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The Black Mage

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  87 ratings  ·  73 reviews
The School for Good and Evil meets Dread Nation in this subversive original graphic novel where race, history and magic collide.

When St. Ivory Academy, a historically white wizarding school, opens its doors to its first-ever black student, everyone believes that the wizarding community is finally taking its first crucial steps toward inclusivity. Or is it? When Tom Token,
Paperback, 153 pages
Expected publication: October 29th 2019 by Oni Press (first published August 13th 2019)
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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  87 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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Emily (Obsessed Reader)
I was given an e-book of this graphic novel for free for review by Netgalley.
This was a very quick read, but it still had a lot of great points and topics covered in the short amount of time. I enjoyed this and I think that it could turn into a good series. The artwork was more of a very colorful anime, which I liked. I hope there will be more to come!
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
The ARC of this graphic novel was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 Stars

I quite enjoyed this graphic novel. I very much appreciated the concept of seeing the theme of racism explored in a fantasy setting. There are definitely similarities between St. Ivory Academy’s headmaster and his colleagues and the members of the KKK, this much was pretty obvious and I think it was explained fairly well.
Tom was a very likable main characters and I admired his c
This is a fantastic fantasy graphic novel which is set in a magical school which is run by the Klan. The school has just allowed a black person to attend under the guise of adding diversity to their school at last, but everything isn't what it seems. The other students immediately have a problem with the new addition to the school, but he never allows it to get to him. Even when everything unfolds all at once, he keeps himself together. I won't go into detail about the plot because this is somet ...more
Jun 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review – thanks so much to Netgalley for sending this to me!

The Black Mage is a vibrant, speedy book with an epic art style that’s like a combination of Harry Potter and Little Witch Academia. It’s super action packed, blending different pop-culture references in a way that’s really fun – it’s like lots of little nods to things we know and love. The book follows Tom Token (an awesome wizard who takes no sh*t) and his new fri
Patty Zuiderwijk
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have received an e-ARC via Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion.

I have never read that many graphic novels, when I read the description of this one it definitely sparked my interest!

Harry Potter was definitely an inspiration, the magical school itself and the train ride and the bird companion are just a few of the obvious.
You can hate those details, but I would not see why.

This story combines the magic with the first interaction between white mage students and Tom; who is the first bla
Steff Pasciuti
I have to admit, I was quite thrown within the first several pages of The Black Mage by Daniel Barnes and illustrated by D. J. Kirkland. This graphic novel is incredibly bold and immensely terrifying, blatantly exposing racism in a way that can shock the reader, and I think is meant to shock the reader. It's uncomfortable in its own right, but frankly, I think that if it were not uncomfortable, this book would not be doing what it set out to do in the first place. The truth is that racism is unc ...more
I received a free copy of this graphic novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was fantastic.

We met Token, a kid who’s supposed to be the first African American Mage in St. Ivory, a school of magic heavily inspired on Hogwarts. His journey is not easy because everyone sees him as the outsider, but something darker than that is waiting for him.

Let’s start: the art was glorious, so colorful, shiny and anime like. It was fast paced, and the plot was a nice way to introduce us to
Chloë Jans
First of all, this book is incredibly race-focused. That is not a negative nor a positive thing, although you need to know. I didn't and expected more of a magic school with a black kid who also needs to deal with some racism. That is not the case. The magic system isn't really explored. Another thing you should know: this is very inspired by anime so expect a lot of 'epic' battles between characters.

In this story, we follow Tom who gets accepted into the St Ivorys academy of Spellcraft And Sorc
Sofia Blackthorn Of The Wild Hunt
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
5 stars!
ARC provided by Net Galley and the publishing house in exchange of an honest review.

This is an amazing graphic novel, that manages to combine racism,magic and fantasy in 153 pages. My copy was personalized, something I immensely adored.

The story follows Tom,a teenage boy who gets accepted into St.Ivorys school of sorcery and being the first minority accepted in this school.
I really liked Tom and enjoyed his behavior and manners very much (he was a badass so that helped 😂) and loved his f
*thank you to Netgalley and Oni Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

3 stars.

