When I started Comicology few years back, I wondered would I be able to keep up the tempo and the same energy level to continue it for long? Well, I believe that question is now partly answered, as I am proud to announce that this our 50th Comic post at Comicology. The 25th Comic Post at Comicology was only achieved in September last year. So, with all your permissions, let me pat myself for being more active up recently.
It is certainly a time to cherish, and what better way than posting about a comic series announced at the start of the year 2009, featured in one of the beloved Tamil Children’s magazine in South India, Siruvar Malar (சிறுவர் மலர்).
We have spoken enough about Siruvar Malar, in the post here. So, let’s move onto the longest comic series ever published in that magazine, named as Uyirai Thedi (உயிரை தேடி), which literally means In Search of a Life. The Series captivated children's and teenagers for over a year. Me being one of them, can talk you through a first-person account.
The Series was originally featured in erstwhile UK Young Boy’s magazine, Eagle, which had a publishing run from 1950 to 1994. Eagle is best known as the comic magazine which debuted Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future, comic series. In 1980s, immediately after the completion of “The Thirteenth Floor” (about which we spoke in detail during our last Thigil Comics review at Comicology) the Eagle started the Survival Comic Series, which spoke about a horrible future, where the entire population on earth is wiped out by a mutating Virus.
You would wonder that the series has its similarities with the George Romero’s Living Dead film series, but there is a difference in Survival. The Killing Virus as portrayed in Survival, had only killed all the adults in the world.
The plague had spread throughout the Earth, the only survivors were a handful of children (who have a rare blood group) and a few adults who had mutated into fearsome creatures. The strip followed one boy, named Pinkie, as he gradually contacted more of the surviving children.
Typical, to the golden age of British Comics, the Survival also was serialized as 4 or 3 pages per episode, where the end panels usually puts the characters in seemingly dangerous situation, and the following episode’s opening panels gets them out of it. This makes the readers glued to the comic series as they follow episode after episode.
The series is said to have been originally inspired by the then famous British TV Series, Survivors, which aired during 1975. Recently, the Survivors series has been re-booted on BBC, which has completed Season 1. As expected, words are that, the series is no way compared to its original version.
If you look closely at the Logo of the TV Series, then you can detect that the same was also used in 28 Days Later, and 28 Weeks Later post-apocalyptic science fiction UK films, where the former was directed by, recent Academy Award winner for Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle. I wonder, why there was never a mention about the similarity, or who copied whom. Even though the concept of deadly virus in both medium were totally different. I especially liked those two movies, as they had a complete different plot than the Living Dead Series by Romero (which I should admit I was a never a fan of).
There was also another Hollywood Movie named I am Legend, in 2007, starring Will Smith, which was also about a Virus ravaged future, but had close resemblance to the concept of the Survival Comic series, in terms of rare blood type as a reason for survival.
The Movie is actually an American take on the 28 Days Later, but it did have its fair share of Thrill. Especially the scene where Smith is cornered by his own tricks, and thrilling minutes when the Zombies approach him in the shades of darkness. Thanks to fellow Comiker ShankarV, for reminding me of the movie.
Coming back to our topic, the Survival Comics series had a same plot like another comics series, titled Kids Rule O.K.,featured in Action Comics magazine during 1976. The series was Written by Jack Adrian, with Art by Mike White. It was different from the Survivor series, in the way that it was depicted as Children's Vs the surviving Adults, with some gore in its panels.
But, the continual and senseless violence depicted in the comic series eventually led to parent comics magazine Action being banned in Britain. Luckily, Survival series didn’t meet that fate, as it involved far more appealing plot than the former one.
Survival comic series was written by D. Horton and wonderfully illustrated by Jose Ortiz; the same artist who did the works on the previous episode The Thirteenth Floor. Little is known about the writer, but about the artist, we will see more on our next pending post on The Thirteenth Floor.
Siruvar Malar, started featuring the Survivors comic series, translated into Tamil as Uyirai Thedi (உயிரை தேடி), as a weekly feature starting from 29-Jan-88.
The first episode was of 4 pages, while the rest were a standard 3 pages per episode. The Original series in Eagle was full Black & White. But, Siruvar Malar back then was following a colour scheme of alternative colour pages in its weekly. So, we witnessed some breathtaking coloured pages once in a while, during Survival’s run in Siruvar Malar.
Since the Survival Series was featured over an year, with 61 episodes in Siruvar Malar, I am planning to review them over a series of posts at Comicology. So, for the first part, let’s discuss the storyline as depicted in the first 11 episodes of the series.
The scene opens up with images of a dying world, with streets and hospitals in total chaos, ravaged by a killer virus. Scientists who try to find a cure, are also impacted by the deadly virus, virtually rendering the whole humanity, helpless. People die in bunches, all the places, and we reach the epicentre of the storyline, in a city named Barancoat, in Britain.
Pinkie, a survivor, walks across the desolate streets, filled with the remains of mutated bodies by the killer virus. Apparently, he survived the virus because it had no impact on children's with a rare blood group. But, Pinkie finds no other survivors in his locality, and decides to pursue his search by walking through and beyond the locality.
In his journey he initially witnesses a Prison, whose gates were opened up so the in-mates could flee for their life. But it had little impact as mutated bodies laid in and around the desolate place. Pinkie is then attacked by a mutated adult, but before it does any damage, the virus puts it out of its misery.
On further through, he is attacked by a Tiger which escaped from the erstwhile Zoo of the locality. But, he is saved by an Elephant, whom Pinkie finds as a good friend to travel along with.
Pinkie then decides to spend the night in an abandoned Airfield, but wakes up in the middle of the night, with the humming sound of flying aeroplane. But, his joy of finding a survivor, at last, fails again.
The kid who was driving the aeroplane crash lands it, and dies on the hands of Pinkie. Pinkie repents on his fate, and wonders would he ever see another living human being.
What follows him then is the attack by blood-thirsty dogs, rats, and even a man like Gorilla. He finally manages to find a Car which he plans to drive out of the city, little does he know that there is an unwanted passenger as a fellow rider in it, as Chapter 11 ends. Does he manages to get away, or does he find any survivors? or then detailed in the next episodes.
Now here is a surprise for you, as in celebration of 50th post, I planned to upload the complete Survival series at Comicology. Here are the first 11 episodes as discussed in our review.
The Original publication is no more in business, and there are some sites like backfromdepths which also has few episodes of XIII & Survival at their web space. So, I believe as a matter of promotion, this might be allowed. Anyways, this is a One-Time-Only too for Comicology. So, enjoy the episodes, for which I eagerly awaited every Friday, and hopefully there are more with the same feeling. We will continue further episodes in our next Survival comic post at Comicology. So, Stay Tuned.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and also the first 11 episodes of Survival aka., Uyirai Thedi. If so, please leave your comments to mark your presence. I will meet you all again with another comics review over here at Comicology. Adios Amigos !!