Diabolik with Ginko
|Created by||Angela and Luciana Giussani|
Diabolik (Italian pronunciation: [djaˈbɔːlik]) is a fictional character, an anti-hero featured in Italian comics. He was created by sisters Angela and Luciana Giussani in 1962. His stories appear in monthly black and white digest-sized booklets. The character was inspired by several previous characters from Italian and French pulp fiction.
Creation and development
Diabolik was born from seeing commuters every day. Creator Angela Giussani, who lived near Milano Cadorna Railway Station, thought of making comics in a format designed for travelling and carrying in one's pocket. To better understand the tastes of her potential readers, Angela made a survey of the market, from which she concluded that many commuters read mystery novels; another version of the story claims that the very idea came from her finding a Fantomas novel abandoned in a train. Thus was born the "Diabolik format" (a small 12 x 17 cm (7 in) book), which proved popular with other publications in the same genre. The pocketbook format contributed, in fact, to the success of the character.
Diabolik is a ruthless master thief. He typically steals from criminals (and has no issue with killing them if need be, but rarely, if ever, kills the innocent or the police), and has a set of lifelike masks which he uses to fool his opponents, assuming every identity at his will. He seems to have a deep knowledge in many scientific fields, including chemistry, mechanics and computers. In his first appearances, Diabolik was a more straightforward villain who did not hesitate to murder anyone in order to accomplish his deeds. He was later given a more "Robin Hood"-like persona and was shown stealing essentially from criminals, in order to soften the series’ violence and amorality.
He was raised as an orphan on a secret island hideout of a criminal combine, where he learned all his criminal skills, including developing his special masks, before killing the head of the combine. Diabolik’s true name had never been revealed in the series, and he doesn’t know it himself. Diabolik took his name from a dangerous black panther that the head of the combine killed on the secret island. From issue #3 of the series, Diabolik is aided by his "moll", Eva Kant, who has gained an increasing role as his partner and lover.
Diabolik always drives a black 1961 Jaguar E-type. Graphically inspired by the actor Robert Taylor, he usually wears a skintight black body suit that leaves only his eyes and eyebrows (very distinctive ones) exposed when going "into action". Diabolik does not use firearms: his main weapons are the daggers he throws with uncanny ability, as well as a small dart gun with knockout darts. Eva drives a white Jaguar, and unusually goes into action wearing a heavy sweater and pants, no mask and no revealing clothing. The stories are set in a fictional town, Clerville, loosely inspired by Geneva, Switzerland.
Diabolik’s main opponent is Inspector Ginko, known only by his surname, a fierce and incorruptible police officer who is almost always thwarted by astute tricks devised by Diabolik. The only other recurring character is the noblewoman Altea, Ginko’s fiancee.
- Eva Kant - Diabolik's lover and accomplice
- Inspector Ginko - A notorious cop of Clerville.
- Altea - Ginko's lover and noble heiress.
- King - Leader of a powerful criminal organization that brought up Diabolik as a father, and then exploit it, and finally being killed by Diabolik.
- Elisabeth Gay - Former lover of Diabolik, who prosecuted psychologically bringing it to madness.
- Dr. Alberto Floriani - Famous Italian neuropsychiatrist, successor to Diabolik first as lover and then as husband of Elizabeth Gay, who in his madness he kills Diabolik believed him to be.
- Bettina - Italian girl who should become familiar with Diabolik and Eva, until it becomes like a daughter.
- Gustavo Garian - Scion of a wealthy family, which will be decimated by Diabolik, which will seek revenge on several occasions.
Many of the Diabolik stories are set in the fictional city of Clerville, which is located in a state also named Clerville. However, in the first issues of the series, Diabolik carried out his heists in Marseilles, but the authors decided to invent a new city, so as to avoid having to do continual documentation on the city.
It is clear that Clerville is in Europe, since in 2002, it adopted the Euro as its currency; the city's previous currency had never been named, but had the same value as the Italian lira.
The state of Clerville also includes other cities, such as Ghenf (styled after the German name for Geneva: Genf), the second most important city in the state which is situated on the sea (Clerville, the city, is located in the interior and is crossed by a river).
Publication - Comics
Diabolik was published as a succession of series, most of them one year long. The Giussani sisters wrote many of the stories until 1980s, passing them gradually to Patricia Martinelli’s - and others' - hands. The main bulk of the artwork is executed by Sergio Zaniboni, who has been drawing Diabolik since 1969 (currently sharing the role with Giorgio Montorio). Other artists working on the series include Brenno Fiumali, Franco Paludetti, Enzo Facciolo and Lino Jeva.