I actually rather liked this Graphic Novel. It had a mixture of themes and people that I knew. Token which reminded me of 'Tolkien,' KKK, Harry Potter setting along with a touch of anime style illustrations. The use of colours and the details of the drawings I liked. There were also a few giggles and smiles and the main characters were really nice and likable. I'd have to say Tom was my favouri
Jun 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I think that this graphic novel was pretty good. The art was great and the story was pretty good! At the beginning I found the book a bit confusing, but as you keep reading you start to understand it more.
This graphic novel is about a boy named Tom. He goes to the magic school St. Ivory Academy for the first time. On that school are basically only white people. The black people weren't respected. Because Tom was black he got bullied.
As the story continues, we find out why there were never black
Jun 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
3/5 stars!

ARC provided by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this graphic novel! I expected a magic school a lot like Harry Potter, with a new black student having face racism systematically and from the students, and where it was that, it was so much more. I really like how in your face the points of the story were, and the concept was really cool. The art and dialogue styles weren't my favorite, because I think they messed with the story's clarity, bu
Rhiannon Jackman
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received an e-ARC from Netgalley for review and I really liked it! It was quite short, and I think if it had been a little bit longer it could have been drawn out a little more but it still covered a lot of race-related issues well in a short space. Reading it makes you very aware of what's happening in the world, especially the states.
The artwork was also really nice! Nice and colourful, so it kept you interested.

Overall it was a really quick read and I really enjoyed it!
Jun 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
I got a arc from NetGalley and I have to say I didnt like this. I loved the art work which was spectacular but the story itself was just something I didnt like. It made me feel super uncomfortable the entire way through. It just clearly wasnt a comic for me, but the art work I did love.
Rena Freefall
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I did not know what to expect going into this comic but I loved it.

It hits you hard and fast and it’s very obvious that this story is about battling racism and racial oppression – and not really much else.

It’s incredibly on the nose about the racism – seriously, there isn’t an ounce of subtlety about what is going on and what the goal of the story is, (like, c’mon, the main character is called Tom ‘Token’). But when it’s hitting you so hard and fast and only has 150 pages to work with, it works.
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, diverse-reads
RATING: 3.5 stars

"This hammer of mine glows with an awesome power and right now, they're all crying out for me to strike you down! And all of their sorrow tempered by the countless black souls that you've oppressed!"

The easiest way to describe this graphic novel is: easily captivating.

Set in a fantasy world, The Black Mage is an #OwnVoices YA Graphic Novel that tells the story of our main character Tom Token, a new transfer student at the magical school of St. Ivory Academy. Known as a histor
Mary Kate
The ARC of this graphic novel was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was looking for something short to read to get me up to my 15 book goal for May, and I stumbled across this little comic on NetGalley. Now, comics and graphic novels are something that I've only really dabbled in reading, and I haven't read one in a few months, so if you're an avid comic/graphic novel reader, take this one with a grain of salt.

The story starts 150 years in the past, with
This was my first read from NetGalley and what an excellent start it was. I can't wait for this book to release so I can recommend it to everyone I know.

The Black Mage takes the fantasy-magic-school trope we all know (and either love or hate) and hits us in the face with the question, "But where's the diversity?" That's exactly the premise of this book, because the main character, Tom Token, is the first black mage to ever attend Ivory Tower (even the name is whitewashed). He soon figures out t
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Thanks to Netgalley and Oni Press for an electronic galley of this book. 

As the result of a "Magical Minority Initiative," Tom Token is the first black student at St. Ivory academy - or is he? After his pet Jim (a crow) appears with an ID card from another black student missing from the school's history, Tom finds himself uncovering the mystery of how Atticus Lynch, the school headmaster, built his school on white supremacist ideals and the literal lives of African American slaves and heroes of
❤ Leelynn (Sometimes Leelynn Reads) ❤
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


This is the first time I've reviewed a graphic novel ARC, and I don't know why I never thought to do it before. I need to do this more often because it was an awesome quick read with amazing graphics (shout out to Illustrator DJ Kirkland for the work) and a nice break from all the long novels I've been reading back to back.

