Black Magic M-66: Childhood Inspiration
Over an Instagram conversation with a high-school friend recently, I found myself thinking back to the days when I would be sitting in my room holding a Todd McFarlane comic book trying so desperately to mimic his talent. My friend and I were always blown away by his work on Spiderman. The full-page illustrations contained so many details, most of which were beyond my imagination. I spent hours looking at those and trying to draw something that might be considered just a fraction as talented.
It wasn’t often we would be able to go, but trips to Titan Games & Comics were so special to me. At the time, we lived in Riverdale and Titan was relatively close by, but just far enough where we didn’t go all the time. Let’s not forget that I didn’t have a ton of money to be dropping in the store on comics all the time. Regardless, this was a place of inspiration. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on anything drawn by McFarlane and not as a collector, but as a young kid who wanted nothing more than to draw as he did.
At some point during one of my visits there, I ended up buying an anime VHS called Black Magic M-66. At the time, the name probably sounded far more sinister than it actually was. You have to keep in mind that when I was this age, Dungeons & Dragons was rumored to be satanic and evil. Name aside, I just remember being told that if I was into drawing and art, I would love this movie. Black Magic M-66 was released in 1983 and “centers around the efforts of a female journalist named Sybel, trying to save a young girl from an out-of-control military android created by the girl’s grandfather.” (Source). Watching the film now, I pick up so many Terminator vibes. At the time, I did not have a version with English subtitles, nor was I aware that anything like that even existed. I just had the killer visuals.
As I write this post now in 2023 and the realization hits me that the movie is 40 years old makes me feel ancient. It also shows how truly timeless art and inspiration can be. I remember watching this over and over and over. I sat in awe of the artistic talent and as I did flipping through McFarlane’s Spiderman issues, I wanted nothing more than to possess the same magical artistic ability.
Watch Black Magic M-66 (Full Anime with English Subtitles)
When I began searching for the movie, all I wanted to find was the movie itself. Finding the English subtitles was a bonus. As I continued to search, I stumbled across several pages showcasing the initial planning process for how the characters would look in the film. Some offered downloadable scans.
Given that I am so old, the VHS obviously predates YouTube. I couldn’t search for stuff like this and often wonder what drawing would have been like at that age with endless access to the Internet. If I wanted inspiration, it had to come from TV or finding something in print from a place like Titan.
Anyway, finding this movie on YouTube and the English subtitles marks the first time I was able to completely understand what was going on. I had a general idea, but seeing the captions and being able to follow along with what the characters were saying instead of guessing only made this better. This is one of the few movies that I would love to see updated and released with today’s technology.