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

Aug 23, 2007

Preview: Comics Classics #22 - Aug '07

While the announced Muthu #307 is yet to be released, It seems Prakash Publishers are coming up with the No.22 Issue of the long buried Comics Classics (#21 was released way back in 2005, if I remember correctly).

Comics Classics Preview c1 Comics Classics Preview c2

The Cover Arts looks impressive (Image Courtesy:, hopefully we will get to see both Muthu and Comics Classics before August.  I don't remember reading either of these stories, so it makes for a good wait.

Aug 20, 2007

Euro Books - Biggles | 14 Albums | 2007

Most of the European Comic Book Heroes known to South Indians, are basically the ones introduced by Lion/Muthu Comics from Prakash Publishers.  I am no exception to the list.  What we have in-store for this article is one of those unsung heroes of the Golden Age of European Comics.

There used to be times, when the Comic Hunger was burning hot inside, and the occasional releases of Muthu/Lion and Rani Comics were turning to be pretty less then what was required.  I used to visit all the pavement book shops and second hand book stalls almost every day, trying my luck to find out the old editions with few rupees in my hand.  But even then, I was little selective about choosing only Lion, Muthu, Thigil, Rani, and occasionally Poonthalir and Ratnabala.  So, the world outside was almost unknown.

Biggles 3-in-1 Vol.1: Sky Wars
| The Wotan Sword | The Last Zeppelin |
| The 13th Tooth of the Devil |
ISBN: 978-81-286-1479-8 |
Biggles 3in1 Vol1
Biggles 3-in-1 Vol.2: Super Squadron
| Squadron Biggles | The Lost Oasis – 1 |
| The Lost Oasis – 2 |
ISBN: 978-81-286-1477-4 |
Biggles 3in1 Vol2

When Gotham Comics was launched, it gave me a chance to explore something out of this box.  But, again it was limited only to American based comic heroes, and the European Golden Period still remained a treasure unrevealed to one and all.

Recently, I chanced upon a new initiative by a global company called EuroKids International, who has forayed in the Graphic Novels in India, by introducing few books under the Euro Books brand-name.  They have two limited series editions, the first being Agastha Christies Novels in Comic form, which is not of international standards, and looks to have been aimed for the kids.  But, the other one was real surprise, a 14 title series of Biggles, starring one of the famous European Comic heroes, Bigglesworth.

Biggles 3-in-1 Vol.3: Air Adventures
| The Flight of the Wallenstein | The Yellow Swan |
| The Pirates of the South Pole |
ISBN: 978-81-286-1478-1 |
Biggles 3in1 Vol3
Biggles 3-in-1 Vol.4: Captain Courageous 
| Fire in Province - 1 | Fire in Province – 2 |
| Deadly Snow |
ISBN: 978-81-286-1476-7 |
Biggles 3in1 Vol4

W.E. JOHNS, the creator of this impressive air-pilot hero himself had served in British Air Force.  His experience in many a battles, let him drive the scenario and chracterization for the Biggles character, which were originally released as Novels.

Francis Bergese (b. 1941), a French comic creator who has unique skills of bringing the air combat of planes in comic form with all realistic details, later took up the charge to give a comic form for the Johns’ british fictional hero.

bergese Francis Bergese

It is said that Bergese, was so much interested in flying and exploring, that he once had his license suspended at the age of 17.  No wonder he eventually turned up to re-live his first-love in form of the Comics.  His first chance to draw for a comics was when Jean-Michel Charlier (famous for the Blueberry series) asked him to take the reins for Buck Danny, a series Charlier had co-founded along with Victor Hubinen.  Buck Danny being an Aviation Hero himself, gave a chance for Bergese to try his hands artistic visualisation in paper-form, which went a long way in establishing his great work later for Biggles.

