Comic Con Express – Bengaluru - 2012

Another year and another Express Event from Comic Con India. Our Pre-show coverage of the event in the Garden City.

Comic Con India – New Delhi - 2011

Get to know, more about India's first ever Comic-Con, how does it rate among the rest.

Chennai Book Fair - 2011

We catch up with the Annual Chennai Book Fair, and see what it has to offer for Comic fans.

Lion Comics Jumbo Special - XIII Collector's Edition

An inside look into a collection, touted as the biggest Comic Book released in India

Mar 28, 2009

Celebrity Comics – Ultimate Shower of Love – II

Just in case, if you had forgotten, I did promise to have our second and concluding part of V-Day Special Comicology Post.  So here it is.  In that comic post, we looked at the successful (?!!) attempts on bringing the celebrities into Comics format, but here are the ones who missed out on the bus, and remained only in concept and ill-driven media news.

Kkrish Movie Krrish (2006): It was the first mainstream movie from Bollywood, which featured an Indian Authentic Superhero, in the form of Hrithik Roshan, who is undoubtedly a talented actor.  It was sequel to Koi Mil Gaya (2003), which itself was inspired by the Hollywood blockbuster Spielberg movie, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982).  The movie centres around Krrish, the titular character, who had inherited superhero powers from his father, and creates a secret identity to defend the world against an evil scientist, played by one of my favourite actor, Nasureedin Shah.  The lady love was portrayed by Priyanka Chopra. 

Wonder, does she have a in-ept ability, as having been featured in two movies as lady-love to Superhero.  Well, she certainly has the physique to match up to that reputation. 

The movie was a blockbuster of success, and there were talks of it being merchandised in many forms, which included a series of Comics titles. But the producers then decided to concentrate on the next movie Krrish 2, thus shelving the project, at least temporarily.

This gave a chance for Drona, to hit the stands later as the first Bollywood Superhero to be printed in form of Comics, but the fact remains Krrish was lot better to have owned that credit.  Often, Krrish is touted as the first Superhero of India, but the fact is that Big B, scored ahead of him with Supremo, even though that was never made into mainstream. (Read more about Drona & Supremo, in our V-Day post).

Superhero TendulkarThe Master Blaster (2007): It was time for another Cricketer, to be made as a Superhero, this time another batting legend, Sachin Tendulkar, was touted to be the Superhero.  The series was coined by the erstwhile Virgin Comics, with Sachin’s alter-ego being named “The Master Blaster”.  Sachin Tendulkar was actually brought in as a business partner, to get his involvement to the project, and there was a huge media euphoria, when the series was announced.  Sachin was shown wearing a full body-armour, with a flowing thunderous Bat as his weapon. A real “Bat-Man”, you can say. 

Blaster in ActionBut, what followed was India’s abysmal performance in Cricket World Cup 2007, which prompted Virgin to drop their initial plans, and we were saved from witnessing this ill conceived concept, which even if it had materialized would have met the same fate as Supremo & Supersleuth.

He-ManThe first issue, which was supposedly being drawn by Jeevan J Kang (Spiderman India fame), was scripted as the Blade of the Masters, fighting a villain whose amulet of power holds 11 spirits.  Imagine that, they conceived him to change to his superhero avatar, by simply flashing his bat… eeks.

Doesn’t this characterization resemble much on the He-Man, from the Masters of the Universe animated TV series, back then.  Oops, and they were touting this as an Original concept.  Oh yes, I believed.

Superhero Priyanka

Princess Anamika/Priyanka (2007): After playing lady-love to both Indian Superheroes, it was a chance for Priyanka to make her own foray as a full-fledged Superheroine, or at least it was touted to be.  The publishing house, was again Virgin Comics, who after their failed attempt to create Celebrity comics early in the year, tried to cash in on the popularity of Priyanka Chopra, by touting her as a Wonder-Woman styled Super heroine, to base a series of comics and graphic novels on her.

The quote from the Virgin Comics that time on Priyanka’s supposed Superhero concept was

The superhero in question is an adopted girl who discovers she is the latest in a line of princesses with great mystical power and a sworn duty to take down evil wherever it lurks. 

Well it sounds, more like a Bollywood movie.  Luckily, we didn’t end up witnessing this comic series too, as Virgin Comics started having their own administrative and marketing problems and decided to halt their involvement in India for the time being (which they are yet to come out from).

