Page 1

STE VE CO HEN foreword by

DAV I D CO P P ERF I EL D

keith champagne • peter krause • jordie bellaire


M I L L I O N A I R E S ’ M AG I C I A N


• Copyright 2017 by Steve Cohen. All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Published by XXX XXX Rockefeller Center 1230 Avenue of the Americas New York, New York 10020 The Millionaires’ Magician is a character of XXX, and this book is based on material copyrighted by XXX in which all rights are reserved. Manufactured in XXX 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Cohen, Steve. The Millionaires’ Magician. I. Cohen, Steve, joint author. II Title. XXXX XXXX ISBN X-XXX-XXXXX-X •


conceived by

STEVE COHEN foreword by

D AV I D C O P P E R F I E L D story

K E I T H C H A M PA G N E art

PETER KRAUSE coloring

JORDIE BELLAIRE lettering

B I L L T O RT O L I N I cover art

TA R A P H I L L I P S book design and cover lettering

SPENCER CHARLES


F O R E WO R D i n t h e f i e l d o f m a g i c , success does not happen by accident. There is an immense amount of experimentation, perseverance, and personal sacrifice to achieve something exceptional.

Steve Cohen has found his calling as an exceptional magician and

businessman. After spending a lifetime practicing sleight of hand, he conceived of a close-quarters magic show called Chamber Magic, and hunted for the appropriate venue.

In 2000, he convinced executives at New York’s legendary Waldorf

Astoria hotel to give him their largest and most ornate suite so that he could transform it into his magic showroom. To date, over half a million people have attended, paying full Broadway ticket prices. Chamber Magic is a masterful performance—I know because I’ve attended, and highly recommend it.

This graphic novel tells the backstory of Steve’s character, the

Millionaires’ Magician. Alongside some of the top talents in the comic business, Steve has created a dramatic tale of how he landed at the Waldorf Astoria. The behind-the-scenes story is as engaging as the feats of magic he performs. Like any good fable, it seamlessly weaves fact with fiction, truth with tall tale, into a memorable read.

As you enter the world Steve has designed, think about what you

can achieve in your own endeavors. Like Steve, you must find your own calling. What do you do memorably, and like no one else? What makes you feel fulfilled and whole? When you can answer these questions, you will come one step closer to creating a world of your own design.

— D AV I D C O P P E R F I E L D, 2 0 1 7


This dramatization is inspired by true events. Dedicated to my mentor m a x m a l i n i who taught me to travel light, always be ready, and aim high.


go ahead, don't be shy.

pick a card.


how about you-in the front there? this trick is very dangerous, I could really use your help.

careful!

but all the cards are black or red!

memorize your card but don't let me see what you picked.

I'm sensing...

your card is either black or red.

obviously, this isn't your first time at a magic show. if you could slip your card back into the deck, I'll just do this the hard way.

my lovely assistant max, if you'd be so kind...


thank you to my lovely assistant max.

CHiLDREN, MAY I PRESENT TO YOU...

your hair looks beautiful, by the way.

THE BLADE OF DOOM!

the katana is the traditional weapon of the japanese samurai warriors.

legend has it that this blade was used, hundreds of years ago, to slay an ancient dragon.

the warrior held it high over his head and sliced down with all his strength--

--THROUGH THE DRAGON'S NECK LiKE

this!

SHOOT. max, I got carried away again. do you have another deck of cards I could borrow?


in this profession, it behooves one to always carry a spare, children.

all right, I think max, I'm ready please now. hand me the cards.

everyone stand back now, and don't try this at home...


your six of hearts, young lady.


My name is STEVE COHEN. Thank you all for coming, Max and I are--

That's quite a trick there.

The card, the Six Of Hearts, I'll bet it never actually goes back in the deck.

M-mister victor pasiakos, ladies and gentlemen.

Whattaya do, palm it or something?

it's thanks to his generous donation that we're all here today.

Calm now. it appears we have a skeptic in Shall we our midst. transform him into a believer?

I'm right, ain't I? So how do you get it on the sword?


A magician never reveals his secrets, Mr. Pasiakos.

But if you'll please join me in front, I'll show you one more.

I wish I had time but the Turns out MAYOR is waiting when you donate downstairs. twenty mill to a cancer ward, they give you the key to the city.

Anything for the kids, Mr. Pasiakos. isn't that I'm sure what you say? the Mayor will understand.

Please, Mistah Pasikos?

Right. For the kids.

Just don't make my pants disappear or This is a any of that family show, nonsense. after all.

Thank you for taking the time, sir.

Just make it snappy.


What makes a man? is it heart and compassion? Strength and resolve? Or is it MONEY and resources? That's what our next tr--

There you are! You're needed downstairs. The entire city is waiting.

Don't pop a blood vessel, Andrea. I'm just having a little fun.

Andrea, one sec.

Sorry, kids. Sometimes my assistant here thinks SHE'S the boss. Maybe another time.

That little angel, the one right there in the front?

Do something special for her.


What's on your mind, Max? You're not usually this quiet after a show.

My thoughts are often like a thick forest; so easy to get lost in. Besides, you have nothing except for my APPROVAL.

For an hour, you made a group of sick children forget they're dying. illusions don't get any more incredible, dear boy.

I recall a show I performed once, perhaps twenty years ago. Children, like today but fortunately not ill.

it was perhaps the finest hour of prestidigitation of my entire career. Everything simply...clicked.

Nothing about my technique? I tried something different with my patter, too.

Perhaps halfway through my performance, I realized that, to the Were I to crowd I was playing to, scratch my derriere, it didn't matter. they would applaud with the same gusto. I learned an important lesson about both magic and life that day.

A child's head is already full of magic. We're just there to make them smile.


I can't tell if that story ends happy or not.

As long as we do our jobs well, all stories end happy, dear boy.

You're twice the magician I ever was, Steven, yet you lack the one thing I was also never able to find.

Geez, Max. Tell me how you really feel. Don't take it personally, dear boy. I've been at this game fifty years and I'm no closer than I ever was.

identity. Once you find your own, the world will open up to you.

if it assuages your feelings, your purloining of Pasiakos' WALLET was far smoother a lift than I ever could have pulled off.

Max, I just realized...

I've still got Victor's wallet!


This must be the place.

You're forgetting the most important rule my dear mother ever taught me, Steven. Finders keepers.

Using somebody's property in the act and not giving it back. it's every magician's worst nightmare.

Definitely not the kind of REP I want to earn.

it's difficult to imagine victor even noticing it’s gone.


Maybe he'll be impressed I brought it back. I mean, look around...

it wouldn't be the worst thing for a struggling magician to get plugged into a scene like this.

Ah, your sense of business rears its head. How reassuring. I wasn't sure it existed after you spent more on the cab ride out here than you earned performing earlier.

I don't care if their plane CRASHED, we booked them MONTHS in advance. This is a VERY important function for Mr. Pasiakos.

is that--?

What do you MEAN the band CANCELED?!?!

You two. The magic men, right? You shouldn't be here. Now is NOT a good time.

He is NOT going to be pleased.

