The 3 months long wait, to the climax of the latest 3 part Tex Willer series, has ended, as Prakash Publishers have landed their Lion Comics #205, on our hands, by the end of the month, which has closely followed last month's Muthu #310.
It's a continuation of Lion #203 & Lion #204, written and drawn by Caludio Nizzi and Fabio Civitelli, respectively, which were covered here at Comicology, when they were released. Explore the links above, if you missed out those posts.
Flash News: To read Editor S.Vijayan’s first-ever response to a debate on Comics blogs, refer to the end of the post.
It was surprising to see a Lion Comics cover-art utilizing the landscape format, as Portrait format had become a de-factor standard or norm since the re-launch of Lion and Muthu Comics. The last time this strategy was adopted was way back - nearly a decade, in the Lion #165: Nijam 1 - Nizhal 2 (நிஜம் 1 - நிழல் 2) exactly on Jan '01. Mr. Vijayan, the editor of Lion Comics, this time has decided to discard the original cover-art of the issue and seems to have utilized a Tex Willer poster from some other source (which is clear from the fact, that the scene doesn't depict the setup of the battle, as described in the inner pages).
I received my subscription copy a day later than the majority, so a delayed post helped me gather requisite materials for a complete coverage, and post with a different style, as they call in Hindi - 'Zara Hatke (ज़रा हटके)'. So let's took at a little biography of Tex Willer (as it is a trend at Comicology) before we get down to this instalment of Lion Comics.
Created in 30 Sep 1948, in the backdrop of WW II, by writer Giovanni Luigi Bonelli and illustrator Aurelio Galleppini; Tex Willer can be termed as the most successful Italian Comics venture to have known to the world outside.
Originally started for the then famous Bonelli Comics, as a comic strip (just like the other famous European/American classic comic characters), it has far outlived its other compatriots, in terms of longevity.
The story of the Original Italian Comics base and evolution of Bonelli Comics, has its long roots with the World War II.
Hollywood Movies and American Comics had been embarrassed by many European countries, including Italy, during WW II. In 1945, when the war finally ended, Italy was among the many European nations anticipating a return to the good life that included great music, fun movies, and excellent comics. But a strange thing happened. When classic American characters like Flash Gordon, Mandrake and Mickey Mouse were returned to their Italian fans, the books proved to be less popular than they had been before the war.
Readers seemed to prefer the smaller-sized magazines that had been published in their absence, and the small print format called "striscia" (strips), that publishers had reverted to when they were hit by a paper shortage. Strips were smaller in size, with more pages and longer stories, and the Bonelli family - owners of a small publishing house in Milan, began printing these for popular distribution.
In 1948, Mrs.Tea Bonelli wished to re-open her publishing house and create new comic series. She therefore called Galleppini, and entrusted the texts to her ex-husband, Bonelli.
That's how the character Tex Willer was born. Bonelli initially planned to name the lead character as "Tex Killer", but due to Tea's strong objection, it was changed to with a 'W' in place of 'K'. The initial concept of Tex was him as an outlaw, but soon was characterized to be a good Samaritan, as a Ranger (Issue #3). He is often referred as 'Night Eagle' (இரவுக்கழுகு), due to a costume and mask he wore on one of his earliest adventures.
Tex's closest friend and a part to most of his adventures is Kit Carson, an elderly man (He is older than Tex by about ten years and is drawn in his years of maturity with gray hair). Actually, even though Tex Willer is a fictional character, Kit Carson is a rendition of the famous American frontiersman of the same name, who had close ties with Navajo's Red Indian Tribe (for which fantasy Tex's character is known for).
Tamil Comic fans will remember that Kit Carson has regularly featured in the erstwhile
Rani Comics, in many of its cowboy stories. Well, we can safely say that that Carson and Tex's Carson are two different people, as different comic writers and artists have used Carson in their popular culture in varying roles over the years, and no wonder Bonelli Sr. thought of it to be part in his dream project too.
There are many ladies in Tex's life, but only one is closest to his heart, his wife Lilith, who was the daughter of Red Arrow (chief of Navajo), upon which he succeeded as the leader of Navajo's and their official representation to the US Govt. There are also Tiger Jack, a Red-Indian and Kit Willer, Tex's son who accompany him in his numerous adventures through the Wild-West, which ranges from Voodoo Magic to pre-historic Dinosaurs.
The strong bond between Jack & Kit, is identically similar to the one shared by Tex & Carson. In most of the stories, we see that when the team splits it is normally with the same pair. It's said that Bonelli had thought about having a spin-off with Kit Willer as the lead, but he decided against it, and had him as the understudy of Tex throughout.
Bonelli wrote the stories of all of the Tex adventures published until beyond the mid-1980s. And his fellow co-creator Galleppini, matched him up, as a continuous artist of Tex series for more than 4 decades.
Have a look at the those covers, and a symbolic representation of Artist change (and probably a premonition of his own death, as Galleppini passed away on Mar '94), with Tex shown waving Goodbye to all.
Eventhough Gallepinni was chief artist for the series for a long time, he was ably assisted by a team of artists due to his illness, and volume of work. But, until 1980's Tex was credited and signed only as "text by G.L.Bonellï and drawings by Galep", as the Editor feared reader reactions to the change in the successful pair.
Long-time Lion Comics fans will remember that the Tex #400 cover was re-used for Lion Comics #140 (1998), although it featured a different story (Yerintha Kaditham - எறிந்த கடிதம்).
