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

Showing posts with label Lion Comics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lion Comics. Show all posts

Jan 15, 2010

Comics & Chennai Book Fair – 2010

This post was originally published on Jan 6, 2009, and has been further updated on Jan 15, 2009. Jump to the Updates

Gone are the times, when a variety of books and magazines, used to fill my imaginations in those childhood days. The materials available then, which ranged from Novels, Weekly magazines, to Monthly editions, was able to cater to all sects of elders at home. Kids, weren’t left alone in the party, as they had a variety of children's magazines to drool on, in the likes of Indrajal, Amar Chitra Katha, Diamond, Chandamama, and our very own Lion/Muthu Comics, Poonthalir, or Siruvar Malar.

The penetration of TV, and Satellite channels, into our houses, weren’t able to deter the elderly crowd who still loved the print medium, but it effectively diverted the new generation’s interest.

Now, those old family get-together, have moved on to a new home, The Annual Book Fairs. Families throng the event, and do remember to bring their kids along with them. In Chennai Book Fair Entrancea ray of hope that the environment, would give those young ones the right platform to grow their interest.

DSCN2895One such event is the Chennai Book Fair, which celebrates it’s 33rd year of existence, this year.

It was started by Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI), in 1977, mainly  covering the English editions of various publishers. It took until the turn of 21st century, for the regional language publishers to storm this event, and now they clearly overpower their Angrezi counterparts, in numbers.

DSCN2894 DSCN2896  DSCN2905

I have been a regular visitor, since the day I came to know of its existence, through my elder sister. While she thronged the Book Fair, for laying her hand on the Literary works and Novels from famous authors, I used to restrict my visits to only get hold of some issues, from my beloved print medium, Comics. The kid in me, still refuses to look for any other modes of literary work, but, the key is that my love towards Comics, keeps my reading habit intact. So as long as it holds good, I wouldn’t look for a change.

Since, we don’t have the likes of American Comic-Con’s, or France’s Angoulême Festivals, happening in India, these Book Fair's turn out to be our only resort.

Let’s look at some of my recent buys, in this Book Fair, and I hope that it would help those Comics enthusiastic, who would be visiting the fair, which runs until 10th January.

Lion & Muthu Comics Lion/Muthu Comics (Prakash Publishers – பிரகாஷ் பப்ளிஷர்ஸ்)

If it is a comics hunt, that too in Chennai, could you leave out the legendary Lion Comics or Muthu Comics, from the famed Prakash Publishers?

Every year, it has always been a unfulfilled dream for the Tamil comics fans, to see a dedicated Prakash Publishers stall in the Chennai Book Fair. They always had to share the spotlight, by finding their way in some other vendor’s stall.

But, from last year, two of our loyal Tamil comics fans, old-timer RT Murugan, and Arun from Rhythm Infomaps stall and ArunBook Distributors, have made it a point to make the back-issues of Lion and Muthu Comics, be available at their extended stall. This year it is no different, as we have another bunch of those wonderful titles, waiting for you at the InfoMaps Shop, at Stall No.P5.

So, if you had missed any of the back-issues, or wish to buy a set for your closed Look for this Sign on the Stallones, P5 Stall is the place to be. This year, Arun has got a nice gift wrapped set consisting of one title each from the available bunch. So those visiting can simply walk away with one such bundle for their collection.

Here are some more pictures, to tempt you into buying them, even if you already have it with you. I got one set for me, that way :). Look for this familiar sign, in the shop.

Lion & Muthu Comics Assorted Lion & Muthu Comics Gift Pack Lion & Muthu Comics Assorted

Update: And just in case, if you miss out from buying the Lion/Muthu Comics in Book Fair, do remember that a sizeable number of the same is also available in the Chennai’s Koyambedu Bus Terminus at Sai Scholars Book Shop (Platform No.3-4)

Persepolis Tamil EditionsPersepolis in Tamil (Iran - ஈரான்) (Vidiyal Publishers விடியல் பதிப்பகம்)

Coimbatore based Vidiyal Publishers, have their 2005 Tamil edition Marjane Satrapiof Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, for sale in their stall. The Tamil Editions, are in the same format as the original French title, both in terms of paper quality and package, and are priced INR 100 each.

On the first glance, I believe the translation could have been Persepolis Tamil Edition Creditslittle better, but I presume that the publishers wanted the comic to adopt the same colloquial way, in which Marjane expressed her personal story in the original. Persepolis Tamil Edition BackcoverIn any case, I should restrain myself from passing any overall comment, until I read through this Tamil venture.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that, if not for anything else, for the sheer reason of promoting the Publishers intent to bring an International best selling comic title, for Tamil audience, this Tamil comics initiative should find its way in your collection.

Considering the higher priced Originals in the same format, a price tag of INR 100 justifiable. A friend in the Book fair told me that a Sri Lankan national who occupied a next seat to him, was coming over to Book fair, all along to find this edition. It’s a pity that such a publication, is unknown to us, when other nationals know about it even before us. Is it a problem with ourselves ?

Appusami ComicsManimegalai Publishers (மணிமேகலை பிரசுரம்)

Appusami ComisAppusami is a famous comic character, among Tamil readers, more famously among those who have Appusamiwitnessed his wittiest adventures, in various Tamil magazines, all through the past decades.

Created by Ja.Ra. Sundaresan, under his pseudonym Bhakkiam Ramasami, Appusami’s many stint in a variety of magazines, also involved some comic strips, where the artwork was handled by one of the able and most stylist artists from South India, Jeyaraj (who signs his artworks, with his initials as J.The character Appusami is so famous that, there is still a running domain, under his name (

I remember reading those comic strips back when I was a kid, and always felt that I never took enough care to collect those comic strips for safekeeping, as the artwork of J was one Appusaami Comicstop class not to be missed.

