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

Jun 3, 2010

Graphix – Bone #5-9 | Smith & Hamaker | 2010

When it rains, it pours” says an often used English idiom. While that isn’t the literal case with the season we are being subjected to in the Indian cities, it’s aptly applies to Jeff Smith’s Bone series publications in India.

Yes, the long awaited Bone’s final set have come to the Indian stores, and I for one is happy as ever to read the conclusion to these anthropomorphic Bone cousins’ saga, in full blown colour.

The first set, consisting of Bone #1 to #4, was released by Scholastic’s Indian arm, under their imprint Graphix, back in 2008. At the time of their Indian release, Bone #9, the last collection of this Scholastic series, was undergoing their new colouring effort, and we were wondering here at Comicology, that the remaining titles would be released along with the #9, once that is made available to the US stores.

Colored Bone #9, eventually hit the stores in US on Jan 2009, and my hope of seeing the sets in India soon, were doubled. But, as it turned out it took more than a year for Scholastic to bring their last instalment of Bone sets to India.

Bone Saga's Main Characters

Reasons are unknown of the delay, which could be debated from the slow sales of these items off the store racks, or the relative popularity these Bone Cousins enjoy among Indian comic fans. But, it was sure that some concerns were related to the Indian prints, which has made Scholastic to adopt a safer Hooded One, Kingdok and Rat Creaturesmethod this time around, by procuring the second set directly from their Singapore editions.

The package, size and format remains the same, with the quality of the papers being the only difference. While the Indian Prints (#1 to #4) were thinner, the new set have more thicker quality papers, but still they are both comparable in terms of  the glossy paper quality. And to maintain the standards, they are being priced at the same range of INR 350 each.

We had discussed the steep price during our last post, but I still  believe that the world renowned characters, who are now available to us in brand new colored avatars, deserve that price tag.

So, without further adieu, let’s move on to our preview of these 5 titles of Bone.

Scholastic Graphix: Bone #5
Rock Jaw – Master of the Eastern Border Bone (Scholastic) #5ISBN: 978-0-439-70636-0
2010 | 116 Pgs | INR 350 | C5 | Color | Paperback

Bone #5, titled Rock Jaw, carries the Bone Cousins to the Eastern borders in their quest to take the Rat creature, named now as Bartleby (a character, which recently made it to the MTV list), and chronicles their encounters with the Big mountain lion, Roque Jaw (Chapter 1), often mistakenly pronounced as Rock Jaw, much to his irritation.

Book 5 Inner PageIn total Bone #5 comprises of 5 exact chapters where they get new allies in form of The Orphans (Chapter 2), and also discover the Rat Creature Temple (Chapter 3) along with the unlikely duo of Stupid Stupid Rat Creatures.

Further down they fall victim to the mysterious Ghost Circles (Chapter 4) with a special face-to-face encounter with Kingdok and his hoard, as the volume comes to the close with a final answer to the Call of the Wild (Chapter 5) for their little Bartleby.

The encounters with the Stupid Stupid Rat Creatures and the monstrous Rock Jaw are a out and out laughter package, which is sure to tickle your funny bone.

Scholastic Graphix: Bone #6
Old Man’s Cave Bone (Scholastic) #6 I
SBN: 978-0-439-70635-3
2010 | 118 Pgs | INR 350 | C5 | Color | Paperback

Book #6, titled Old Man’s Cave, starts with a Prologue of Cranky Groundhog, where Fone Bone and Smiley Bone try to find their way back to the valley, to be close to their dear friends.

While back in the valley the long murmured showdown between Book 6 Inner Pagethe Rat Creatures and the Valley people had started, with the first round being won by the demonic creatures, as the secret of The Hollow Tree (Chapter 1) is revealed to the readers.

Thorn turns out the Guardian angel to lost Bone cousins in Dragons in the Earth (Chapter 2), while they try escaping the menace of Ghost Circles, through Thorn’s newly discovered power of Protection Spell (Chapter 3), as they defy Grandma’s order and try to chart a new path of their own.

Back near the sanctuary of Stick Eaters, where the Valley people have retreated, their trusted ally Lucius is befooled by a Wolf Call (Chapter 4), as the Blood Moon (Chapter 5) night arrives for a pinnacle showdown between Hooded One and Grandma Ben, with Bones and Thorn playing an important role in the final outcome.

