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Diabolik with Ginko
Publication information
Publisher Astorina
First appearance 1962
Created by Angela and Luciana Giussani
In-story information
Alter ego Unknown

  • Criminal and scientific genius
  • Skilled in the use of knives in combat
  • Excellent tactician, strategist and gifted analytic-deductive
  • Psychomotor performance to the limits of human possibilities
  • Great connoisseur of art and precious as well as collector of the same works
  • Highly educated in various fields of knowledge
  • Maximum experience in the field of chemistry
  • Vast scientific knowledge
  • Genius of disguise, in the assassination and stealth techniques
  • Skillful change artist, able to wear masks perfect and inimitable depending dellle opportunities in other people (characters) who plays to perfection.
  • Photographic memory
  • Excellent pilot and shooter
  • Exceptional analytical mind and deductive
  • Great skill in the use of any weapons, poisons, drugs and hi-tech
  • Expert Mesmer
  • Knowledge of Morse code
  • Polyglot

Diabolik (Italian pronunciation: ) 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 1
  • Plot 2
  • Principal characters 3
  • Secondary characters 4
  • Clerville 5
  • Equipment 6
    • Suit 6.1
    • Drugs 6.2
    • Weapons & Gadgets 6.3
    • Masks 6.4
  • Publication - Comics 7
    • Comic series 7.1
    • Reprints and digests 7.2
  • Film 8
  • Animated series 9
  • Video game 10
  • Influence 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13

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),[1][2] which proved popular with other publications in the same genre. The pocketbook format contributed, in fact, to the success of the character.


Diabolik and Eva Kant portrayed by Sergio Zaniboni.

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 combiné, 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.

Principal characters

  • Diabolik
  • Eva Kant - Diabolik's lover and accomplice
  • Inspector Ginko - A notorious cop of Clerville.

Secondary characters

  • Altea - Ginko's lover and noble heiress.
  • King - Leader of a powerful criminal organization that brought up Diabolik as a father, and then exploited him, and finally was killed by Diabolik.
  • Elisabeth Gay - Former lover of Diabolik, who prosecuted psychologically bringing it to madness.
  • Dr. Alberto Floriani - Famous 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 - A 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).


Diabolik uses a variety of gadgets and equipment which he uses as an aid in his robberies, to wiretap conversations and variety of weaponry.


The trademark of Diabolik is his black suit, which is completely covering his body except his eyes and eyebrows and black running shoes. He uses it as an aid in his burglaries or robberies and to protect his identity. He has variety of gadgets and weapons stashed under it. It can also be used as a diving suit since it can keep him warm while underwater, and it is also fireproof. However, it cannot protect him from lethal harm (bullets, knives), but he relies on his fighting skills to cover that up.


Diabolik and Eva Kant use variety of drugs to stun, kill or force their enemies to obey. They mostly use Pentothal as a truth serum to force the victims into obeying and aiding them in their burglaries or robberies. They also use scopolamine to cause amnesia and variety of sedatives to stun their enemies. They also use cyanide to kill their enemies during a quick getaway, but mostly for their targets.

Weapons & Gadgets

Diabolik uses a variety of weaponry and gadgets to stun or kill his enemies or victims. He never uses firearms or owns one, and prefers stealth. He mostly uses stun gas if necessary, but avoids it when he can. He also uses daggers to kill his enemies in a quick second. He has a variety of gadgets for quick usage, some of them momentarily as an aid in his robbery, and he has variety of radio-controlled gadgets that trigger specific objects to help him placed over Clerville (traffic lights to create green waves, sprinkles that spray black paint on incoming police cars, train ramps, etc.). He even once placed a device in Ginko's car to activate his airbag during a police pursuit. He also has a variety of gadgets in his Jaguar that aid him, such as remote control or self-destruct device. He uses wiretap bugs and mini cameras to aid him, and he communicates with Eva via a walkie-talkie hidden in his watch.


One of another Diabolik's trademarks is that he almost always uses special designed plastic and photorealistic masks that he uses to impresonate his victims or enemies, and used multitude of them to help him. Diabolik uses this in almost every burglary he attempts, and Eva sometimes uses it while directly acting with him. He used the masks to impresonate people that are of great use to him, and sometimes only to hide his looks. Diabolik and Eva use it while going somewhere out in public to avoid to be recognized (they used false looks once while going on a dinner).

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 the 1980s, passing them gradually to Brenno Fiumali, Franco Paludetti, Enzo Facciolo and Lino Jeva.

