April 22, 2006

Fantasy Illustrated #1 [1982]

In honour of the recent reprint, here's something from the first Djinn story. The character actually predates Coyote, first appearing in a 15-page story in what would turn out to be the only issue of FANTASY ILLUSTRATED, a high quality black and white magazine published by New Media Publishing. Steve Englehart writes, Steve Ditko pencils and Steve Leialoha inks, hence the "All-Steve Squad".

The story opens with Anthony Coyne bringing Ali Pasha to Cairo. We later find out Pasha is returning to Cairo to kill the Djinn, leader of a Cult of Hashishin, and allows himself to be captured. Coyne ends up embroiled in all this intrigue as well, and he and Pasha wind up in an elaborate death trap which they manage to escape by working together and then plan to work together against the Djinn and his secret society.

Kind of an odd story, Englehart takes some getting used to, especially his scripting (he seems positively giddy at being allowed to including swearing in a comic script...), but it's some imaginative stuff. Ditko does a great job on a lot of the settings and action scenes, and Leialoha is probably one of the three or four best inkers Ditko ever had not named Ditko, so it really is nice to look at.

The magazine also has an ad for another book by the publisher, ADVENTURE ILLUSTRATED, which shows Ditko's Mocker character. That story would end up being published by Pacific the next year.

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