Scholastic Graphix: Bone #7
Ghost Circles Bone (Scholastic) #7 
ISBN: 978-0-439-70634-6
2010 | 150 Pgs | INR 350 | C5 | Color | Paperback

Bone #7, titled Ghost Circles, starts of with a heart-rendering Prologue of Jonathan, who at his last bed, repents his actions, which casts suspicions over the loyalty of Lucius.

Back at the Old Man’s Cave, a bloody war ensures between the  Good and the Bad, sounding the End Times (Chapter 1). Book 7 Inner PageThorn along with Grandma Ben, leads the Bone Cousins, for her final assault on the Rat Creatures stronghold, as The Promise (Chapter 2) is revealed, and Darker Truths (Chapter 3), comes out to open.

Battle with the blood thirsty Rat creatures, turns to Snap! Crackle! Pop! (Chapter 4) action, and Thorn and Fone Bone, manage to enter the mysterious Ghost Circles, to find out the voices of Root Cellar (Chapter 5), which gives them the necessary direction to face the evil looming at their path.

As they approach the Rat Creatures stronghold, for one final battle, Thorn and company, discover the Prayer Stones (Chapter 6) erected for the Dragon shrines, and their meanings are revealed.

Scholastic Graphix: Bone #8
Treasure Hunters Bone (Scholastic) #8 
ISBN: 978-0-439-70633-9
2010 | 136 Pgs | INR 350 | C5 | Color | Paperback

Bone #8, titled Treasure Hunters, brings Phoney Bone and his ever bright business minds back to the fore, but not before Lucius gets his own due with a Prologue dedicated to him.

The travelling party of Thorn and company, reach the Gate of Atheia (Chapter 1), the place where the Old Kingdom once was Book 8 Inner Pageruled by Thorn’s forefathers, who commanded the Valley and beyond.

What now resides there is a corrupt government, and mysterious areas covered with The Cold Spot (Chapter 2), for the evils to traverse between Dream and Awakened Worlds.

Meanwhile, Smiley Bone and the reunited Bartleby, turn out to be good Pals (Chapter 3), inside the gates of Atheia. While, Fone Bone along with the trouble-maker Phoney Bone, faces the romantic battle of love and affection, with the To Be or Not to Bee (Chapter 4), question looming large.

Inside the gates of Atheia, a secret meeting of the old loyalists Bone and the Valleytake place, with Thorn finally being briefed about her queen mother, nicknamed Moonwort (Chapter 5). She was apparently killed by the Rat Creatures, which ultimately led to the end of their family’s rein over the old kingdom.

Thorn finally reveals that her search is aimed for the The Crown of Horns (Chapter 6), which is said to be the key to defeat the demon lord of Locusts, who is on a quest to resurrect himself, for a rule over the Valley and beyond.

With dark clouds looming around the city, Rat Creatures gather at the Gate of Atheia, for a final assault for control. Thorn and Grandma now find themselves, in the midst of a bloody battle.

Scholastic Graphix: Bone #9
Crown of Horns Bone (Scholastic) #9
ISBN: 978-0-439-70632-2
2010 | 214 Pgs | INR 350 | C5 | Color | Paperback

Book #9, the final volume of this Bone saga titled Crown of Horns, starts off with the recollection of the Thorn’s childhood in The Dungeon and The Parapet (Chapter 1), which is the second biggest chapter of the entire Bone series.

The full blown chapter details the bloody war between the Rat Book 9 Inner Pagecreatures and their allies, and the rejuvenated but outnumbered forces of Atheia, making their final stand on behalf of the human kind.

An Insert of Mim (Chapter 2), the first Dragon queen, is briefed in a short chapter, before Thorn reveals that the Ghost Circles which surrounds the city into an unbreakable magic cover has some Gaps (Chapter 3), using which they believe that they can bring some much needed help from their allies at Old Man’s Cave, who unknowing to them are facing a handful of problems on their own.

Escape from the City (Chapter 4), then details Thorn and company’s escapade using these Gaps, as they desperately try to get some sort of helping hands in their battle against the evil. But unknowingly Bone 41 (Original Cover)to Grandma, Thorn maps her own path to Chamber of Horns (Chapter 5), to put an end to the menace in toto.

