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 Muthu Comics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Muthu 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 !!

Aug 9, 2009

Muthu Comics #312 – Mandrake | Aug ‘09

First of all, I should thank each and every one you who have visited and recorded your wishes on the Second year anniversary of our blog. Needless to say every message of it goes a long way in strengthening my commitment towards our unique hobby. Once again Thanks a Ton and let the Show roll on.

Muthu Comics #312 – Mandrake
Muthu 312 - Mandrake - Mirror People  
2 Stories | 92 Pgs | INR 10 | B6
B/W | Laminated/Paperback

What we have for our current blog post, is the Second issue of Muthu Comics for the year 2009, which has finally been published this month, closely following the Lion #206, released last month. Editor S Vijayan of Prakash Publishers, continues to amaze with his continuous release of classic titles, which I believe he would have long made ready, just waiting to see the daylight.

As advertised in Muthu #311, it features legendary American comics creator Lee Falk’s creation Mandrake the Magician, in a classic story from the 1940’s, where Mandrake goes toe-to-toe with one his fearsome foes, Ekardnam, from the world of Mirror People.

The cover-art once again is a stunning piece of work, which is following the footsteps laid by the recent Lion Comics edition, by utilising the same layout and colour choices. Good to see that the well adorned format, is being retained, adding all the more oomph for the classic stories being featured offlate.

Read on to have a preview of the original cover which inspired our Muthu edition, which will highlight the artistic talent of our locals.

Muthu 312 ComicsTime Editor in his Comics Time, highlights the fact that this Mandrake Story was in their plans right from 1990. There was a widespread fan reaction, which was pretty mixed about the Mandrake stories, with some liking it and others despising its fantasy filled storylines. So, Editor’s apprehension about the future of the Mandrake in Muthu Comics, is understandable. Nevertheless, the story has finally been published after 19 long years, from the date it was originally advertised.

Mandrake the MagicianMandrake the Magician is another creation by the legendary Lee Falk, who is more famous for his tryst with The Phantom. Know more about Lee Falk in our Phantom series, here. 

Mandrake was portrayed as a hypnotist, who used his powers to fight the criminals and enemies of his country, to mend the Wrongs to Rights. Mandrake is often touted as the first costumed superhero, even before Falk invented Phantom a couple of years later. The only reason why he wasn’t given that due credit, is because he wore a Magicians suite in his adventures, unlike other Superheroes who had a costume of their own.

Lee FalkLee Falk (1911-1999) had a childhood fascination towards Stage Magicians, and it wasn’t a surprise that he chose his first Comic character to be based out on one of them, in the form of Mandrake. It is said that Falk conceived the idea of Mandrake in his early age of 19; But only in 1934, he managed to appear for an audition with New York’s King Feature Syndicates, which eventually was his first trip out of his hometown, St.Louis.

His theatrical passion, and good looks (doesn’t he look like the Classic American movie hero of that time?) was instrumental in getting him an audition with the Editors, even though he went there without a prior-appointment, and he successfully brokered a deal to syndicate his first comic strip by the name of Mandrake the Magician, at the the tender age of 21. But at that age he had 2 more years to complete his college education, so he offloaded the artistic work to Phil Davis, an established artist who also lived in St.Louis.

Thus Mandrake the Magician arrived in 1934, the same year which also saw the debut of classic comic strip heroes, in the form of Flash Gordon and Secret Agent X-9 (aka Phil Corrigan). It took 2 more years before The Phantom joined them on the top list.

Phil DavisPhilip ‘Phil’ Davis (1906-1964), had a fascination towards drawing right since he was 6 year old, and it went a long way in him joining Washington University Art School. Along with his studies, he also worked as part-time artist for a telephone company, where he had his first tryst with commercialising his work. By 1928, he had a full-time artist job, while he also started illustrating covers for some magazines.

He eventually met Lee Falk in 1933, and their friendship was instrumental in Falk handing over the art work of Mandrake in 1934 to him, when he was looking out for a replacement for himself. It should be noted that one of Davis’s assistant was Ray Moore, who later became the official artist for Falk’s another creation, The Phantom.

Together, Davis and Falk then started to build a whole new fantasy world filled with incredible characters for Mandrake.

Mandrake the Magician - Daily Strip (1944)Mandrake the Magician - Colored Sunday Srip (1939)Mandrake the Magician - Comic Book Book (1937)

Lothar aids Mandrake with his Power CapabilitiesMandrake and his Hypnotisim Mandrake was pictured as a Magician who learned his art from the College of Magic. He got a hi-fi home by the name of Xanadu, which was sophisticated with all the hi-tec gadgets and securities you can find in the world, with fortified gates, and video cameras all along.