No wonder they had problems.  They just paid the price for deviating away from their original and niche concept of basing comic series based on Indian mythologies, and tried to imitate and gain the mass-media attention and business by making superheroes out of media celebrities.  The result was there to been seen by all.

I have no qualms over Priyanka Chopra, who was Ms.World beauty contest winner for all her figure and charisma, and is one of the best actors in Bollywood at present.  But conceptualising her as a Comic series superheroine, eeks… Good that we were saved from witnessing it.  Euro Books, who later launched Drona Prequel Comics, were also planning to revive this concept which was put in cold store, by planning to make Priyanka in Comics format.  The result of Drona put this plan also into the backburner.

Priyanka Chopra Comics News Mar09 But recently, there was confusing media attention about Richard Branson, the owner of Virgin group, who was also the man behind the Virgin Comics, who then pulled the plug of out them.  It talks about Branson still being interested in casting Priyanka Chopra as a Comic heroine.

I don’t know how this media news came about, as this was originally a concept pioneered by the Indian creators at Virgin, and all those initial concepts are now owned by Liquid Comics.  All the news medias which I read about this new announcement seems to have taken excerpts out of the old news archives which came about in 2007.  

So I believe it is just a mistake by some media goon, as I don’t see Branson starting a comic business just to feature Priyanka in that.  But he is known for crazy things, so I don’t put my money on him. God Please save us.

Shadow Hunter 01

Shadow Hunter (2008): But Virgin Comics, was not to be denied.  Like the unsatisfied evil spirit, they went after their concept of basing comics series on celebrities, this time trying their luck in America, with their newly conceptualised Voices brand showcasing celebrities not linked to comics industry, to also create and pioneer their own comic series. 

There were numerous ones, which came out of that result, but only one of them was truly to be called a Celebrity Comics, because that particular individual decided to create a story in keeping up with the original story of thyself.  It was the Prom Queen, Jenna Jameson, who created a limited edition comic series, with a female superheroine named Shadow Hunter.

This was the official quote from Virgin Comics, that time:

Shadow Hunter, is the story of a provocative superheroine who survives a brush with death only to find herself fighting the legions of hell for her very soul. The story, while provocative and sexy, contains no nudity and is intended for a mainstream audience

Even though, this particular series was not based on any Indian Superstars, it had to find its place in our Celebrity Comics post, to map the freefall which Virgin Comics took ever since the series was published. It ultimately saw them wrapping up their projects, and going for a management buyout, with the resultant product being named Liquid Comics, which at present stands as per its name.

As a mid-post bonus to those who read the post up-till now, here are the covers of that 4 part mini series.  Enjoy !!

Shadown Hunter 02 Shadown Hunter 03Shadown Hunter 04 Shadown Hunter 05

This was not the scenario, when comics publishers like Amar Chitra Katha (ACK), were basing their comics titles on acclaimed national leaders, and successful entrepreneurs.

ACK Mahatma GandhiACK Ambedkar

Now the new breed of comics publishers seems to be toeing the American way, and trying to be one-up over them in bringing commercial characters into comics format.

The question remains, do they really love the Comics business, or do they only aim to see it as a money-making business? I hope normality ensures, and comics publishers take lessons from other publishers ill fate, who toed the line and seen their readers market erode.

As much as we despise, the American influence on commercialisation of comics, there is no denying of the fact that at times they did produce comics on legendary characters, without changing their originality, one such case was the comics based on legendary martial arts superstar Bruce Lee

Kung Fu Series Rani Comics 51 - One of the first Bruce Lee Comics Erstwhile Rani Comics and Indrajal Comics in India, had featured Bruce Lee Comic books in their line-up, which probably might have come from the British Genre.  Taking a cue out of them, American major comics giant Marvel, started a series inspired by Bruce Lee, named “Kung Fu” in 1974.

The series, which was drawn and inked by Superman,Batman fame Neal Adams, featured a series of fictional Martial art superstars, who were led in front by a characterization of Bruce Lee himself.  The series ran for a total of 33 issues, spanning until 1977.

That was not all, in 1994 Malibu Comics, a now defunct independent comics publisher, also ran a 6 issue mini-series featuring Bruce Lee as their titular character. The series was part of their comic series about Mortal Kombat game series.

Bruce Lee Malibu Issue 1 ArtBruce Lee Comics - Malibu 01Bruce Lee Malibu Issue 1 CreditsHere is the Credit page, and a sample of the Inner artwork, which proves that the quality of the comics was at the top level. Especially the close-up shots of Bruce Lee and detailed fighting scenes, which seems to have been inspired by the legendary Bruce Lee movies.