Bone 45 (Original Cover)What happens is then the final battle of good vs evil, in another lengthy chapter (Chapter 5) of the volume 9 (which even outnumbers Chapter 1 of the same book in terms of numbers), with the readers having to witness the familiar climax of many a fairytales unfold before their very eyes.

Homecoming (Chapter 6), is a dedicated to Lucius, the martyr of the blood war, where he is sent on his final voyage back to his hometown for a royal burial. Joining them on their entourage are Bone cousins, who embark on their own mission back to Boneville, with Thorn & Grandma joining to see them off.

Bone 48 (Original Cover)A small chapter of Solstice (Chapter 7), is also inserted in this volume, which briefly recites the Christmas enjoyed by this travel party, on their voyage.

River Crossing (Chapter 8), finishes of the Bone saga, with the Bones reaching their mark for a farewell, with Thorn and Grandma giving them the send-off. Unknowing to them, Phoney Bone has managed to scalp the treasure of Atheia, as he tries to smuggle them out as the culmination of his long standing mission.

"Despite the cover of the last issue of the original run, portrays Red Dragon asking us to keep mum; the ending of this Bone saga would be debated for long and hard, by those who followed the series through the 90’s and beyond the millennium”

Does he get the support of his allies Smiley and the do-gooder Fone, or do they become his nemesis, is unravelled in the final pages as the readers give a farewell to the Bone Saga, which redefined the thin line between Comics and Graphic Novels for over a decade.

Bone 55 (Original Cover)But, did the ending really satisfy the Bone readers to the fullest? I have my own reservations, and despite Jeff Smith claiming that he had the ending planned even before he started drawing his first album, I still don’t think that end was as he had envisioned originally, at least to the true essence of it. It was abrupt, and doesn’t bode well for the legacy set by the early adventures of Bone.

Nevertheless, despite the cover of the Original #55 issue of Bone, portrays a Red Drag asking us to keep mum, the ending of this Bone saga would be debated for long and hard as long, by those who followed the series for the whole of 90’s and beyond the millennium.

Jeff SmithCREATORS CORNER: Jeff Smith

We have spoken a whole lot about Jeff Smith in our two earlier blog posts about One of Jeff Smith's earlier Daily StripsBone, here and here, but he never seizes to amaze me, each time I read more about his path to glory.

From a $7 per day strip maker, to a man who owns a fledgling comics business entity, his story is an inspiration for all those aspiring comic fans, who like to make their own cut.

Jeff Smith, Vijaya Iyer, and their Bone empireJeff now devotes his time between guest talks in comics forums around the world, and writing and drawing his new adventure series, RASL. But, Bone continues to be his hallmark achievement, and now is a study material in many of the schools in his country.

Recently, he won in his favour a Minnesota review committee ruling, which was in response to a petition filed by a kid’s mom, to ban Bone based story telling from school syllabus. The reasons given - the Bone volumes portrayed violence, gambling, and drinking in its earlier episodes.

Anyone who had read Bone series would stand against those allegations, so there was no wonder the judgement turned in the favour of Smith and company.

Steve HamakerCREATORS CORNER: Steve Hamaker

Even though this collection of Bone series is not new, as it was only a re-issue version of the 9 Steve Hamaker breathes colors into Bonevolume Bone collection released by Jeff Smith’s own Cartoon Books, which in-turn collected the 55 edition single issues; where it standsout is in the breathtaking color rendition by the incredibly talented Steve Hamaker, who breathed his life and soul into turning a classic into a modern day Graphic Novel standard.

Bone had achieved a cult state, even before Hamaker came into the picture. But, he made the turnaround, which resulted in Bone now being introduced into schools in United States, as a medium of teaching. Steve Hamaker was recently nominated for Eisner Awards, for his works on Bone’s latest volumes, which incidentally was his 4th for this esteemed recognition in comics industry.

As a tribute to his work, I could only do my part by dedicating the creativity rights of Bone, by naming him along with Jeff in the title of this Bone post. You deserved it fella !