Comic series

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.[3]
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.[4]
Series Name Year Issue Nos.
Prima 1962-4 #1-24
Seconda 1965 #25-50
Anno V 1966 #51-76
Anno VI 1967 #77-102
Anno VII 1968 #103-128
Anno VIII 1969 #129-154
Anno IX 1970 #155-180
Anno X 1971 #181-206
Anno XI 1972 #207-232
Anno XII 1973 #233-256
Anno XIII 1974 #257-280
Anno XIV 1975 #281-304
Anno XV 1976 #305-327
Anno XVI 1977 #328-351
Anno XVII 1978 #352-374
Anno XVIII 1979 #375-398
Anno XIX 1980 #399-422
Anno XX 1981 #423-436
Series Name Year Issue Nos.
Anno XXI 1982 #437-450
Anno XXII 1983 #451-464
Anno XXIII 1984 #465-478
Anno XXIV 1985 #479-492
Anno XXV 1986 #493-506
Anno XXVI 1987 #507-518
Anno XXVII 1988 #519-530
Anno XXVIII 1989 #531-537
Anno XXIX 1990 #538-544
Anno XXX 1991 #545-551
Anno XXXI 1992 #552-558
Anno XXXII 1993 #559-565
Anno XXXIII 1994 #566-574
Anno XXXIV 1995 #575-586
Anno XXXV 1996 #587-598
Anno XXXVI 1997 #599-610
Anno XXXVII 1998 #611-622
Anno XXXVIII 1999 #623-634
Anno XXXIX 2000 #635-646
Anno XL 2001 #647-658
Series Name Year Issue Nos.
Anno XLI 2002 #659-670
Anno XLII 2003 #671-682
Anno XLIII 2004 #683-694
Anno XLIV 2005 #695-706
Anno XLV 2006 #707-718
Anno XLVI 2007 #719-730
Anno XLVII 2008 #731-742
Anno XLVIII 2009 #743-754
Anno XLIX 2010 #755-766
Anno L 2011 #767-778
Anno LI 2012 #779-790
Anno LII 2013 #791-800+

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.[5]


Italian filmmaker Mario Bava adapted the story for a 1968 feature film, Danger: Diabolik, produced by Dino De Laurentiis and starring John Phillip Law.

The film was used in the final episode of the long-running television series, Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Animated series

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.[6][7]

No. Episode Original airdate
1 "Track of the Panther"
While hiding, Diabolik remiscenes about his operation in Paris last year to recruit Eva Kant as an assisant thief on a heist to recover her heirloom from Dane and the Brotherhood.
2 "The Mole"
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.
3 "Panther Uncaged"
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.
4 "Honor Student"
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.
10 "King's Legacy"
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.
13 "Ultimate Security"
The Brotherhood are about to gain control of an advanced US Satellite. Diabolik undertakes a difficult task through tough security to put Nagget's duplicate control key out of action.
14 "Memories"
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.
15 "Lost City"
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.
18 "Tokyo Conspiracy"
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.
19 "Target: Diabolik"
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.
21 "Hot Threads"
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.
23 "Triple Play"
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.
24 "Redline: Diabolik"
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.
25 "Partners"
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.
27 "Master Plan"
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 Diabolik 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.
32 "Kid's Stuff"
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.
33 "Future Imperfect"
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.
34 "Rainbow Warriors"
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.

Video game

Diabolik: The Original Sin is a 2009 video game developed by Artematica and published by Black Bean Games for Wii, PlayStation Portable, PC, Nintendo DS and PlayStation 2 systems.


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.

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.


  1. ^ Kenneth D. Nordin, Joseph Ursitti, Understanding the funnies: critical interpretations of comic strips, Procopian Press, 1997
  2. ^ Luca Raffaelli, Il fumetto: un manuale per capire, un saggio per riflettere, Il Saggiatore,1997
  3. ^ Cronologia Diabolik, official site. Retrieved October, 2013.
  4. ^ Diabolik issue #800, official site. Retrieved October, 2013
  5. ^ "Danger Diabolik – Operation Tornado Lion Comics No 223 Dec 2013 ~ Tamil Comics Ulagam - தமிழ் காமிக்ஸ் உலகம்". 
  6. ^ Diabolik at the Internet Movie Database
  7. ^ Saban's Diabolik TV Show - Saban's Diabolik Television Show -

External links

  • Diabolik at the Internet Movie Database
  • Official website (Italian)
  • Diabolik’s entry at International Catalogue of Superheroes
  • Beastie Boys Body Movin' video featuring excerpts from Danger: Diabolik!
  • Screenshots of the Diabolik: Original Sin video game
  • Diabolik in India
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