Recently, after hearing about the availability of one such comic, as published by Manimegalai Publishers (Courtesy: Siv), I wanted to get the same for my collection, badly. So, I landed up at the stall in the Book fair, and was lucky to find that the comic was still available, at a price of INR 10.

The inflated price was not only because the book was of smaller size with 52 pages, but also because of the year in which it was published, which is 1997 (as a second reprint, with the original dating back to 1993).

This comic edition follows the adventures of Appusami and Seetha Paati (his betrothed wife), on their quest to buy a Color Television set for their household. Look at the cover art which comically denotes this very concept. Typical J style.

I wonder, why such a good comic edition, is still left unsold after nearly a decade? Could the marketing have been faulty? as not many would have known that the comic is still available on sale with the  publishers, let alone leaving the fact that anyone knew of the existence of such comic at first place. Artist Jeyaraj

Bhakkiam RamasamiNevertheless, I am going to  cherish this collection, and only hope that some other  publisher would start collecting all other adventures of Appusami in comics format, very soon.

To know more about Artist Jeyaraj, read his Interview here, with some artworks to spice up his profile :).

Turok in Tamil (Taara - தாரா)Manimegalai Publishers (மணிமேகலை பிரசுரம்)

Tamil version of Dell's Turok (Cover)After a long hiatus, Manimegalai Publishers, seem to have ventured back into the comics field, by publishing the world famous Turok comic series, originally published by Dell Comics of US.

Turok (Dell Comics)After hearing about this venture, through Siv’s blog, I was on the lookout for the same, during my first visit to the publishers stall in the book fair. It was in vain, as it was out of stock then. But, was able to lay my hands on the same on my revisit.

The classical series is renamed as Taara in Tamil, and the Book is priced INR 50, in a size similar to A4, with hard covers.

Where it actually lacks the punch, is in the translation. Malaysian born Rajathilagam, fails miserably in that account, as the sentences Turok in Tamilseem to be abruptly ended, or continued, without any context. Having witnessed the works of Mullai Thangarasan, S.Vijayan, and Ramajayam, in the Tamil Comics field, this sub-standard work is quite unacceptable.

The quality is further degraded with a printing, which looks as if that it has been watershed on all pages. The reason seems to be a low quality adoption from the color originals, which could have been better, if they had done some color correction, before going into print. (The artwork page, given at the right is a result of some color correction in Photoshop, from the scanned version)

I only hope that Manimegalai publishers, will improve the print and translation quality with their further instalments, which we can only hope for. The classical note of the comic character Turok, deserves a better presentation, for sure.

Abdul Kalam in ComicsProdigy Comix (கிழக்கு பதிப்பகம்)

Prodigy Comix  Kalam (English) The New publishing sensation in the Tamil publishing field, New Horizon Media (NHM), have also joined the bandwagon in the Comics field, by releasing their Prodigy Comix series, starting with the pictorial representation of the life of, Dr. Abdul Kalam, a living legend, and former President of India.

Prodigy Comix  Kalam (Tamil)It’s a 32 page, A4 Sized feature, priced INR 35, which is also available in the regional language, Tamil.

The artwork is quite sub-standard, with the saving grace being the coloring work, which adds some semblance to the overall effort.

Badri, the cheif convenor of NHM, explains in his comment on Siv’s blog that, it has been drawn manually, and digitally colored for publishing. He further adds that it currently on a trial run, with the expectation of improving the quality with the forthcoming issues.

Prodigy Comix  Kalam 01Comics business in India, and especially South India, have always faltered in recognising the true stature of Comics medium. They often restrain themselves from instigating an international standard in their artwork or script writing, by calling it as a Children magazine. What they fail to understand is that, even if it is for targeted for younger audience, the westerners never fail or compromise on the quality of the work. For example, see Yakari, Yoko Tsuno, etc. Such was the professionalism on the display.

"Comics business in India, and especially South India, have always faltered in recognising the true stature of Comics medium... Unless, we ape the success factor of Westerners, Tamil comics will always live in the substandard quality."

That’s the reason those supposedly ‘Children’ Comics, were able to live upto the test of time, to be classified as a Classic, and be rated with the greats of the Comics from those golden age.

Unless, we ape that success factor, Tamil comics will always live in the substandard quality. Given the financial backing NHM enjoys, and a serious management which looks into their publications with pride, I sincerely hope that they would be able to bridge that gap in near future.

Mathi’s Adade CartoonsNew Horizon Media (கிழக்கு பதிப்பகம்)

Mathi's Adade Cartoon CollectionNew Horizon Media, did not stop with their Prodigy Comix venture alone. Under their most famous Kizhaku Pathipagam imprint, they have collated Artist Mathi’s cartoons, which was originally published in 2003. Mathi is most famously known for his witty political and social cartoon strips on Dina Mani (தின மணி), a regional Mathi's Cartoonnewspaper.

The last I remember of such an effort, was when Vikatan group of publications, collated such type of cartoons, with the work of their chief cartoonist Madan.

This volume consists of 176 pages in B6 size, and carries one cartoon per page, with a price of INR 80. I don’t know how many parts in which these books are segregated into, but I picked up one for the collection, which was Part 3.

I also saw that there was a jumbo collection available, collating Mathi’s cartoon in a bigger hardcover sized edition, which is priced at INR 450. 

