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

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 !!

Dec 31, 2009

Vimanika Comics - Moksha | The Sixth | #2 | 2009

It’s been long, since we last reviewed an Indian Comics initiative in detail. If you count-off the old classics like Tinkle and ACK, it’s indeed been quite a long time since we reviewed one such. In fact, it was exactly this same month, a year back, and it was about an initiative from the new kid on the block, Vimanika Comics, talking of their debut release (#0 & #1).

So, it is fitting that, when we thought of reviewing another title to close out the year 2009, we choose the #2 set from their stable, which was released early this year. So, without further adieu, here is the Moksha and The Sixth, with their second instalment.

Vimanika Comics: Moksha #2 Moksha #2 CoverMay 2009 | 32 Pgs | INR 40 | B5 | Color | Paperback

If you recollect, Moksha #1 detailed the re-entry of Lord Hanuman in the timeless valleys of Hindukush Mountains, as he saves little girl, Indi, and turns the guardian angel for her.

The issue also previewed the arrival of Parashuram, the other central character of the series, as he got a pupil Vimanika's depiction of Hellish Hellhimself, as he saves the Ashram from the clutches of evil forces.

Issue #2, picks up from the plot, where a Darker force re-enters the forbidden valleys, trying to stake its claim as the new master of underworld.

His first target, a place where the tortured souls lay rest, Hell ruled by Yamraj. And his goal, the incredibly powerful scythe.

By the time Yamraj knows about this hideous task, the darker force seems to have wasted the guards and retrieves his crown jewel, and makes way for its exit.

Indrajit Enters When the reserve guards try to unsuccessfully stop him on his course, the dark force is revealed as the Indrajeet, the son of demonic warlord Ravana, who was considered killed for good in the battle depicted in the Ramayana epic.

Meanwhile, distant memories haunt the Hanuman, as the visions of Sita’s Hanuman's Vision of Sita's Trialtrial on the court of Rama, flashes on his mind, as he witnesses the remains of Indi’s father, go up in flames. Hanuman promises that he would be the saviour of Indi, no matter what befalls on her.

Elsewhere, confusion reigns at the deserted plains where the Ashram of the Bhargawas (a sect in Brahmins) is located. The war of  words breaks out between the Brahmin sheers, and Parashuram, who has put an halt in there, on his voyage. Brahmins clearly don’t approve of Parashuram’s bloody ways, and call him as a threat to their teachings.

Parashuram defends his waysParashuram defends his methods, and warns them that the growing unrest Troubled clowds gatherwith Veesachs (a demonic group), is something to be faced with stiff action.

Just as he walks out of the ashram, he witnesses a sudden change in the weather, which forecasts evil. The same is witnessed by Hanuman too from the other side of the plain. Moksha #2 comes to a close, as the untold danger approaches.

Clearly the Moksha #2, is one of the best initiatives to have gone on the Graphic Novels class of India, 029in the past year. Eventhough, it can’t be termed as a GN, considering that it’s supposed to be a bi-monthly issue, spanning only 32 pages, the concept and the delivery are top-notch.

Guided under the watchful eyes of Karan Vir, the chief visionary of Vimanika, the script of little known Arnab Das, has been vivaciously brought to real life with the art of Dheeraj Verma. No wonder he was rated highly, when he joined Vimanika’s crew.

For examples, look at the depiction of the Hell by Dheeraj, which adorns the first page of the issue. Or the lavishing page, bringing the Court of Rama. The richness shows on the characterizations too, for instance the look of Yamaraj, has been given a touch of class.

Vimanika's Indrajeet DC's The Spectre At the same time, you can’t help but notice the similarity of Indrajeet’s look, with DC’s The Spectre. But, then again, even if it was intentional, don’t they say “Imitation is the best form of Flattery”? But the core lies, in the way, the character has been given a overhaul, with an Indian panache. Something, which has made it stand-out from the rest.

Golden Cursor Animation Awards 2009

The creative team has to be commended for mapping a whole new style of story-telling for Moksha. Now only time will tell, whether they would be able to keep the tempo and quality for the further instalments, which are due in the new year.

Recently Moksha was also in the news, as they received the newly constituted Golden Cursor Awards, for the year 2009. So, they have really set some balls rolling with their creation. Let’s hope the momentum is maintained, if not bettered.

The second one from Vimanika is The Sixth, which is supposed to hold the bigger brother status among the two. Did it really live upto the billing? is something which we will judge, after looking into the instalment.

The Sixth #2 continues the adventures and exploits of Karan Vir, as he tries to explore his roots, in order to know the reason behind his mysterious survival, from a terrorist attack on his life, which took place in Chicago Airport (Sixth #1).