- Prima Serie, 1962-1964. Issues #1-24.
- The first issue, Il Re del Terrore (in English: "The King of Terror"), appeared in print on November 1, 1962. This was issue #1 of the first series. The next issue appeared in February 1, 1963, followed by monthly issues up to issue #24 in December 1964.
- Seconda Serie, 1965. Issues #25-50.
- Publication switched to one issue every two weeks, with each series being one year and 26 issues long.
- Anno V, 1966. Issues #51-76.
- The series began to be named for the year of publication since the first issue.
- Anno XII-XVI, 1973-1977. Issues #233-351
- The first 12 issues of Prima Serie started to be re-released, 2-4 a year, in place of regular issues. "Il Re del Terrore" was rereleased as Anno XII, No. 6
- Anno XVII-XIX, 1978-1980.
- 24 issues a year, published twice a month.
- Anno XX-XXV, 1981-1986.
- 14 issues a year: published monthly, plus an extra issue in July and August.
- Anno XXVI-XXVII , 1987-1988.
- 12 issues a year, published monthly.
- Anno XXVIII-XXXII, 1989-1993.
- 7 issues a year
- Anno XXXIII, 1994. Issues #566-574
- 9 issues were published this year. Starting in July 1994, publication returned to once a month.
- Anno XXXIV-XLII, 1995-2013
- 12 issues a year, published monthly. In October 2013, the 800th issue was published. 
Reprints and digests
In 1986, Pacific Comics Club published 2 digest-size issues. Since 1997 a series of annual books with more complex stories has been released. In 2000, Scorpion started to publish digests, reaching 6 issues before stopping.
Some American reprints have appeared.
Diabolik in India
Diabolik was translated in Tamil Language & introduced to India in Dec 1987 By Prakash Publishers under their imprint Lion Comics & His very first adventure was aptly titled as Danger Diabolik. Though the story and the character got tremendous response, for various reasons, this was the only story that got published till 2013.
In June 2013, Diabolik made his comeback via the Same Publisher. But this time his entry was Grand. Yes, he was launched in the Comic Con 2013 in Bengaluru with the storyline titled Kutra Thiru Vizha (A Carnival of Crime). Based on the positive response for the story arc and the style, in Dec 2013, Diabolik made his 3rd appearance in Operation Tornado.
Lion Comics publishes these books in High standard digest format & they are priced at INR 40.
The film was used in the final episode of the long-running television series, Mystery Science Theater 3000.
On January 1, 2000, an animated series, produced by Saban International, premiered in Europe on Fox Kids, and lasted for 36 episodes, before ending on January 1, 2001. The series featured Diabolik and his companion Eva, as they fought and gradually exposed the Brotherhood and Dane, while evading detective Ginko. It was directed by Jean Luc Ayach with Paul Diamond and Larry Brody as head writers.
|1||"Track of the Panther"|
|While hiding, Diabolik remiscenes his operation in Paris last year to to recruit Eva Kant as an assisant thief on a heist to recover her heirloom from Dane and the Brotherhood.|
|Inspector Ginko is framed for numerous crimes. While clearing Ginko's name, Eva and Diabolik find the setup was done by someone in the Internal Affairs and prevent a hacking attempt linked to the setup.|
|Diabolik remiscenes his childhood being raised by King and making his escape from prison 9 years later and faked his death which was then under heavy investigation. Later he got revenge by decimating the Brotherhood.|
|In Hillton Academy, Philip is being recruited by the Brotherhood to steal from the London Gem Tower. Diabolik manages to save Philip from corruption while Eva nabs his evil mentor.|
|5||"For Old Times Sake"|
|Diabolik seeks to meet his old saviour Rana and save her from a terminal disease, but realises this was a lie to raid a tomb of its gold. For that Diabolik ensures Rana is safe but arrested.|
|6||"A Sporting Change"|
|Diabolik and Eva root out Micky's crime scheme to get a fortune by blackmailing the Brazil soccer champion into losing the big game. Diabolik and Eva rescue the champion's family and thwart Micky's scheme.|
|7||"Under the North Pole"|
|Diabolik and Eva aided by Ivan Fedorski make haste to recover a deadly Russian-made Particle Gun from Leonov's submarine. Diabolik makes a difficult escape, with the submarine being destroyed along with the particle gun.|
