DC Animated Universe

John Zatara was an escape artist and stage magician, and father of Zatanna.


As one of the greatest escape artists of his day, Zatara was approached by the young Bruce Wayne (under the alias "John Smith") who pleaded to be taught the magician's secrets. Even though "John" admitted he had no interest in becoming a stage performer, Zatara sensed the young man's need, and taught him everything he knew—including secrets he had never shared with any other apprentice or colleague.

Perhaps the only other person he shared as much with was his daughter, Zatanna. After his death, she "kept the old act going".

It is unknown if Zatara ever knew who "John Smith" really was, but years later, when Zatanna realized the identity of the Batman, and to what use he had put Zatara's skills, she told him that her father would have been very proud of him.

Background information[]

  • In the comics, Zatara, like his daughter Zatanna, had genuine magical powers, but this has not been shown in the animated series. He often appeared as a back-up feature in the Golden Age.
  • In addition to his animated appearance, he also appeared in a two-part comic showing him with the young Bruce Wayne as well as another teenage protégé, another "John Smith". However, unlike Bruce, who mainly wishes to learn of escape skills, this young man claims that there is actual magic. Zatara is distrusting at first, claiming it to be just smoke and mirrors, until the young man shows off one of his abilities.

Appearances and references[]

Batman: The Animated Series

Gotham Girls

External links[]