Biggles Single Vol. Edition 13
Chappal Wadi |
ISBN: 978-81-286-1316-6 |
Biggles 13
Biggles Single Vol. Edition 14
Spitfire Parade |
ISBN: 978-81-286-1475-0 |

Biggles 14

The storylines are full of history, with plots developed pre and post World War scenarios, with some dealing with the treasures which went missing during the wars, which adds all the more delight to the comic fans.

Pierre Clostermann, a french flying ace himself, says this in one of his prefaces of Biggles titles:

"In England, for more than half a century, Biggles has delighted the young and old alike.  Having become the national symbol for courage, initiative, selfishness and gallantry, he travels through history and time true to himself.  Noble in his acts and motivations, Biggles can be twenty years old in 1916 in the Royal Flying Corps and twenty five years old in 1940 in the Royal Air Force.  There's nothing unusual about this - creative license is allowed in comic strips.  Francis Bergese's Scenarios, Illustration and Colours means we get to see the all the forms of flying objects you could only read on books."

Bergese artwork inside Biggles Graphic Novel - 1 
Biggles (2)
Bergese artwork inside Biggles Graphic Novel - 2
Biggles (4)

Pierre also adds this this about Francis Bergese:

"The episodes experienced by Biggles and the members of the squadron are perfectly creditable.  This authenticity is reinforced by the exceptional quality of the drawings, the precision of the planes, the combat maneuvers and the perfect reconstitution of the scenes.  With Francis Bergese's Buck Danny, we were used to drawings of airplanes, which "fly" - and the artists capable of doing this are few and far between in the world.  With the Spitfire Parade, I am more than ever a diehard fan of Francis Bergese."

Here is the complete list of Biggles titles released by EuroBooks in India (All in 2007).  All these titles were originally released in French on a year-on-year basis, which were later translated and released in UK by Red Fox as English editions.  So no wonder Euro Books has made sure that they chose from the second lot, to save them of translation duties.

# Title Story Artist Original Title (French)
1. Yellow Swan Francis Bergèse Francis Bergèse Le cygne jaune (1990)
2. The Pirates of the South Pole Francis Bergèse Francis Bergèse Les pirates du pole sud (1991)
3. Spitfire Parade Francis Bergèse Francis Bergèse Le bal des Spitfire (1992)
4. The Flight of the Wallenstein Michel Oleffe Eric Loutte Le vol du Wallenstein (1994)
5. Squadron Biggles Francis Bergèse Francis Bergèse Squadron Biggles (1994)
6. The Last Zeppelin Francis Bergèse Francis Bergèse Le dernier Zeppelin (1995)
7. The 13th Tooth Of The Devil Michel Oleffe Eric Loutte La 13ème dent du diable (1997)
8. The Wotan Sword Michel Oleffe Eric Loutte L'épée de Wotan (1998)
9. Deadly Snow Michel Oleffe Eric Loutte Neiges mortelles (1999)
10. The Lost Oasis - 1 Michel Oleffe Frank Leclercq L'oasis perdue – 1 (2000)
11. The Lost Oasis – 2 Michel Oleffe Frank Leclercq L'oasis perdue – 2 (2001)
12. Fire in Provence - 1 Michel Oleffe Eric Loutte Feu sur la Provence – 1 (2003)
13. Fire in Provence - 2 Michel Oleffe Eric Loutte Feu sur la Provence – 2 (2004)
14. Chappal Wadi Michel Oleffe Eric Loutte Chappal Wadi (2006)

While Bergese has worked on the majority of the titles, drawn and scripted by himself, there were also sizeable titles scripted by Michel Oleffe, with Eric Loutte and Frank Leclercq donning the artist duties on and off.  But, it should be noted that they chose to base the characters layout in line with how Bergese had envisioned them previously, may be as an homage to the legendary creator. 

Eventhough, the great Comic Hunters ERB and Viswa of Chennai, say that they do posses some Biggles comics of Old ages obtained from Second Hand book shops, I wasn't fortunate enough to behold them so far.   Thus far these instalments from Euro Books are the only ones which are in my collection.  I hope some other publishing company in India, dig-in and bring the other titles available of this unsung hero from Franco Belgian Era.  Overall, Biggles series seems to be one for the collectors and comics fans, and thanks to EuroKids for bringing this hero to limelight in India. 