Sorry, lady. I was just asked to relay the message.

I'm sorry for the intrusion, ma'am. in his hurry earlier, Mr. Pasiakos left this behind. I took the liberty of slipping my business card inside.

Fine, I'll bring it to his attention. Now if you'll excuse me...


Come, Steven. Let us find a phone and conjure up another CAB.

Wait a minute, Max. I've got an idea.

Man up and dazzle 'em, right?

I couldn't help but overhear about the band.

I've got my gear. Lend me your crowd for an hour and I guarantee every one of them goes home happy.

We'd be more than happy to help.

You don't even have to pay me.

Oh, really? Can you pull the deposit we paid The Rolling Stones out of your hat?

I'm a magician who sometimes performs for children. There's a difference.

You're a kid-show magician. Last I checked, this isn't quite your crowd.

There are two things Mr. Pasiakos never forgets. People who do him right and people who do him wrong. Think hard about which one you DON'T want to be.

Honestly, I'm not sure you have a better option right now.

You go on in an hour.


This was a bad idea. I saw two Oscar winners out there. I'm WAY out of my league.

Five minutes 'til curtain, Steven.

You do the show, Max. I'll back YOU up.

The only difference between you and that crowd out there tonight are your respective bank accounts. Every illusion you're performing tonight, you've honed countless times.

The only weights you bring onto the stage tonight are your gimmicks and your final loads. All your doubts, all your NERVES, are left back HERE.

Take a second, BREATHE, and remember Thurston's mantra before each show. “I love my audience. I love my audience.�

Carry this with you. My lucky card box. Houdini once carried it himself. I promise, when the chips are down it will always save your life.

if you're anything but confident out there, that audience won't believe in you.

Max, I don't know what to say-Maxim of magic number eighteen. if they don't believe in you, you've lost them before the first trick.

Let's do this.


Ladies and gentlemen. Good evening.

How many children were, just today, given a fighting chance against cancer thanks to the generosity of the Pasiakos Foundation?

Before we begin our show, might I suggest a round of applause in honor of our host?

Anything for the kids.

Would you lend me a dollar?

Victor, there's an old expression. Do something nice for someone and it will come back to you a hundred times over.

I think I can cover that.

Did I give you this dollar earlier and ask you to give it back to me now?

To the best of your knowledge, have I ever seen this bill before?

Nope. Not a chance.


if you'll notice, this is just an ordinary dollar bill.

There's absolutely nothing special about it. Yet.

I was in the fourth grade when I learned I could do this. As you can imagine, I quickly became Every day, the most popular kid almost the in school. entire student body would line up with their lunch money.

instead of playing kickball, I'd spend all my recesses folding and unfolding their dollar bills.

Cash is king.

I finally had to stop when the TEACHERS started bringing me their I couldn't paychecks at the help them with end of the their checks but I did week. learn an important lesson...


Don't you give me back a hundred of HER. I can barely handle the one.

Your generosity comes back to you a hundred fold, sir.

Victor, please. I don't want--

Would your lovely wife be willing to assist me for my next trick?

May I ask your name?

C'mon! First time I met you, you were on a stage. Ain't like you're shy.

Danica.

As you know, I'm not the original entertainment for this wonderful evening. Sorry, Mick Jagger fans... Truth is, I wasn't even planning on doing a show tonight so, in order to prepare, I raided the kitchen for a few things.

Let's have a warm hand for danica, ladies and gentlemen.

You have a lovely kitchen, by the way.


Danica, I notice you're wearing a Bulgari blue diamond ring on your left hand. it's absolutely I'm going stunning. to need you to take it off and place it in this handkerchief.

My wedding ring? I don't know...

Unfortunately, I can't turn it into a hundred rings but I promise you'll get it back safe and sound.

Now, would you mind choosing a walnut from this bowl?

This one?

Whichever you choose is absolutely perfect.

this, by the way, is my magic nutcracker.

All the calories disappear. Ohmigod!

Walnuts are one of my favorite snacks but I find them fattening.

Luckily, with my magic nutcracker--


Now, Danica, if you could just pick out an EGG.

--OH!

On the bright side, if anyone thinks we weren't using real eggs... I'm so sorry! I hope I didn't ruin your little trick.

Eenie, meeie, miney, mo--

Not to worry, we've got eleven more. Please, pick another and hand it to me.

I knew you could do it.

What can I say? it's a talent.

CAREFULLY this time!

Unfortunately, in all this commotion I've lost my appetite for eggs.

if they weren't a necessary ingredient in chocolate cake, I mighT make them ALL disappear.


Danica, would you please fetch me your ring from inside the handkerchief?

I'd much rather have some nice, fresh fruit for breakfast.

it's—it's not there! My ring is gone!

wow.

Try not to panic. I'm sure it's around here somewhere. I neglected to mention I also borrowed this paring knife from your kitchen.

oh.

That's where that egg went to.

And inside the egg...

if you'll just give me one moment here...


HOW did you do that?! VO|LA!

And now, with the magic nutcracker...

And there's your--

--ring?

You lost my wedding ring!?!

I—I'm sorry. I seem to--

That is, I mean--did I pick the wrong walnut?

Max? I don't know what to do.

if you'll just give me one second, I seem to be having some technical difficult--

He TOOK it, Victor! He stole my ring!

You're playing with an eight million dollar piece of jewelry, kid. I suggest you cough it up.


I didn't STEAL it! Something's obviously gone wrong here.

This one was out cold backstage. What you want we should do with him, sir? uhhh...

Sorry about this, folks, but our magician's got a bad case of sticky fingers.

A few minutes down there, they'll be begging to give it back.

Help yourselves in the dining hall. I'll be with you after I sort out this mess.

Crack all these eggs and walnuts, make sure he didn't just screw up. if you don't find the ring, take them down to the basement.


Get in there!

You boys could save yourself a lot of trouble if you just cough it up. You've got to listen! This is all a big misunderstanding.

Max!

What-what is this place?

Save your breath, dear boy. We're way out past the looking glass here.

is that the girl from today's show?

Get up against the wall and spread 'em. We'll do it the hard way.

What's going ON here? Why do you have these kids in CAGES?!

Not your concern. Now spread 'em.


The hell I will! Let her OUT of--

I said sit down!

STEVE! This isn't going to HELP us--

UGH!

Easy, man. Victor wants to deal with them.

Please... Help me. M-Max--?

Can't help it. I HATE magicians.

Stay calm, dear boy. We must keep our wits.


You OK, Steven?

gah!

I didn't get where I am letting people STEAL from me. This is on YOU, making me do what I gotta do.

Rise and shine, sticky fingers.

Now where's my wife's ring?

You—you're supposed to be a philanthropist. Why do you h-have kids in your basement?

Wrong answer.

no!


Max! Oh, God, oh, God...

{Btonacgh}

I'm gonna ask you one last time.

I'm telling you I don't know! This is all moving so fast, can we just TALK a--

Wrong answer.

I don't like your answer, you better hope your dead buddy there taught you how to catch a bullet.

Where's. The. Ring.


TOKYO.

Five years later.

< pardon me, steven? >*

Hai!