And that completes our Bone run at Comicology, and if you haven’t read it, now is a chance to read them all in one go. So, head to your nearest book store, or sit and order it from your online store.

Nevertheless, Enjoy the reading, Adios Amigos !

Mar 31, 2010

Siruvar Malar – Faceache | Survival #12-22

Have you heard about Ponzo Illusion, introduced by an Italian psychologist op_illusion_6who lent his name to theory? Well, it says that “a human mind, judges an object based on its background”.

I hope to weave the same magic, to hide my on and off presence off late, by bringing back a post series started way back at Comicology, in fact at the start of 2009. Yes, I am indeed talking about the longest running Children’s weekly in Tamil magazines, Siruvar Malar, and the longest ever comic series published during its golden run (more about it in the later part of the post).

We had seen the legacy Siruvar Malar enjoyed during its golden run, in our Intro post, and also had noted about some of the changes it went through during that famed period, notably a successful conversion to a 32 page supplement, from a 16 page one, which was then considered a luxury for a free issue, like Siruvar Malar.

Siruvar Malar Latest LogoSiruvar Malar’s sudden change from a 16 page supplement to a 32 page supplement, meant that they  needed much more material to fill up their pages. Their deal with Rang Rekha Features comics syndicate, which owned the stories copyrighted by ACK & Tinkle, was getting redundant and too stereotypical, and they were never the one to trust the local artists to create their own stories, especially considering that theirs was a free supplemental issue.

So they naturally turned onto their existing tie-up’s with the British genre, which had much to offer from their olden goldies, quite notably from their famous humour series, which made the kids and the young ones from the Queen’s country in that era, to laugh their heart’s content.

To mark the April Fools Day, let’s look into one of the mischievous characters from that famed stable, who decorated the Siruvar Malar’s editions week after week.

Faceache: One of the first humour strips they managed to feature in Siruvar Malar, was Faceache, which Faceache in transformationhas its origins dating as back to 1971. Faceache followed the funny Reid's Faceacheepisodes of a boy named Ricky Rubberneck, who was a student at Belmonte School.

Rubberneck had a weird gift, using which he could shape his face to  any form, aided by the stretchable skin, which works as if its is made out of Rubber, and bendable face bones.

Most of the original strips of the series, were shown as him using his weird gift, to escape the punishments from his headmaster, Mr.Snipe, and to get to safety from the angered ones, most likely by his antiques.

Faceache was created by one of the talented British Comics writer and artist, Ken Reid, for the erstwhile Jet magazine, published by Fleetway, decorating its first issue, released on May 1, 1971.

Ken ReidCreator’s Corner: Ken Reid (1919-1987), was a born artist. He had a natural flare towards drawing right from his toddler age. Hailing from Manchester, one of UK’s biggest city, he lived a typical British kid’s childhood, drooling over the Comics which were available freely in the market, such as Funny Wonder and Illustrated Chips.

Right near to his completion of studies in the Art school, the artist in him refused to wait any longer, as he left his institute, and started a freelance studio, at a age of 17. By his own admittance, he never saw his dream of the publishers running to him into fruition, and he was forced to go to the streets and meet the publishers instead. After numerous unsuccessful attempts trying to penetrate the huge walls of publishing offices, he eventually met his erstwhile employers at Manchester Evening News (MEN).

It was a pure lucky, as right at the same time MEN was planning on launching a children section in Fudge Annual 1939their newspaper, and Elf in ColorReid was also asked to submit his own idea. After numerous attempts, Reid created his first comic series, and arguably his most famous one, in The Adventures of Fudge the Elf.

Reid never failed to acknowledge that his creation Fudge was inspired by Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse (you can see the similarity in the face). Fudge made its appearance in Evening News on April 7, 1938, and Reid was a proud owner of a comic strip series even before his 20s.

Fudge was an instant success, spawning 6 annuals, and numerous branded representations from Dolls, to kids wear. It continued to appear uninterrupted until Reid was drafted into the World War in 1941, like many other artists of his time, in the process suspending the series until 1946, when Reid eventually returned.

Post World War, Reid went to discover newer horizons, from illustrated work to full fledged comics, through Amalgamated Press (more famously known to us as Fleetway), the legendary comic book publisher of his era. Before he could establish himself in their comic magazine Comic Cuts, AP folded their business, and Reid found himself in the rival company, DC Thomson, by the fag end of 1953.

