Comic Book Mentalism

By | Sunday, November 25, 2012 Leave a Comment
There's a genre of magic called mentalism. The basic hook is that the performer largely focuses on either reading or influencing people's minds. The "classic" version is when a performer is on stage, often blindfolded, and has his assistant find an audience member, and then then the mentalist proceeds to rattle off what's in the person's pockets or purse or whatever. This was often accomplished with either a series of coded signals from the assistant, or a wireless radio receiver hidden under the blindfold.

But that's pretty old hat as far as mentalism goes, and there are updated versions of the same basic idea. One of them is that an audience member is given a book (or a choice of books) and they're asked to randomly select a page. The mentalist then proceeds to tell them the first word on the page, or the first sentence, or the last word, or whatever. There are a number of different ways this is accomplished, some more clever than others.

Now, evidently, there's a comic book version, created by Yoan Tanuji and Guillaume Bienné out of France. The effect is the same -- an audience member is given a graphic novel and chooses a random page. The mentalist can then describe different elements on the page, both particular words like a more 'traditional' effect and specific graphics that are on the page, an element unique to comics. Plus, if I'm understanding the promotional materials properly, there's even a way to have the reader decide the murder weapon.

I only got a chance to flip through a copy of this briefly, and I'm no expert in mentalism, but it seems to be one of the more cleverly devised mentalist tricks. Tanuji is a noted magician and has created similar effects using prose books. I'm unable to find anything on Bienné, however, and this seems to be his first comics work. The art seems serviceable, but nothing particularly spectacular. But in any event, it seems like quite an interesting and challenging undertaking on their part, and I'd be curious to see a professional actually perform it in front of a full audience.

It's a little surprising to me, honestly, that no one has thought to try a comic version of this trick for as long as the effect has been around, but it's definitely cool that someone has gotten around to it!
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