< it would please my grandmother if you would join us for tea this morning. >

*TRANSLATED FROM JAPANESE.


< That's funNy. >

< My grandmother always used to say that a cup of tea is goOd for the soul. >

< My apologies to you both but... | can't. > < |â&#x20AC;&#x201D;| have toO much to do to prepare for my show tomorRow. >

< |...| don't understand. We seE each other every morning. | can telL < Emiko... > when we talk that you LIKE-- >

< The wind must have blown THIS into your hair. >

< Don't MOVE. >

< | should have left it there It was much more beautiful atTached to you. >

< Steven, please...|-- > < This doesn't help. >

< |--|'lL just seE you tomorRow morning. >


< This one. And you can't fire me, Ton-san. | live in the back and work for supPlies. >

< Five minutes late but don't worRy. As if by magic, you're just in time to pick a card. >

< That reminds me, do we have any FLASH PAPER in storage? |'m thinking of using some tonight. >

<ChoOse wisely. If you ruin my trick, you're FIRED. >

< You can't ask me to pick another card. >

< | don't LIKE that card. > < Pick another one. >

< It's MY trick, not yours. | said choOse AGAIN! >

< Don't get your shorts in a knot. >

< Do you like this one betTer? >


< When | was a child, | felL in love with magic. It's beEn the background of my entire life. | make my living SElLING it. > < Ever since | broke my HAND, |'m the worst magician alive! My fingers don't CoOPERATE anymore! > < ...Stupid nerve damage.... >

< It's not fair! >

< But |'ve told you before, | can help you build an act out of being terRible. >

< You're forgetTing the first Maxim Of Magic; at least as it was taught to me. >

< No one ELSE is doing that. You'lL corner the market. >

< Magic is a fickle mistresS. No matTer how much we love her, she'lL eventualLy turn her atTention to someone younger, betTer... >

< Screw you, Steve. Now telL me, did you seE Emiko at your Slow-Motion Fighting group this morning? >

< ...honest with you. You're NOT the magician you used to be.>

< Do you even LIKE girls? In the five years |'ve known you, you've never beEn on one date. > < If you don't ask that girl out tomorRow, | wilL; and |'m NOT kidDing. >

< Tai-Chi. She asked me to have TEA this morning. With her grandmother present but stilL... > < By the way, is her grandmother single? >

< She'lL wish she WASN'T after you do a card trick for her. > < Take your American sarcasm to the back. Today's shipment isn't going to organize itself. >

< | just thought of the PERFECT trick | could impresS the grandmother with... >


“Drag striker across magnesium base to generate a flame source.”

“--With attached steel striker.”

Perfect!

definitely using this.


Oh, wow...

The six of hearts, young lady!

Yeah. Little rusty with the swordplay, Max. Don't worry. I'll work on it.


< Emiko? >

< Emiko, please. >

< Steven! What are you DOING?! >

< For a long < Being honest. > time now, |'ve beEn AFRAID to let anyone into my life. To feEl like | DESERVED a chance to be hapPy. > < But | want to change and if you'lL stilL have me, |'d LOVE to join you--AND your grandmother-for tea. >

< Of course! You've made me so hapPy this morning! >

< Don't thank me yet. My friend Ton insists he's coming... >

Ask this guy what they eat for breakfast around here. I'm starving.


< Excuse an old woman for being blunt but-- >

< |'ve seEn the way you and my grandDaughter notice each other. >

< While |'d prefer a more TRADITIONAL suitor, |'m not so old that | don't seE the world changing. >

< Let us drink this tea together and speak with honest words. > < Get to KNOW one another. >

< TelL us, Steven, how did you come to live in Japan? Why did you choOse to leave home? >

< |... > < |'d prefer not to say. >

< GoOd luck with THAT one. |'ve known him five years he's not exactly an open boOk about his life in America. >


< Steve? Where are you going?! >

< You'd... prefer not to say? > < It's--you know, | have a show tonight. | neEd to get there early to prepare. > < Maybe we could do this again. >

< Another time, Emiko. > < The young and their constant neEd for DRAMA. > < TelL me, do you like card tricks? >

< What are you DOING? > < You left in the midDle of the ceremony. How wilL my Grandmother ever apProve of you now? >

< | came here to start over, Emiko. Somewhere far away from every bad thing that's ever hapPened to me. >

< Talking about the past only keEps it ALIVE. >

< Steven, if you care about me telL me what HApPENED to you! >

< |'m sorRy. | thought we'd spend TIME together, not just jump right into exhuming my previous life. >

< It's because | care about you that | can't. >

< If your grandmother can acCept that, | would love to have tea with you again sometime. >


Park Hyatt Tokyo

A chocolate milkshake? My magic kettle CAN make ANY drink you wish. But not without your parents' permission. As long as he promises to finish his vegetables.

One chocolate milkshake coming up.

Sir, ma'am, what can | get you?

Hot Sake! Could I have a margarita, please?

I can pour any drink you might desire from this very same kettle.

From the same kettle...?

it really is hot sake!

Amazing!

Hot Sake and a margarita, coming right up.


Believe it or not, I have a pocket full of SALT I was planning to make disappear later.

<Show's over. Everybody out!>

And If you want a LIME for the Margarita, I can have the server bring--

<Move! Move! Move!>

<Come, Victor. Let us celebrate the goOd fortune in our futures. With your product and my conNections...>

He wants to party now that you've come to terms.

Tell him he's buying.

Can we get someone to clear this table?

< The magician stays. He can have the honor of entertaining my guests. >


< Those two are very important men right there. What kind of show do you think they should seE? >

Long as he meets my price, we'll get 'em in country. After that, ain't none of my business.

< The price is, admitTedly, high but dealing with customs is very expensive when minors are involved. >

< Position your buyers to cover the cost, which limits financial risk to your operation. >

< The children we provide are alL terminal cancer patients. > < Many of their organs are stilL cancer-freE and viable for transplant but they must be harvested quickly. >

Good evening. it's an unexpected pleasure to perform for two such powerful and sophisticated gentlemen. And such a beautiful woman.


For your enjoyment tonight, I've devised a unique mixture of illusion and effect. One part sense, one part nonsense, one part deception, all shaken It is very together. difficult to deceive such an intelligent audience without prevaricating. So remember: nothing I say is true.

Say what? You want me to pick one of these or not?

this is true or I would not tell you such a lie.

if you'd be so kind.

Please, don't show me or in any way give an indication of what card you pick.

Just MEMORIZE it.

Deal me out four more. We'll have a MAN'S game.

We'll be playing a game of chance soon enough, I assure you.

Did you commit your choice to the vault of your mind? Because our first trick tonight concerns just that.

Memory versus perception, all in search of the truth.


perception. is there anything more subjective? You getting paid by the word, pal?

Two people can see the exact same thing, yet perceive them in completely different ways.

A businessman might look like a criminal. A sick child like little more than a profit margin.

To you, it may look like these cards are raining down. To your assistant, perhaps they seem to be moving upwards, defying gravity itself.

The truth is, it doesn't MATTER what card you picked. Which of those is true and which is only the perception of truth?