Mathi Cartoon Jumbo Collection (Inside)Mathi Cartoon Jumbo CollectionQuite frankly, I don’t know whether such a market exists in India. Such ventures which are mostly adopted by the English Newspaper giants in our country, remain largely a marketing failure.

I would personally not shell out such a huge price for a collection, but then everyone have their own opinions and choices, and I presume Badri, would have gambled on with a plan.

Russian Revolution ComicsNew Century Book House

Also was on sale in the Book Fair was New Century Book House’s comics based on Russian RevolutionRussian Revolution Comics, published in early 2008. The book was by a team of Russian artists and script writers, which was originally published by Progressive Publishers.

The artwork quite frankly resembles the one which was used by the old Ponni Russian Revolution Comics 01 Russian Revolution Comics 02 Comics, but the credit pages says that they are of a Russian artist, by the name of Anatoli Vasileov (I hope I spelled it correct).

But, even then the style quite frankly fits the old school thought way of retelling the historical significance of Russian revolution.

There are no credits given for the Tamil translation, but it looks of a top quality work, at phases.

The issue which is titled in Tamil as Rushiya Puratchi (ருஷ்ய புரட்சி) is of B6 size, with 150 odd pages, priced at INR 75. ISBN: 81-234-1238-X 

Definitely, a comic worth to be in Tamil comics fan’s collection. And I hope that this comic venture by New Century Book House, will turn out a successful affair, so that we see such international comics be translated to our language, for the coming years. Thanks to Siv, for introducing this comic venture.

Somu in B.C. (கி.மு.வில் சோமு)Narmada Publications நர்மதா பதிப்பகம்

Kimoovil SomuLastly, I picked up, present Tamil movies director Simbu Devan’s 1999 humour comics, titled Keemuvil Somu. This was a 2004 reprint of the original edition, which collected the series which ran in Ananda Vikatan, a Weekly magazine, for a total of 25 weeks.

The series was drawn and scripted by Simbu, who has Kimoovil Somu 01a uncanny knack of a cartoonist, in his art style, which quite adds up the uniqueness of this venture. 

It’s a hilarious account of a character named Somu, who finds himself in the pre-historical era, with the aid of his Time Machine. He befriends a Jr. Dinosaur, enroute his adventures and misadventures, which are a total laughter package, for sure. 

It was good to know that the series which I enjoyed during its weekly run, was also available in a complete comics format. It’s in a B6 size, consisting of 100 odd pages, priced at INR 40. Surely, a comic for keeps.

Surely, Simbu Devan’s loss to comics field, is a quite noteworthy, but considering that he is able to weave his comic magic in his Silver screen ventures, it does bodes well.

Apart from these, the old Gotham Comics issues, and the back issue titles of The 99 Series, could be found on many stalls. I hope that this Book Fair provided all those book readers in general, and comics geeks in particular a well deserved shopping experience. Happy Reading, Comikers. Adios Amigos !!

Jul 12, 2009

Lion Comics #206 – Phil Corrigan | Jul ‘09

Lion Comics #206 – Phil Corrigan 
Lion 206 Corrigan Cover
2 Stories | 92 Pgs | INR 10 | B6
B/W | Laminated/Paperback

Lion Comics has finally made its way back, with their latest issue, the first in 2009. The title also marks the completion of the brands 25th Anniversary. Lion Comics #205, was released way back in November last year, so it was a pleasant surprise to see this latest title arrive home.

Phil CorriganAs advertised it features two brand new adventures of Agent Phil Corrigan, carrying a stunning cover art, which should be rated as one of the best covers of Lion Comics in recent times.

Offlate, there is an increased focus on the cover-art, where they seem to be using the latest technologies in photo editing to improve them tri-fold, from the originals which inspire them. Look at the burning fire at the background, and the Corrigan badge on the top-right, along with the stylist lettering used for the title.

It’s so good to see the legendary Lion Comics utilising the tools available in the modern era, to keep them up with the international standards.

Lion 206 Editor's Hotline Editor in his Hotline, highlights the delay factor, (He also managed to find a link between that and the title of the present issue, in his typical humorous style) and cites the difficulty in the sales, and dealing with the news agents, as a backdrop for the long miss-out, yet again. But he also conveys that this will be a new innings for Lion Comics; and his intention to unveil a new plan, to reach the readers directly, instead of relying on the news-agents.

Let’s hope that as per his promise, we would get to see more regular issues, which will enthuse the readers to agree to his plans once he finds the right time to reveal it to all. Editor for instance has promised  Modesty, Chick Bill, and another 3-part Tex Willer story in his future line-up, and claims that we will be seeing a lot more Coming Soon advertisements in the forthcoming issues, just like the good old times.

Seems that the recent comics fanfare witnessed through the releases of Euro Books and CineBook in India, have really boosted Editor Mr.S Vijayan to jump-in on the bandwagon himself.

Editor also announces that the XIII Collector Edition is still hanging in balance, as the advanced booking has still not reached the magic number of 900. To keep up the tempo he has released the list off 100+ early-bid readers, who have booked their copy in advance. So, those who are staying back from booking your issue, the time is now, to see it in fruition by the year end. Somehow my name is missing out from the list, which looks like I would have to reconfirm, again :-(

Lion 206 - 2nd Corrigan Story Lion 206 - 1st Corrigan StoryFor those who are waiting to pick up your copy at local bookshops, it’s time you start checking out for the issue. I will hold on the review of the stories at Comicology, so as to let other readers experience the issue first-up.

As a preview, here are the first-page of two Corrigan stories which decorates this month Lion issue.

