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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Illyana Rasputin Magik Key Comics Part 2

Part 2 to this Illyana Rasputin key comics as well as Magik key comics series. There are two characters that do take up the name.

Once again, this was requested and for fans of the character. Even if you're not really a fan of the character, I will talk about Newsstand and Direct Market comics in this Part 2 as well, so if you're interested in Newsstands, you might want to read it anyway.

You can click this Part 1 link if you missed it. Other than that, here's Part 2 to the series.

1st appearance of N'Astirh

Another demon from Limbo, N'Astirh makes his 1st appearance in this comic and would be a recurring character and foe of Illyana as well as the X-Men sometimes. TOther than his exploits combating the X-Men and Illyana, N'Astirh was also responsible for the creation of the Demogoblin when he sent a demon to possess the Hobgoblin.

In the world of Magik, he is one of the demons who is tries to become ruler of Limbo or at least tries to hinder Illyana in some way. He was once the underling of Belasco and was passed up as a potential apprentice and ruler of Limbo.

When Belasco was exiled from Limbo by Illyana in the Magik comic series, N'Astirh steals his masters book of spells and flees Limbo. He would return as a master of sorcery himself.

Not a huge or major villain for the X-Men, but this character is definitely more tied to Illyana and the whole Limbo thing. After all, Illyana has been ruler of Otherplace since she exiled Belasco. September, 1988 is the cover date for X-Factor #32.

2nd full appearance as Darkchilde?

In Secret Wars II, we get a one panel look at Illyanna Rasputin as Darkchilde, the dark and demonic persona that Belasco corrupted her soul with. The Beyonder or a humanoid manifestation draws forth this demonic essence as it's clearly stated in the actual comic.

This is the scene in Secret Wars II #1 and clearly a cameo.

From Secret Wars II #1 cover date July, 1985.

After she fully turns into Darkchilde, Illyana escapes to Limbo and teleports the New Mutants there as well. This issue continues the story after that event in Secret Wars II #1, and she shows up in 10 panels on two pages which should be good enough for a first full appearance.

Here's the full page panel of Illyana as Darkchild from this very issue.

In her madness, the New Mutants try to battle her or find a way to stop her from destroying the place as well as them. Only until Kitty gets a hold of her Soulsword and hits her with it does the madness stop since the Soulsword does disrupt magic and magical beings.

Of course, the whole Darkchild thing would be a recurring theme and important to the character. Illyana would still continue to struggle in suppressing this corrupt part of her soul. 

She would once again become the Darkchild in New Mutants #71 in which she looks very different and more demonic in that issue than in this one.

From New Mutants #71 - Illyana as Darkchilde

There are Newsstands and Direct market versions of this comic as well. By 1986, Marvel distribution was roughly about half and half, meaning 50% Newsstand and 50% Direct Market.

With things being roughly half and half in the market during that time, which is the regular cover and which is the variant? Is it Direct Market or Newsstand?

Just an interesting question to bring up concerning Newsstands when it comes to this market's fascination with labeling most everything "variants" nowadays. I already see some labeling Newsstands from this era as variants on good ole eBay. 

They are getting more recognized, especially for Copper Age comics which still mainly holds the old perception of over-printing that still holds some sway in the minds of those who lived through the 90s comic crash. This perception may change when it comes to Newsstand copies in the 80s, especially later 80s.

What is clear about this issue is that there is a Canadian 75 cent price variant for this comic.

Kinda strange since the Direct Market covers also had the Canadian and UK pence prices on them. However, in later 80s comics, they would do away with the Canadian price variants and just combine it with the regular U.S. Newsstands for some or most copies.

However, there would be Newsstand Canadian copies that would run to 95 cents and even a $1.00 for some titles later on. Not too sure about New Mutants though. 

If the sources are correct, they may have stopped the Canadian price variants with issue #42 for the New Mutants comic series. New Mutants #30 has the cover date of August, 1985.

Sacrifices magic
Leaves team

So in New Mutants #71 through #73, Illyana finally manifests into the Darkchilde again. Limbo's demons are sent forth to Earth by N'astirh when Illyana opens a huge teleportation disc that connects Limbo to Earth.

Embracing her Darkchilde persona, Illyana and the New Mutants fight the horde of demons and Illyana decides that the only way to end the demonic invasion is to go back to Limbo and assume rule. She is talked out of it by Rahne Sinclair or Wolfsbane, and Illyana instead gives up her magic by creating another massive stepping disc and banishing all of Limbo's demons back where they came from.

She also throws her Soulsword in the disc to seal it shut. Somehow, Illyana reverts back to the age before she ever went to limbo and is a child once again. Because there was a mystical bond between Illyana and the Kitty Pryde of Limbo, the Soulsword would eventually be passed to Kitty Pryde of Earth in the Excalibur comics.