What the--

I don't do card tricks for the MURDERER who killed my friend.


Victor, it's--

This is for every child you've ever hurt. And for MAX.

You.

Kill this punk! Make sure he's gone for good this time!

< Victor says-- > < | get it, | get it! >

< Our new asSociate has beEn dishonored. >

< A bonus to the one who brings me the magician's hands! >


< Take it easy, guys. >

You can't be here for this.

< Have it your way. >

< | don't want to hurt you. >


{oof}

< Come on, magic boy... >

{urrf}

< Why don't you make me disapPear? >

aaiieee!


< My eyes! my eyes! >

< AhHH! >

< SALT!! >


Jesus--!

< |'ve got him! >

< What are you DOING!? You shot KADOYA! > < Give me that thing! >

All right, Max, if you're up there...

I need you to get my back right now.


haaaiiii!

< Wha--? >

< | wouldn't pick that up if | were you. >


<TelL Victor.>

<You're smarter than you loOk. | wasn't sure.> <You're going to deliver a mesSage for me, got it?>

Far too late...

<By the time he seEs me coming, it'lL be toO late for him.>


< Ton-san. >

< STEVE? >

< | didn't think you'd stilL be here. >

< | couldn't charm that grandmother if my life depended on it. >

< Steve? What hapPened to you? >

< It's a goOd news, bad news kind of night. >

< The goOd news is my slow-motion fighting works pretTy welL when you hit the gas. >


< Let's worRy about what JUST hapPened, not what MIGHT hapPen. What's going on? >

< The bad news is my past caught up to me tonight. >

< | made an ENEMY back in America. A MONSTER with more than enough money to hide his true nature from the world. >

< People are going to come here loOking for me, Ton-san. |'m so sorRy, | never imagined this. >

< My greatest trick was making him think he kilLed me. >

< My friend, MAX, had given me a steEl card box to put in my pocket. He was right; it did save my life. >

< Max wasn't so lucky. >

< | was so scared, | fled halfway around the world but it wasn't far enough. >

< Now that he knows |'m alive, his people wilL never stop coming. | know toO much. >

< No more runNing away. |'m going to the one place he'lL never think to loOk for me. >

< Where wilL you run to now? >

< Home. >


New york city.

nine months later...

the waldorf astoria.

breakfast.

--Down six points but I don't know. My gut tells me it's gonna rebound.

Screw it. Sell half my shares.

Let's talk later, Mom. I need to call Victor's broker.


What the hell is a 'Millionaires' Magician'? Ain't nothing but a P.O. Box on the back.

The Journal don't do insert advertising. Don't tell me even THEY'RE losing it these days.

Do you ever listen when people talk to you? The Governor mentioned him at dinner JUST last week. His wife hired the Millionaires' Magician for a private function. Supposedly, he's amazing--if you like that kind of thing.

The postcard is his thing. it's only circulated among the highest of high society. No names, no addresses except for the P.O. Box on the back. Just drop it in the mail if you want to book him and SOMEHOW, he finds you.

Everybody's got a gimmick. You ask me...


“...The only good magician is a DEAD magician.”

Would you care to pick a card?


The Metropolitan Club They're balanced so delicately. I fear I'll cause you to drop them!

You're worried about me? How polite.

I do feel much safer choosing a card now, thank you very much.

I couldn't ask for anything more. Please. Show it to your table but don't let me see it.

Allow me to make the task a little easier for you.

Can everyone see it all right?

Don't say what it is!


This trick was created by one of my heroes, a man named johann hofzinser, considered by many to be the FATHER of card magic.

I've doubled the number of cards, making it statistically impossible to correctly Because of choose. the EXTREME level of difficulty, I ask that you allow me FOUR chances to pick out your card.

You object to my terms, miss?

No. Draw the card in one attempt.

You say you've made the trick harder to perform but magicians, by nature of their trade, lie to the audience. I believe you should only get one chance. yumi, please.

I don't normally allow my audience to dictate my performance. But when a beautiful woman asks me to jump, I've been known to fly.


Ma'am, I've laid out before you FOUR cards.

I'm sorry but they're all wrong.

One of these is the card you picked. Just close your eyes and point out whichever one you feel is the card you chose.

These are all red. Mine had a BLUE back.

But...

You know what else is red? My cheeks right now. Yumi, was it? I'm sorry I didn't rise to your challenge.

What?

That's IT! The Queen Of Diamonds! That's my card!

Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle.

By the way, not to embarrass YOU but I believe you're sitting on something I need.


later that night...

Gonna ask ya one last time.

it's a kind of magic. Almost like the way I've just paralyzed your hand.

AAGH!

Dammit, Paul--just END this guy!!

How'd ya get in here?

Gihh!


Worse men than you have tried, Paul.

{gurk}

Wooolf!

And...

What the h--

The linking rings, ladies and gentlemen!


Wait, wait, wait--go LEFT.

Be glad I took it easy on you.

You're choking me, Paul. Move this way.

You don't want to know what I would have done with this last ring.

Have it your way then.

Let's cook.

Crystal meth too, Victor? You've got your fingers in all kinds of pies.


Paul? Grunt if you can hear me.

I wouldn't leave you here if there weren't a way to unlink those rings and free yourselves.

Ugh.

it only took me about thirty seconds the first time I figured it out. You've got at least five before things REALLY get hot in here. it's more of a chance than your boss ever gave me.

Give this to Victor.


A pen like this is definitely mightier than a sword. More expensive, too. I'm actually a bit NERVOUS holding it.

As the wives of some of the most powerful men in the city, you must get used to items so luxurious.

Who told you my name?! No one had to tell me. I read your mind.

is that the case, danica?

The NiB is eighteen karat gold and both the cap and end are dressed with an RACHEL, when ONYX stone. you sent back my card to reserve this show, you added a note asking I only use YOUR belongings as props. An interesting Would you challenge. confirm for your friends that this is YOUR pen?

That is definitely MY pen and if you lose it, we're going to eat you alive.

I may have just become dinner.

I wish you'd told me sooner.

that's crazy! it's gone!!

I'll let all of YOU decide where it turns up. Perhaps in your clutch, Rachel? Or beneath the couch?

if you want to REALLY challenge the limits of my magic, I could even make the pen reappear in a different room.

The kitchen, maybe? How about inside a loaf of bread?


Your kitchen is beautiful, Rachel. Perhaps the finest I've ever seen. Would you show me where your--

I used to like it when magicians would say things like, â&#x20AC;&#x153;presto, change-o, reappear-o!â&#x20AC;?

There's a loaf of French bread right there!

OhmiGOD!! Rachel, it's your pen. Would you do the honors?

How in the--?!

Some of you may think there's no such thing as magic. But sometimes there can be no other explanation. What the eye sees, the heart simply must believe.

I'll need a BOOK for my next trick and a cookbook simply won't do. Shall we adjourn back to the living room?


--Not gonna believe what happened next!

He let us CHOOSE!

Let me guess: he made the pen reappear exactly where he suggested you might find it?

