to explain away Zatara's reintroduction to the Silver Age DCU. Instead, the story establishes, both with its narrative and its editorial notes, that the Zatara from Action Comics is the same man as the one Zatanna was looking for in this arc.

In other words, Zatara was on Earth-1 all along.

What's my line?
No issue or cover in this arc actually named the story arc. We are thus left with the task of "inventing" one for this database. Thus, while "The Search for Zatara" and "A Daughter's Quest" are likely enough monikers, we opt to go with the only name under which the entire story has ever been published: "Zatanna's Search".

Issues (9):
The Atom (1962) #19
Batman: The Dynamic Duo Archives (2003) HC vol. 02
DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest (1980) #5
Detective Comics (1937) #336
Detective Comics (1937) #355
Green Lantern (1960) #42
Hawkman (1964) #4
JLA: Zatanna's Search (2004) TPB
Justice League of America (1960) #51

Characters appearing in this story arc ():
Allura (DC)
Atom (DC)(02 - Ray Palmer)
Batman (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)
Druid (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)
Elongated Man (DC)
Carol Ferris
Green Lantern (DC)(02 - Hal Jordan)
Hawkgirl (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)
Hawkman (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)(02 - Katar Hol)
Tom 'Pieface' Kalmaku
Warlock of Ys (DC)
Zatanna (DC)
Zatara (01 - Giovanni Zatara)
Atom (DC)(02 - Ray Palmer)
Batman (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)
Sue Dearbon Dibny (DC)
Druid (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)
Elongated Man (DC)
Hawkgirl (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)
Hawkman (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)(02 - Katar Hol)
Biff Parker
Robin (01 - Dick Grayson, E-1 & Post-Crisis)
Zatanna (DC)
Zatara (01 - Giovanni Zatara)
View the contribution history for this story arc

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