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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Illyana Rasputin Magik Key Comics Part 1

I know I haven't published anything in awhile, but believe me, it wasn't like I wasn't doing anything. So this key issue series was requested, and I've been quite backlogged on the requests.

I am going to talk a bit about Newsstands and Direct Markets in this series since the era for this character is pretty much during the time. It will not be a full look, and I am working on that as well.

Purely for fans of the character who are interested in the evolution of the character, and although I thought this one would be a quickie, it turns out that I once again went over-board to provide as much info as I can.

Alright, here we go with some Magik and sorcery X-Men style.

1st appearance of new X-Men team
1st appearance of Illyana Rasputin
1st Colossus, Storm, & Nightcrawler
1st Thunderbird & 2nd full Wolverine

Colossus' sister Illyana first appeared along with her brother in this issue when Xavier goes around the world and recruits new mutants to join the X-Men. She is the youngest of three siblings and is a mutant who can travel through time and interstellar distances through what's called "stepping discs".

Basically, her mutant power is a teleporter, and her early appearances in comics are of her as a little girl. Here is her introduction into the the world of comics and the X-Men.

She really doesn't appear all that much in this issue, and only appears on 2 pages and in 6 panels. According to other comic examples like Gambit in Uncanny X-Men Annual #14 who appears on five pages and is identifiable in 5 panels, I think this 1st should be considered a minor 1st appearance as well. However, in her next appearances, Illyana doesn't show up enough in the comics to warrant a 1st full appearance until Uncanny X-Men #160.

So, tough call and hard to pinpoint what industry will consider her 2nd appearance. This comic is obviously sought-out more for the 1st appearance of the new X-Men team in comics as well as the 1st Storm, Colossus, and Nightcrawler. 

To be honest, I'm not even sure if the 2nd full Wolverine appearance has really made any impact on the desirability of this book. Giant-Size X-Men #1 has the cover date of May, 1975.

1st time Illyana is named

When it comes to Illyana's appearances it's tricky. She does show up briefly here and there in issues after Giant-Size X-Men but is not seen much at all.

This is the 2nd time the character is seen in comics a single panel, and it's over 6 years after her 1st in GSX #1. She is not physically in the story, however. Her face pops up in kind of a reminiscent scene as shown in the image below.

Miss Locke further identifies her as Colossus' sister to clue in us readers. Only panel she really shows up in, but her first name is finally revealed in this issue.

The story plot beginning with this issue runs to issue #148, and after the events, Illyanna stays in the U.S. with the X-Men for safety reasons obviously since she was easily kidnapped by enemies of the mutant team.

So, this issue does set up the character to be more a part of the X-Men world, and her character will evolve as a result.

This is an early 80s comic that came out in 1981 during the early stages of the Direct Market, so there are also Newsstand copies and Direct copies for this issue. Newsstand copies during the early 80s are not rare, but there is a higher chance that they are less abundant in 9.6 and 9.8 grades. At least, that's the on-going theory.

At least from this time and before the later 80s when Direct Market distribution dominated the comic market, I think it's ridiculous to call Newsstand copies "variants" of Direct Market copies. It's actually the other way around during the early to mid 80s. 

Other than that, this really isn't a huge key over-all or in the grande scheme of the X-Men or Marvel Comics, but for the character, it is of importance. If you're not into the whole cameo, brief, full or physically in the actual story appearance-type thing, then this is the 2nd time we see the character in comics.

May, 1981 is the cover date for Uncanny X-Men #145.

1st appearance of Belasco

When it comes to the origin and mythos of Illyana, Belasco is a very important character. After all, he is the one who kidnaps the youngin' and tries to make her his apprentice.

Not in this comic, but in pretty soon. He is a demon and ruler of Limbo.

He would face the X-Men here and there, but he is known for turning the character into Magik and the Darkchild or Darkchilde, so this 1st appearance goes on here.

Direct Market version has no UPC box. Not even sure if this issue has a Newsstand version or not or at least could not find any examples. 

Belasco's 2nd appearance would be in the next issue of this series. Ka-Zar the Savage #11 has the cover date of February, 1982.

1st appearance of Limbo?
1st appearance of Sym
Illyana's 1st time in Limbo
3rd appearance Belasco
1st appearance as Magik? 