I'm telling you, vic, the guy is amazing. even his name, I heard if the millionaires' your net worth is magician. it's so... less than fifty million, different. he won't even LET you hire him.

You think I should hire him for the Carnegie Hall benefit thing the foundation is organizing. I don't know. I've had bad luck with magicians.

So you know what I was thinking?

Happy wife, happy life. Get off a me. You stink. Just think about it, Victor. I need the checkbook today, by the way.


Can you hear me? Do you both speak English?

later.

A very bad man put you here but you're SAFE now. Do you understand?

No one is going to hurt you.

< You have no idea what you're doing. > < What you're up against. >

< When they find you at the botTom of the Hudson, your own mother won't recognize you. > < Which actualLy won't be a problem because your body wilL NEVER be found. >

One of the most important skills in my repertoire is the power of observation. Do you think I haven't noticed you at my shows?


So you wanted me to notice you across the street from the warehouse the other night?

You've only seen me when I WANTED you to. One of my most important skills is NOT being noticed.

it's OK. I promise. I'm going to get you to safety.

if you're here to help, search this place for other children. if not, stay out of my way. I'll deal with you when I'm finished here.

Come, child.

Relative safety awaits.


What will happen to the children? Their families think they're dead.

I could tell you but you'd think I'm only prevaricating. Magicians only tell lies, remember?

How long before their cancer makes that true?

Besides, I don't TRUST you. Fair enough. As long as they're safe.

Why do you care?

Remember, I'm a professional liar. I can spot a lie a mile away.

Becaus Victor Pasiakos is the devil.

I've known this from the time I was seven years old. Since the day he SOLD me.

I'm sorry that happened to you. What are we going to do about it?


The Magician is here to remind us that mystery and wonder still exist in the world.

it doesn't actually MATTER what card you pick. By the time I let them choose, it's already too late to make a difference.

You're ready. Good. Just in time for the biggest show of my life.

Especially when we're grown and think we've got everything figured out and under control. in fact, quite the opposite is true.


the waldorf astoria. When I lived in Japan, I slept on a bamboo mat in a storeroom.

I'd say the Millionaires' Magician has officially arrived.

Do you think this is real GOLD?

The Queen Of Morocco is known for her extravagant tastes. I think even the nails they built this suite with are solid gold.

Let's move this near the couch where I'm going to have her sit. Yes, this will work out beautifully.

I've seen you walk through the fires of Hell without skipping a beat. But you're actually NERVOUS for tonight's show, aren't you?

This is who I really AM. What I've always wanted to be.

My friend Max used to tell me that the bigger the show, the more gin and tonic it took to calm his nerves.

I wish you could have met him. Max was the BEST.

yes...

I'm sure he was.


I'm so pleased to be performing for you tonight, your Highness.

Your beauty certainly hasn't been exaggerated but...

Forgive my saying but it's missing something.

That outfit you're wearing...

A certain SPARK, if you will.

Or SPARKLE, if you prefer.

Courtesy of your husband, The King, who regrets he couldn't be here with you tonight. He asked me to wish you a Happy Anniversary.


My assistant, yumi, your Highness.

Would you be so kind as to choose a member of your staff to shuffle these?

All of my people are highly competent. I'm sure either can manage just fine.

Shuffle these thoroughly. Please.

Your Royal Highness, may I ask you to cut the cards into four equal piles and place them on this table here?

I haven't shuffled a deck of cards in YEARS. I'll try not to drop any.

Certainly.


Perfect. Only a QUEEN could cut to these four cards.

My word, how delightful. When his Highness the King visits, you MUST show him this as well.

Please, your Highness, turn them over and see for yourself.

Absolutely!

Only when HE cuts the cards, he'll find all four KiNGS.


two nights later... This whole place is coming down!

there's no children, nothing here. it was a trap.

I'll hold them off, you get out of here

behind you!

I've GOT this. You need to GO!


Ahhh! STEVE!


{koff} {koff} ...steve.

STEVE!!

...No...

Yumi.

You're alive! I don't understand, how did you get out? I am my own greatest illusion, Yumi... Steve? You're not making sense.

Sorry. I'm having trouble concentrating. I've lost a lot of bl--


--again last night. We lost the warehouse on the east side and he still slipped away.

it's HiM, Victor. You know it as well as I do and he's not working ALONE anymore. The magician has an assistant.

I don't understand why you're letting this happen.

Do you know how much MONEY you've lost because of this whole thing?

the LONGER you let this joker breathe, the more your legitimate acquaintances are falling in love with him.

He's the goddamn talk of the TOWN at the same time as he's tearing you down.

it's like part of some sick plan he came up with.

PLEASE, Victor. Give me the WORD.

I will have this ENDED by tomorrow.

NO.

I've got a better idea...


My childhood was a barren place. There was no joy in it.

Only hunger and pain and the breath of horrible men on the back of my neck.

I think that's why I remember so distinctly the first time I saw a magician.

I had never seen anything like it. For one who had stopped believing in magic when she was a little girl...

He was young; nervous. He could barely keep his fingers from shaking as he turned a single dollar bill into a hundred.

you... You took my breath away.

For the crowd he was playing to, it was like throwing blood into sharkinfested waters.

I'll spare you more of my ramblings. You need rest, not a headache.

I wonder sometimes how differently that magician's life would have turned out if I...didn't leave his show early. Would he-would YOU--still have become a MASTER of your craft without all that came next?

Because this arrived at your post office box today. The one you've been planning for.

Recuperate quickly, my magician. The time for your greatest trick is upon us...


--Can't stress enough how important this function is to The Pasiakos Foundation. Almost thirty percent of our annual funding is raised from this fund raiser alone.

But please understand that it's BECAUSE this event is so important that my employer can't be here today.

Which is why I'd feel much more comfortable meeting with Mr. Cohen personally to discuss these matters.

He's DEEP in preparation for this show and guarantees your crowd at least THREE never-beforeseen illusions.

Of course.

Because your charity has played an ENORMOUS role in my employer's own life, he's agreed to perform gratis for your function.

That's very GENEROUS. Please thank him for us.

Mr. Pasiakos insists on a photo opportunity with the infamous Millionaires' Magician before the performance. His wife is simply a huge admirer.

He will also MATCH one hundred percent of the donation made.

However, there's one point upon which there can be no negotiation.

MY employer looks forward to meeting YOUR employer at Carnegie Hall.


this is crazy. he's going to try to kill you. He'll do it BEFORE the show when you'll be less suspicious. why do you think copperfield is in town? because pasiakos is still going to need someone to perform once you're gone.

what?!

Let's talk about that later. Do me a favor? Ask the SKULL a question. its teeth will CLACK three times for yes: Y-E-S. And twice for no: N-O.

I need to talk to YOU, not a fake skull. This is serious. Humor me, Yumi. I need to make sure it works.

Fine... Does Steve realize his life is in danger?

Magic is a fickle mistress. I can only control what I control. By the way, I think the cat is dead. it got into the White Oleander plant.


Does Steve WANT to die? Because I'd remind him he got stabbed with a burning two by four only a couple of weeks ago.