He got a trusted ally, in the form of powerful Lothar, who was an African Prince who befriended Mandrake and decided to follow him in his crime fighting adventures. Lothar is often touted as the Strongest man in the world, with the only exception being Lothar of the Seven LandsMandrake’s Chef and Secret head of International Crime fighting organization, Hojo, who is a renowned Martial fighter of his own.

It is said that Falk initially envisioned Lothar as the slave (or a little over slave) of Mandrake, but later changed that into friendship, due to the increased awareness being Narda Mandrakegenerated worldwide on Black welfare. Lothar can be safely considered as the first Afro-American to have got featured in a lengthy comic series so consistently.

Mandrake got a girlfriend, and later wife in the form of Narda, who is a Princess of her own for an European nation. Lothar’s girlfriend, Karma was also an African Princess, thus making Mandrake’s extended family a Royal one :).

Leon Mandrake (1939)Resemblance with Real-life Celebrity: It is often touted that Falk initially envisioned Mandrake’s appearance, keeping him as a role model, which Falk himself did admit in few interviews. But, it should be noted that he had lot in resemblance to then then famous Stage Magician, Leon Mandrake, who was often referred in full as Leon Mandrake the Magician.

Mandrake's Show on Oympia Theatre (1949)He also was known for his top hat, scarlet lined cape, and boasted a pencil line moustache, which you can prominently find in the comics form Mandrake too. The real Mandrake was performing over 10 years before Falk envisioned his comic character. So, it is all likely that he would have taken some inspiration from him for his creation.

Though Falk never admitted this resemblance, the comic strip lead to a strong friendship between Phil Davis and Leon Mandrake, when they eventually met during one of Mandrake’s Magic show tours. They remained good friends throughout their entire life, ever since.

Mandrake in King ComicsMandrake in Marvel ComicsDavis and Falk continued to pen and draw the Mandrake stories, which were Mandrake -Lothar Art Panel signed by Falk and Fredericks (from a Fan's collection)syndicated across the globe in newspaper dailies, Sunday colour comic strips, and Comic book formats.

The partnership was broken in 1964, when Davis died of a heart attack.

Falk then recruited Fred Fredericks, to don the artistic role, who continues even today, for the longest tenure spanning more than 45 years. When Lee Falk passed away in 1999, he also took over the writing for the Mandrake script.

Fredericks brought the modernization to Mandrake script, to base him more on the Science Fiction fantasy stories. It was during Fredericks tenure that Narda & Mandrake finally got married in 1997, during one the stories. Frederick also modernized the look of Lothar, into the modern day dress code, which even though retained the Panther texture, this time on a close fit shirt. Lothar was also shown to have got well-versed with the American lifestyle and command over English language.

Mandrake campaigns for Earth Day If you want to follow the daily strip which Fredericks works on, follow this link to King Feature Syndicates, which is updated on a weekly basis with an archive from last month.

Here is a Preview of it, where Mandrake campaigns for Save Earth.

Fellow comic enthusiast, and one of Mandrake’s greatest fan, Sagnik, provided this TimesUnion website, where you could enjoy a month load of Mandrake archives, until today. Enjoy, and thanks to the Mandrake Dude. 

Indrajal Comics - MandrakeRani Comics - MandrakeOverall, while Falk-Davis Mandrake stories were classic art of work, Falk-Fredericks duo made the series contemporary in style, making Mandrake fans to accept both forms of work as the true tribute to Falk’s legendary creations.

In India, Mandrake was published in multiple languages by erstwhile Indrajal Comics. In South India, it was published regularly by erstwhile Tamil Comics magazine Rani Comics in their line-up, and has been occasionally featured in the long running Tamil Comics magazine, Muthu Comics, one of which is the current month release.

Muthu 312 Mandrake Story - Narda sees her NightmareMuthu #312 - Nizhal Ethu? Nijam Ethu?
(நிழல் எது? நிஜம் எது?): Reality of Shadow

Have you ever wondered, what if everything we known all along as the Rights and Wrongs, were all false, and it is the other way around? No one would like to imagine that weird situation. But, Lee Falk dared to dream of a world mixed with different set down, in this Mandrake adventure.

Muthu 312 Narda confronts Adran The story starts with Narda having a strange incidence of seeing her mirror image behaving differently and talking to her in a strangely scripted language. The mirror image of her, named Adran (reverse of Narda) claims that they are the real people, and gets into a confrontation with her. The mirror image strangely seem to have powers to enter our world, and along with Erkandam (reverse of Mandrake), and Rathol (Lothar), they abduct Narda into their Mirror world.

Narda detours the Wierd world of Mirror People What Narda witnesses there is a whole new world, where policemen do day-time robbery, dacoits help people, Army generals serve as Security Guard, and Lift Operators, and the military is run by Privates at the Office. Narda comes to know of a threatening plot in which the Mirror world is staging a plan to capture the real word across the mirror, with the help of a new discovery made by Erkandam.