Unfortunately, the Euro Book site doesn't have any information about these books, so the best way to get them would be to reach the chain bookstore like Landmark, Odyssey, or Higginbothams.  Each of the 14 Titles run a lengthy 48 pages, and the are priced at INR 199.  They also have 4 Hard-Bound Compilations containing 3 stories each priced at INR 450/-. The remaining two editions has to be picked from the singles lot. A Little heavily priced, but compared to their original European price, and the quality of the papers and binding, its a good buy, and a good addition to your classic collection.  If you are interested in exploring further, The complete list of Biggles, could be found here.

As always, please leave your comments about this article down below, which will keep me going.

UPDATE (02/09): A new post which reviews the latest Biggles titles released by UK based CineBook, and available in India, is published at Comicology.  Read that over here.

Aug 18, 2007

Gotham Comics #41 - Aug '07

Gotham lives up to its promise of regular monthly issues, by releasing their Gotham #41 set. This month continues from the last month storylines, with the few new ones for Batman and Teen Titans, while the Superman, Wolverine, Astonishing X-Men storyline comes to a closure.

Virgin Comics storylines continues to take amazing turns, and the announcement of Ramayana AD makes for an interesting wait to add to the already sparkling Indian Art.

1. Superman #41
Supergirl from Krypton : Part 6
2. Batman #41
E. Nigma, Consulting Detective
Superman 41 Batman 41

3. Wonder Woman #2

4. Teen Titans #13
Beast Boys and Girls : Part 1
Wonder Woman 02 Teen Titans 13
5. Ultimate Spiderman #34
Hollywood: Part 2
6. Incredible Hulk #30
Dear Tricia
Ultimate Spiderman 34 Hulk 30

7. Wolverine #15
Enemy of the State : Part 6 of 6

8. Astonishing X-Men #12

Wolverine 15 Astonishing XMen 12

9. Fantastic Four #22
Rising Storm : Part 3 of 4

10. The New Avengers #25
Breakout : Part 6

Fantastic Four 22 Avengers 25

11. Batman Adventures #35
The Cat's Prize

12. Fantastic Four Adventures #6
Batman Advts 35 Fantastic Four Advts 06
13. Justice League Adventures #34
14. Spiderman Adventures #6
Vulture Hunt
Justice League Advts 34 Spiderman Advts 06

15. Devi #5
Aagaman : Part 5

16. Snake Woman #5
Devi 05 Snake Woman 05
17. The Sadhu #5  
Sadhu 05

There is a surprise contest for Ghost Rider Movie DVD on this set... so grab them before it runs out of stock.

I am eager to see some more titles like Green Lantern, and would wish they re-launch some of the Ultimate Series, and Super Girl.

Aug 12, 2007

Preview: Muthu Comics #307 - The Saint | Aug '07

Muthu 307 c1 Kaatril Karaintha Kathaanayakan
(காற்றில் கரைந்த கதாநாயகன்)


After a hiatus of near 6 months (Muthu #306 was released on Feb'07), Prakash Publishers are coming up with the Muthu #307, featuring Agent Roger Moore (aka, The Saint). Seems to be another classic on the legacy of Muthu Comics.

But, there is no news yet about the release of the book, and we are already at the end of August.


For details and ordering visit Lion Comics website.

Aug 11, 2007

Preview: Iceberg Comics #4 - Lucky Luke | Aug '07

Iceberg LuckyLuke 04 Ennei Vayal Padalam
(எண்ணெய் வயல் படலம்)


After the successful launch of XIII and Blueberry comics, Iceberg is entering the comedy adventure world with their upcoming release featuring Lucky Luke.

I received a Special Edition Limited Copy at premium price, and was told that the long awaited issue is now ready to be officially released soon.