This is stupid. Shoot yourself and save him the bullet.

Yumi, I KNOW he's going to try to kill me. I'm planning on it.

As ALWAYS, the trick is in the timing. I promise, he won't pull the trigger until I WANT him to.

Remember what I've taught you. By the time a magician lets someone make a choice, it's too late to make This is what any difference. we've been working towards. Do you really think I'd leave anything to chance?


Carnegie Hall.

Two weeks later.

My old man used to dick around with card tricks, ya know.

My pops wasn't nothing special, not as a dad or at pulling rabbits out of his hat, but he told me once that every performer dreams of working Carnegie.

Victor.

relax. in other words: you're welcome.

I actually want to see the show. My wife's an idiot but she says you're really something. We'll settle our business when the curtain closes.

What do you want, Victor? I need to prepare.


I want you to remember something.

Life's about choices, kid.

About eight years ago, you chose to steal from me. Rather than face the music like your friend, you chose to hide halfway across the world. When I found you there, you ran away again.

Since you came back here, you've been choosing to mess with my various business interests.

see, I'm not the BAD guy here. YOU are. And when the sun don't rise for you no more, it's 'cuz you left ME no choi--

You're a better illusionist than I am, Victor.

Never forget. I KNOW who you really are. How many lives you've ruined.

Nice piece. Good balance. I only fool fifty people at a time. You've tricked the whole world into thinking you're something you're not.

Enjoy the show tonight, Victor. When I see you afterward, don't forget: it'll be MY choice.


Everybody has a secret.

my own secrets are timeless, dating back centuries.

Something you've seen. Something you've heard. Something you've done.

Secrets are the currency of magic. Something you don't want anybody else to know.

Without them, none of what I DO would be possible.

Some were used to entertain PHAROAHS in ancient Egypt.

At least one of the secrets you'll see here tonight was used to astonish abraham lincoln himself.

Before this night is over, I'll know all of YOUR secrets.

And you'll have met a few of mine.


it it isis my my greatest greatest pleasure pleasure toto welcome welcome you you this this evening evening toto what what you you will will come come toto remember remember asas aa CONCERTO CONCERTO ofof secrets. secrets.

aa symphony symphony of ofmagic! magic!

ToTo bebe able able toto describe describe the the excitement excitementofof performing performing for for so so many many ofof you you tonight tonight ...... words words simply simply can't can't suffice. suffice. Let's Let's put put our our hands hands together together toto thank thank the the man man who who has has made made it it all all possible. possible. mr. mr.victor victor pasiakos. pasiakos.

Anything Anything for for the the kids. kids.


I'm sure you're all thirsty after waiting so long. Thank you, yumi.

My lovely assistant, ladies and gentlemen.

Victor, as our host for the evening the honor of the first pour goes to you. Any drink you can imagine.


I ain't thirsty. Start with someone else.

On the rocks would have been more challenging but your wish is my command.

Vodka. neat.

Bottoms up.

nothing to be afraid of, victor. it's not like I'd poison you.

Not with so many eyewitnesses.

oooh!

Tito's.

Bubbles! Could I have some Champagne?

Nice choice.

Anything for the lady.

Cabernet. Very nice.

nice, man. GRAPE SODA is the best.

Metamucil. THANK GOD!


I wish I could pour you all a drink but if I did, we'd be here for three days. Then we'd need SNACKS. Luckily, I planned ahead in that department. if the ladies would check your purses, every single one of you will find a piece of your favorite fruit inside.

observe!

AN APPLE!

AN ORANGE!

But Mom, I don't want to eat my fruit!

This is MAX, the magical skull.

A little potassium goes a long way. Your snacks are courtesy of the Pasiakos Fruit Company by the way.

Yet another slice of Victor's pie. And now, I'd like you TO meet an old friend of mine.

Max, Are you there? I'm in the Click middle of that your teeth SHOW I told if you can you about. hear me.

Ahhhh, thank you, Max. Glad you could join us.

I don't like this.


Normally, I'd have Max perform some simple card tricks or even guess a stranger's name from the crowd. Normally. But Max has a mind of his own and insists on doing something special for all of you tonight.

if I give the word, you pull him OFF the goddamn stage and get Copperfield out here to do the show.

isn't that right, Max?


Max, I notice you have a HOLE in your forehead. in fact, it looks like a bullet hole. Were you MURDERED?

That was three clacks. That's a YES. is the person that killed you in this theater tonight, Max?

That's it, I'm pulling-no. He wouldn't DARE.


I'm truly sorry that happened to you Max.

Perhaps SOMEDAY, the scales of justice will balance out.

Max, the person who killed you, does he have other secrets?

Maybe even this very evening.

Has he hurt anybody else?

Do it. Pull him off the goddam--

You're right, Max. He has hurt a lot of people. Children especially, which is ironic all things considered. That's why I've put together this file with proof I've been gathering of all his crimes. Proof I've already emailed to every District Attorney and newspaper in the city.

Abracadabra, Victor.


You--!

Victor!

you sonavabitch!! {ugh}

Not HERE!

Hurhhh... hurhhhh...

We have to get you out of here.

Victor?! is this part of the show?


Steve!

Your car is being brought around front.

Would someone tell me what's going on?!

I swear if you're dead, I'm going to kill you!

Can you HEAR me, Steve?!

Turn it down a little, would you? My head is killing me. STEVE!

Ladies and gentlemen, I've just performed the deadliest trick known to magic.

The BULLET CATCH.


Thank you. Thank you ALL very much.


One hour later...

What? Just spill it. The Magician wasn't lying. He did send a dossier with details about everything to various newspapers and the city. Not to mention you just MURDERED him in front of three thousand eyewitnesses. ugly is not even the word for what it's gonna be in the morning.

He had it coming. So what do I do?

Your plane is fueled and ready. Your off shore accounts are---victor!

Hello, Victor.


This is trespassing! You can't be in--

{hurk}

Thank you, Yumi.

This is the LAST time I'm gonna kill you.

My ears are still ringing from getting shot and that shrill voice of hers really wasn't helping.

Break a leg.

Yumi, please wait outside.

My final illusion is for Victor's eyes only.

Very funny...


For my last trick, Victor, I'm going to DEFEAT you without ever once raising a hand.

You will punch me. You will kick me. You will do your very worst. Regardless, this will end with you lying on the floor, writhing in AGONY and I'll never once have hit you back.

We'll see about that!

Come ON, magic man...

Where's your fancy patter NOW?!


You got miles of pain to get through before I snap your neck.

Don't pass out yet, fancy pants. ...ugh...

Uurk! No, no, no, no-That's right. beg!

GULGH!


What's THAT?!

You forgot to perform your last trick?

I—I forgot--

I forgot to tell you the NAME of my last trick.

'Cuz the only thing hurting on me are my KNUCKLES.

Ughhhh-n--no.

“White Oleander at night.”


Do you under-Urff!

Who gives a crap.

--Understand what a magician really does, Victor? Against their better judgment, I force people to believe in magic.

One of the-kkkk--ways to do it is to-Get back here.

whoolp!