Here are the covers of 4 other titles from the series. Don’t they give an impressive look, I would love to own this series in my collection. (Pics:

Bruce Lee Comics - Malibu 02Bruce Lee Comics - Malibu 04Bruce Lee Comics - Malibu 05Bruce Lee Comics - Malibu 06

The reception to the series, which is now considered as a Collectors Item, does say that comics enthusiasts and fans always been receptive about comic series created with original and legendary personas from the past, and not the commercially motivated ones dished out by the likes of Virgin Comics.  It’s now left to the publishers to decide, what they make out of the reality.

Now that we have looked into the comics publishers attempts to build comic characters out of commercial personas, it will be good that we end the post by talking about some of the other attempts in our own Bollywood movie industry, which saw some famous comic characters like Superman and Tarzan, being brought in with a Indian touch. Obviously, without proper permission or copyrights.

Tarzan IndiaAdventures of Tarzan (1985): The plot of the movies goes like this.  Ruby Shetty, a beautiful and attractive young woman, lives a wealthy lifestyle with her widowed dad.  His dad ventures on to the deep jungles of India to find a fabled tribe in the Shakabhoomi region, where others have gone - but never returned.

Ruby also decides to follow her dad, and meets up with him near the jungle's edge, where she is introduced to a man named D.K., who her dad like her to get married to. The following few days Ruby has a number of misadventures and is rescued by an ape-like man who is called Tarzan, and both fall in love with each other. Tarzan cannot speak any language but is intrigued by Ruby, much to the chagrin of D.K., whose task is to capture Tarzan and take him to work for Krishnakant Verma, who owns Apollo Circus. Before Tarzan and Ruby's romance could take wing, Tarzan is captured, chained and taken to the circus. But by the help of the wild animals who attack the city, Tarzan gets freed, and marries Ruby and lives happily ever after.

Kimi Katkar 2Kimi Katkar 1Almost a complete ridicule,  of the legendary Tarzan character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, which simply borrowed the original plot, and added Bollywood of Masala Mix, and oomph factor.  One saving grace of the movie was the Ruby (Jane Porter equivalent) character portrayed by Kimi Katkar.

A little know actor that time, she was propelled to star fame, with her dare bare act, and smooching scenes in the movie. No wonder the movie was a hit, just because of her presence. Movie frantics would remember, that at the top of her career, she even played lady love of Amitabh Bachan, in the 1991 Bollywood blockbuster movie Hum, which had a star cast of Bollywood Comedian Govinda, and South-Indian Super Star, Rajinikanth. One of the popular songs of the movie was Jumma Chumma De De (and arguably part the reason for the success of the movie), which had Bachan & Katkar dancing to the tune of a music inspired by an African musician.

Superman IndiaSuperman (1987): It was time for Superman to feature in a Bollywood movie, again unofficially.  In this Indian take on the classic superhero story, a young baby from the doomed planet Krypton is sent to Earth, where he is adopted by an elderly couple in India who name him Shekhar. The role of Shekhar, was played by Puneet Isaar, who is more famously known as the actor who played the character of Duryodhana in the famous Mahabharata TV Serial, aired on Doordarshan (DD) from 1988 to 1990.

After growing to an adult and learning about his origins and powers, Shekhar goes to the city in search of his school sweetheart, Gita, who has become a newspaper reporter. At the same time, Verma, Shekhar's rival for Gita's affection in their school days, has gone on to become a crime lord and general super-villain. Verma has hatched at plan to become rich by devastating part of India with natural disasters, then buying up all of the abandoned land. Will Superman/Shekhar be able to put a stop to Verma's evil plan? Will he win Gita's heart? Will he keep his double identity a secret? well, those are answered in the rest of the movie.  No surprises, because it is a same plot of the original Superman character.

Unlike Tarzan, this didn’t have any saving grace, even though Bollywood star Dharmendra donned the role of Superman’s father.  It was a total failure at the box-office, and till date remains the worst example of a Bollywood parody, and continues to be a butt of joke on all foreign movie review sites.  A best example of them is on, who have given a complete review with the hilarious touch, for the so called Indian Superman. 

Superman 1960 HindiSuperman (1960): But this wasn’t the first ever Superman takedown in Bollywood. Yes, indeed there were two attempts earlier as way back in 1960 itself, even before the official Superman film released in 1978. Surprising as it may sound, its indeed true, even though on a worst quality.

