We are almost at the end of the year 2010, and still there are a lot to catch up at Comicology. I am trying to shake those cobwebs, as the new year dawns, and expect to go at them one by one through the eve. First up on the list is our old favourite, Cinebook – The 9th Art Publishers - the publishing house from the other side of the sea, but the one which still does business in India, as if it belongs here.
We had covered Cinebook’s last two Indian batch releases in 2008 and 2009. But this time around, we are going to look at it in a different way, talking briefly about each of the series making the line-up. This would also help to better introduce new and old titles, as an exclusive review on them is going to take some time coming (considering the pace at which our blog moves these days :)).
The biggest change in this set from the earlier ones is that, starting from 2010, there are no more double-issues, or 2-in-1 editions, in Cinebook’s line-up. Meaning, they are published as single albums, as they were originally released in Bande-Dessine. Cinebook cites the reason to them, as the way to bring down the higher price attached to double volumes, which generally reflects on the sales, as they are generally, slow to move off-the-shelf.
From my side, even though they were value for money editions, I still missed the individual covers in their laminated glory. Moreover, double volumes are more prone to damages at the crimp, due to how they weigh. So overall, I am much satisfied to see them in single volume editions.
There are a total 32 albums which have made their way into India, as part of the batch, and they were available from the mid of this year. We will look at them as per the alphabetical order, as it’s difficult to classify the priorities to the list. The reason, I hardly find them inferior to each other, as they always stand good on their own ways. A credit to the wealth available at Franco-Belgian Genre, which Cinebook is gung-ho to introduce to the English speaking nations.
Due to the size of this batch release, we will preview them over two posts, with the 1st part here, and the follow-up sooner at Comicology.
|01.||#2: The Caves||45 pp||B5 size||INR 195|
|02.||#3: The Other||45 pp||B5 size||INR 195|
A journey which started in the distant planet Aldebran, nears a conclusion in another remote planet Betelguese, as the 10 part saga comes to a close. Aldebran/Betelguese is a masterpiece of Artist/Write Leo, who showcases the wonderfully imagined life on an outer world, and showcases the disaster of how a menacing human kind can bring, much like the one befallen in our homeland. If you had liked Avatar, the recent movie block buster, you would love this venture for sure.
To go with the 2010 model, these two titles are released as single albums, breaking up from its earliest releases, which were 2-in-1 volumes, and covered 8 previous albums into 4 issues. Refer Cinebook 2009 Backlist Titles.
|03.||#2: It's Ugly Out There||48 pp||A4 size||INR 195|
As the name suggests, Bellybuttons retells the up and happening story of 3 college cuties, Jenny, Vicky, and Karine, while the last one certainly doesn’t fit the description. Karine is indeed a simple, not-so-good looking types, you find in every group, which brings her all the trouble from the dominating peers in the quartet. It’s a humour laced tale, drawn and told in a cartoonish style, sticking to its genre.
Issue 1 of this series was released in India, in 2009, which is now followed up by the second title. Refer Cinebook 2009 Backlist Titles.
|04.||#7: The Affair of the Necklace||72 pp||A4 size||INR 250|
Cinebook’s treasure hunt into Edgar P. Jacobs’ Blake and Mortimer classics, brings us another tale of their adventures, as the seek to find the mystery surrounding a Necklace, which trace its origin to the last French Queen. To make matters worse, they come face to face with the old arch enemy, Olrik. How they bring his current misdeeds to closure, is told in classic pages filled with Jacob’s own style of storytelling, which has its parallel to the much famous Tintin series.
A total of 6 volumes, have been released in India, in the last couple of years. To read more about the Blake & Mortimer series, refer to our preview post on Blake & Mortimer #1 to 3
|05.||#3: The Skyriders||48 pp||A4 size||INR 195|
The adventures and misadventures of Sergeant Chesterfield and Blutch, continues in the latest volume, Skyriders, where they become the pilots of the new addition to the US cavalry, an “Observation Balloon”.
We would have read countless stories about American Civil War, but creators Lambil and Cauvin, introduce humorous touch to those blood ridden history, yet staying true to much of the incidents which shaped the war, that was. The dynamic duo of Chesterfield and Blutch, reminds us of the Dog Bull and Kid Ordinn duo from the classic Chick Bill series.
The two earlier issues of the series were both released in India, in 2009, which is now followed up by the third title. Refer Cinebook 2009 Backlist Titles.
|06.||#2: The Secrets of Black Sea||48 pp||A4 size||INR 195|
Buck Danny, the celebrated aviation hero, this time enters the mission to unravel the secrets over the Black Sea. Set at the end of the Cold war, this tells the story of how remains of fallen empire, would never cease to tread the righteous path. Francis Bergese’s artistic talent, and his intrinsic detail laced sketch of airliners, add value to the storyline, a department handled by De Douhet for this album.
Cinebook has ably filled up the void left by the cancellation of Biggles titles, by introducing another fictional war hero in the form of Buck Danny. The series is wonderfully enriched by the art of Bergese, whom readers would remember from the same Biggles venture, launched by Euro Books in India, followed by Cinebook’s own short run with the series.
Buck Danny was introduced to India in 2009, with the release of Issue #1, which is now followed up by another classic. To read more about Francis Bergese’s earlier releases in India, refer to our posts on Euro Books Biggles Series & Cinebooks Biggles Recounts Series
|07.||#2: The Sons of Ares||56 pp||A4 size||INR 250|
Chimpanzee Complex is a 3 issue mini series which received critical and commercial reception when it was released in French heartland. It traverses in two different realms, told from an adventurous space women, and her estranged daughter. Caught between her unblemished love towards her daughter and the ambitions to live up to her career aspirations, Helen Friedman’s adventures to discover the true origin of space flights, are wonderfully told in this intriguing tale.