|8||"Sea of Gold"|
|Micky is making a bombing threat on twelve oilfields, under Dane's orders, but has other plans to profit better. Diabolik puts the threat to a halt by placing the bomb on the sea bed.|
|9||"Question of Survival"|
|Diabolik is stranded in a jungle with little equipment, chased by Ben Darris' men, until he manages to rendezvous with Eva to repel Dane's pirates from the Miramar Cruiser.|
|Diabolik is requested by Janice Keegan to rescue her presumed daughter from Dane, who wants his inheritance from the Swiss bank. After the rescue Diabolik prevents Janice from robbing King's bank account.|
|11||"Her Father's Daughter"|
|Eva follows who she thinks is her father. While searching for Dane's ledger, Diabolik finds out that Eva's father is an impostor to lure her into a trap. Diabolik rescues Eva and the impostor.|
|12||"Chinese Puzzle Box"|
|The Chinese Golden Triad forms an alliance with Dane for the final puzzle box. Diabolik steals it and replaces it with a replica for the triad to find, the triad convinced this was Dane's doing.|
|The Brotherhood are about to gain control of an advanced US Satelite. Diabolik undertakes a difficult task through tough security to put Nagget's duplicate control key out of action.|
|Diabolik suffers partial amnesia reverting him back to his 8 year ago self. He steals some jewels for King. Dane captures Diabolik followed by Eva, but Diabolik recovers in time to strike back.|
|Ben Darris is after the treasure of Mesocotyl. Diabolik blends in with Ben Darris' expedition, while Eva is taken to Mesocotyl. Both Diabolik and the Mesocotylians drive Ben Darris and his men away.|
|16||"Lights! Camera! Diabolik!"|
|Micky is using some of Diabolik's mask technology to trick imposter actresses into robbing jewellers. With famous actress Belle's help, Diabolik and Eva thwart the robberies and expose Mr. Stanford.|
|17||"Hide and Seek"|
|Diabolik and Eva follow Dane's secret cryptic clues to a hidden treasure, evading both Dane's men and Ginko's police force, but managing to stay one step ahead of Dane throughout the treasure hunt.|
|Akira and Yuko have a dilemma in family matters. Diabolik and Eva discover Nagget is the cause of the families' continuous feuds to conquer Tokyo, but they ensure his plan is in ruins.|
|Wolf is intent on a hunting game with Diabolik as his prey with a personal revenge against him. After a couple of close shaves with Wolf, Diabolik has Eva trick him and has him arrested by the police.|
|20||"Rust in Peace"|
|M.L. Tory has invented a quick rusting oxident, but Micky is milking it out of him. Diabolik rescues Tory and with the aid of counter-agent, thwarts Micky's attempt to destroy a suspension bridge.|
|Diabolik trails a group of counterfeiters led by Danton. He discovers that a woven dress had security threads laced in it. Diabolik and Eva attract the attention of Danton and get him arrested by Ginko.|
|22||"Eye of Storm"|
|Dr. Edmond Veest has a weapon that can create unnatural rainstorms, so the Brotherhood can cover their tracks from a robbery. Diabolik thwarts the bank robbery while Eva blocks the Brotherhood's escape route.|
|Hoping to throw off Diabolik and Eva, Wolf plots three separate heists. Diabolik solves this problem by including Inspector Ginko to secure the artifacts in one place, allowing Diabolik and Eva to thwart another heist.|
|While Diabolik is on a heist to get some blackmail photos from Leonov, he reminisces a heist that lost him his car. Diabolik impersonated an Italian mechanic to rebuild the car and recover it from Dane's hands.|
|Diabolik and Eva investigate a double theft of information and materials for Project Primal. Diabolik proceeds to steal the project's ionizer and prevent the Brotherhood getting hold of it.|
|26||"Merchant of Menace"|
|Diabolik and Eva tail James Packard and his escaped superior Stone after they steal the QSB armoured car. Once Diabolik takes control of the QSB, he mows down Ben Darris' house and crashes it off a cliff.|
|Diabolik and Eva infiltrate Micky's HQ under full surveillance by an intelligent computer based on the hostage Selena. After a difficult trek through the building, Diabolik destroys Selena's central core, thus abolishing Micky's master plan.|