Return of Mr SupermanManmohan Sabir directed this 1960 feature, but he had a competition from another director named Mohammad Hussain who also was making a movie on the same DC character, with the film simply titled as ‘Superman’. Thus, Sabir decided to name his movie as ‘Return of Superman’, without any meaning to the word ‘Return’, as both of them had the same story of Superman’s Origin bundled with Bollywood Masala Mix.

But there was a connection indeed, as both movies had then famous actor Jairaj, playing the protagonist. Obviously, the second movie is much more famous (?!) then the first one, so here is a VCD cover for the movie. Make what you want out it.

Now, who is out there who says that Superman is American…  You only have to laugh looking at the Superman costume, but if you still insist, here is a complete review of this movie, from a blogger named TODD.  Enough Said.

Dariya Dil (1988): No Indian Superhero movie would be complete, without mentioning about a ultimate cross-over of DC & Marvel, in our own Indian version.

Dariya Dil (1988)

It was a movie featuring Govinda, and Kimi Katkar (again), which actually didn’t have a plot revolving around Superheroes. But one of the songs in the movie, saw Govinda in a Superman Suit, and Kimi Katkar in a Spider-Woman costume, dancing to a Bollywood tune. I must say more than Govinda, Kimi seems to be a good fit for the costume :). Here is a YouTube video featuring the legendary (?!!) song. Isn’t that Funny :).

SupermanvsSpider-Man 1976 (c) I only wonder what would have been the reaction of DC & Marvel, had they seen this less talked about movie song.  I agree they wouldn’t care, but the fact remains that they took more than 4 decades since their inception during the Golden Age of American Comics, to have agreed on common terms to have a first ever superhero cross-over in form of Superman/Spiderman in 1976.

But, it took only a dream song in the minds of the lead cast and a couple of costume stitches, to get this concept into fruition in our sweet old Bollywood. :)  As funny it may sound, It’s time we start respecting the copyrights held by the publishers. If only there any listeners, to this morale in the free world.

Arkin Comics Arkin Customized Comics Advt And what’s more there is a new comic publishing company in India, in the name of Arkin Comics, who seem to have copyrighted a new concept, where we could get to feature as a hero in a Solo Comic title on our own.  They call it Customized Comics, and few titles are currently online, at a price close to INR 1000. At least, this is something new, from the celebrity comics junk, we have been dished out earlier.  This could really serve as a good gift for some kids or teens, on their birthday party.  You could learn more about this on their corporate site.

IrithTalks are also on about another pioneer Comic series from the same publishers, titled IRITH, featuring a Hi-Fi Anti-Terrorists Super Squad, on the backdrops of 26/11 Mumbai attack.  The first title is scheduled to be on stands in April this year, which is billed as a product out of a team of 20+ artists.

Even though, it is a sensitive subject to take your bets on, I am much more hopeful, because that has Ramayana 3392AD comic series fame, writer Shamik Dasgupta, on the cards.

Even though, the series reminds me a lot on the lines of The 99 Series from Teshkeel Comics, discussed over here at Comicology earlier, I hope it will be different in content as it involves a modern day menace, than the former.

Talking of which, there is a comic post pending on the further issues of The 99 Series, soon at Comicology.

And that brings us to the close of our V-Day Special 2 part comic posts.  Hopefully, you would have found this post useful and fun reading, just like I felt while working on it. Wish you all a Happy Week ahead.  Have Fun & nJoY, while I will be back with another old comics review post shortly. Adios Amigos !

Mar 22, 2009

CineBook - Madame Tussaud | 2007

We are back with yet another CineBook review, which closely follows our last post on CineBook’s 2009 Set.  But, the title on review in this post at Comicology belongs to the original set released in 2008 by CineBook in India.  So without further due, lets get on with it straightaway.

The Fascinating Madame Tussaud | INR 350 | Color | B5 | Single Expresso (2 Volume in 1) | Laminated/Paperback

Tussauds Museum Marie_TussaudWho hasn’t heard about Madame Tussauds, a landmark Wax Museum in London, which immortalizes celebrities around the world in a breathtakingly similar waxed replica in life size.  People around the world consider it as a honour to be part of these waxed line-up, which was a concept originally pioneered by sculptor Marie Tussaud, who established the setup in 1853, after a series of exhibitions in and around Europe as a Nomad.  The life story of Tussaud is well-documented, who rose to fame from being the daughter of a housemaid, to a world renown celebrity.