For details and ordering visit IceBerg Comics website.

Aug 4, 2007

Gotham Comics #40 - Jul '07

Even before the interest towards comics, my first encounter with Superheroes was when DD used to telecast Superman, Spiderman series on the National channels, when I was a kid. 

DC SuperheroesI used to dream about all the Superheroes, and when the Comic bug bit me, I first garnered more interest towards the superhero storylines, namely Irumbu Kai Maayavi (Steel Claw), Spider, Robot Archie being published by Lion & Muthu Comics.  Eventhough there were few glimpses of the Batman stories in Muthu, it didn't have a long run.

Marvel Superheroes On those days, the American Superheroes were only available on DC, and Marvel's Original US copies, which were being sold for a fortune over here.  So, my resources limited me with the access of Indian Comics alone.  But, Gotham Comics is a breakthrough innovator, who made it possible to buy these comics in Indian prices, comparatively much cheaper than the original ones. 

At one point Gotham published nearly 40 titles every month, and I used to run out of budget and somehow managed to collect them all.  Then came the hiatus of more than a year, as Gotham went out of publishing.  The only source of DC, Marvels was now over.

Gotham Comics Logo But, Gotham was about to strike back, and they came back at the start of 2007 with 17 Revamped Titles, thus launching new storylines for all the major characters.   But, the re-launch also means that few of the original series were discontinued, the majority being the Ultimate Series (Ultimate X-Men, Ultimate's, etc.), with the exception being the Ultimate Spiderman series, which has teenage appeal, and thus seems to have been maintained on the current roster.  But, there are some other good titles which were also discontinued, like Spider-Girl, Amazing Spiderman, JLA, Tarzan, and Conan.  I would be more than eager to see them being launched again.

The re-launch also contains 3 India's own storylines featuring under the Virgin Comics brand.


1. Superman #40

Supergirl from Krypton : Part 5

Writer: Michael Turner
Artist: Jeph Loeb

The storyline featuring Superman, Batman, and Supergirl comes to a climax, with the war on Apokolips reaches the Earth.  The plot starts with a fight between the last survivors of Krypton on an alien land, and ends with Darkseid bringing the disaster to Superman's Parental home.

A fight between Darkseid and Superman is due in the next issue.


2. Batman #40

The Beautiful People

Writer: Paul Dini
Artist: J.H. Williams

After the incredible storyline of origin of Robin, this month has a self contained storyline.

Wonder Woman 01

3. Wonder Woman #1

Eventhough Gotham had a completed series on Wonder Woman, which ran for 22 Issues, they have re-launched Wonder Woman with a New plot-lines.  So far it looks a promising start, let's hope the momentum continues.

Teen Titans 12

4. Teen Titans #12

Raven Rising

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Mike McKone

The encounter with the Brother Brood concludes, with Raven saved and brought back to Titan Towers.  Looks a next storyline in making with the newly regrouped team.

Ultimate Spiderman 33

5. Ultimate Spiderman #33

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mark Bagley

Spiderman goes to Hollywood featuring the making of Spiderman Movie.  Also Doctor Octopus escapes from prison and he has someone on his sight.

Hulk 29

6. Incredible Hulk #29

Tempest Fugit : Part 5 of 5

Artist: Lee Weeks

The Hulk comes out of his nightmare encounter with a mysterious opponent.  Lee Weeks artwork has added a new style to Hulk storyline, and hope the momentum continues in next series.

Wolverine 14

7. Wolverine #14

Enemy of the State : Part 5 of 6

Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: John Romita Jr.

The whole world is in the hunt of Wolverine, and he gets down to recruit a new ally in the form of Daredevil.  But, the story takes a new twist with Elektra being brought into the picture.

Astonishing XMen 11

8. Astonishing X-Men #11


Writer: Joss Whedon
Artist: John Cassaday

The Danger room comes to real life in form of Danger and Professor Xavier battles with her on the destroyed land of Genosha.  The Mutant Killing Machine makes a surprise appearance at the end, with X-Men left stranded.

