Distributor in India: West Land | Price: INR 350 | Two-Volume Books | Color | Pages: 96 | Size: B5 | Laminated/HardCover
There were numerous attempts made to cash-in on the popularity generated by Conan in the Comics format, by many writers and authors, but none were as successful as the Conan was. But, little is known that in the same period, there was another Comics character from the famed Franco-Belgian genre, which was able to match upto to the popularity and adventures of Conan, and our topic of discussion, Thorgal.
Van Hamme is known for is intriguing plots, in his other works. And that is shown in the way he has put Thorgal's origin and his hurdles growing-up.
Shankar's comment in the blog reminded me that I forgot to mention how the strange name Thorgal Aegirsson. As per the plot (revealed in the Cinebook 1st album) he was named so by his adopted father, Leif Haraldson, as "Thor-gal Aegirs-son"; after Thor, the Norse God of Thunder (a prominant Marvel Comic Hero too), and Aegir, the ruler of the sea; because he considered Thorgal to be a gift from the Gods.
The punch-line of Thorgal Series 'The Gods Have Put a Man to the Test', is good enough to understand that he is different from his much famous compatriot, Conan. Unlike Conan, He is a guy who despises of wars, fist-fights, kingdom, or supremacy, and wants to settle down as a day-to-day family man, fueled by his unmatched love towards Aaricia. The story quitely follows their adventures with us being reminded on this underlying family values, which Thorgal rates highly over any other. The Artwork of Rosinski, is incredible, which adds all the more value to the Hamme's plot. Have a look at the cover arts, as a testament to the fact.
The successful combination, has so far published 29 Albums of Thorgal, with the last one in 2006. So far, the entire volume put together has sold more than 13 million copies worldwide in all languages put to-gether.
|Thorgal 2: The Three Elders of Aran |
|Thorgal 2: The Black Galley (Vol.2) |
Coming back to the topic, Cinebook have brought this much acclaimed French series, to India in their English versions. There are 3 Editions with this batch, with each one being a Two Volume Editions, which effectively means that they are 6 in total. The way these volumes are bound are different from their original publication, as the Thorgal 1, in this series, actually encompasses the original volumes: 7:L'enfant des étoiles and 8:Alinoë;, released in 1984 and 1985 respectively. The chief patron of Cinebook, Olivier Cadic, explains in an interview with CBO, that he purposefully suggested the change to the creators, as he felt that those individual albums, which briefs the childhood days of Thorgal and Aaricia, would serve as a good way to open up a series anew.
|Thorgal 3: Beyond the Shadows |
|Thorgal 3: The Fall of Brek Zarith (Vol.2) |
Likewise, Thorgal 2: encompasses Original Albums 3:Les Trois Vieillards du pays d'Aran (1981) and 4:La Galère Noire (1982); while Thorgal 3: consists of the Original Albums 5:Au-delà des Ombres and 6:La chute de Brek Zarith. The Original Albums 1 & 2, which introduces us to the characters and location, have been left out from this venture, as Olivier feels that the Origins of Thorgal & Aaricia, are enough to fill-up the introduction rounds.
As to the present, Van Hamme has disowned himself from the Thorgal series. But Rosinski has teamed up with Yves Sente (whom we will be discussing again when we review the Black & Mortimer series), to continue the Thorgal Saga. So far they have released two editions, with this new team-up:
- Album 30: Moi, Jolan - (I, Jolan) (2007) and
- Album 31: Le bouclier de Thor - (The Shield of Thor) (2008)
in which the plot now hovers around Jolan, the son of Thorgal. The new series has so far garnered mixed reactions for the purists and followers of the Thorgal series. I am not going to provide a judgement on them, unless we have them on our hands.