Like when I told you at Carnegie Hall I wouldn't poison you to get you to drink from my kettle.

What--feel strange...

I was lying, Victor.

Tell people what they-kkk--need to hear.


Wh--what?

Your vodka was laced with White Oleander. it's a poison. Not enough to kill you, don't worry.

Just as I promised.

But you're definitely going to FEEL it.

We end with you in AGONY.

And I never so much as raised a hand.

The police are in the lobby. We need to GO. Yes, of course.

This show is over.


I can't believe it's finally over.

Not quite. There's still one question The diamond I have. ring. The blue Bulgari that disappeared all those years ago. How did you steal it?

Don't you give me back a hundred of HER. I can barely handle the one.

no. I SAW you; sitting behind Victor and his wife.

You... heard me?

I'm so SORRY.

I just wanted the ring. I never meant for Max to get killed.

I thought you were ouT cold.


Of course not. You only wanted to hit Victor where it would hurt him the most. His wallet.

And you still haven't answered my question: HOW did you steal it in the first place?

But YOU didn't kill Max. victor did. if max is looking down on us right now, well...he would blame you, actually. but you could have never known what would happen.

The Millionaires' Magician has his secrets and I have mine.

I know you knocked Max out to escape but the ring itself was with ME. There's no WAY you could have grabbed it.

Fair enough.

But if you're lucky, I'll teach you how to do it someday.

Let's go make some magic...

the end.


EP IL OGUE by steve cohen yes, dear reader, there is a real

carbonated and others are not. Some are hot, some

millionaires’ magician.

are cold. Even more important, each drink tastes

different from the last!

For nearly two decades, I’ve presented my solo

off-Broadway show Chamber Magic in New York’s

ultra-luxurious Waldorf Astoria hotel. Billionaires,

you get a chance to see me perform it live some day.

athletes, movie stars, music legends, and heads of

state have flocked to visit my showroom.

time I performed the world’s most dangerous illu-

When I presented my 5000th public show,

sion: the Bullet Catch. In this graphic novel, Steve

Mayor Bill de Blasio proclaimed the day “Chamber

provokes Victor to shoot him on stage at Carnegie

Magic Day” in New York City.

Hall. However, I attempted this stunt in real life

at a firing range in Brooklyn, New York. Despite

There are many truths sprinkled throughout

It’s a memorable, and baffling, routine. I hope More memorable for me personally was the

this graphic novel that run parallel to genuine

taking many precautions, I sustained an accident

events. My wife is really named Yumi, I actually

that left me with a chest wound. I am disgusted

lived in Japan for five years, and I really entertained

and regretful that I did not take more precautions

at the Park Hyatt hotel in Tokyo. As a college stu-

to prevent this injury from occurring. Yet I remain

dent, I held a part-time job at Magic Land, working

grateful that I did not get killed.

for Ton Onosaka. (Ton-san makes a cameo in this

book as young Steve’s boss. Arigato gozaimasu!)

each other on the open floor of an underground

firing range. A sheet of tempered glass was hung

The character of Max in this graphic novel is vi-

The shooter and I were positioned 20 feet from

sually based on magician Frederick Eugene Powell,

at the 10-foot mark, equidistant between us. As in

and he is named after my hero, Max Malini.

most performances, the glass is present to demon-

strate that a bullet is actually fired from the gun.

The Waldorf Astoria is currently closed for

several years of renovations, and I have moved

We used tempered glass because it beads upon

Chamber Magic to a gorgeous new home on Madison

impact instead of cracking into larger shards. The

Avenue—the Lotte New York Palace hotel. Many of

beads are supposed to fall straight down.

the feats you’ve read in this graphic novel are ones

that I have actually performed.

Glock 19 at my face and the glass shattered as ex-

pected, with one exception. One bead of glass flew

As unbelievable as it might seem, “Think-a-

During my performance, the shooter fired his

Drink” is a real illusion that I present at every

toward my body and pegged me in the chest, above

show. It’s become the signature trick in my act. On

my right pectoral. It carried a strong impact but did

January 12, 2012, I even performed “Think-a-Drink”

not pierce my skin. The glass pellet grazed my rib,

at Carnegie Hall—the first magician in 38 years to

passed under my outstretched arm, and continued

present a solo act on the famous music hall stage.

its path behind me.

Here’s what the audience sees: I ask everyone

The only gear I wore was a pair of protective

assembled to think of their favorite drink. Audience

goggles. I got off lucky with a hematoma—a blood

members are chosen at random, and I ask each of

tumor that expanded and swelled over several

those freely-chosen people to call out their favorite

weeks. My chest turned colors from black and blue

drinks. Instantly, I pour each one of these drinks

to deep purple to yellowish-green. It was awful, and

from a silver teapot, one after the next: frozen

it hurt every time I moved. However I was extreme-

margarita, beer, whiskey, peach dacari, hazelnut

ly fortunate. If the glass bead had impacted me just

coffee. They all pour out from the same spout in

eight inches higher, it could have penetrated my

succession. Each drink looks different from the pre-

throat and killed me.

vious one—some are clear, others colored; some are

Obviously I have no further plans to perform


“The Bullet Catch.” It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’ll never forget. The nerves in my chest have still not healed, and I can feel a dull sensation below the skin’s surface when I touch that region of my chest. My strong recommendation to anyone reading this: Do Not Attempt the Bullet Catch.


IN TERVI E W with the millionaires' magician

The following interview (conducted by Richard Kaufman

Genii: Speaking of money—and please be frank

in GENII Magazine, September 2008) provides insights

here—do you charge more for your show when

into how my peculiar career began.

you are performing for, say, a billionaire? Cohen: Nobody likes to be taken advantage of,

Genii: Why do you call yourself “The Million-

especially the ultra-rich. I do have a premiere rate

aires’ Magician?” Doesn’t that turn some people

that I present as an option to my high net-worth

off? It sounds kind of snooty.

clients. To justify the higher fee, I customize parts

Cohen: Nice way to start the interview! To answer

of my show to meet the interests of the individual

your question, an upscale magazine in New York

client.

City wrote a feature story about me, and that was

the headline: “The Millionaires’ Magician.” I’m

three new tricks specific to their event. In many

at The Waldorf Towers every Friday and Saturday

cases, this is easy—just a matter of changing patter

night for my show Chamber Magic. But the other

to an existing trick in my repertoire to fit the per-

five days of the week I travel around the world to

son. But I also enjoy challenging myself to develop

perform at people’s mansions and private islands.

something truly new—like a violin-themed trick

They pick me up in luxury cars and put me up in

for the German virtuoso Anne-Sophie Mutter and a

fine hotels in Switzerland, London, Paris, the Carib-

bread-baking trick for Martha Stewart. My collabo-

bean, Boca Raton, Aspen, all over the place.

rator Mark Levy and I work together to come up

Genii: You’ve clearly figured out a great niche for

with one-off presentations that the audience clearly

yourself.

knows was created just for them.

Cohen: To be honest, there are at least three mil-

lion millionaires in America, and in my geographic

that I bring my family along when the events are

region—New York City—it seems like everyone I

held in resort areas. To me, this is like a bonus—a

know is a millionaire. So when I call myself “The

chance to vacation with my family while working.

