Long before Comics or Graphic Novels made their foray to India, there were some Indian brands which captivated the mind of young and grown alike. They were the so called Children Magazines, which succeeded in guiding a whole new generation in the paths of finding our roots, and imparted learning to differentiate between the good’s and the bad’s, in every day of life.
To name a few of the most popular children magazines from that genre, would be: Tinkle, Balamitra, Gokulam, Champak, Poonthalir, and Ratnabala, which all had a unique set of followers and readers group.
Each of them also excelled in a specific way in which they originate their stories from, which was experienced by young and adult, during a period when what we see in TV media were controlled by state-owned TV channels, and there were not much other things to divert upon.
Even though, they could not match up to the stardom and world-fame which DC & Marvel garnered with their releases, they enjoyed a fan-fare of its own for decades, eventually falling out of reckoning as their younger readers grew, and India witnessed the growth and varieties of other Sports and TV Media. Now only handful of them are still in publication, having adopted to live with a small number of readership and changing their content to match the modern expectations.
One such Magazine was Chandamama, which followed the stories from Medieval India, which comprised of Kings, Queens, and their bravery and wit. It was founded on July 1947, by B.Nagi Reddy, who is more famously known as a well known South Indian Film Producer, and the person who owned then Asia’s largest Film Studio, named Vijaya Studios, in Chennai.
The cash-rich backing,and the unique selling point of basing stories based on Indian mythology and folktales, took Chandamama to a wider acceptance and it enjoyed a steady growth in sales, with their magazines being publishing in Multiple Indian Languages (12 + 1 English Edition) concurrently.
Fellow blogger Venki, recently posted an article about the first ever Ambulimama (Chandamama’s Tamil title) which was released way back in July 1947, even before the Indian Independence. Those who know to read Tamil, can go to this article, to bring back that nostalgic feeling.
Chandamama went on a uninterrupted publishing run which lasted until 1998, when it was stopped due to some labour disputes. But, they came back within a year, and continue to publish till this date.
The fame of Chandamama could be exhibited from the fact that Disney, once was looking to acquire it for foraying into Indian Publishing. Eventhough that ultimately didn't materialize, it was acquired by a Technology Company called Geodisc in 2007, and since has started to concentrate on digitizing its artefacts and old issues of its publication. This was originally available to be downloaded for free on their corporate website, but now it is only available to be read online at their site.
Instead, Chandamama English Editions have now started giving out a CD containing 12 issues from any of the past years. It’s a tempting offer for subscribing to the issue, which I have done now.
In the same year 2007, Chandamama also celebrated their 60th Anniversary, and recently have come up with a Collectors Edition - Coffee Book, which takes us back to the inception and various stages of publishing scenarios during the Chandamama's Golden Era.
The Collectors Edition contains some breathtaking artwork from the past and photographs of the publishing house and their erstwhile staff at their prime. Eventhough, Chandamama isn't a much interesting proposition at present, this will be an item the collectors and old fans can possess and cherish to share with the loved ones and nears.
The Books is A4 Format, with waxed papers, in a Neatly Bound package, priced at INR 449/-. It is currently available on Chandamama's website with a 20% discount, for those who cherish to collect this treasure.
The Inner-Cover contains some facts about the Edition and an history about Chandamama in a snapshot. The only qualms about this Collector Edition is that it doesn’t talk anything about the creators who contributed stories and artwork for the 60 year old publishing giant, which one would have for sure expected to read about. Ignoring them completely, at the hour of celebration has taken the sheen out of this edition, for sure.
As with the other children magazines of its period, Chandamama also fell out of reckoning due to the change in taste and choices of young and modern India. They are still continuing their publishing legacy by maintaining the same number of language editions, albeit with a limited print run. They also have another magazine called Junior Chandamama, aimed specifically for kids.
Recently, Chandamama have ventured onto Graphic Novels, a field which they never really concentrated in the past, by tying up with the publishers of The 99 Comics series from Middle-East. Read more about them, in our The 99 exclusive review at Comicology.
On a late check, I found out that this review of Chandamama Collector’s Edition was indeed the 25th Comics Post at Comicology. I am surprised at my own self, that an otherwise sombre, lazy person in me, was able to continue a passion for this long. Let me enjoy my moment of glory, while you can expect some more great posts in the years to come at Comicology.