Steranko On Cards

45.00 usd

Book by Jim Steranko ($30.36 - normally $45.00)

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Steranko On Cards - magic

I often hear Steranko's name mentioned in magic literature, and up until a few years ago, I thought it was some old legend from the 14th century. Turns out it is a contemporary comic book-illustrator that just happens to be a fantastic magician too.

This book contains a description of the Lateral Palm, which is a well-known palming position used by many magicians. Steranko coined the name, and while he doesn't claim to be the inventor of the palm, I am sure many people got it from this book. His methods to get in and out of the palm certainly have merits.

Another move Steranko often is associated with is "The Action Reverse", which is a reversal of one or several cards during a tabled riffle shuffle. This move is used very often without any credits to Mr. Steranko. Dai Vernon said it was the most original sleight in the book, and I agree. Then again, who does not agree with The Professor?!

All illustrations in the book are by Steranko, and you can tell from their cartoon-ish style that this guy isn't just a magician; he's a seriously good cartoonist!

The book also has a bonus section written by Terrence Francisco. This section contains annotations to make some moves a bit more clear. The annotations are accompanied with photographs to make sure you understand all necessary details.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One - Fundamentals
  • Chapter Two - Action Center Reverse
  • Chapter Three - Positive Card Control
  • Chapter Four - Lateral Palm
  • Chapter Five - Multiple Shift
  • Chapter Six - Card Miscellanea
  • Chapter Seven - Cues on Cards
  • Chapter Eight - Quick Trix
  • Chapter Nine - Trio
  • Chapter Ten - Aces in Abstraction
  • Chapter Eleven - Card Eclipse
  • Chapter Twelve - Dead Man's Hand Finale
  • Chapter Thirteen - Fantasy Card Routine
  • Bonus Section: Chapter Fourteen - Concerning Steranko Annotations by Terrence Francisco

Pages 114 - Hardbound

Reviewed by Erik.


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  • Michael asks: Is this the new 2020 edition with updated photographs?

    • 1. Vanishing Inc. Magic responds: YEs.
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Customer reviews for Steranko On Cards



Is a book on card magic, authored a half-century ago (1960) by a man whose association with this field was only a handful of years, really worth your time and money? In this case, the answer is a resounding "YES!" Within its 114 pages --- 102 pages in the original manuscript --- you will find sleights and routines well worth the dedication of your time and attention.

Although some might find Jim Steranko's writing style to be a bit dated, the techniques you can learn are top-notch and will serve you well. The "Lateral Palm" and the "Action Reverse", which Erik notes in the description above, are only two of the many nuggets to mine from this must-have book. A more detailed look at its contents can be found at Denis Behr's marvelous site, Conjuring Archives:

One need only invoke his surname, Steranko, in order to draw understanding nods from those familiar with his body of work. In addition to this sole contribution to published magic, he had a much greater impact to the field of comic book art --- not "cartooning", as Erik describes it (although the sketches in this book might cause one to use that term). One can see the same style of art in Milt Kort's card book, "Kort is Now in Session", since Steranko did the art for that, as well. And, in the late 1960s, Jim Steranko breathed new life to an otherwise minor Marvel Comics character known as Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Today, that character (modified from the original) has appeared in a number of "super-hero" movies.

While his stint with Marvel was brief, Steranko cast a long shadow. The great artist Jack Kirby, co-creator of the Captain America character (1941), fashioned a new comic character, Mister Miracle (1971), based on Jim Steranko's early career as a professional escape artist. And in 1979, film director George Lucas commissioned Steranko to produce storyboard art for a new movie character. Steranko's art resulted in the Indiana Jones "look" so familiar to many today.

It seems a shame, after having authored a book such as the one here, that Jim Steranko largely walked away from the field of magic to pursue other endeavors. Yet, card magic's loss was gain for a much wider audience. And, as any good performer knows, it's a good rule of thumb --- as Steranko has done with this one text --- to leave your audience wanting more. Once you finish this book, you will realize the truth of that rule.

Acquire, learn, and enjoy!!

For those curious as to his artistic ability, and why his art had such an impact on the comic book industry at the time, one can see examples (and, perhaps, familiar characters) at the following sites:

Steranko On Cards by Jim Steranko