I Dream of Djinn – An (Erotic) Excursion into the World of Sultans, Goddesses and Maharajas

Anyone who grew up with the television series I Dream of Jeannie is already familiar with the world of genies. In this 1960s series, astronaut Tony Nelson, played by Larry Hagman, found a bottle on a beach that hid the genie (“djinn”) Jeannie, played by Barbara Eden. Her magical powers (and jealousy) kept getting Tony Nelson into trouble.

Almost sixty years later, French scenarist Jean Dufaux and Spanish illustrator Ana Miralles created the comic series Djinn, of which 13 volumes have been published. If I Dream of Jeannie already had a definite erotic undertone in the relationship between Nelson and Jeannie, it becomes much more explicit in this comic series. And even the last names of the protagonists show a reference to the TV series.

There are two interrelated narrative threads in the albums, whose stories take place in three cycles in Turkey, Africa and India. Kim Nelson, who grew up in present-day London, sets out to discover the story of her mother and grandmother, Jade, who is said to have been a djinn. Her magic as a djinn was that she could make women and men fall hopelessly in love with her and give up everything for her, even going to their deaths. For a djinn, however, this means that she herself can never feel love, as much as she wishes to, and thus all relationships inevitably break down.

Kim realizes in the course of her investigations that in herself flows the blood of her djinn grandmother and thus she also has this power (and the curse attached). During her investigations, which are to lead to a mysterious treasure and a black pearl with a mysterious liquid, we repeatedly experience the story of the seductive Jade. Starting from the Sultan’s harem in Istanbul, to an African goddess of disease and misfortune, to the Maharajah’s palace in Eschnapur in India, the story alternates between the 1900s and the 2000s.

Ana Miralles at work on volume 12 of Djinn

We get a glimpse of the slowly crumbling British colonial empire before World War I, the love triangle between Jade, Lady & Lord Nelson, as well as the many complementary love partners from the Sultan’s harem, the African tribes and the Maharajah’s love palace. Kim, like her grandmother Jade, becomes partly a pawn in her own story, but develops into a self-confident woman by recognizing her powers. Thus, in order to solve part of the mystery of her grandmother, she must undergo the test of the 30 bells, in which she must prove her love skills with ever new partners in order to receive a bell.

The scenarios take the reader again and again on new winding paths, accompanied by enchanting drawings. The colors, the details and the dynamics bring the narrative, the relationships and the eroticism to an artistic level thanks to Miralles’ work. Each page is a feast for the eyes, you can not get enough.

The 13 albums, which are also available as a three-volume complete edition (Cycle Ottoman, Cycle Africa, Cycle Indien), are published by Dargaud, and in English by Insight Comics.

Ana Miralles at work on a cover

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