Vimanika Comics: Sixth #2 The Sixth #2 coverMay 2009 | 32 Pgs | INR 40 | B5 | Color | Paperback

The exploration brings him to India, to the state of Punjab, and on his way to visit his childhood home, he faces a group Dev Daljit Singh in actionof men blocking the road, with a Sardar named Dev Daljit Singh, in the midst of action.

The well-built Dev, was about to massacre one of his attackers, as Karan intervenes to try restoring some peace.

Upon knowing that the conflict, was a result of a unpaid rent by Dev, Karan immediately volunteers to pay, to put the things to rest. Despite Karan’s help, Dev stays apprehensive about his money wielding habit.

Karan is denied access Moving on to his childhood home, an old mansion, located in the outskirts, Karan is denied access to enter the place, from an elderly figure. Karan knows that his long lost family still is located in there, but Divya, his secretary, consoles him that it could be because of his long absence.

On his road trip, Karan is haunted by a mysterious figure in his dreams, which reminds him again about his Karan is haunted by  Illusionsgoal, of Dev makes a Bollywood Stuntfinding who he really is. Karan is awaken by a road block, which brings two hooded  characters, who are hell bent on teaching him lessons for his intrusions in their land grabbing plans.

He gets an surprise aid from Dev, while despite the injury suffered on the attack, Karan suddenly shows phenomenal strength by stopping a barging tractor. Karan then decides to hire Dev as his bodyguard, and they leave Singhania entersenroute to Bihar, a place which Karan terms as the city of Knowledge and Wisdom.

As the Sixth #2 closes, the scene shifts back to New York City, as a business tycoon, and a supposedly gang lord, named Kuru Pratap Singhania, is introduced as the chief conspirator, behind the land acquisitions happening in the places, where incidentally Karan finds himself.

Frankly speaking, Sixth #2 is a great disappointment to me as a reader. The script certainly, is a big let-down, as there is no connectivity between plots and characters which are interwoven, with a lot of emphasize on action, then storytelling. A Bollywood style entry for Dev, and Singhania, doesn’t help the matter either. Arnab Das, really could have worked harder.

Dheeraj's Editorial To make things difficult, the artwork of Dheeraj Verma, who did a remarkable work on Moksha #2, fails to live up-to the expectation. Some panels are better illustrated, but the consistency is lagging, throughout this 32 page adventure, which at some places is clearly goes begging, for improvement.

In the end, it seems the overwork of Dheeraj, as he simultaneously had to illustrate both Moksha and Sixth’s instalment, had put the artwork of Sixth wanting (which he admits in his editorial). With the jumbled script, it couldn’t have gone worse.

Neither Arnab or Dheeraj no more work for Vimanika, but, it isn’t the end of the road, as Karan promises that the next issue of Sixth, is going to be a better product. In fact, it would be a full blown Graphic Novel, by the name of Legend of Karna, or LOK, as he likes it to be called.

The issue is currently out, and I had the chance to experience it, and should agree that it’s a phenomenal achievement, way better than any of Vimanika’s earlier attempts. But then again, it’s a topic for a different post, so we will see about that in the new year.

"Vimanika is pretty careful in not diluting the mythological legends, while devising their plots. In short, they stay close to the source, and invent within a rigid boundaries."

While taking an overall check, Sixth and Moksha #2, are indeed a way better instalments, despite their shortcoming, then the #1 set which came out last year.

There are some remarkable improvements, especially in the editorial, as the spelling mistakes, which was quite a sore sight in #0 or #1 issues, has now been taken care of, as renowned former Marvel editor, Nel Yamatov, freelanced for Moksha #3 LOK #1the #2 set. But, still those glaring spelling mistakes could be found in the other feature pages, which I am sure wouldn’t have passed Yamatov’s care :).

Both Moksha and Sixth #2 issues are currently available on sale in newsstands, with a bonus free #0 issue accompanying the package. So, pick them up if you would like to catch up on the action, before the #3 issues hit the stands.

Here are the Previews, for Moksha #3 and Sixth #3 (which would incidentally be LOK #1). I will leave to make your call, on the breathtaking Cover arts. I love them, and eagerly looking forward for the same.

With this I end our Vimanika #2 set review post, which had been long pending. I now feel a shy of relief, as I had to come up with a lot of excuses to Karan of Vimanika, for the post’s whereabouts. At the end of the day, whether he would a pleased man, with this review, is something which only he could reveal to all :)New Year 2010 FireworksAnd before I close, Tinkle Happy New Year 2010Wish you all a Happy New Year 2010, my friends.

New Year 2010May more and more comics shower at your doorsteps, and you be richer by more wealth and joy at your disposal :). Remember to spend quality time with your family, but also remember to chase your own dreams, at your own rights.

Here is a Tinkle Greeting, which I received today, and thought would be a nice way to share the joy, with some of the favourite characters, who made our childhood memories sweeter. Adios Amigos !!


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