No wonders Tussaud’s story has been told and re-told in many media over the years, and that is a topic which was taken in graphic novel/comics form by the publishers Dargaud-Lombard in 2002.  It’s a fictional account of Tussaud’s life, which follows her adventures right from her early life, to her exhibitions around the world, and eventual setup of the museum.  It’s a product of writer André Paul Duchâteau and artist René Follet, who joined hands in creating this French Classic.

The Fascinating Madame Tussaud
ISBN: 978-1-905460-36-6
Madame Tussaud c1
Tussaud: BackCover 
Pages: 104 | Published: Dec 2007
Madame Tussaud c2

Madame Tussaud pg1 The story opens up in Paris, 1793, in the midst of the French Revolution. Marie Crossholz, a lesser known sculptor manages a wax museum set up originally by her uncle. It was a time when revolters against the aristocratic government were mercilessly executed under the Guillotine Blade publicly.  Marie manages to bribe some executioners, who in-turn allowed her to mould the faces of those esteemed aristocrats who had their heads cut off. 

One such executioner was Desmarets (a man portrayed always with a flower in his mouth), who tries to take advantage of Marie, who refutes to satisfy any of his indecent intentions.  But, this adventure of hers draws the bitter enmity of Martial Jabot, who accuses her of exhibiting the Traitors, and threatens to arrest her and shut the Museum down. In order to avoid any more problems for herself, Marie decides to hide the controversial sculpts. Later on she helps her old friend Jean, who is now a fugitive, by hiding him inside her museum to avoid a search party.  This gets her into trouble, as she is framed for assisting the traitors, and also being part of the stealth of the crown jewels.  She is eventually sent to prison indefinitely.  She manages to escape from there with the help of fellow inmate Josephine, and Jane, as the first volume concludes.

Vol2 Original Cover (Used as Inside Cover in CineBook edition) The second volume, takes us to 1805, by which the bloody French Revolution has come to an end, and we witness Marie now being known as Madame Tussaud, is travelling in Europe, as part of the nomad exhibition tours of Waxed sculptures.  We come to know that Josephine, was actually the love interest of Napoleon Bonaparte, who now rules France.  The high profile connections thus helped Tussaud to set her museum back, and also provided a chance to move to England, to realize her dreams of exhibiting her works in and around UK.

Before her departure to England, Josephine warns that though most of the stolen jewels were recaptured, one important piece known as Blue Diamond is still missing, and there may be some interested people who may follow her to capture it, as she was originally framed as the thief of crown jewels.

Despite these distractions, Tussaud travels down with his son, on her expedition through Europe in setting up exhibitions.  The man from her past, follower her closely, as the showdown begins.

Does she escape from them? Who are these Diamond Hunters? What role does Jane, Desmarets, Jabot play in this whole scenario? Is she really the one who stole the Blue Diamond? What effects will this had over her dream on setting up a Wax Museum in England, which she eventually managed in 1835 in London?  The answers to these questions forms the corner plot as the Climax of this two volume edition unravels at the end pages.  Overall, it’s a classical fictional piece, woven around real life legends and celebrities, which makes it stand among one of the best told fictional graphic novels of our time.

Let’s now look more in details about the creators of this classic, which will help us better understand their work in these two volume edition.

Andre Paul (c) blog4ever.comAndré Paul Duchâteau (b.1925 in Belgium) is often regarded as one of the best comic scenario writers in Franco-Belgian Genre. He initially started his professional career by writing novels, but soon in 1948 moved to pen comic scenarios for some of the well-know magazines, including Spirou.  But it was not until he met artist Gilbert Gascard (pen-name Tibet), along with whom he forged a great partnership, in the process giving us a couple of wonderful Franco-Belgian Oldies.

Chick Bill Ric Hochet South Indian Comic fans would easily associate themselves to this dynamic duo as they are the creators of Ric Hochet (christened as Reporter Johny – ரிப்போர்ட்டர் ஜானி in Tamil) and Chick Bill (சிக் பில்), who were introduced to us by M/s.Prakash Publishers in their line-up of classic Tamil Comics (Lion / Muthu / Thigil).  It should be noted that both of these legendary comic series were created as early in 1955.  The fact that they are still continuing to be published, says a great deal about the work of Duchâteau & Tibet.