The two stories are:

1. Maandavan Meendaan (மாண்டவன் மீண்டான்!), meaning ‘Dead springs back to Life’

2. Raajyathirku Oru Rani (ராஜ்ஜியத்திற்கு ஒரு ராணி!), meaning ‘A Queen for the Kingdom’

You could notice that the artwork for both the stories totally different, about which we will see more Lion 206 XIII Advtalong with the background details about Phil Corrigan aka Super Agent X-Muthu's Mandrake Issue Preview9 comics series, when we go down reviewing this Lion comics title, in a couple of week’s time.

So, if your are not a subscriber, then don’t miss out from grabbing your copy, at your news-stands. :)

To wrap-up, here is the inner-cover, which once again features a teaser to the XIII Collector Special, while the second outer cover previews the upcoming Mandrake issue on Muthu Comics, titled Nizhal Ethu? Nijam Ethu? (நிழல் எது? நிஜம் எது?), which is a translated version of the original Mandrake adventure titled ‘Mirror People’. Makes for an interesting wait.

Updates to follow, meanwhile Happy Reading, Comikers !!

May 1, 2009

Lion Comics #160 – Iznogoud | Apr '00

The sweltering heat in Chennai is touching its height with mercury hovering around 40°Celsius, and to add more spice to it the calendar alarmingly has just zoomed past April, meaning the more hotter May has just started. With the financial slowdown, roasted poor souls are taking it slow on their summer vacations too, meaning It’s sweaty days ahead for all, including Comicologists.

While from Comicology, even though I can’t take you for a chill ride, I could instead offer a Chill pill, by introducing a comic character well known for its humour in any temperature, the cunning Iznogoud, to close down the month of April. It closely follows our Disney India News updated in our last post, marking two consecutive posts about humorous comic characters from two different genres. Isn’t Comics a whole new world on its own? Let’s move on to post :-).

Lion Comics #160: Thalaikeelai Oru Thinam  
(தலைகீழாய் ஒரு தினம்) - [A Day of Chaos]
Lion #160 with Iznogoud on Cover
starring Iznogoud or மதியில்லா மந்திரி

It is in the month of April 2000, almost a decade back, Prakash Publishers, the South India based Tamil Comics publisher, decided to feature Iznogoud in a solo title of its own, in their flagship comics magazine Lion Comics.

Lion Comics had earlier published Iznogoud in three supplement stories, a year before in 1999:

  • In Issue #147 on Feb-99: a 16 page debut story titled Comedy Galatta (காமெடி கலாட்டா), meaning ‘Comedy Galore’; 
  • In Issue #152 on Aug-99: a 20 page story titled Vendhanukku Vidumurai (வேந்தனுக்கு விடுமுறை), meaning ‘Holiday to the King/Sultan’;  and
  • In Issue #155 on Nov-99: a 16 page story titled Karaipaar Karaithaal (கரைப்பார் கரைத்தால்), meaning ‘Achieving with perseverance’;

If you thought the Tamil titles to Iznogoud were top-class, Lion Comics Editor S.Vijayan, went one-up by aptly renaming Iznogoud, as Madhiyilla Mandhiri (தியில்லா மந்திரி) meaning ‘Mindless Minister’.

A true depiction of the characteristics attributed to the humorous comics icon.

The short stories (The first title was serialized as MM-1) probably indicated that Mr.Vijayan, was more interested to utilize Iznogoud as a page-filler for his other famous comic characters titles. But the positive fan reaction he received for these stories boosted him to try launching an exclusive title for Iznogoud.

Intro of Iznogoud Characters (c) CinebookThus was born Lion Comics #160, carrying Iznogoud in its cover, ultimately giving the due credit to the comic character, which has captivated comic fans around the world with his trademark comical acts.

Iznogoud is a story about a evil antagonist and second-in-line minister, to the Caliph/Sultan of Baghdad, Haroun El Plassid. Iznogoud aspires to replace Plassid in his position.

In order to achieve this goal, he devises numerous Iznogoud with Larath & Harounplots to eliminate the Sultan. But true to his name (Iznogoud is actually a French accent for the English words “is no good”) he always ends up as the one at the wrong end, either spoilt by his partners in crime (?!), mostly by his dumb-wit but faithful assistant Wa'at Alahf (Dilat Larath, in the French original), or at sometimes by the main man himself.

So there are enough in the storyline to tickle that fun bone in all comics readers. Iznogoud is another comic character from the famed Franco-Belgian Genre, created by writer René Goscinny, and artist Jean Tabary. Before we get down with these Lion Comics instalments, let’s look into these legendary creators and their creation in detail.

Rene GoscinnyRené Goscinny, needs no introduction to Comicologists, as he is famously known as the creator of Asterix, and as the artist who made famous the Lucky Luke series. (His work on Lucky Luke is well documented during our Lucky Luke debut post at Comicology, here).

Goscinny was born in Paris, France in Aug 14, 1926. A naturally shy persona, he is mostly known for making his friends laugh during his school days with his witty stories and actions. But misfortune of losing his father to a brain disease in 1943, meant that Goscinny moved to his first job as an accountant at the tender age of 17. But, he was laid off the following year.

That actually proved lucky, as it paved way for him land a job as a junior illustrator in an Ad Agency, thus continuing his childhood passion towards drawing. Even when he served in the French army, in 1946, his artistic talents meant that he was quickly appointed as a illustrator for the regiment to draw posters for the army.  