Overall, I liked Thorgal series, as that introduced us to a world different from what we have witnessed in the sword-fighting medieval age described by other stories. I always felt that no series could match-up to the Conan saga, but now I have been proven wrong
The next album of Thorgal, The Archers, is currently out on print from Cinebook in UK, but it is yet to reach India. Cinebook have also announced two more two-volume-editions of Thorgal for 2009, showing their intention to continue with this successful series.
As a Bonus to this post, here are the back-covers of these 3 set Thorgal series, which has a small snippet about the supposed storyline, and a sneak preview of next title in the series.
And before we wrap-up, for all the visitors from India and those of Indian Origin from other countries, wish you all a Happy Diwali. For the others, its famously called as the "Festival of Lights", and for all proper reasons. Refer to the Wiki link to know more.
அன்பிற்கினிய தமிழ் வாசகர்களுக்கு, இனிய தீபாவளி நல்வாழ்த்துகள். இந்த பண்டிகையில் உங்கள் வீடுகளில் மகிழ்ச்சி பொங்கட்டும்; உங்களுடைய நெடு நாள் ஆசைகள் நிறைவேறட்டும்.
सब जनो को दिवाली के सुभ अवसर पर, मेरी आर्थिक सुब्काम्नाये |
Flash-Back: RANI COMICS - Tamil - #313 - 1 July 1997
Contrary to the popular opinion that Thorgal series was never printed in India before, I was just alerted by comikers, that it had indeed been printed in India as an one shot, by the erstwhile Comics publication Rani Comics (ராணி காமிக்ஸ்). Luckily, I had a copy of this edition in my collection and this late-update is to compare it with the original version, released now by CineBook.
For the starters, Rani Comics was one of the famous Tamil Comics magazines in South India, from the house of Daily Thanthi (தின தந்தி). It had a huge fan-following and had a marathon release for more than 3 decades.
Though it revolutionized the art of Comics publishing in Tamil Language along with the fellow Super Heavyweights Muthu Comics & Lion Comics, many true comic lovers despised their strategy of editing the core artwork, and spoiling the plot, especially the post-Ramajayam period, as Editor of Rani Comics. Read more about them in our Rani Comics debut post here.
This one-shot was released in July 1997 as Rani Comics #313, titled Veera Siruvan (வீர சிறுவன்) , which is an edited version of the Thorgal Album 1: Child of the Stars, listed in the main section. The coverart is also inspired by the same Album. And surprisingly he retains his original name, although eventually killing it by referring him as Thoragaal (தொரகால்).
The story revolves around the childhood of Thorgal, where he agrees to help the Dwarfs in their challenge with the Serpent King, to locate the Jewel made from a Metal that Doesn't Exist. Due to Thorgal's secret origin of being a descendant from an alien race from the stars, he does carry an ornament from his ancestors which satisfies the Serpent Kings description. Thorgal decides to travel to the Dwarf land accompanied by the Dwarf messenger, to gift his ornament and successfully evades the hurdle to claim his destiny.
Now, as is the tradition with Rani Comics, we get to see a lot of twists from the original storyline. While briefing all them would be a big ask, I will try to keep it short with few prime examples. To start with due to the size of Rani Comics (half the original), the one page artwork in the original, is actually briefed in 2 or 3 pages in the Rani Comics version, and the Original segregation of Child of Stars into three chapters is missing in the Rani Comics edition. The story starts without a prologue about Vikings finding Thorgal as an infant. Instead it is featured as a small snippet into the story when its framed as being told by Thorgal to the Dwarf Messenger. This could be accepted by the fact that Tamil Comics is still new to a level, with the concept of Epilogue or Prologue may be a little hard to understand by one and all.
And as with the tradition of all Black & White prints, we get to lose the incredible artwork of Rosinski. See an example from the scene where Dwarf Messenger talks to Thorgal in a Dark Night, with a camp fire. While the original artwork shows that Thorgal is in picture, the Rani Comics version has completely made him a ghost in the dark. A little effort from the local artist could have made it look better. Take your own judgement below.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and as always, please do leave your comments in the section below.