Comic Con Express – Bengaluru - 2012

Another year and another Express Event from Comic Con India. Our Pre-show coverage of the event in the Garden City.

Comic Con India – New Delhi - 2011

Get to know, more about India's first ever Comic-Con, how does it rate among the rest.

Chennai Book Fair - 2011

We catch up with the Annual Chennai Book Fair, and see what it has to offer for Comic fans.

Lion Comics Jumbo Special - XIII Collector's Edition

An inside look into a collection, touted as the biggest Comic Book released in India

Dec 17, 2007

Euro Books - Spirou and Fantasio | 12 Albums | 2007

Well, when it rains - it pours, and that seems to be the order of the day in Comics or Graphic Novels Biz in India at present.  Euro Books, the new-bies in the Biz, have come up with its next venture after Biggles, by introducing the not so famous Spirou and Fantasio characters to Indian Comics Fans.  By the outset, it looked pretty impressive line-up containing 12 titles in the series, at a price of INR 199/- each.

Spirou and Fantasio characters may be new to Indian comic fans, but by far they aren't to the Franco-Belgian or European Comics Genre.  In fact, the history of Spirou dates back to 1938, which is much before the more well-known characters to Indian Comic Fans like Lucky Luke (1946), and Asterix (1959), only overshadowed by the legacy of TinTin (which dates back to 1929).

EB S&F 01 - The Robot Blueprints and Four Other StoriesEB S&F 02 - The Wizard of CuldesacEB S&F 03 - The Black Hats and Three Other Adventures

Robert Velter (c) The series was originally created by Robert Velter (1909-1991).  Spirou, an investigative journalist, was the main character, and later was teamed with his co-adventurer and fellow reporter Fantasio. The series was later brought into mainstream by André Franquin (1924-1997), who took over the reins in 1946 and revolutionized the comic form for the characters, and went on to add another famous character "Marsupilami", to the Spirou series.  In fact the Marsupilami character was so famous that it had its own spin-off series created, and by far was instrumental in many mimic characters created all over the world.André Franquin (c) 

Indian comic fans cannot forget Kabish (a monkey with an ability to grow its tail) stories published in many children magazines across languages, which was a character influenced by Franquin's Marsupilami.  Coming back to Spirou, it shares much of its characteristics with it cousins Asterix, Tin-Tin, etc. in terms of humorous storytelling and plot creation.

The unique attire of Spirou, red bellboy uniform, was initially conceived because he was introduced as a lift operator.  But, he has retained the attire, even though the characterizations were re-written over the time, but has since become a trademark of Spirou series.

EB S&F 04 - Spirou and the HeirsEB S&F 05 - The Marsupilami RobbersEB S&F 06 - The Horn of the Rhinoceros

Franquin was known as a member of the elite club known as Gang Image-Marcinelle-Example (c) Wikipedia.orgof 4, along with Will, Jije, and Morris (Lucky Luke fame).  Together they laid the foundation for what is came to be known as Marcilleni School, which often is considered in parallel with Ligne Claire (which has been discussed in detail on our Blake & Mortimer series review at Comicology) art-form spearheaded by the rival creator-artists from TinTin magazine.

Basically, they both are more common in nature, with the major difference being the representation.  Marcilleni School tries to convey the impression of movement, while ligne claire tends to be more schematic, often relying on traditional way of picture arts with still images and scenes.

EB S&F 07 - The Dictator and the MushroomEB S&F 08 - A Head for CrimeEB S&F 09 - The Moray's Hideout

At one time Spirou series was so popular that Lucky Luke himself made his appearance as a Guest in 1946, in Spirou magazine.  So, it could be safely said that it was the trend-setter for all the Franco-Belgian comics released later. It could be further said that Spirou and Fantasio are the only Comic series which is still in publication (with different writers, and artists), wherein Tin-Tin, Asterix, and Lucky Luke have been reduced to only reprints. A detailed bio of Spirou series could be read in the Wiki link.

EB S&F 10 - Pirates of Silence and SuperquickEB S&F 11 - The Gorilla Gold AdventureEB S&F 12 - The Prisoner of Buddha

While goggling for this blog facts, I came to know that Euro Books, is indeed a subsidiary of Egmont, who are known to Indian Comic Fans with their other publications, notably Phantom series.  This explains how a relative newcomer could suddenly appear into the scene with big releases featuring famous comic characters. 

So, it's good to see Egmont, under their new brand-name, Euro Books, bringing the Spirou and Fantasio to Indian comic fans.  I have just started reading them and found them pretty interesting and humorous so far.  Enjoy Reading !!!

Dec 13, 2007

Tara Press - Lucky Luke | 5 Albums | 2007

Guess what, we have a new player in the Graphic Novel/Comics Biz in India.  Tara Press, a trade imprint of
India Research Press have ventured on bringing Franco-Belgian comics treasure to Indian Comic Fans.  And what a better way to start the proceedings, by introducing our favourite Lucky Luke in English to India. 

Their copyright content states they now have the exclusive English language rights for Indian sub-continent.  Well, there are 7 titles to start of with in this series, but as a first instalment only 5 of them are released. Each one of them priced at INR 195/- each, mirroring the Euro Books pricing strategy.