Lucky LukeGoscinny’s subsequent return to New York, saw him seeing the ups and downs of his career, which was as low as being jobless at one point, to seeing himself author a handful of children books. But this New York life, was significant in his career as he met his eventual long time friends, Joseph Gillain (Jijé), and Mauris de Bevere, known famously as the creator of Lucky Luke under his pen-name Morris, in the process forming a lengthy partnership with him on Lucky Luke titles.

AsterixIn 1955, Goscinny returned to Paris upon a friend’s suggestion, and eventually met his yet another future collaborator, Albert Uderzo, along with whom he created two of his best known comic characters Astérix and Oumpah-pah.

After working for a majority of comics publishers like Tintin, Spirou, Vailant, Goscinny eventually started his own comics magazine Pilote in 1959, along with his friends Charlier (Blueberry fame), Uderzo and Hébrar, which paved the ways for many artists and writers to showcase their talent.

Jean Tabary

Jean Tabary, Iznogoud’s co-creator, on the other hand was born in Stockholm, Sweden on Mar 05, 1930. Like Goscinny, Tabary also had a likening to tell stories during his childhood. Another talent of his was to imagine characters on the go. Thus comic as a mode of his expression, was written long before, he set foot on that lines.

Tabary's Totoche His earliest comic work was with The Adventures of Richard and Charlie, a French comic series in 1956 on Vailant magazine, for which Tabary directed for a total of 10 episodes.

But only in 1959, he made his first big hit comic character, ToToCHE, for the same magazine, which spawned a couple of off-shoot characters, all of which Tabary continued to write and draw until 1976.

iznogoudIznogoud in RecordTabary’s work with Vailant magazine made him interact with Goscinny in 1961 for some of the creative works. This partnership grew with time, and in the very next year, they both joined joined hands to create their most famous creation, Iznogoud, with Goscinny taking up the writing duties, and Tabary donning the Artist role.

But Iznogoud wasn’t the titular character for the series, as the first series of the venture which made its debut in the Record comics magazine on Jan 15, 1962, was about the comical account of Sultan, titled Les aventures du Calife Haroun el Poussah (The Adventures of Caliph Haroun El Plassid, in English).

Iznogoud Wallpaper But, it was the secondary character of the power-hungry chief vizier ‘Iznogoud’ which stole the limelight among comic fans, prompting Goscinny and Tabary to change their plot-work to make Iznogoud as the main character for the series.

Iznogoud in Pilote Even though much of the Iznogoud stories followed the same plot; of him trying to oust the caliph to take his place, Goscinny’s taste of satirical writing, evident in his earliest creation Asterix, always kept the plot fresh and new.

Coupled with Tabary’s nervous but effective and distinctive drawing style, the Iznogoud series touched stardom, eventually progressing to be featured in Goscinny’s own Pilote magazine.

Goscinny’s and Tabary’s successful partnership came to an abrupt end on Nov 05, 1977, when at the age of 51, Goscinny died of a heart attack. Tabary then decided to continue Iznogoud series on his own, much like how Albert Uderzo did with Goscinny’s other famous creation, Asterix. Tabary decided to dedicate each album to a single story, unlike during Goscinny period, which consisted of several short stories in one album.

There are different takes on this period change in the direction of Iznogoud, as many still argue that the short and witty Tabary's apperance in IznogoudIznogoud stories were much more attractive then the full-length ones of Tabary’s.

But the fact remains the Iznogoud, is one of the unique ones, who even though being of a bad character, has lived long enough to be called as the most famous anti-heroes of French comics or perhaps in the entire comics world.

Tabary and Goscinny always treated Iznogoud as one of their cherished and beloved projects, which meant that they themselves made several appearances as guests in their stories, often shown as discussing, or debating about the plot of the story, and appearing among crowd. In one story they even debate on the topic of Iznogoud ascendancy to Sultan, among the gathered crowd. Ultimate shower of love towards your work on display in here. (In the self-portrait of Tabary above, he says – “All including story is ready, but for the pictures” – Translation courtesy: ShankarV)

Iznogoud 28: Les mille et une nuits du Calife (2008)Iznogoud 01: Le Grand Vizir Iznogoud (1966)Iznogoud’s Publications: Even though it was started originally as a series for comics magazines; Starting from 1966 French publisher Dargaud started to release individual albums of Iznogoud. Dargaud published a total of 12 albums until 1976. After Goscinny’s passing away in 1977, Tabary decided to feature new Iznogoud titles in other publications, the majority of which have been released under Editions Tabary, a publication owned by Tabary and his family.

The latest album was number 28: Les mille et une nuits du Calife (The Thousand and One Nights of the Caliph), published on Nov 2008. This album was entirely created by Tabary’s children's: Nicolas, Stephane, and Muriel; under the watchful eyes of Tabary.

01: Iznogoud on Holiday (1977)For now, Tabary has decided to take a well-earned rest after a lengthy career which has spawned half a century. Let’s hope that his children's will be able to carry on the baton. The official website of Tabary features a picture of these 3 wonder kids, so please do check them out.

Starting from 1977, Egmont started translating Iznogoud in English, which was then later picked up by several publishers worldwide. Only notable changes by other publishers were that they changed Caliph to Sultan, to avoid offending Muslims who consider it as a sacred title.

Until the end of 2008, there are a total of 8 Iznogoud titles which have been translated into English from the French originals.  Apart from English, Iznogoud has been translated to further 14 languages, including German, Portuguese, Chinese, and recently in Tamil (by Lion Comics).

CineBook’s Venture: Recently CineBook, a famous UK based English Comics publisher of Franco-Belgian Goldie's, and one of the favourite publishers at Comicology, have taken the mantle of publishing Iznogoud in English, which are distributed in UK and US.