As mentioned before, Illyana does show up in comics prior to this one but they are very brief. Most of the time she shows up in less than 6 panels and on less than 3 pages.

In Uncanny X-Men #148, she shows up in 5 panels on a single page, and in Uncanny X-Men #153 she shows up in 4 panels on 2 pages. Issue #154 she only shows up in 2 panels on one page, and in issue #158, she only appears in 3 panels on 2 pages.

For the character of Illyana, this is an important issue that would eventually set up the character as Magik. This is the 1st time she travels to Limbo, and as most fans know, it is in this Limbo where she trains as a sorcerer, though not shown in this issue. Her training as a sorcerer in Limbo would be revealed in another comic title and series around a year later after this comic.

This Limbo is confusing. At the time this comic book came out, this Limbo had no reference or distinction with the Immortus' Limbo in the Doctor Strange mythos. Belasco is the ruler of this Limbo in the X-Men comics, and the two have been categorized as different in the Deluxe Edition handbooks and Excalibur comics, so I believe this is the 1st appearance of the Limbo that Illyana Rasputin is connected to.

However, in much later comics, Dormammu pulls the entire X-Men team into Limbo planning to kill them in front of Magik. After defeating Dormammu, Magik does seek the help of Doctor Strange to learn more about magic, so there might be a connection when it comes to Limbo. Not sure about this being the 1st appearance of Limbo.

At the end of this issue, Illyana comes back from Limbo older. Illyana shows up in 12 panels on 7 pages, more than enough to consider her more than just a background character.

The underling of Belasco known as Sym also makes his first appearance in this issue. Sym is a demon of Limbo and is a frequent foe of Illyana Rasputin. Uncanny X-Men #160 has the cover date of August, 1982.

1st appearance of the Soulsword
Rogue joins team

Alright, Rogue joining the X-Men really doesn't have much to do with Illyana's character, but the Soulsword does. Most growing up during the Copper Age and reading the New Mutants know that the Soulsword was an identifiable weapon that Magik used quite often.

This sword is a physical manifestation of Magik's....well, magic powers. It can break spells, harm magical creatures and objects and can augment one's magical powers if they wield it. In this first appearance it is shown that it can harm Kitty Pryde when she is phasing.

Illyana created the sword during her time in Limbo, and even though the sword first appears here in this issue, it's origin would be revealed and explained in the Magik limited comic book series.

So a significant key issue for two mutant characters in the world of the X-Men. There is a Direct Market cover as well as a 75 cent Canadian Price Variant. Well, at least, that's what they're being referred to nowadays.

During the time, Canada had a smaller population than the United States. Actually, there was a huge disparity. The U.S. had over 200 million in 1986 compared to Canada's 26 million and then some.

This would mean that the comic market was much smaller in Canada, and common sense would dictate that these Canadian Price Variants were printed and shipped to Canada in much smaller numbers. The word out there is that it was less than 10% of the total North American comic market at least for Marvel Comics.

I'm not trying to pimp them, but just giving you some info on the subject so you can come to your own conclusions. If you wanna read more about it, there's a pretty good site you can check out by clicking this link.

CGC and CBCS both recognize these Canadian Editions, but they are price variants since comics before the 80s were priced the same for U.S. and Canadian buyers. Uncanny X-Men #171 has the cover date of July, 1983.

1st self-titled comic series
Origin of Magik
1st full Illyana as Darkchild (#4)

Once again, setting up the character to eventually become Magik, this limited series is the first self-titled comic book for the character of Illyana and explains her 7 years in the realm of Limbo. While Uncanny X-Men #160 depicted her going to Limbo, it never really detailed what happened while she was there.

The short and thick of it is that Belasco and the Limbo version of Storm trained her in magic. Belasco corrupted a part of Illyana's soul to create the bloodstones in order to free himself from Limbo.

I figured that since the title has her superhero code name and it is the origin of how she essentially becomes Magik, the series would be the 1st appearance of her as Magik. Not the case apparently and the character's 1st appearance as Magik is considered to still be in the New Mutants comic series.

So this limited series reveals what happened to Illyana in Limbo and how she learns magic and how her soul is corrupted and in danger of turning into the Darkchilde. I think the concept of the character in Limbo as a TV series would actually be kinda cool, but then one would have to switch out the Limbo version of Storm and Kitty Pryde.

