Prakash Publishers | Price: INR 10 | Total Pages: 244 (122+122) | B/W | Size: Pocket | Tamil | SoftCover
Prakash Publishers continue to amaze with regular monthly releases. What we have this time around is the Comics Classics #23, which as usual carries two yesteryear blockbuster comics from the erstwhile Muthu Comics;
- Kaatril Karaintha Kappalgal (காற்றில் கரைந்த கப்பல்கள்) starring Code Name: Barracuda aka., CID Lawrence & David
- Moolai Thirudargal (மூளை திருடர்கள்) starring Johny Nero & Stella
Ardent fans will remember that this was originally advertised to be the Issue #22, last year. I enthusiastically covered it as a Preview feature in this very blog, only to get outsmarted by Prakash Publishers who released another Instalment in place of that. But as it turned out that actually worked out fine, as we now have two Comics Classics releases in the same year.
Story 1: Kaatril Karaintha Kappalgal
(காற்றில் கரைந்த கப்பல்கள்) | [Ships Which Disappeared]
Story 2: Moolai Thirudargal
(மூளை திருடர்கள்) | [Brain Thieves]
As far as the story review goes,
Kaatril Karaintha Kappalgal is an action packed storyline. I only posses a modest collection of Muthu Comics's earlier editions, but remember reading this story in childhood when it was reprinted some years back. It was one of the instrumental comics which grew my interest towards the style of Picture based storytelling (as it is known as an unique art form: the seamless integration of images and words).
The intellectual thinking of Lawrence and his quick paced action, with David giving him good company, is the highlight. Suspense was spilled throughout the Storyline, with the ultimate being the Volcano Setup of the Terrorist group. Back then as a Child, I used to imagine them to a scenario which is only matched in the Hollywood genre at this period. It certainly helped to grow a creative mind back then. Overall, one of the golden pieces of the British Comics era.
Moolai Thirudargal is a typical Johny Nero story, known for his globe-trotting free agent detective style. I always liked the importance Stella gets in Nero storylines, which makes them an inseparable pair, yet maintaining the professional relationship between them. European/British Comics stand out from the American genre in that aspect, which makes it right in parallel with the Asian culture.
I still remember those initial James Bond issues of Rani Comics (another South Indian publisher of Tamil Comics, but defunct now), where they were printing the editions as it is from the Original, with Frontal exposures, and all. I used to be scared those days, to maintain those comics as part of the collection fearing that my family would someday get a hand to that and may misconstrue that I am collecting the "so-so" type magazines too.
Luckily, they realized the Indian culture, and later started to seal and mask the artwork, where necessary. Lion/Muthu Comics publishers always have ensured this right from the start, and the reliance on European Comics (Franco-Belgian, British, Italian, etc.) which has a deep roots in quality comic art & plot work kept them in good stead too.
I always loved the foreword of Editor S.Vijayan, and he initially used to do it for the earlier Comics Classics editions, where he used to highlight and share the history behind the featured stories earlier publishing. Unluckily, We don't see that feature in the recent editions. So we only have to rely upon Comics stalwarts like Muthufan, to share the nostalgia behind these goldies.
As far the packaging goes, I don't have much to say. Eventhough, the Pocket edition helps in re-igniting the memory of past, it is not a great size by which you could enjoy the comics to the most. Editor Vijayan may argue that it is cost-effective and suitable for the price tag. But, I always believed the Comics Classics should follow the standards of the current Lion/Muthu in terms of cover and size (not the paper quality though :)). Because these are the ones which are expected to help a Collector in maintaining them over a long period. And since Comics Classics is expected to be a Collector's Edition, I don't think there are people who will object to have it priced in higher bracket for a better quality.
Those with prying eyes would be able to see a small damage to the second cover in the above scans. That's due to the effort of yours truly, while trying to separate the cover from the inner papers which had got stuck accidentally with the package glue. This is one another reason why you shouldn't use Paper Covers for Comics. They should be seen as Books (like Westerners) and not Magazines (as they are mostly categorized in India).
At times when some Comics collectors (?!) use the old Lion/Muthu editions to sell them at a premium price nearing INR 1000 (and in some cases, more), and get a sizeable profit out of it; Prakash Publishers who hold the rights for these golden editions are short-sighted to bring those gems in a low quality editions continuously, and miss out on a potentially profitable venture.
Hopefully, the first comic-enthusiastic of Tamil Comics Industry, Mr.Vijayan, will take a cue from it to improve the packaging for his releases. Whatever said, there is no doubt that Vijayan has always been the Flagbearer of Tamil Comics Industry, in the past, Now, and in Future. He should be commended for continuing in a business, where others come and go without a basic interest towards Comics in genre, or the commitment.
To end with, see a small stats for Comics Classics releases over the years right from its inception. 2007 was the only year when Comics Classics was blacked out completely without a single issue. In total there are 23 issues so far. A way behind from the original idea, of printing 3 every year. But that as many know, has always been a throne found in the main brands Lion/Muthu Comics too. Anyways, 2008 has set things anew, hoping for better years to come for Comics Classics editions.
Comics Classics Release Stats
That brings us to the close of another Comics review at Comicology. As usual, please leave your comments about this post and the Comics Classics editions on a whole, in the section below.