Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Sadistik Kriminal

Are psycho killers monsters? How about twisted killers who dress up as skeletons? I might be pressing a point, here, but it's my blog, and I've always had a soft spot for the French and Italian Super Criminals like Dr. Mabuse, Fantomas, and Diabolik. I'm especially fond of the sickos Kriminal and Satanik (both versions), who are pretty much the same character. Created in 1964 by Italians Max Bunker (alias Luciano Secchi) and Magnus (pseudonym of Roberto Raviola- considered one of the best Italian comic book artists of all time), Kriminal was a dark comic book 'hero' in the Diabolik tradition... even using the letter 'K' prominently, which became something of a trend. Kriminal was a big hit, not in any small way due to the amount of female skin and general kinkiness found it it's pages, and went quickly from the comics to the screen in two films in 1967 and 1968. In 1966, a new comics character appeared, and this time the stories were depicted with photos instead of illustrations. The new super-serial killer photo novel was called Killing in Italy and published simultaneously in France as Satanik. Kriminal obviously influenced editor Pietro Granelli when devising Killing, as the new character wore a black and white outfit adorned with a skeleton design and topped with a skull mask... a total ripoff. The new series stayed true to the established Italian costumed criminal genre as his comely companion Dana assisted Killing in outlandish intercontinental crime campaigns that resulted in soaring body counts. In fact, Killing/Satanik is considered to be the most violent and disturbing character in the genre, and was eventually banned in France. Apparently irked by the homage, Secchi and Magnus came up with their own character named Satanik for the Italian market... a disfigured woman who became beautiful and murderous through a potion. No seriously. There was even a movie in 1968. Uppers has a little more on the whole Italian/French super criminal phenomenon, if you're interested. But the really good news is that Mort Todd's Comic Fix is publishing English translations of the photo comic! Because Secchi and Magnus's characters Kriminal and Satanik are confused with the Killing/Satanik photo comics, the English version has the character redubbed as SADISTIK to avoid future misunderstandings. If you don't know Mort Todd (the word 'death' in French and German) take a cruise around the site... he's definately official Monsterama material, having been Editor-In-Chief of fiend-friendly Cracked Magazine, and co-creator (with Dan Clowes) of the fabulous Uggly Family.