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Showing posts with label Uyirai Thedi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Uyirai Thedi. Show all posts

Jan 4, 2009

Siruvar Malar – FlashBack | 1986

I bet all the Comicologists are really spending some quality time with the near and dear ones, in this holiday season.  In keeping with the same spirit, this is a New Year Surprise Post for all Comicologists.

So far the pattern adopted at Comicology has been to brief and review the new titles or issues released in India, with a detailed link-up to the previous titles related to the reviewed issue.  That has been the case so far with Lion Comics, Muthu Comics, CineBook, Euro Books, Gotham Comics, etc. reviewed so far, and will continue to find their presence in Comicology.  Just to make things interesting, and to break-away from any trend-set, this post will start my long planned “Flash Back Events”, where we will cover some famous Comics initiatives and series released in the past.

870109 Siruvar  Malar 00 Siruvar Malar (09-Jan-87)

First-up the order will be one of my most cherished collection from childhood, Siruvar Malar (சிறுவர் மலர்), a Children's magazine in Tamil (தமிழ்), which started it run in 1986 as a Free Weekly Supplement to the Tamil Newspaper (தமிழ் நாளிதழ்), Dina-Malar (தின மலர்) on Fridays

(My estimates say that the first edition was launched in Oct’86. Unfortunately, I don’t possess this 1st edition.  Any Comicologists, having the same could contact me through email to update this post with 1st edition cover.)

Dinamalar that time was considered as the 2nd most widely read Newspaper in the Southern Indian State, Tamil Nadu.  They earlier had huge success with an another Weekly, titled Vaaramalar (வார மலர்) released every Sunday, which was also provided for free.  Eventhough there were countless newspapers which tried to imitate this Free Weekly Supplements on different days, no one was able to emulate the success owned by Dinamalar.

So there was no surprises when they launched their second successful Weekly supplement in form on Siruvar Malar, this time to addressed to the younger audience, and children's.

This was the same time I grew up reading and dissecting anything with pictures in a magazine, (obviously inspired by the erstwhile Rani Comics introduced by my brother), and it was a not a surprise that I immediately fell in love with Siruvar Malar from the very first time.

There was a lot of carefully planned USP (Unique Selling Proposition) in Siruvar Malar to attract young minds, even though it was a free edition.  It had everything which a kid could dream of:

  • Comic Strips
  • Stories
  • Riddles
  • Competitions
Dinamalar claiming #2 Position
900202 Advt
Advt in Siruvar Malar (02-Feb-90)

The covers of Siruvar Malar initially carried foreign pictures, which was quickly changed to feature pictures from kids in Tamil Nadu, to make them touch-base with local crowd.  I still remember those days when every family wanted to send their kids picture for a possible cover feature in the future issues.  

They had tied up with the famous Northern Indian publisher, Uncle Pai inspired, Amar Chitra Katha (ACK) from Mumbai (formerly Bombay), to bring and introduce Tamil translated version of their wonderfully drawn and scripted storylines from Mythology, History, and Humour genre.  In fact, my first experiment with ACK was through this medium.

870403 Siruvar  Malar 00
Siruvar Malar (03-Apr-87)
870501 Siruvar  Malar 00
Siruvar Malar (01-May-87)
890310 Siruvar Malar 00
Siruvar Malar (10-Mar-89)

But there was also an another star attraction to Siruvar Malar in terms of Comic Strip, with their International licensing to bring Tamil translated version of some famous comic series.  Siruvar Malar was originally launched as a 16 page supplement.  But as per the readers demand it was quickly increased to double size, and that marked a new beginning, which let them to feature some international comic strips in their weekly.  Look at the announcement from the Editor on the same, and a preview of a list of Comic Series which were started with the double-sized issue debut.

Since, the erstwhile Indrajal Comics released by Times of India stable, was more famous and larger in size with their American Daily-Strips based issues featuring Phantom, Flash Gordon, Mandrake, etc., the team of Siruvar Malar kept their reliance on them to a little extent by featuring a single page occasionally for Mandrake and Flash Gordon in their Weekly. 

Instead they set their eyes on the some of the untouched Comic Series from the Golden Generation of British Comics.  Comicologists would take a note that famous Tamil language based Muthu Comics from Prakash Publishers thrived on this market for a long-time introducing to us some famous characters like Steel Claw, The Spider, and Archie etc.  But, their concentration was on a “Super Hero” devoted storyline, by means of which they could engage their publication by printing their series of adventures for a long time.

870403 Editor Note
Editor’s Note on the Double Size launch Siruvar Malar (01-May-87)

But, Golden Era of British Comics, was not only made up of Super Heroes.

There were some more one-off series, which were rich of script, artwork, with fair mix of creepy plots.  Comicologists would again remember that Thigil Comics, an sister publication of Lion/Muthu Comics publishers, tried publishing these series, but couldn’t do that successfully, as the brand was withdrawn with a short run.

891027 Siruvar  Malar 00
Siruvar Malar (02-Feb-90)
Siruvar Malar (27-Jun-08)
Siruvar Malar (26-Dec-08)

Siruvar Malar, was the first to touch-base on this one-off British Comic series by bringing them over to the Tamil Comics fans.  And these series will form the base for our initial reviews to be featured as part of the “Flash-Back Post Series” about Siruvar Malar at Comicology.

As a kid, I remember those days when I was eagerly anticipating every Friday, in order to read the Siruvar Malar, first-up.  There was a basic understanding among family members, that being the youngest, I would be the first to read the Siruvar Malar on Friday, while the eldest will have the rights for that honour with Vaara Malar on Sundays.  Those were days of utmost fun and lasting memories, and here is a chance for me to re-experience them.

First-up the order, in our series of Siruvar Malar review, is one of the most famous creepy and a lengthy series ever featured in Siruvar Malar, or in fact, any other Tamil comics magazines; Uyirai Thedi (உயிரை தேடி).  Ever since I read about a new BBC series starting in UK, called Survivor, at the BackfromDepth website, the original of which was an inspiration to this comic series, I had been thinking long and hard to collect the old Siruvar Malar archives to blog about the same.  Now, with the arrangements ready, we could talk about the series in detail with our coming FlashBack posts.  Till then here is a preview of what’s in store for you.  I am confident this is going to take you back in your memory lane, if you had actually read this series in Siruvar Malar back in those days.

Uyirai Thedi Preview

As an end note, Dinamalar still continues to hold onto his position among the growing competition in the Newspaper media, greatly strengthened by their subscription base.  They also have been continuously releasing their Siruvar Malar (a scene evident with the 2009 edition featured above), supplement along with Vaara Malar.  But the qualities which made the Original Siruvar Malar stand out from the rest, is now nowhere to be seen, as it is mostly occupied with local stories and artworks.  No wonder, they remain underground. 

But, it’s still a good gift for the children's.  Especially for those who miss out on these editions for whatever reasons, can browse through, for downloading e-Books of past Siruvar Malar issues.  Dinamalar team has to be commended for making it available for free.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post, as much as I enjoyed writing it.  If so, why not share your views, reviews about this post using the Comment section below?  I would be eager to read them.  Until the next post, enjoy your holiday season.

UPDATE (03/09): The first part of Survival aka Uyirai Thedi is current available at Comicology, on this page.


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