CineBook Iznogoud 03 (March 2009)CineBook Iznogoud 01 (Mar 2008)CineBook Iznogoud 02 (August 2008)In 2008 they published two Iznogoud English albums, with the 3rd one getting published as recently as March 2009. None of these titles were available with the CineBook’s 2009 Back-Issue released in India, which were listed at Comicology, over here.

For reasons, refers to the end of this post for news about Euro Books.

To know more about the publications of Iznogoud titles around the world refer to this wonderfully maintained fan site for Iznogoud – Iznogoud World. Credits to the original covers in this post goes to that painstakingly built site. While you are there, don’t forget to check out the Zines section, which has some info on Iznogoud’s India venture, contributed by Muthufan.

Now that we have looked into the creator details and publication history of Iznogoud, let’s look into its debut release in Tamil Comics, by our beloved Lion Comics.

Lion 147 Story 2 - pg49 - Iznogoud's Debut Lion #147 (Story-2): Comedy Galatta (காமெடி கலாட்டா)

In this debut story, Mr.Vijayan renamed the title characters of the series for local flavour, showcasing his command over the Tamil language, for which he is renowned for.

1. Iznogoud as Naa Modi Masthaan (நா ‘மோடி’ மஸ்தான்); a title which is used to comically depict the ‘black magicians’ at this part of the world.

2. Haroun El Plassid as Sultan Haroun Al Good Boy (சுல்தான் ஹாரூன் அல் குட் பாய்); referring to the good and simple nature of the character, and most importantly referring to him as Sultan (a politically correct name).

Iznogouds Introduction and his plan to oust Sultant3. Wa'at Alahf as Jaalra Boy (ஜால்ரா பாய்); a title which is reserved for the cheap celebrity worshippers in Tamil, which clearly depicts the characters of Iznogoud’s loyal assistant.

Sultan with Crown JewelThe story takes us to the annual event conducted in Baghdad, which is used to determine the righteous of a Sultan to rule the kingdom. As per the ritual Sultan must show his crown jewel, a Spectre, to the public, which will be kept locked inside a secret room in the palace, and will be opened only once in the year during this occasion.

The custom states that if Sultan fails to turn up with his Sceptre, then he will be executed then and there, with the second-in-command taking his place. This prompts Egmonts Caliph Spectre (1978)Iznogoud to devise plan to steal the Sceptre before the ceremony. So he hires a magician who is said to be good lock-picker. As usual everyone would know that his plans would fail once again.

But, the hilarious moments leading up to the climax, are one which is sure to bring out the kid in you break out with laughter. The top of the pick, is the scenes where the lock-picker opens every door inside the secret room, by doing different absurd methods.

It was a good story choice to introduce Iznogoud to Indian comic fans, and the comedic nature of the story along with Vijayan’s wonderful translation with typical Tamil scenario (look at the song the Sultan sings), turned out as a masterful combination.

Since, this was a supplementary story, the Iznogoud wasn’t featured in the cover, but the Original for this story was the one titled ‘The Caliph’s Sceptre’, from the UK’s Egmont English Iznogoud series. More on that later on the post.

Lion 152 p47 s2 IznogoudLion #152 (Story-2): Vendhanukku Vidumurai (வேந்தனுக்கு விடுமுறை)

The fan reaction Iznogoud received in his Tamil comics debut, prompted the editor to release another short story in the same year, as a supplement to Lion #152.

The story this time revolved around the Summer vacation which all citizens of Baghdad, undertake every year, travelling to the sea shores. (look at the Special Air Service version as it was available then, Tabary & Goscinny at their humorous best).

Caliph's Vacation (French Original)This story follows another plot of Iznogoud, in which he tries to fool the Sultan in following him on a summer trip to a far off land, with the mindset of killing him on the trip. What follows is Iznogoud’s own fate of seeing his plans unfold abruptly in the end.

We will look more in detail about this story as it deserves a special mention, which we could do along with our 01-The_Caliph's_Vacation (US Version published by Darguad)Lion #152 review at Comicology in the coming months. The titular character in that issue was Buck Ryan aka Detective Julian, who was the star of the recent Muthu Comics edition, reviewed at Comicology, here.

For starters, this story is the title story of “Caliphs Vacation” album listed in the above section about Iznogoud publication. Supplement story meant that we again missed out from witnessing the reproduction of this wonderful cover by our local artists at Muthu/Lion Comics office.

The idea of discussing the first supplement story in full, and the second supplement story over here in the post, which was about to discuss Lion #160 which carried Iznogoud in his solo title, was to map the introduction of Iznogoud in Tamil Comics, before we get down the Lion #160 review.

Since, the post has been growing too big, let’s skip past the 3rd supplement Iznogoud story, which featured in Lion #155. That will be reviewed in detail when we review that eventual title which featured one of Tex Willer’s classic cowboy story, titled Eratha Nagaram (இரத்த நகரம்), soon at Comicology.

Lion 160 p04 Iznogoud Lion #160 (Story-1): Thalaikeelai Oru Thinam (தலைகீழாய் ஒரு தினம்)

Finally we come back to the title, which is the topic of discussion for this post. The first time Iznogoud received his due credit, by appearing on the Cover and as the main story of a Lion Comics title.

Lion 160 p03 HotlineUnlike any of the previous two titles, Editor decided to name this title very differently (literal meaning -‘A Day of Chaos’). Look at the explanation which Editor provided in his Hotline, for the same.