Millionaires’ Magician,” it’s simply a description

of my market. Now, I find myself contacted only

simply be a “hired gun,” but to become part of the

by people—event planners, corporate groups, and

clients’ family circle. I’m a real person to them—we

individuals—who can afford my current rates. They

stay in touch throughout the year, sharing personal

kind of know what they’re jumping into when they

notes and gifts. If they have guests visiting New

call me, so there’s no sticker shock when they hear

York City, I comp them into my shows at the Wal-

my prices.

dorf. I take care of them.

Genii: How many shows per year do you perform?

Cohen: I do 20 Chamber Magic shows a month (five

cause I’m sincere in my dealings with them.

shows each weekend) at the Waldorf, and between

Genii: What is your relationship with the Waldorf

six and 10 private or corporate shows per month

Astoria?

on top of that. So I’m working a lot—roughly

Cohen: When I began working with the Waldorf,

300 shows a year. Which is good, since I have two

the staff had no idea that I would be there for

small kids and we live on the Upper West Side in

an extended period of time. I’ve now presented

Manhattan—not exactly a neighborhood known

thousands of performances of Chamber Magic at the

for bargain-hunting. But, it’s not only about the

Waldorf, and the staff considers me a permanent

money for me. I feel extremely lucky to live my

resident. The hotel has become overwhelmingly

childhood dream.

supportive of Chamber Magic: The concierges recom-

In my proposal, I explain that I’ll create two to

Some of my long-standing clients even suggest

You have to understand, one of my aims is to not

In return, they take care of me. And that’s be-


mend the show to in-house guests; They feed me

Magic. A reporter from CNN came one night with

dinner after the show; They send wine, cheese, and

a film crew and did a long profile of the show on

fruit amenities so that I can entertain VIP guests

CNN. She told Anderson Cooper and Paula Zahn

who stay after the show to talk; They invite me to

about it, and suddenly I was on the map. The

perform for VIP events for celebrities and royalty

media feeds off of other media, and shortly after,

who are staying at the hotel.

a reporter from the Associated Press showed up.

Each of these items was attained by baby steps, over

After his article appeared in hundreds of American

the course of many years.

newspapers, there was suddenly some interest in

my little show at the Waldorf.

I now live at The Waldorf Towers every week-

end, and then uptown at my apartment the rest of

Genii: You’ve talked a lot about marketing and

the week. My suite at the Waldorf is much larger

your business. I’d hate for my readers to think

than my apartment at home—about 4,000 square

that you are merely a businessman and not a real

feet.

student of magic. I know that you are, of course,

because you were doing tricks for me when you

I perform in the living room area, with three or

four rows of chairs.

were fourteen years old, but my readers don’t.

Genii: And the show is now sold-out several

Cohen: Magic is all-consuming for me. I love to

months in advance. …

practice difficult card sleights. I also love to read bi-

Cohen: When I first started, the hotel was not at all

ographies and treatments of great magicians of the

supportive in promoting Chamber Magic. I had only

past: Karl Germain, Chung Ling Soo, Roy Benson,

one or two executives who championed my cause,

Al Baker, Robert-Houdin, Hofzinser, David Devant,

and everyone else seemed to think that I was just another guest, holding just another event there.

The Waldorf Towers hosts important events ev-

ery day, from the United Nations General Assembly to the NASCAR award show, to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Richard Branson stays there, Brad Pitt stays there, and every U.S. President since 1931 has stayed there when they visit New York City. A magic show by an unknown magician was not on anybody’s radar.

In the beginning, I invited my friends and fam-

ily, and told them to bring their friends—just to fill the seats. After about six months, I’d used up all my friends, and attendance started to dwindle. I lied to my wife, and told her that our business was breaking even, but in reality I was losing money every week.

This continued for two and a half years. Then,

with an immense amount of effort, and relying solely on word-of-mouth, I was finally breaking even. In order to keep the room looking full, I gave out complimentary seats to anybody who asked, and even “papered the room” several times with members of ticketing clubs who wanted to see free shows in Manhattan.

Fortunately, New York City is a media capitol,

and media people started showing up at Chamber


Charles Bertram, Max Malini, and Nate Leipzig.

mentalism section of my show, I do a Question &

These are the magicians who have influenced me

Answer routine. To magicians, this may seem to be

in a direct way, through the printed page. I read

standard stuff. But when combined with compel-

constantly—hunting for the good stuff.

ling presentations, they take on a different charac-

Genii: This must have helped when you began to

ter.

put together Chamber Magic.

Mark Levy worked hard with me to pick strong ma-

Cohen: For me, the effect is always the thing. How

terial that can be easily described by audiences. Like

will this appear to the layman? When I was choos-

Vernon said: “A good trick needs to be described

ing material for Chamber Magic I was tempted to put

in a single sentence.” For every trick that makes

together a show full of knuckle-busting sleight of

the show, there are probably 12 tricks that didn’t.

hand. But I ultimately decided that the show is not

Mark would always say, “Maybe they knocked the

aimed at magicians. Nobody is going to applaud

audience on their ass lightly... but we’re hoping for

something that magicians would call clever. Lay

black and blue marks.”

audiences care about the dramatic voyage—the

Genii: What’s the most interesting thing one of

introduction into a world where magic might really

your high-falutin clients ever said to you?

take place.

Cohen: One of my best clients in Boca Raton gave

me the following quote:

The Waldorf Astoria building itself helps me

put people into that mindset, even before the show

“A master in the art of living leaves others to

begins. The audience enters through a marble

determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always seems to be doing both.”

lobby, and gets whisked upstairs in a special elevator. By the time they enter my suite, they’re already

That sums up how I’m living my life right now.

expecting to see things they’ve never seen before.

I’m making an enjoyable living for my family, by

playing. ¶

The material I chose is entirely effect-driven,

and I include a lot of classics: Think-A-Drink, the Rising Cards, and the Malini hat routine. In the

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A M AG I C I A N B AT T L E S T H E UNDERWORLD F LEDGL IN G M AGICIA N S T E V E COHEN finds his life swept up in a dark scandal when he discovers a powerful businessman’s dooming secret, and must… disappear… to avoid a deadly fate. After spending years hiding in Japan and training in martial arts, he returns to New York to save the lives of innocent victims, and enact his revenge.

writes in the introduction: “Alongside some of the top talents in the comic business, Steve Cohen has created a dramatic tale of how he landed at the Waldorf Astoria. The behind-the-scenes story is as engaging as the magic he performs. Like any good fable, it weaves fact with fiction, truth with tall tale, into a memorable read.” DAV ID CO P P E R F IE L D

The Millionaires' Magician Graphic Novel - FULL BOOK  

Today's top comic artists have collaborated with magician Steve Cohen to capture his tantalizing origin story, in dark, poignant scenes. In...

The Millionaires' Magician Graphic Novel - FULL BOOK  

Today's top comic artists have collaborated with magician Steve Cohen to capture his tantalizing origin story, in dark, poignant scenes. In...