Duchâteau went on to pen and script many series throughout his career, in the process forging tie-ups with some of the greatest players in the comic field like Jean Van Hamme and Grzegorz Rosinski, both of whom needs no introductions to Comicologists, as we have covered their work earlier (For those who missed, follow the links to the respective creators information pages laced in at various posts in Comicology).  Duchateau’s last notable effort was in 1990s, when he worked on making comic adaptations on novels by Milk Fondal and John Flanders.

Rene Follet (c) li-an.frOn the other hand, René Follet (b.1931 in Belgium) started his illustration career as early at the age of 14, doing some promotional work.  That experience helped him to land a job at Spirou magazine in 1949, where he drew under the pen-name, Ref, which was followed by his first comic series in form of Les Belles Histoires de l'Oncle Paul, which detailed the stories of fictional character Uncle Paul in over 1000 episodes on Spirou magazine (the series was originally created by Jean-Michel Charlier, of Blueberry fame).

Follet later moved to Tintin magazine in 1953, and started illustrating work for the western comic series Rocky Bill. Not only that, he also worked for a variety of publishers, which includes Dupius, Lombard, Casterman, and also for Dutch publications, like Pep and Eppo. 

Follet's Artwork in TussaudFollet’s artwork stands out from the rest of the artists, as he had an unique knack of using brush strokes rather than the traditional pencil layers, which made his comic arts look like a classic painting in each frame, which spans over 104 pages in this two volume edition.  He is largely helped by Duchâteau’s scenarios, who is shown to have utilized his unique panache of bringing in detective-laced intriguing plot, an area for which Duchâteau is famous for, due to his long found association in police stories and detective novels, which he worked on to bring into comic format.

The character portrayals, could be best example with the character of Desmarets, who is always shown with a flower in his mouth, and forms a central figure by making his presence in different setups, in different roles, in the process setting us to diffuse the central plot which unravels and keeps us enthused right till the end.

It is also said that Follet was once approached by Edgar P Jacobs, to assist him in illustrating the Blake and Mortimer series.  But he refused it since Jacobs denied his request of including his name in the credits page.  What an Irony, that Jacobs originally made a similar request to his long time friend Herge (Read more about this in our exclusive Blake & Mortimer post at Comicology) in his Tintin series, who in-turn denied it.  This eventually made him foray full time to B&M series, in the process propelling him to a cult status.

blake-et-mortimer with follet (c) over-blog.comBut unlike Jacobs, Follet didn’t get the same lady-luck smiling on him with a similar decision, as throughout his career, he is never known for a lengthy or legendary comic series. It also owes lot to his work style, where he often freelanced and worked for different publishers throughout his career, which made his contributions into short pieces of works.  Also, he had an opinion that the Comics restricted his freestyle drawing and found his likes more in drawing for novels.

But that doesn’t hide the fact that he is a master in this type of art-form.  For samples, you can brief through the wonderful art panels embedded throughout this post.  No wonder Follet is often regarded as the “great master of 9th Art, the world has NEVER known”.

Recently, he made a portrait for Blake & Mortimer lead characters, at the start of 2009, with his own style.  I wonder had he got an opportune to work on B&M, what would have happened to the otherwise flat artwork witnessed in them (by saying that I don’t demean Jacob’s incredible work, anyway).  Those are only my wild guesses, so let’s not get much into it :).

There may be section of comicologists who would despise this series, as to have shown some legends in the bad-light or with a commercially motivated wrong portrayal.  Duchâteau had this to say in his foreword, about the topic:

With a lot of truth, I have mixed in a touch of fiction, permitted by the apocryphal autobiography of Marie Tussaud.  I wanted to show, besides the essential events, the tragic and absurd little moments seen through the eyes of a fascinating young woman who had the unusual job of sculpting wax masks. Ingenious and brave, yet terrified at the same time, she was also clever, as were so many women living with this horror on a daily basis.

In short, I have tried to make an alternative history, a mixture of truth and imaginary.  Hard to believe, but true.

On my part, I must conclude that he stayed true to his words, which makes it a definite piece to own in our collection.

Terreur1Terreur2As said earlier, the series was originally released in French by Dargaud-Lombard in a two volume editions, titled:

       - Terreur 1 in 2002, and

       - Terreur 2 in 2004

Thanks to CineBook’s strategy of Expresso series, we are able to witness these two editions in a single volume as The Fascinating Madame Tussaud, trade paperback (TPB), translated into English language by Luke Spear

I must say the translation has been done with utmost care, and Spear has done a commendable effort in retaining the essence of the storyline from its original.  Very few manage to do it, and Spear seems to be having an unique knack in doing so. No wonder CineBook seems to be relying on his work for much of their titles (his contributions to CineBook so far range in a series line-up consisting Lucky Luke, Biggles Recounts, Clifton, Queen Margot, Thorgal, Yoko Tsuno, Ducoboo and Rugger Boys; all of which have been reviewed at Comicology earlier.  Follow the links to know more).