Roger the Dodger DC Thomson, that time had just started to fill in the vacant spot left by AP, and Reid was placed along with a host of newly acquired artists talent pool, shaping their comic magazine, The Beano. It turned out to be a master stroke, as The Beano turned DC Thomson’s fortune, becoming their most selling magazine ever.

At DC Thomson, Reid created his first prankster based comic character Roger the Dodger. The popularity of the series prompted, his bosses to give him the chance of creating more comics series, and filling in for other long running series too. In this process, Reid found himself drawing for DC Thomson’s another comic magazine, The Dandy. During this phase, he created a number of comic series for DC Thomson, namely Little Angel Face, Grandpa, Bing-Bang Benny, Ali Ha-Ha, Big Head & Thick Head, and Jinx.

Jonah Comic Series This was also the same time, when Reid created his personal favourite, and considered by many of his fans as his biggest achievement - a story about a goofy looking mariner named Jonah, who had the hardest lady luck of sinking any ship he sets his foot-in. Jonah made its debut in The Beano, on 15 March 1958, and was a trendsetter of sorts.

Reid not only used a different humorous art style for the series, he also introduced some of the firsts in the field of humour comics in UK. He enhanced the scripts (which were written by Fearne) and made more elaborate artwork; decided to carry over story of the strips continued from one week to another; added real life caricatures of Beano’s and DC Thomson’s editors as part of its characters. He had the full support of his Editors, as they believed that it’s a direction which would take them to newer horizons.

Reid’s work on Jonah turned out to be his trendsetter for all of his upcoming series, both in terms of art style, and also in terms of humour based storytelling.  No wonder Jonah even toppled Dennis the Menace, for the top spot in UK’s popularity chart, during its famed run.

All the while during these creations, Reid only worked for DC Thomson on per page contract of freelancing, which gave him a chance to move to another company named Odhams in 1964, and later to, what is considered as a comics heaven for all British Comics fans, the IPC Magazines in 1969.

FaceAche Firstever Strip in 1971 Creation of Faceache: IPC was the place where Reid created the comic character, known to all of us, as Faceache. Reid used his famous art style pioneered through Jonah series, to telling effect in Faceache.

Initially Faceache, used to carry his Rubberneck name, but eventually Faceacheknown only as Faceache, to suit the series title. As the series progressed, Faceache’s ability was given a form of shape shifting feature, from a mere a kid who can make funny faces with his bone muscles.

Whatever, the plot it was made out to be, Faceache, enjoyed a successful run, which started from 1971, in the first issue of Jet magazine, and then later on in the merged entity as Buster.

The popularity of Faceache was such that Reid didn’t allow other comics magazines to mimic its success. He instead another comic character in the Marthas Monster Makeupsame lines of Faceache, this time with a female character in the lead, Martha’s Monster Make-up.

But Faceache remained the original and dear to the fans, and it continued its famed run continuously until 1987, when Reid passed away due to a fatal heart attack. It should be noted that during his heart attack, Reid was actually working on another episode of Faceache, says more about this acclaimed artists dedication to his work.

"I admit that sometimes simply got carried away things.  I’ve always had trouble just drawing a script as it is written.  This usually means lots more work on my part, and that’s why I’m not rich. 

I simply like to take what has been sent to me and do the best possible job I can do with it, even if it is a lot more work.

Ken Reid
on why he took more time for his works

After his demise, the series was illustrated by Frank McDiarmid (who has now given Buster Gang: Top Row: Crowjack, Snooper | Middle Row: Val and her Vanashing Cream, Tony Broke, Clever Dick, A ghost from Rent-a-ghost |  Bottom Row: Ivor Lott, Chalky, Face Ache, Scruffy Doug and Shaggy Dog, Tom Boyaway his hopes of illustrating comics anymore), and was scripted by writers Roy Davies and Derek Skinn.

But the series without Reid was never going to be successful, and it was folded with a last episode appearing on October 1, 1988 in Buster.

Ken Reid with his famous creationKen Reid was honoured as the Best Writer and Best Artist by the British Society of Strip Illustrators in 1978. More than the awards he will always live in the hearts of all British comic lovers, for his dedicated work and the weird world fantasies he introduced to them.