There are Newsstands for all four issues, and the price box for the Direct Editions are different. They contain the letter M in a black box instead of the Diamond. 

Canadian and UK pence prices were on the Direct Market copes but not on the U.S. Newsstands for this issue. That would later change and both U.S. and Canadian prices would appear on Newsstand copies later.

However, there is a 75 cent Canadian Price variant Newsstand edition. Those just have the 75 cent price on them. 

I am going to talk more about Magik #4. As mentioned before, I am definitely no expert on the character of Magik or her as Darkchild.

I was wrong about it before and after reading Kevin's arguments about why this is her first full Darkchild appearance, I am convinced Magik #4 is it. Nothing sophisticated about it really which is a sigh of relief because Illyana Rasputin as Magik isn't so cut and dry when it comes to her as Magik.

First, she has the horns and a tail and clearly shown on the cover. The name of the comic's story is actually called Darkchild, and she does transform partly. I only say partly because her later appearances as Darkchild had goat legs of sort.

I don't know if that aspect of her form is significant or means a fuller transformation or what. Maybe someone else does. Here's how it goes down in Magik #4.

We see a sort of mystical implication in the above panels here. Something like this did occur in Magik #1 and that also showed Belasco corrupting a part of her soul and turning it into the 1st bloodstone.

There are three panels that show a Darkchild-like appearance in Magik #1. Not sure if it's enough to be considered a straight first or not. Anyway, then we actually see her turning into Darkchild while battling Belasco.

There's her first turning into Darkchild, and it's explained that she is kind of absorbing his demonic essence.

She even refers to herself as Darkchild. This issue also does see the origin of the Soulsword as well. 

Anyway, Magik #1 has the cover date of December, 1983 but the entire series is the origin of how she becomes Magik.

1st appearance as Magik?
Joins New Mutants

I do find it strange that sources are saying this is the first appearance of Illyana Rasputin as Magik when the character actually had a self-titled comic series named "Magik" that came out before this issue. After reading this issue, I'm not even entirely sure what really designates this character as a 1st appearance as Magik.

I didn't really see her being referred to or called by that name by anyone, but whatever. Although Illyana is seen in New Mutants #1, this comic is noted as when she joins the team as the character of Magik by quite a few sources.

Since I'm not entirely sure or really an expert on the character to pull a reasonable rebuttal out of my ass, I won't question it too much.

From this issue on, she is a regular character of the New Mutants and joins the team in their adventures. Then again, the story of this issue is called "Do you believe in...Magik?"

But then again, the limited series that came before this comic was titled "Magik". She is referred to as the name in issue #21. Within that issue and near the end, they have a section that has character profiles for some of the team, and her bio-like page is one that introduces her as Magik.

To be honest, I would actually consider the character's first as Magik in Uncanny X-Men #160 when she comes back from Limbo aged. A few reasons for this.

As most know, the character would de-age in later comics and not know of magic or whatever happened to her in Limbo during the late 80s and early 90s. Essentially, she would revert back to a child, so if her character as Magik is connected to her time in Limbo or coming back from Limbo as a teen, her first appearance as Magik should be the issue that sees this

Once again, not an expert or remotely one on this character so not even gonna try to figure it out. 75 cent Canadian price variants for this issue do exist as well.

April, 1984 is the cover date of New Mutants #14.

1st full appearance of Eldritch Armor

So the more Illyana summons her Soulsword, an eldritch armor would begin to cover her body, starting with her left arm and shoulder as seen in this very issue. This armor would eventually cover more and more of the character's body in further issues.

New Mutants #19 did first see this magical armor, but in this issue we fully see it and it is revealed as armor. The previous issue shows bits and pieces of it and quite briefly. The whole armor motif would eventually give the character a definite distinct look and start to show a lot more in later issues whenever she summons her Soulsword.

October, 1984 is the cover date for New Mutants #20, and there are Direct Market copies and Canadian Price variants for this one. Most likely 75 cent Canadian price variants.

Surprisingly, there will be a Part 2 to this series. While Magik's origin was told in the entire Magik series, the origin of the Soulsword was in issue #4. 

Alright, quick outro, and Part 2 is already ready. See ya there!

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