Lucky Luke  - Dashing White CowboyLucky Luke  - The TenderfootLucky Luke  - Ma Dalton

Morris (c) Lucky Luke is a masterpiece Cowboy story franchise created by Maurice De Bevere (1923-2001), under the pen-name Morris, in 1946 for then comics magazine Spirou,  from the legendary publishers, Dupius.  Morris served as creator-artist throughout the initial run of Lucky Luke, where he is pictured as a solitary cowboy travelling across Wild West, and helping the needy and poor.  He is assisted in his adventures by his faithful companion, Jolly Jumper, the Horse.  The first adventure, Arizona 1880 was released on Dec 7, 1946.

Rene Goscinny (c) arrukero.comMorris was considered as a central artist of Spirou magazine, and often regarded among the elite club known as, Gang of 4, which comprises of other heavyweights like Jije, Franquin (Spirou and Fantasio fame), and Will

Together they laid the foundation for what is came to be known as Marcilleni School, which has been discussed in detail on the Spirou and Fantasio series review at Comicology.

Lucky Luke - Jesse James - 01 The Lucky Luke series, was yet to touch the mainstream, when Morris decided to travel to America, in order to know more about the Wild West, and their arts.  He eventually met, Rene Goscinny (1926-1997), who was an unknown French comic writer and artist that time.  But he eventually, went on to form a formidable partnership with Morris, in the process creating the golden period of Lucky Luke adventures.  Together they were known as Morris & Goscinny, in the 31 adventures they worked in tandem.

The dynamic duo’s run with Lucky Luke came to an end in the late sixties, when Morris left Spirou, and joined Goscinny in his new magazine, Pilote.  But, Goscinny went on to write all the Lucky Luke stories from 1955 to his eventual death in 1977, moving him into stardom, along with his other legendary work on Asterix.

The success of Lucky Luke stories owes much to its plot revolving around the historical events and people, much like the successful Asterix & Obelix franchise.  And we get to see the same with Tara Press's imprints.

Here is a Preview of what's in store for you in these titles:

Dashing White Cowboy takes us to a trail of dacoit mystery linked up to a Theatre crew, and the highlight of the story turns up when Lucky Luke makes his nervous stage debut, as the Dashing White Cowboy himself.

Lucky Luke  - Jesse JamesLucky Luke  - Western Circus

Tenderfoot, takes a hit of the foreigners traverse in the wild-west on a lighter note coupled with humour all along.  The highlight of the story is when the Butler trying in vain to train the Red Indian to his ways, which ultimately turns the other way around.

Ma Dalton features the the foursome Dalton Brothers joining forces with Ma Dalton.  The climax involving a gun fight duel between Ma Dalton and Lucky Luke (with him admitting that he was afraid for the first time in a One-on-One fight) was the highlight.

Lucky Luke deals with mischievous Jesse James in his solo title.

While, Western Circus brings us fond memories of our childhood days of watching the now rare Circus events.  It takes us through the struggles and troubled times faced by Circus companies, and the highlight is the induction of Red Indians in the bigger troupe at the end.

This Lucky Luke series is neatly bound, translation and print quality are good.  So, Euro Books and Tara Press seem to have entered into an encouraging battle (for comic fans) in introducing the Franco-Belgian Comics Treasure to Indian Comic  Fans.

On further news regarding Tara Press, they have also acquired the rights to Iznogoud series, which is another masterpiece of René Goscinny.  So the coming months promises to be great for all Franco-Belgian Comics Fans.

There might be a curiosity among masses, to know how many more Lucky Luke Titles might be in production.  I received a link from Comic Collectors Forum in Orkut, which lists out the number of English editions Lucky Luke stories released so far.  By that records, 5 are only few of the 16 English titles available so far.

UPDATE (11/08): But as it is evident Tara Press, hasn’t released any further titles after this 5 set pack, It looks highly unlikely that they will ever be back in the graphic novels/comics market again.  Surprise, because I couldn’t notice any of these Tara Press titles on the newsstands or bookstores, citing the reason, that they were all would have been sold-out, thus giving enough interest to publish more.  Seems, they were never in the business for a long run from the start.

Recently, Euro Books have made an announcement on their website stating that they are coming up with 12 titles of Iznogoud and 24 titles of Lucky Luke.  So, I guess Tara Press, may not be able to utilize their previous copyrights, as the Publishing rights are mostly based on the First-Print formulae.  Till they materialize, we have CineBook’s
Lucky Luke set, to keep us enthralled. Good days are ahead us, and no wonder I am eagerly looking forward to them.

Junior Lion 1 - Super Circus c1.jpgUPDATE (03/09): (Covers Comparison with Tamil Comics Versions)

Lucky Luke might be new for Indian Comic fans, but not certainly for Tamil Comics fans, as the legendary Prakash Publishers, have published 4 out of 5 of these titles (except Tenderfoot) already in their line-up. 

As promised earlier, here are the covers, from my humble collection, of those 4 wonderful titles, in the order they were published. 

Obviously, the first among the list is the First-ever issue of erstwhile
Junior Lion, which featured a full-color Lucky Luke adventure for the very first time. No need to mention that it is now considered as a “Holy Grail”, among Tamil Comics Collectors.

Anyone, for the Exclusive Review Posts featuring these wonderful titles at Comicology ? :) Please log your comments, in the section below.

Lion 104 - Jessy James - c1    Lion 121 - Medayil Oru Manmadhan c1    Lion 200 Supplement LuckyLuke c1

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