|28||"The Wrong Side of the Tracks"|
|Diabolik and Eva board a train to steal Napoleon's Secret Diary in Wolf's possession, while Inspector Ginko tries to corner them. Diabolik and Eva caught between Wolf and Ginko, make a narrow escape.|
|29||"The Thief who stole Tomorrow"|
|Diabolik and Eva stage Ben Darris in hospitalisation to expose the Brotherhood's plan to conquer Brazil. Using this information, Diabolik and Eva hijack Darris' plane and abolish the plan of conquest.|
|30||"The Detective's Obsession"|
|As Diablik thwarts a diamond theft, Inspector Ginko captures Eva, hoping she'll lead him to Diabolik. Diabolik impersonates the Commissioner to ruin the Brotherhood's plan and rescue Eva.|
|31||"From the Depths"|
|Diabolik impersonates a salvage expert to intercept Ben Darris' search for the golden Idol of the Storms. Once underwater, Diabolik gets tangled with Stone and some sharks but manages to get away with the idol.|
|A girl called Sophie is being used by Dane to track Diabolik. Diabolik and Eva mislead Wolf and his men and uses Inspector Ginko to take out Sophie's would be kidnappers. Diabolik then gets hold of a stash of King's money.|
|Dane is contacted by Sersi and she offers the Brotherhood her foresight, presumably killing Diabolik and Eva. Sersi was actually hired by Diabolik so he could get hold of Dane's treasure and Nagget's vault plans.|
|In an Ogala Tribe Contest for title of Chieftain, Diabolik sabotages Lightning Horse's rigged efforts to prevent Micky getting hold of a land of gold. Whirlwind Soldier wins the contest and Diabolik claims Micky's prize stallion.|
|35||"Final Justice Part 1"|
|Diabolik is after King's Ledger which is locked in a high security safe requiring five keys and security codes. Meanwhile an investigation against Dane ensues. Diabolik and Eva ensure it stays that way, giving them the chance to locate and get the five keys.|
|36||"Final Justice Part 2"|
|Diabolik and Eva steal the five security keys and replace them with duplicates to keep their cover and in the process manage to turn the Brotherhood leaders against Dane. Diabolik confronts Dane, then helps Inspector Ginko to obtain King's Ledger, exposing the Brotherhood once and for all.|
The popularity of Diabolik spurred a long series of characters directly or indirectly inspired to him, generally noticeable by the "criminalizing K" in their name. Some of them are a kind of satire.
- Max Bunker (writer) and Magnus created in the 1960s two of these "K" characters, Kriminal and Satanik, the second being a feminine and horror version. Both are distinguished for their greater realism and for a more substantial sexy style.
- Killing, an Italian comic book.
- Paperinik (Duck Avenger) is the volatile superheroic alter-ego of Donald Duck created by Elisa Penna, Guido Martina and Giovan Battista Carpi in 1969.
- Cattivik is a humorous version of Diabolik created by Franco Bonvicini in 1967: cattivo means bad, evil in Italian.
- Dorellik is the name of a film starring singer and actor Johnny Dorelli.
- Fantomex is a character created by Grant Morrison during his run writing X-Men. He is a master thief using technological gadgets and his uniform is similar to Diabolik’s, but coloured white. He is assisted by an artificial intelligence called E.V.A.
- Mike Patton had decided on either Fantômas or Diabolik for his avant-garde metal band, ultimately called Fantômas.
- The Beastie Boys music video for the song "Body Movin’ " is a direct parody of Danger: Diabolik and features many clips from the movie itself.
- Millar & McNiven's Nemesis
- A racing driver named Diabolik who races in the Superstars Series, who never takes off his balaclava.
In real life, Matteo Messina Denaro, a prominent figure in the Sicilian Mafia considered to be a candidate to become the next capo di tutti capi, is nicknamed "Diabolik", after the comic book character.
- Kenneth D. Nordin, Joseph Ursitti, Understanding the funnies: critical interpretations of comic strips, Procopian Press, 1997
- Luca Raffaelli, Il fumetto: un manuale per capire, un saggio per riflettere, Il Saggiatore,1997
- Cronologia Diabolik, official site. Retrieved October, 2013.
- Diabolik issue #800, official site. Retrieved October, 2013
- Diabolik at the Internet Movie Database
- Saban's Diabolik TV Show - Saban's Diabolik Television Show - TV.com