Fantastic Four 21

9. Fantastic Four #21

Rising Storm

Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Mike Wieringo

Fantastic Four comes in meeting with Galactus, and they try to save Johny, who has been made as a new herald for devourer of the worlds. 

What a timing for this storyline, when Fantastic Four part 2 movie is making its mark on the Cinema Theatres, which also features a Galactus storyline.

Avengers 24

10. The New Avengers #24

Breakout : Part 5

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Finch

The New Avengers storyline picks up heat with the Avengers meeting Wolverine in the Savage Land, and an interesting battle with a powerful mutant unfolds.

Devi 04

11. Devi #4

Prarambh : Part 4

Writer: Samit Basu
Artist: Mukesh Singh

Shekhar Kapur's mythical adventure brings us to the

I don't remember reading a storyline which has a fair share of Indian mythology, Indian artwork presented in an International standard.  The plot where Iyam reaches the battle space transiting through a Mobile Phone.  Devi does promise to be a great adventure storyline.

Snake Woman 04

12. Snake Woman #4

Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Michael Gaydos

Shekhar Kapur's another blockbuster Snake Woman comes to an interesting point, where the Jessica's origin is retold and she comes to understand that she is a Snake Goddess, who is been hunted generation and generation by Harker's Upper Order and the 68.  Snake Woman is captured by Harker, and she commits her first mistake killing his well-wisher Brinkley.

Wonderful artwork, and a plot which originates from East India Company, a treat for all Comics fans.

Sadhu 04

13. The Sadhu #4

Writer: Ashok Banker
Artist: Manikandan

Another story which has its roots deriving from the Victorian Rule of England over India, and follows a young soldier whose family is killed by a sadistic red coat, and he discovers the myth of being a Sadhu, a Saint, who can command all the forces in the environment.

It seems the plot is currently under development for a major Hollywood movie featuring Nicolas Cage as Sadhu.  Hopefully, this turns out a blockbuster which will surely promote Indian comics to the international audience.  Kudos to Gotham and Virgin's creative team.

Other than these there are self contained stories in

14. Batman Adventures #34
15. Justice League Adventures #31
16. Spiderman Adventures #5
17. Fantastic Four Adventures #5

which together completes the #40 Set of Gotham Comics.  And what's more Gotham Subscription is back, which will ensure we don't miss any issues on the book shops, mainly helping the collectors.  And for those who missed out few series since Gotham's re-launch, Gotham has some backorders available.  Grab them before the stock runs out.

Aug 2, 2007

Lion Comics #200 - Cowboy Special | Jul '07

Prakash Publishers | Price: INR 100 | Pages: 388 (A4 in B/W) + 16 (B6 in Color) | Tamil | Laminated/HardCover

The long awaited Lion Comics Cowboy Special was released on July '07, also marking the Lion #200 landmark issue. This special issue marks the third time a Lion Comics edition was priced at INR 100/-, and the first time a special issue was fully devoted to the Wild-West Heroes. Witness the Front and Back Covers of Lion #200, which is a double bonanza with wonderfully coloured artwork.

Lion #200: Cowboy Special Cover-1Lion 200 c1

Even though, they are inspired by the originals (have a look at them at the end of the post), the fact remains that the cover artist for Lion/Muthu editions, has an uncanny knack of picking up the right colours to bring pictures into life. Especially, the Tex Cover Art.  I don't remember seeing a cover this quality in recent times with either Lion or Muthu.

There are 5 Cowboy stories in this edition.