Lion 160 p05 s1 Iznogoud Iznogoud’s unique plot is there witness in this story too, as it opens up on yet another unique annual celebration in Baghdad, where for one day, the Slaves become Masters, and the Masters become Slaves, for the 24 hours time until dawn.

So there was no surprises, when Iznogoud wakes up as a Sultan, but decides to create a coup and dethrone the Sultan forever, by utilising his time at the helm.

But, what he fails to understand that the situation also belongs to everyone who he commands now. Lion 160 p04 Hotline (Contd)His assistants now demands service from him, his generals are now serving the colonels, as he finds no one to help him on his plot.

So he then decides to utilize the services of the neighbouring country’s king, whose kingdom does not follow this celebration.  What then follows is a hilarious account of Iznogoud, as he races against time, to meet his objective.

The Chaos comes to an End The scenes where he tries his best to prove to the people that he is one among them, by disowning his wealth, title, etc. is the top pick. The climax has an interesting twist, with Goscinny & Tabary get involved to add to Iznogoud’s misery. :-) We are not going to discuss it further, to maintain the storyline for new time readers, as they should experience it first-hand rather than we discussing and revealing all the intrigued details of the story plot.

Overall, it was another Iznogoud classic, and Mr.Vijayan deserves a special accolade to deliver yet another of his wonderfully translated marvels. Goscinny had introduced so many witty dialogues which have their roots from the French culture. So, a literal translation of them would not gain any credits, and may even hamper the overall plot-work of the story.

A scenario evident in the fact that, when Iznogoud stories were translated to English it was performed by the same team which translated the Asterix series, with some amount of success in retaining the original plot, yet taking it to the culture of the translated language. More about the people behind this translation, when we review the Euro Book titles, about which you could read at the end of the post.

No wonder, Mr.Vijayan’s earlier works on Lucky Luke, Chick Bill story translations helped him to Album 5 -Iznogoud_and_the_Day_of_Misrulea great extent, by devising a new translation strategy for the Iznogoud series. The typical short stories of Iznogoud is also an ideal fit, for quick translation and publishing, something which will be a disguise for often delayed Lion Comics.

The only complaints of these Lion Comics Iznogoud instalments, were the black & white format, which at times destroys the intrigued details laced in the artwork. Another one is the B6 size, which has now become a standard of Lion/Muthu publications, which prompted Editor to use varied ways of publishing Iznogoud titles, sometimes in Landscape format, while other times in Portrait.

Not much you could demand in there, as every publisher has to base his product, to the target market. And no one better than Mr.Vijayan would know that for sure.

This particular story was originally featured in Iznogoud’s 5th English Album, titled ‘Iznogoud and The Day of Misrule’ released by Egmont in 1979. The Lion Comics #160’s Cover is also inspired by the cover of the same album. 

Lion 160 p25 s2 Rip Kirby Story-2: Maayamai Pona Manaalan (மாயமாய் போன மணாளன்) starring Rip Kirby

When we are reviewing the Lion #160, it’s justified we also mention about the second story which featured Rip Kirby’s adventure. Rip Kirby is often used by Editor Vijayan, as a page-filler, so he was again to the rescue for filling up the book pages, with the short Iznogoud story as its lead.

With all due credits to the creators of Rip Kirby, the fact remains that not all Rip Kirby stories has the “oomph” factor to lead a issue on its own. Even in this case, it is about Rip Kirby helping an about to be wed couple, to find each other, from the clutches of money launderers.

A typical, Simple and no-nonsense story for which Rip Kirby is known for. Serves as a good page filler.

Quick Book Facts: Prakash Publishers | Price: INR 5 | Pages: 68 c2c | Size: B6 | Soft Paperback | Published: Apr 2000

From Editors update in the Hotline of Lion #160, it was clear that the title was unplanned. But it was no doubt, that it was well received among Tamil Comic fans, who have always been receptive about the character and series choices the Editor makes, for his brand of Comics.

The demand was instrumental in Lion Comics continuing to feature Iznogoud in further issues on #168, #175, and #186 (Mega Dream Special) as supplement stories, and then in an exclusive title on Issue #189. Here is the complete list of all those stories published in Lion Comics so far, and their source, from the UK’s Egmont/Methuen.

# Issue No. Published Iznogoud Story Title Original Album (UK Egmont/Methuen)
Album Title (Published Year) – Story Title
1. Lion #147 Feb-99 Comedy Galatta
(காமெடி கலாட்டா)
The Magic Computer (1978) - The Caliph’s Sceptre
2. Lion #152 Aug-99 Vendhanukku Vidumurai
(வேந்தனுக்கு விடுமுறை)
The Caliph’s Vacation (1977) – Summer Vacation
3. Lion #155 Nov-99 Karaippar Karaithaal
(கரைப்பார் கரைத்தால்)
The Infamous (1977) – The Sinister Liquidator
4. Lion #160 Apr-00 Thalaikeelai Oru Thinam
(தலைகீழாய் ஒரு தினம்)
The Day of Misrule (1979) – The Day of Misrule
5. Lion #168 Jun-01 Vairam Venuma…? Vairam…!
(வைரம் வேணுமா வைரம்)
The Infamous (1977) – Unlucky Diamond
6. Lion #175 Nov-02 Vinnil Oru Mandhiri
(விண்ணில் ஒரு மந்திரி)
A Carrot for Iznogoud (1979) – Magic Fiction
7. Lion #186 May-04 Baagdhathil Therthal
(பாக்தாத்தில் தேர்தல்)
The Day of Misrule (1979) – Elections in the Caliphate
8. Lion #189 Dec-04 Sulthaanuku Oru Savaal
(சுல்தானுக்கொரு சவால்)
The Day of Misrule (1979) – The Challenge
9. Kanna Moochi Re… Re…
(கண்ணாமூச்சி ரே ரே)
The Day of Misrule (1979) – The Labyrinth

The list highlights that Mr.Vijayan chose to feature only those Iznogoud stories, which were earlier translated into English, further emphasizing his preference while selecting the stories, which was strengthened during during our Muthu Comics’s Martin Mystery review post at, at Comicology.