Bonelli continued to supervise the production of Tex until he passed away in 2001. After Bonelli Sr., his son Sergio Bonelli, who is also a comic book writer (he is the creator of Zagor, another popular Italian Comic Character, the costumes and trademark signs closely reminds us of Tex's), then took over the reigns of publishing Tex Willer Series.
The current publishing company which owns Tex and other famous Italian characters is named after Bonelli Jr., Sergio Bonelli Editore (Editore meaning Publisher in Italian).
Tex All Stars, their longest running Comics series has crossed over Issue #550, with a regular monthly release. There are some other series too where the olden goldies are reprinted from the original Tex Series.
Let's come back to the current month instalment from Lion Comics, the story opens up where the Part 2 was left off.
Carson & Co. approach the shed where the egoist Major Wellman, and his partner in crime, Overend, discuss about their master strategy to ignite a war between Red Indians and US Military, and get benefited out of it in terms of power and money. But Carson, and Kit intervene, and spoil their evil plans
On the other end, Tex battles a life or death situation, in a Wild Challenge issued by rebel Orso Vellace, who tries to salvage his damaged prestige among their tribe. By which the premonition of Red Clout in the 1st Part to Tex Willer, about a Fast Bear and Black Eagle battling on top of a Peak, turns out in reality. As usual, Tex Willer comes on top and puts an end to the egoistic maniac, thus bringing the mini series to an end.
The writer doesn't forget to re-emphasize the human touch, by referring to the romantic interlude of Alicia (Sydor), and her untold love to Tex Willer, when the story concludes.
|Italian Original: Tex No.477 |
Sfida selvaggia (Wild Challenge)
Overall, it's another Tex Willer Classic, and leaves us gasping for more such stories in future.
Kudos to Mr.Vijayan for hand-picking the stories among the huge Tex Series (which does contain some goof-ups, like the one mini series which had a Dinosaur appearing suddenly), and translating them to Tamil without losing the original context
As far as the other main topic, which was highlighted in the Hotline, and has been going through a huge debate on blogs elsewhere, my vote is to the Increasing of Price and retaining the current form of Lion and Muthu Comics. Which seems to have been the universal choice of 90% of our comics readers.
I don't share Editors view that rising the price to INR 12, will lead to an issue of tendering change at the vendors. Because, our comics are available mostly in Petty Shops, and Railway Station Book shops, who all are known to have an adequate stock of Coins for change, and do their business on top of it. As far as the subscribers goes, they wouldn't mind a small change in the prices, as that could easily be adjusted in the subscription amount.
The current format of Hard Cover/Laminated, B6 Size, is the best format which was ever practiced by Muthu or Lion Comics. It helps protect and safeguard our beloved comics for a very long time in our collection. So, my request to Editor is to maintain the current format and decide between pricing the future editions in the range of INR 12 to INR 15. If Editor decides to make it INR 15, then we can hope that he increases current paper quality to be more whiter, thus letting us an option to witness the great artwork in its truest form. Also an adoption of B5 as the standard size could be practiced, but that looks a distance dream.
In short, increase the price to INR 12, if editor decides to maintain the current format; or rise it by INR 15, to improve the size (to B5 preferably) and paper quality if he decides to up it by INR 15 (which looks highly impossible going by the choices Mr.Vijayan's normal preference over the years).
With the inflation, and global economical change, this isn't a price-rise which is going to make much of an uproar, among our comic fans. Hope the good sense prevails on this topic.
By talking about the price and other issues, Editor has given a miss for Singathin Siruvayadhil (சிங்கத்தின் சிறுவயதில்), his famous article for a second consecutive issue (பத்த வச்சிட்டியே பரட்டே...). And, the earlier announced list of Comicologists who have booked for the XIII Special is also missing (பின்ன, என் பேரேல்லாம் எப்படி பாக்குறதாம் !!).
This is quite an awesome blog ! The kind of time & efforts that have been put into this website deserves the richest of accolades ! Hats off !
I'd have loved to post in Tamil too..but its no secret that my skills with the computer are pretty much akin to Sheriff Dog Bull's skills at maintaining law & order in Woodcity. So I'll stick to posting in English for awhile..
The interest and passion that you guys show towards comics in general & our Lion Comics in particular, is the tonic that I need quite a lot of times to revive flagging spirits. With a little bit more time I promise I'll have our Lion Comics website up & running again.
As for the dilemma that we are currently faced with regarding the price hike - one thing I've decided for sure is that we are NOT changing the size. Almost all our readers have advised us to continue with the existing size. So the option now is to contemplate : Either a price jump or a cut in pages. I will look at the length of the stories we have planned for the next 6 issues and take a call based on that. You will read about it in the next Hotline for sure.
And yes, "Singathin Siru Vayathil" will be back in business from the coming issue of Corrigan - "Maandavan Meendan". Not too sure if that's good news or bad..!
Have fun guys..I'll drop in again sometime soon."
As advertised earlier, the next issue will be Agent Phil Corrigan or Secret Agent X-9 extravaganza, titled
Maandavan Meendaan (மாண்டவன் மீண்டான்), who last featured in Lion Comics, back in 1995, in the Lion #112, Top 10 Special. So, it's good that Editor is bringing back one of his popular characters, from the past.
Well, this turned out to be another big post, so let me put a stop to it, and meet you all in the next post. Adios Amigos !