How does Narda get saved in the end, and manage to save her world makes up the rest of the story, where more than Mandrake, Narda plays a huge roll. There are some interesting pieces where Erkandam and Adran always tries to run down the people they see on the road, and Narda intervening in their hideous stuff to save the passerby's.

We would have hoped to see a real showdown between Mandrake vs Erkandam, who is touted to have the same powers of Mandrake, only differing from the cause they use it for. But, the confrontation is cut short, in this episode prematurely, leading the readers to expect more on the Mirror People saga.

Editor S.Vijayan has tried his hands on a new model of utilising reverse texting, exactly as it appears in a mirror image, which is pretty different method from what was adopted in the original, which simple change the order of text. There was some difficulty in the method, where the names didn’t have a meaningful reverse order, where Editor chose to rename it to suit the language in which it has been translated to. For eg., Narda’s (நார்தா) mirror image is called Daarna (தார்நா) and Mandrake’s (மாண்ட்ரேக்) mirror image called as Greatnaam (க்ரேட்ணாம்). A great work, indeed.

Mandrake's D033 in Magic Comics (Full color) Original of Mirror Mystery: The weird world of Mirror People was originally published first in the 33rd episode of Mandrake strip, which ran from Oct 1944 to Dec 1944 for 10 weeks, under the partnership of Davis and Falk. It was later reprinted in full colour by Magic Comics (which is an imprint of King Features Syndicates, collecting their famous comic strips like Secret Agent X-9, Blondie, along with Mandrake), in a sequence of their titles. A soft copy of which you could obtain from a Mandrake fan’s comics blog, here.

D126-2nd Mirror mystery It took another 2 decades, before the second episode of Mirror People appeared in the 126th episode of Mandrake Dailies, titled ‘The Return of Mirror People’, from Aug 1964 to Jan 1965, spreading over a lengthy 19 weeks. There was no further episodes of Mirror People then in the Davis-Falk partnership.

Our Muthu Comics (#312) edition of this current month, features this second story of Mirror People.

When Fredericks took over the mantle of Mandrake strip, he along with Falk brought back the Mirror People one final time, as the 210th Mandrake Daily strip, titled The Mirror Mystery, which ran for 22 long weeks between Nov 1991 to Apr 1992. Mandrake fans consider this as the best story of Mirror People so far, where Fredericks brought in a lot of change and innovation into the storyline envisioned by the former duo. Sadly, further episodes featuring Mirror People was never published.

Mirror Mystery (D033) on Magic Comics Mirror Mystery (D210) on Diamond Comics (Hindi version)Indrajal Comics, the most loyal publisher of Mandrake stories never managed to print any of Mirror People episodes. By the time the 3rd album was released in 1991, IJC had went out of business. (Thanks to Sagnik for the IJC info)

Diamond Comics of India, who had published most of the 1960-1992 Mandrake Daily strips in full colour, then published the 2nd and 3rd episodes of Mirror People during their run-up.

So, at present, Muthu Comics is the only publisher in India (and probably in the world) to have published a full fledged Mandrake story. Good to see the legend of Lee Falk’s living on.

Muthu 312 - Robot Archie Filler Muthu #312: Extra Features: This edition of Muthu Comics was not only a treat for Mandrake fans, but it also features a short story one of Lion Comics' evergreen superhero, Robot Archie.

It’s one of those short stories where Archie plays his typical saviour role, this time in the cause of Pearl divers, by diffusing the mystery of a strange sea animal, which is causing a havoc among the sailing community. It was originally featured in one of the Annual Specials of erstwhile UK based Lion Comics, from the Fleetway Company.

As per the tradition, the Issue also contains an advertisement about the next two forthcoming Muthu Comics editions, which features:  

  • Yet another American classic comics hero from the stable of King Feature Syndicates, Johnny Hazard (who is christened in Tamil Comics as “Wing Commandar George”) in an issue titled ‘Vinnil Oru Kullanari’ (விண்ணில் ஒரு குள்ளநரி), meaning “A Fox in the Sky”; and
  • Franco-Belgian comic star Ric Hochet (who is christened in Tamil Comics as “Super Reporter Johnny”), in a issue titled ‘Maranathin Nisaptham’ (மரணத்தின் நிசப்தம்), meaning “Silence of Death”

So, it’s going to be two more classic issues from the stable of Muthu Comics, which brings back the fan-favourites Hazard & Hochet from two different genres of comics world. I am eagerly looking forward for them.

Muthu 312 Johnny Hazard Issue Preview Muthu 312 Ric Hochet Issue PreviewMuthu 312 XIII Collector Edition Preview

The other advertisement is about the XIII Collector Special, which has become a prominent one to be featured in recent times. If you would have noticed these XIII advertisements in the past and present, you would see that Editor hasn’t used any of the images from the previous 10 albums of XIII, which were printed by them. Doesn’t it make for an interesting wait?

