ZAMBINI THE MIRACLE MANMedium: Comic Books
Published by: MLJ/Archie Comics
First Appeared: 1940
Creators: Joe Blair (writer) and Ed Wexler (artist)
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Zambini the Miracle Man was one of a virtual horde of superhero magicians, dressed for the stage but using real magic to fight crime and/or evil, including Zanzibar, Zatara the Magician and his daughter, Zatanna — to name only a few with the same initial. Even at MLJ Comics (the company that later named itself after its biggest property, Archie), where he
did his magical deeds, he wasn't the only representative of the sub-genre. MLJ also had Kardak the Mystic and The Wizard, who is better known as the more mainstream super guy he later became.
Zambini first appeared in Zip Comics #1 (February, 1940), the same issue where Steel Sterling and Mr. Satan debuted. He was written by MLJ regular Joe Blair, who also co-created The Fox, Ty-Gor (a Tarzan knock-off) and Mr. Justice; and drawn by Ed Wexler, who did Miss America (no relation) for Quality Comics and The West Pointer for MLJ.
This magician was among those who, like Sargon the sorcerer and Ibis the Invincible, wore a turban as part of his superhero get-up, rather than a tux with a top hat, like the guy they were all derived from, Mandrake. He also wore a monocle and a pencil-thin moustache. Other than that, he looked pretty much like the others. He derived his magical powers from a red amulet that he always kept with him.
Zambini did have a magic artifact that set him apart from the others. Using a boomerang-shaped charm hung around his neck, he could send evil magicks back to their source. What's more, he could follow them there, thus tracking the evildoer to his lair.
He continued to ply the magician/superhero trade for more than three years of Zip Comics. After that, with superheroes being phased out at MLJ., he and Blackjack were dropped in favor of Señor Banana, Chimpy and Woody the Woodpecker (no relation). The transition occurred with #36 (April, 1943). Zambini's run was longer than that of anyone else in Zip except Steel Sterling himself.
Like other 1940s superheroes, he was brought back in the '60s. But it was only for a walk-on in Mighty Crusaders #4 (April, 1966), along with practically every other 20+-year-old superhero the company owned. Since then, he's occasionally been spotted in conjunction with that group, but has never been able to maintain an ongoing presence in the comic book world.