1. Thalaiku Oru Vilai (தலைக்கு ஒரு விலை)- Lucky Luke
2. Panikadal Padalam (பனிகடல் படலம்)- Tex Willer
3. Paraloga Paanam (பரலோக பானம்)- Cisco Kid
4. Kaadhalika Neramillai (காதலிக்க நேரமில்லை)- Steve
5. Ilamayil Kol (இளமையில் கொல்) - Captain Tiger (Blueberry)

And there is a surprise guest appearance of Irumbu Kai Maayavi (Steel Claw), in Minsaara Thirudargal (மின்சார திருடர்கள்).   And if that is not enough, Irumbu Manidhan Archie's Joo Joo Padalam (ஜூ ஜூ படலம்) also is given as 16 page supplement.

Even though both Maayavi and Archie's were small adventures, there is no more pleasure than seeing your all time favourites in new stories.  Don’t they ?  In total there are 7 Stories in Cowboy Special, thus maintaining the same number of stories in all INR 100 special editions, released so far.

Lion #200: Cowboy Special Cover-2Lion 200 c2

Talking about stories, Undoubtedly Lucky Luke's Thalaiku Oru Vilai was the star attraction in CowBoy Special. I don't remember reading a Lucky Luke story this hilarious in recent times. The Bounty Hunters were pictured in the most funny way.

Second should be no other than our Tex Willer in Paniyil Oru Padalam. Different Showdown of Snowy scenario, from the traditional heat waves of Texas, and new artwork and the twist filled storylines are the perfect plot.  Surely, another Tex Willer Classic.

Tiger (Blueberry) storyline wasn't that impressive compared to his old saga's. But it is understandable since at this time in his life, he was none known than a young rooky.  Before the release, myself and fellow comickers were debating on how our Editor would write down the scene where Mike finds the name of Blueberry by looking at the flowers nearby, since Muthu had already christened him as Captain Tiger.

Editor finally found a way to reveal the truth, and yet to justify his naming and promotion.  Way to go Sir.

Other two cowboy stories didn't make much good showing.  It looks Steve and Cisco Kid don't impress much as they used to do in old days. Chick Bill could have been a good addition instead of all of them, but obviously Editor would have liked to have as many stories so as to boost up the sales of this special edition, and to also be the first to publish all stories of young Blueberry, before Iceberg (who were about to release them).  Killing the Competition, in literal terms.

Overall, a best extravaganza, even though this is not up to the mark as the Last two INR 100 Special editions. Nevertheless, a landmark issue of Lion Comics.

And, what's more there is a blockbuster announcement of our long pending XIII edition, which is now scheduled for release on 2008 (tactically dated -month, thus allowing our editor a time period from January to December, poor us). Take a look at the teasers for the Mega-Issue priced at INR 200. Go ahead and register if you want own a piece of the history in making.

Lion XIII Special Advertisement-1Lion 200 next1 Lion XIII Special Advertisement-2Lion 200 next2

And as per the tradition we get to see a preview of the upcoming Lion titles.

Have a look at this, while the Lucky Luke's next action adventure is great to hear, does the second one ring any bells. Well, this was the original title scheduled to be released as Muthu #300, which was announced way back in Muthu #298, on Jan 2005, Nearly 2 and half years back. Now, it is scheduled to be released on Lion, a more suitable brand for the Sci-Fi storyline which it boasts. Makes for a nice little wait.

But before that, we have our next lion featuring Modesty Blaise on our 23rd Annual Edition. But, for that to happen it should have got released on July, and we are on August, and yet no signs for that yet.

TRIVIA: Talking about Annual Editions, can anyone say when were the only two times, when we didn't have our regular Annual Edition of Lion Comics?

If you know the answer, leave them in your comments below.

Lion Issues Coming SoonLion 200 next3

Update (11/08) - The Originals:

Tex No.415: Delitto nel porto (Crime in the Port)
Tex Tre Stelle (Tex Three Stars) : Sep 1998

Tutto Tex (All Tex) : Oct 2005
Writer: Claudio Nizzi | Artist: Fabio Civitelli
Cover Art: Claudio Villa
Lieutenant Blueberry No.22
Le bout de la piste (1986)

The End of the Trail (1990)
Writer : Jean-Michel Charlier | Artist : Jean Giraud

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