Martin More than the other advertisements, I am more interested about the announcement of a Martin Mystery 2 part story which has been hinted in the Comics Time of Editor. When Muthu Comics #310 carrying Martin Mystery story was published, we had discussed the situation where Editor Vijayan had utilised all of the Martin stories which were released in English so far. So, we had even wondered whether he would now touch the Italian version of the same.

Even, during the Comics Time of Muthu Comics #311, Editor had hinted of the improbability of Martin appearing again in his future plans. But finally, he has decided to continue the much famous Italian comic hero, which is only good for all fans of Martin Mystery, including myself :)

King Comics - Mandrake Issue Cover Muthu 312 - Next Comics Classics Preview (Steel Claw)The back cover of the Muthu Comics issue talks about the next Comics Classics edition, which once again features a golden oldie of Steel Claw, in his Superhero avatar. If you want to experience a dose of it, have a read on our last Comics Classics edition which featured him in his superhero form.

And as promised at the start of the post, here is the original cover upon which our present edition Muthu Comics cover was made-out. It was one of the covers from the 10 issue Mandrake series published by King Comics in United States.

Look at how the colour choices have been improved, even to the last minute detail of removing the sweat on the face of Mandrake from the original, which couldn’t go well with the Rose power makeup style of our Comics artists :). Also note the transformation of Lothar from a worried sober looking man, to a Bollywood sidekick, which comes with an added bonus of eye-brow makeover Winking. Creativity on show. :) 

For buying this comic, contact Lion/Muthu Comics Office @ +91 (04562) 272649. or mail them on

Mandrake in other Media: It will be good that we end this Mandrake post, by looking at the other Media appearances of Mandrake.

Mandrake Movie Serial (1939)Movie Serial: Flash Gordon and Secret Agent X-9 Comics strips, who debuted along with Mandrake in 1934, rose to immediate fame, and they had the Movie Serials made on them in 1936 and 1937 respectively. So Mandrake didn’t lag much, as he joined that elite  list, when Columbia Pictures made a 12 Mandrake TV Episode (1954)chapter movie serial in 1939, which was aired in consecutive weeks, made famous in first half of 20th century.

TV Series: In 1954, NBC made a TV series Mandrake, without further episodes. It was followed then by another TV movie in 1979.

Defenders of the Earth (1986-87) Animated Series Mandrake then had a major role in the newly formed Defenders of the Earth team, which was portrayed in animated series, which saw King Features prominent comic strip heroes, forming a group to defend earth from the mischief makers. The series was aired from 1986-87, and is still very popular on DVDs, among comics fans.

Original MandrakeSoft Logo MandrakeSoft: In 1998, when I had started my career in the Information Technology, there was a huge euphoria around Linux based Operating Systems. Many a companies were formed, among which one company attracted my attention, due to its name.

It was a French company called MandrakeSoft, who had named their Linux version as Mandrake Linux. I used to wonder, whether they had sought necessary permission to use the comic character name, because their logo was clearly resembling the comic version. But I never bothered to check further details.

While working on this post, I came to know that in 2003, there was a legal suit launched by King Feature Syndicates on MandrakeSoft, alleging copyright infringement, which the later ultimately lost. The company then changed their name as as Mandriva, after the court ruling. Seems publishers aren’t budging even a bit on aspects, which may demean their command over the world famous comic brand names.

Feature Film: In 2007, it was announced that Omega Entertainment, had acquired the rights to make a new move on Mandrake the Magician, and it was touted to be a 2009 release. Jonathan Meyers was drafted in as the lead actor, while Chuck Russell has been given the directorial duties. The movie is currently on hold, and the reasons for them are unknown, but it might be linked to Meyers history of addiction to alcohol and his legal run-downs. Hopefully, the movie would come out as planned, and honour the legendary creation of Lee Falk, which has long been pending for a reasonable movie credits. Does anyone remember that pathetic Phantom movie?


Old Mandrake and Lothar (Donalid Soffriti)And that brings us to the close of our lengthy Mandrake post. And before we close, I hope there are many of us who would have thought what would happen to our dear old comic characters, when they reach the old age (even though it would never happen as far as the fantasy world is considered)?

Well, here is a humorous take on our very own Mandrake & Lothar, by the cartoonist Donald Soffiritti. He has quite a few of those funnies on other comic characters on his weblog. Have a look, and laugh your guts out Tongue out. Adios Amigos !

References: Mandrake’s Wikipedia Article | Lee Falk’s Wikipedia Article | Phil Davis Lambiek Profile | Leon Mandrake’s Angelfire Article | Deepwood’s Mandrake Daily Strip List


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