The_Carrot_StoryWe will look at each of the Iznogoud stories featured in Tamil Comics, when we go down reviewing these Lion titles, in months to come. That will give more breathing space for the Comicologists :-), and will be in line with our one old issue per review policy.

Lion #189’s Iznogoud story remains the last story of Iznogoud published in India so far. There was another story which was advertised for long, as the next probably addition to the list in Lion Comics, but never seen daylight, and remained only in Ads. 

The story was supposed to be from the original UK Album titled ‘A Carrot For Iznogoud’.

Gowarsons Comics Gowarsons Comics: And just in case if you have thought Lion Comics were the fore-runners in publishing Iznogoud in India, as much as we love to claim it, it only applies to Tamil language. The credit has to go to the North India based comics weekly magazine publisher, Madhu Muskan, who had ventured in publishing Goscinny work in India in early 80’s, after entering into a licensing deal with French publisher Darguad. Their publications where all in Hindi, thus bringing Goscinny’s 6 Asterix titles, and a few Iznogoud and Lucky Luke titles. Here are the covers from that bunch.

Gowarsons LuckyLuke 1 Gowarsons Iznogoud 1 Gowarsons Asterix 1

Gowarsons didn’t enjoy a great run, as it ran for a couple of years (1982-1984), ultimately closing shops during the TV boom in India. But, Madhu Muskan, the parent comics magazine which was started as early in 1972, is said to be still in publication. But I haven’t seen them at nearby stores so far, meaning they should have been now distributed locally.

Here is the last recognized address from which they were publishing: Madhu Muskan Publication Pvt Ltd, 341 Udyog Vihar Phase-IV, Gurgaon, Haryana, India. Isn’t it a co-incident that Lion Comics and Gowarsons have published the same Iznogoud title in their first exclusive Iznogoud issue. Thanks to fellow comicologist Prabhat, for providing a tip-off about Gowarsons. Read more about Gowarsons at his blog post here, and here.


Euro Book's Coming Soon - Iznogoud & Lucky LukeEuro Books Upcoming Iznogoud Series: For the other language comics fans, just in case if you think that you have missed out from reading Iznogoud in India, there is a good news. Euro Books India, who last time around had introduced Biggles to Indian comic fans (Read the exclusive post of Euro Book’s Biggles here), have now ventured on to to release 12 titles of Iznogoud, which is just around the corner.

If it gets released it would mean that 4 new Iznogoud titles will be translated into English for the very first time world over. Refer to their Coming Soon section, here. I hope their translation would be up-to-the-standard, if not in the same levels of Iznogoud’s Tamil version. No one can match it for sure.

What’s more Euro Books have also planned to release 24 titles of Lucky Luke too. Stay tuned, as it would be covered right-up when it hits the stands right here at Comicology. Good days are ahead for Comicologists.


Tail-Piece - Iznogoud in other Media: Before we close down this Iznogoud debut post at Comicology, it will be good to also mention the other media appearances of Goscinny & Tabary’s creation, Iznogoud, to mark its evolution.

Iznogoud PlaystationMoving over from Comic books and series, In 1995, Iznogoud was featured in a 52 episode animation TV cartoon series. Much of those animated stories were picked up straight from the short stories featured in the 28 albums of Iznogoud.

The year 1998 also saw Iznogoud making it into a Playstation Game, which was not that successful, like the TV series.

Iznogoud FilmIn Feb 2005, Iznogoud was also made into a mainstream live-action movie in France, starring Michaël Youn and Jacques Villeret.

The film was named Iznogoud: Calife A La Place Du Calife. Majority of  the Comic heroes based movies always turned out a dud in box-office, and it was no different for this movie, which had bad script-writers contributing to the downfall.

Even the presence of Villeret, who is recognized as one of the best actors to come out of French movie industry, and also the favourite of fellow comicologist Lover of Dreams, couldn’t turn the tide with his performance in the movie, even though the Caliph’s role was tailor made for him. If only he had a better Director… Gosh.

If you don’t believe me, then hear it from a person who grew reading Iznogoud stories, and watched his childhood comic hero, in the movie format.

Soffia Esoudi in Iznogoud Film“Patrick Braoudé completely butchered Iznogoud. He's got a lot of nerve to dedicate his piece of junk to Goscinny and Tabary!” - dbdumonteil on IMDb Movie page.

As for me, the only saving grace of the entire affair was the appearance of the beautiful Franco-Moroccan singer, Sofia Essaïdi :-)

Iznogoud's WishSo, that brings us to the close of another lengthy post here at Comicology. Let’s close with one of the famous catch-phrases introduced by Iznogoud, and which is now used colloquially in French to refer to the over-ambitious persons. The recent recipient of that title, is none other than the present French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Such is an impact of Iznogoud, even among non-comic fans.

Not to forget, India had its own off-shoot version of Iznogoud, Tinkle’s Tantri the Mantri. We will see more about that in our next Tinkle post at Comicology.

References/Credits: 1. Iznogoud World | 2. Lambiek Tabary Profile | 3. Tabary’s Official Site | 4. Wikipedia


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