The dark themed artwork of Jean-Michel Ponzio’s makes a perfect foil, to the adventurous script of Richard Marazano, which makes up for an interesting wait to the concluding issue, expected in the new year.
Chimpanzee Complex Issue 1 was released in India on 2009, which is now followed up by Issue #2. Refer Cinebook 2009 Backlist Titles.
|08.||#4: The Class Struggle||48 pp||A4 size||INR 195|
You can never have a dearth of fun and laughter, as long as the world’s biggest dunce, Ducoboo is around. Issue #4 carries over from the previous releases, which are laced with one page slapstick comedy featuring the King of Dunces himself, and his most loved friend and enemy, Leonie, sharing the spoils.
Ducoboo’s Issue #1 and #2 were released in India in 2008, while the Issue #3, founds it way with 2010 batch. To read our review on Ducoboo, refer to the post Cinebook’s Children's Category
|09.||#2: Missiles for Islamabad||48 pp||B5 size||INR 195|
The newest and most deadliest female agent, Najah Cruz, continues her mission of infiltrating the international crime ring, famously known as High Circle. She is a high-profile insider, who directly reports to the US White House, thus her adventures become all the more risky, entangle in a political time-wrap, mixed with conspiracy and betrayal. Her latest adventure brings her close to India, to probe a French missile sales to Pakistan.
Insiders was launched in India with Issue #1 in 2009. It was long touted to be featured, re-titled as Code Name Minnal, in Southern India, by Tamil Comics publishers, Lion Comics. It was also touted be part of the future releases by, now defunct, Sri Lankan Tamil Comics company, Iceberg Comics. But both projects never saw the daylight, marking the Cinebook’s English versions as Insider’s official entry, for Indian comic fans. Refer Cinebook 2009 Backlist Titles.
|10.||#4: Silicia, Inc||48 pp||B5 size||INR 195|
|11.||#5: The Corrupter||48 pp||B5 size||INR 195|
At the end of the year, and what do you normally hear more about? the Taxman. Cinebook’s line-up has a Taxman of its own, but he isn’t your regular law-enforcer, he is the one who has License to Kill and Thrill, just like 007.
We are talking about the Incredible Larry Max, from the United State’s Secret Service IR$. We had briefed about IR$, in our debut review about the series at Comicology. And I for one had opined that the stories were little off-color, in their rendition, and probably the colouring of the artwork, itself.
But, it needs to be admitted that it has an unique attraction over its fans, credits to its plot-work which decodes the illegal accounts of crime and political syndicates, which has no dearth in the world we live. No wonder Cinebook continues to keep the mercurial agent on their line-up.
In the latest adventure, Larry find his match, in the beautiful and dangerous Silicia. Does the usual Larry’s womanly attractions, make him fall over the huntress, or does he stay true to his national call? The answers are action packed in this two issue release, both of which have been released together (thanks to the batch releases, at least in this count), saving us from pondering over the conclusion.
IR$ was launched originally as part of 2008 batch, with the 2nd issue following along with 2009 batch. Both the issues were double/2-in-1 issues, thus covering 4 of the original albums. As per 2010 Cinebook policy, they have now been released, just like the originals, in single straight volumes. Read more about IR$ in our Review post Cinebook - IR$ #1.
|12.||#1: Wicked Wiles of Iznogoud||48 pp||A4 size||INR 195|
|13.||#2: Caliph's Vacation||48 pp||A4 size||INR 195|
|14.||#3: Day of Misrule||48 pp||A4 size||INR 195|
|15.||#4: Magic Computer||48 pp||A4 size||INR 195|
|16.||#5: A Carrot for Iznogoud||48 pp||A4 size||INR 195|
And now to the biggest surprise of the lot, the Incorrigible Iznogoud, makes it Cinebook debut in India too, finally. It was long anticipated ever since Cinebook added the most famous Grand Vizier of Comic books in their line-up back in 2008.
But, the rights which were held by Euro Books in India, over the brand, by their launch of Iznogoud Titles in 2009, made Cinebook’s entry all the more difficult. I had been pressing over the point with the Cinebook management about the no-compete clauses, as the selection of Cinebook (which depends on Original classics), never compete with Euro Books (who deal with most recent and latest ones from a series). Finally, the decision makers at Westland (Cinebook’s Indian distributors), concluded the right way, and have ordered all the 5 editions of Iznogoud released so far (Iznogoud #6, was released after this consignment).
Now we have the long awaited classics from the pens of René Goscinny and Jean Tabary, in all its glory. If you would have skipped Iznogoud with Euro Books last attempt (which we did recommend, during our last review post), then this lot is the perfect one for you to make a head-start into the legendary series. Don’t miss them, folks.
Iznogoud was originally launched in India, in Hindi Language by Gowarsons, and was later introduced in Tamil language by Lion Comics. Read more about them and the series as a whole, in our Iznogoud’s debut post on Comicology - Lion Comics #160 – Iznogoud.
Euro Books then launched a total of 12 Albums in India, in 2009. Read about them over at Euro Books and Iznogoud. The series is now been followed up by the 5 classics from Cinebook.
Thus ends our preview post on Cinebook’s latest offerings, and we will be back shortly with our second and concluding part of it soon at Comicology. And just for info, these titles are all available in never before offers at Online sites like Indiaplaza, where discounts ranges up to 30% and beyond. Now is a chance to grab them if you haven’t done so, already.
By the way, before we close, here is wishing Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays for all the Comikers. May this festive season bring out the best of the world to your households. Here is a different take by an artist on a new visitor to Santa. Groovy isn’t it??
For a random list of Santa and Xmas themed Comics Cover’s refer to these wonderful posts on Once Upon a Geek.