For a detailed read on Ken Reid’s work, refer to these wonderfully written articles:

  • An in-depth look into the life & works of Reid on Comics UK website
  • A dedicated website on Reid’s earliest work - Fudge The Elf
  • Fellow blogger and comics artist Peter Gray’s archives of Ken Reid's World-Wide Wierdies 
    (says a lot about Reid’s different take on the monuments of the world)
  • Ken Reid’s Obituary on Manchester Evening News, the magazine which introduced this great artist to the world.

Thanks to them for helping me on this write-up on the greatest humour comic creator from UK, and also for the original images sourced from there.

idea_light_bulb UPDATE (June ‘10): Some more of Faceache’s wonderful adventures from its Buster run, including a rare appearance on the cover of Buster (which incidentally talks about Faceache’s love life), and another 2 page adventure (which breaks away from the traditional 1 page format), are here for your reading pleasure. Courtesy: Scanarama

Faceache on Buster Cover (Rare)Faceache Story1Faceache Story2-1Faceache Story2-2

Now that, we have looked into the legacy of the Faceache, let’s look at its Indian avatar, which was introduced by Siruvar Malar.

Siruvar Malar renamed Faceache, as Palamuga Mannan Joe (பலமுக மன்னன் ஜோ), which literally means ’The Multi-faced Joe’, closely rhyming with ‘The Boy with a Thousand Joe on Aug 1990 Siruvar MalarFaces’ subtitle from the original series.

It started with Reid’s run on the series, ably translated into Tamil, by those who were behind the weekly, and then started featuring Frank’s run on the series.

Quite frankly, the charisma you could witness in Reid’s work was not to be seen in Frank’s adventures. No wonder the series moved onto its sunset.

Joe on Oct 1989 Siruvar Malar (Local Art)There was also one episode, where I could witness a totally different art style being used. I wonder whether it was from Frank, or was it created locally by our artists.

But there can be no doubt, in another episode, when Joe eventually takes part in one of our own South Indian festivals, which is clearly a work of our artists. Can anyone name the artist, of this particular episode, based on the style?

Eventually, the stock run out of Joe’s adventures, also pulled the curtains of his Tamil run on Siruvar Malar.

But, there is no doubt, the moment someone makes a fun-face, those who had read the series can easily relate it to the childhood they spent, reading Faceache’s adventures, as Palamuga Manna Joe, aka A Boy with a Thousand Faces.

I am one, and I am not alone. Here is a blog post, by fellow comics enthusiast Limat, on his (and ours) childhood Siruvar Malar superstars.

idea_light_bulb Faceache Mugshot  (Art by Rafiq Raja - 1988) UPDATE (June ‘10): When writing the post above, I ran out of time, and couldn’t possibly add an archive of Pala Muga Manna Joe, aka., Faceache’s appearance through the years on Sirvuar Malar. So, here is a archive across years when Faceache was reigning supreme in Siruvar Malar, often in full color episodes.

As you could see the first 4 episodes listed below, are a trademark Ken Reid’s style, while the next 2 episodes slightly mimic Reid’s style of work (you could see a slight variation in Faceache’s avatar, as he now as smaller tummy, and looks even small than his original self). While the last 2 episodes, as discussed earlier, are a clear out and out work of some other artist (arguably the worst work in the series).

SM [1987-07-24] 08 FaceacheSM [1987-07-31] 25 FaceacheSM [1988-02-05] 24 FaceacheSM [1988-06-03] 08 Faceache

SM [1988-10-14] 20 FaceacheSM [1989-01-20] 32 FaceacheSM [1990-09]FaceacheSM [1991-01] Faceache

Hope you enjoyed these loveable characters appearance in our favourite language.

And just in case, if you were wondering who is the artist of Faceache Mug Shot, at the start of the section, then it’s none other than yours truly. Hold those brickbats! it was an art of the kid who grew up in late 80’s, so the amateurism is visible enough. :)

So, it’s time to look back and continue our review, of the longest and most memorable comic series ever featured in Siruvar Malar: Survival, aka Uyirai Thedi (உயிரை தேடி) in Tamil.