And that brings us to the end of another CineBook review here at Comicology.  Hopefully, you would have found this post useful and fun reading, just like I felt while working on it.  Wish you all a Happy Week ahead.  Have Fun & nJoY, while I will be back with another post shortly. Adios Amigos !

Mar 13, 2009

Cinebook - Backlist Titles | 2009

CinebookGuess what, just when I took a breath thinking that we have reviewed pretty much 90% of the titles released by Cinebook as Backlist in 2008, here we are pounded with another set of classic titles from the Franco-Belgian Genre.  Yeap, Cinebook have launched their much expected second batch of Backlist titles to mark the new year 2009, in India.

WestlandIn our foremost Cinebook debut post, back in 2008, we debated on the topic of whether the deal between Cinebook and Westland will continue, bringing us these wonderful titles, at a bargain price. 

But, subsequent enquiries to Westland didn’t return any favourable response. One of the bigger problems with Indian based companies, is that their zero-response attitude towards readers or fans, unless you have links with a distributor or an inside friend. So, the news of whether or when we will see the next batch of Cinebook, was never known until Oct’08.

On Oct’08, as a desperate act, I logged a request to our dear old friend, Terry of CBO, to check directly with Cinebook’s Olivier Cadic to assess the probability of Indian re-entry.  Guess what, the relentless Terry came back within a couple of a days, with this good news on CBO.  According to which, Westland and Cinebook brokered a return deal at the Frankfurt Book Fair, last year. 

Well, it was sweet news to me, and since then I was expecting to see them hit the stands in India.  My further queries to Westland office on the availability of these titles, were met with a cold shoulder, as always.

Nevertheless, here we are with another set of wonderful issues from Cinebook.  One thing I feared was about the pricing of the titles this time around, with the economic slowdown. But, the good hearts in the biz, seem to have stuck on with their earlier success mantra of bargain prices, tailor made to Indian Comics fan’s budget.

So, without further due, here is the complete list of Cinebook comics available in India, as part of the first batch for 2009:

INR 350 | Leo | 4 Titles  
# 01: The Catastrophe
# 02: The Group
# 03: The Creature 
# 01: The Survivors 

Renard & Jigounov | 2 Titles 
# 01: The Exchange INR 350
# 02: Wolves’ Wages INR 195

Billy and Buddy Billy and Buddy 
INR 195 | Roba | 1 Title
# 01: Remember this, Buddy?

Blake & MortimerBlake & Mortimer
INR 250 | Hamme & Benoit | 3 Titles 
# 04: The Francis Blake Affair
# 05: The Strange Encounter
# 06: S.O.S.Meteors

Buck DannyBuck Danny 
INR 195 | F Bergese | 1 Title
# 01: Night of the Serpent

INR 195 | Leloup & Cauvin | 1 Title
#01: High-Risk Class

INR 195 | Groot & Macherot | 1 Title
# 06: Kidnapping

INR 195 | Zidrou & Godi | 1 Title  
# 03: Your Answers or Your Life

Green ManorGreen Manor
INR 350 | Vehlmann & Bodart | 1 Title 
# 02: The Inconvenience of Being Dead

INR 350 | Desberg & Vrancken | 1 Title 
# 02: Blue Ice

Lady SLady S
INR 350 | Hamme & Aymond | 1 Title 
# 01: Here’s to Suzie

Largo WinchLargo Winch
INR 350 | Hamme & Francq | 1 Title
# 03: Dutch Connection

Lucky LukeLucky Luke
INR 195 | Morris & Goscinny | 4 Titles 
# 12: The Rivals of Painful Gulch
# 15: The Daltons in the Blizzard
# 16: The Black Hills
# 17: Apache Canyon

INR 195 | Clarke & Gilson | 1 Title
#03: The Vampires’ Ball

Orbital Orbital 
INR 195 | Pelle & Runberg | 1 Title
# 01: Scars

Pandora Box Pandora’s Box 
INR 195 | Pagot & Alcante| 1 Title
# 01: Pride

Papyrus Papyrus 
INR 195 | De Gieter | 1 Title
# 03: The Assassinated Pharaoh

MargotQueen Margot
INR 250 | Cadic & Derenne | 1 Title 
# 03: Endangered Love

Scared to DeathScared to Death
INR 195 | Mauricet & Vanholme | 1 Title
# 02: Malevolence and Mandrake

Belly ButtonsBellybuttons, The
INR 195 | De Gieter | 1 Title
# 01: Who do you think you are?