But on to the actual review...


Total shout out to Da
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly fun for a comic book about racism and the KKK.

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for depictions of racism.)

When teenager Tom Token is accepted into the historically all-white boarding school St. Ivory Academy as part of its "Magical Minority Initiative," he's understandably skeptical. Sure, the facilities are state of the art, and the education can't be beat, but at what cost? His melanin-challenged classmates assail him with aggr
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to NetGalley and Oni Press for the free copy in exchange for an honest review. My review was not affected by the free copy.

What got me was the promise this was a meeting of Harry Potter and Final Fantasy. I can definitely see influences from both series in this comic. You have the magical school of Harry Potter and the magic system is similar to Final Fantasy. A lot of the spells they cast are either directly from the series, like "Diamond Dust", or have similar names like "Thundaga" a
Elaine White
Copy received through Netgalley


The Black Mage, by Daniel Barnes
144 Pages
Content Warning: racism, mild violence

This graphic novel goes a long way to providing a fun but educational view of racism, and how it can impact the generations, how thoughts/ideas can be passed from one generation to the next, and how the past should never be forgotten.

With beautiful, colourful and exciting illustrations, that sometimes appear in a video-game style,
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
"The Black Mage" is a fantasy graphic novel perfect for all ages. It is quick paced, with lovable characters and a gorgeous art style. The art and coloring reminded me a lot of cartoons and anime with cool action scenes and vibrant colors. I would recommend for art style alone but the story was also compelling.
St. Ivory Academy of magic only accepts white mages. But our protagonist Tom enrolls in the academy as part of diversity program. Straight away he has to deal with blatant racism from stu
Jun 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
This seems to be an exercise in dragging out one single pun as far as it can possibly go, and in any direction at the same time – for good or for bad. You know that whole thing about black magic, right? Well, what if it – heh heh – was magic created by a black kid?! A black kid called Token, who – tee-hee – becomes the token black student at a school for white magic. And – get this, you'll die – he has a crow familiar called Jim – Jim Crow?! I know, ROFL isn't the acronym, right?! He'll get thro ...more
May 31, 2019 rated it liked it
ARC provided by Net Galley and the publishing house in exchange for an honest review.
This graphic novel combines elements of Harry Potter and other iconic children's fantasy novels into a satirical commentary on race.

- illustrations were very visually appealing, especially for someone from the novel's target audience and fit well with both the magical themes and realism
- the historical and cultural references created a direct parallel between the novel and real-life events
- protagonists wer
Ije the Devourer of Books
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is my ideal graphic novel format with an interesting story, not too much prose and great artwork. The story has a good pace and it is certainly creative and interesting in the way it manages to address institutional racism in a 'Harry Potter' format. I really enjoyed the artwork and the colouring.

It is an interesting and contemporary story about a young black mage who is invited to join a school for mages which had previously only allowed white students. When he gets there he encounters all
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I couldn’t stop reading this story, as I feel it’s a comic that has never been more relevant and been more needed. The metaphor used in this story throughout even with the obvious is incredible, they go to school literally in a ‘ivory tower’ I feel like in these small touches, the writer really does do a fantastic job when it comes to the detail, right down to the fact his character’s surname is ‘Token’.

The plot in the story moves really quickly, and makes for really captivating reading and bri
Hira Chaudhary
May 27, 2019 rated it liked it
I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This was an interesting story dealing with racism that felt a little reminiscent of the ideas of Get Out and that was neat to see in this format with this kind of story. A lot of things were super on the nose though (St. Ivory, Jim the crow, Tom Token), and those things felt almost a little trite? It wasn't all bad, like those things definitely help point the story in your face, but maybe some things just need
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was sent a digital ARC in exchange for a review though it doesn't influence said review and all thoughts are my own.

This is the story of a young Black teenager who is sent to an all white magical school through a scholarship and wow is he in for quite the shock.

From the beginning, it's evident how prejudice they are against him due to the color of his skin which I think was one of the points the author wanted to show case but also wanted me to reach through and slap the people.

This is the kind
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