Illyana would again become just a background character since she is but a kid again. After New Mutants #77, she stopped appearing regularly in the titled series.

It's depicted after the events of Illyana giving up her magic and becoming a child again that she no longer speaks or understands English. So, she becomes a cute little kid again, and will appear infrequently here and there in a few X-titles.

By X-Men #17 (1991) series or volume 2, she is seen living with her parents back in Russia. This is a 1989 comic, but by 1990, the Direct Market distribution had become dominant at roughly 85% of the market.

Newsstands were then 15% of the market. 1989 might be the same or close to 15%. This is clearly the time where Newsstands have become the variants of Direct Market since Direct Market is the norm and publishers geared copies more towards that market.

Also by during the time, the price boxes were relatively the same. No more diamonds or "M" shaped white boxes on a black background. 

Canadian prices were put on the Newsstand copies a long with the U.S. prices. Direct Market copies did include all three -  the UK pence price and Canadian price a long with the U.S. price.

New Mutants #73 has the cover date of March, 1989.

1st appearance of Witchfire
1st appearance of 2nd Gamma Flight team 
1st Silver, Auric, & Nemesis 

The character of Witchfire first showed up alongside the 2nd incarnation of the Gamma Flight team. Her real name is Ananym, and she is the daughter of the demon Belasco.

The character would become a foe to Magik in the X-Infernus comic series. The character would try to regain control of Limbo and destroy Magik.

I am not sure what is up with this issue. It seems like this is the Direct Market version. I have no not seen any covers without the UPC, so not sure if there is a Newsstand for this comic.

Witchfire is a former superhero turned super-villain and her first appearance in Alpha Flight #76 has the cover date of November, 1989.

Death of Nikolia Rasptuin
Death Alexandra Rasputin

By this time, Illyana has gone back to live with her parents in Russia. Colossus and some of the team visit his family there.

As governments usually do, the Russian government learns that Illyana is powerful and want to use her as a weapon. In kidnapping her, they kill Colossus and Illyana's parents.

So a Colossus and Illyana key issue. Don't think the parents come back, but Colossus and Illyana sure would in comics. There are both Direct and Newsstand editions for this comic.

April, 1993 is the cover date for X-Men #18 volume 2.

Died from Legacy Virus

The Legacy Virus first appeared in X-Force #18 and in issues Uncanny X-Men #300 we learn that Illyana has contracted the virus. This issue here sees the death of Ilyanna, and she is still a little girl.

Since Jubilee is a newb and doesn't know of Illyana's past, she is confused as to why Kitty Pryde and Illyana are so close even though one is so much older. So Jean Grey explains Illyana's past and how Kitty and Illyana were roommates at Xavier's School for the Gifted when she came back from Limbo.

Even though, this issue shows the character dying, we all know about comic deaths. Illyana would appear in flashbacks throughout much of the 90s.
She would, of course, be brought back in later comics, but this is one of the more heartfelt stories of the era. In terms of Newsstands, they are variants of the Direct Market version by this time.

Some Direct Editions have a UPC code that states what it is and some still have the UPC box with an image. Unlike the X-Men #18 example before this one, this Direct version has it stated on the UPC box while the Newsstand doesn't say anything in the UPC code box. This book came out in 1993 and by 1990 the Newsstand market was roughly 15% and then 10% of the market by 1995. To be safe, I'd stick with 15%, but that is still a lower print run.

I am not saying these are more rare when it comes to Newsstands. This is during the 90s speculation boom and it is an Uncanny X-Men comic, which were highly popular during the time. I will say that they are lower in print. Higher grades might be low in numbers out there.

There is also the Pressman variant which has an estimate quantity of around 1,000 copies only. They either came with the 1990 X-Men board game or you had to send in a mail away voucher. 

I am not sure which for this issue. I've displayed all three covers just in case and so you can see the differences yourself, and remember that you can click on the images to see a larger version of them.

Pressman is pretty easy to recognize. August, 1993 is the cover date for Uncanny X-Men #303.

Alright, we've learned a little more about Illyanna as Magik and a bit more about Newsstands if you didn't know much about them before. Once again, the percentages are rough data and provided by Chuck Rozanski of Mile High Comics.

He's been in the game for quite a long, long time. Also Jim Shooter has talked about the subject on his own personal website and has endorsed Chuck as being quite knowledgeable on the subject. 

In terms of my own research on Newsstands and Direct Market during the 80s, I am still working on it and that is becoming quite a project.

The whole Magik and Limbo thing is not easy thing to crack if you don't know much about the character like yours truly. Many of these aren't exactly the most cared about comics or key issues currently, but some do bring a shift to the character's over-all arc.

The comics where she is resurrected get a bit confusing as well, but that will be saved for Part 3. Just click the link below to continue. See ya then and enjoy the weekend.

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