BluecoatsBluecoats, The 
INR 195 | Lambil & Cauvin | 2 Titles
#01: Robertsonville Prison
#02: The Navy Blues

ScorpionScorpion, The 
INR 350 | Desberg & Marini | 2 Titles 
# 01: The Devil’s Mark
# 02: The Devil in the Vatican

Thorgal Thorgal
INR 350 | Hamme & Rosinski | 2 Titles
# 04: The Archers
# 05: The Land of Qa

Yakari Yakari
INR 195 | Job & Derib | 1 Title 
#06: In the Land of Wolves

Yoko TsunoYoko Tsuno
INR 195 | Leloup | 1 Title
# 03: The Prey and the Ghost


Few notable misses from this set are:

  • Lucky Luke: As expected, #11: Western Circus, #13: The Tenderfoot, #14: The Dashing White Cowboy released by Cinebook in 2008, have been given a miss, since they were published in India by Tara Press, already.   
  • Iznogoud: Cinebook have published 3 issues of Iznogoud up until 2009, but they chose wisely against distributing them in India; The reason is that Euro Books have currently planned to publish 12 issues of Iznogoud in India in 2009.
  • Largo Winch: #2 issue was released back in 2008, but it is missed out in this lot.  I was certainly hoping to see the story unfold in this issue, but it seems we might have to wait for the next batch, and be content with #3 for now.
  • Biggles Recounts: Issue #3 was missed out. No qualms, as I didn’t find the series impressive enough to miss. But #3 was promising enough, since it was to talk about Wright Brothers and their inventions.
  • Biggles: Spitfire Parade was released by Cinebook in 2008, but as Euro Books have already published majority from the Bergese set in India, the miss is understandable.
    : As per the latest news, Cinebook have stopped publishing Biggles titles, due to a legal disagreement between the Original French publisher Le Lombard and the people who represent Biggles copyrights. I hope that the issues are sorted out soon, and we will get to see more Biggles titles under the brand of Cinebook.

Due to the recent change in the distribution cycle of Cinebook in India, we would not have to wait for a year or so for each batch of those wonderful titles. Westland have now started ordering Cinebook titles every month on an incremental basis, which is a good news for me, and most importantly will help to continue the series uninterrupted.

As you might have guessed, we will be looking into each of these series more in detail in the upcoming posts at Comicology.  So Stay Tuned, to know more on these gems from the Franco-Belgian Genre.

Cinebook Collection

EuroBooks Collection

Here is a snapshot (at the left) of my Complete Cinebook collection (from both batches of 2008 & 2009).  Doesn’t it gives a good show :). It certainly looks huge on my shelf, and only back in 2007 I was thinking that Euro Books is the biggest set in recent years (snapshot at right).

No doubts, Cinebook instalments are much better in content than Euro Books. 

Not to forget it is also much heavier on your pockets then the later. But isn’t it worth the money? :)

Talking of Collections, I couldn’t help but talking about about one of my largest buys ever recently.  Couple of years back, when I visited Uncle Sam’s country, I picked up one issue each of Titan Book’s New Modesty & Bond Series Collection.  They were highly priced (when converted to INR, obviously), but I thought I could own it as a one-off showcase piece in my collection.

Bond CollectionModesty CollectionBut, when I recently witnessed Chennai’s Odyssey Bookstore, showcasing the complete Bond & Modesty collection on the stands, I couldn’t stop myself from the tempting offer laying before me to own them, even though they were priced directly at the exchange rate, once again. Dollar seems to have followed me all along :-).

Nevertheless, the classic comic strips of Bond & Modesty deserve their price, and I convinced myself over a month, to lay my hands on the complete set in 2009.

It remains (and I hope it stays) till date my biggest spend on any specific comic series.

At least, the one good thing I did amidst all these buys, is opting for an email Credit Card statement instead of the traditional physical ones.  Well, as all you might know, It saves me from some prying eyes back home, and a lot of trouble thereafter :).

Well, we are in for a long deal of reviews at Comicology, with all these recent buys.  So strap on, and let’s zoom past them for months to come.

Last Updated: 23 December 2010 - with new Cinebook Titles for the year.

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