Uyirai ThediIn our last blog, we went over the origins of the Survival Comic series, and also looked at the first 11 episodes of the comic series, which ended with Pinkie nose-diving his car into a River, with an unwelcomed passenger on board.

Survival 2nd Part: Episodes 12 – 22 (in Tamil as Uyirai Thedi):

Episode 12 opens up with Pinkies car drowning in the river, as he manages to swim out of it for the River Escapade surface, closely followed by the mutated adult who took the backseat of his car. Just when he thought that it was gaining over him, two Crocodiles join the party, and the mutated one becomes their target, relieving Pinkie of the danger. Pinkie slowly moves away from the location, as the day gives away to the dark night.

Mysterious TV On his path, he finds a house with light emitting from it. As he gets closer, he finds to his astonishment that the light was from a running TV. He is shocked to see a TV with electricity, as the power supply had long been Mutie gets shotseized since the plague.

He later finds that power was a result of generator nearby, and finally meets an another living kid, by the name of Johnny, who had found his home at this desolate house. Both of them are happy to have met a living being finally, and they start  exchanging their horrific incidents with the mutated adults. Their reciting was cut short by an attacking mutant, who instead gets shot by Pinkie.

Pinkie repents over his changed life, where from a kid who doesn’t even kill mere insects, has been changed to one, Attacking Birdswho kills some of his own, at least in their earlier forms. Johnny consoles him saying that desperate situations calls for desperate measures.

The next morning, the duo travel to a nearby city, to collect their groceries and some gun power to defend them against the muties. But, as they were about to leave, a crowd of blood-thirsty birds start attacking them. The duo find their asylum  back inside the closed shops, as they watch over the birds hovering outside, and decide to spend the night inside.

A moment of PlayThey find a Table Tennis board inside, and to relieve themselves of the pressure they start playing a game, only to be confronted by a blood thirsty eagle, which finds its way inside the store, followed by the hoards of birds running after them for a share of their own. Pinkie & Johny decide to use their guns to find their way back to their Truck, eventually reaching their hideout safely. Shocked by the incidents they decide to leave their setup, and move down south to France, hoping that the mainland Europe might have some survivors like them.

Another attackThey decide to travel through the villages, to avoid trouble, but their curiosity pushes them to visit a city on their way, for one last time. As in the case of their struggle life, a mutie attacks them, whom they evade and reach a Supermarket on the way, to stock some more food on their en-route. Unknowing to them, the Supermarket security who caught the deadly plague, had installed an automatic gun, to save the property, at his absence.

Hoard of Muties UndergroundJohny’s swiftness saves both of them from the danger, and they decide to pursue a different store, fearing that there may be more problems laced inside the store by the erstwhile security man. While at the other store, Johnny decides to chance his shooting skills, by freely shooting at the antiques of the store. Unknown to them, that store had some muties too, who were awakened by the sound and start advancing at the friends.

But, Johny’s wayward shooting had pierced one of the gas pipe, which explodes Snake Biteat the same time, and kills the muties, with the kids barely managing to get away from the blast. Further through, they encounter a pack of Rhinos, which looks unharmed by the virus, just like other animals. But, a frightened Rhino, attacks the Duo’s vehicle, toppling it, and landing them inside a Snake Farm. The friends have a hard time getting out of the area surrounded by deadly snakes, one of which also bites Johny during their escapade.

Unlikely saviour Pinkie saves Johnny by sucking the venom laced blood from his hand, but Johnny loses his conscience, which prompts Pinkie to drag him to a safe house nearby, for the much needed rest. Pinkie leaves Johnny at the desolate house for rest, and goes in search of some food for him, to feed him when his conscious returns.

But a returning Pinkie, finds to his astonishment, the weakened Johnny is missing from his bed, where he left him. On a quick search, he finds that he is being piggybacked by a mutie in a distance, and in desperate attempt to save Johnny, he shoots the mutie. Later he comes to know through Johnny, that they mutie indeed saved him by offering food and shelter.

Pinkie understands that not all muties, or the disfigured ones, are their enemies, and repents for his mistake.

Friends console each other, and they set about their mission of finding more survivors, and reach a desolate army camp in their en-route.

In their curiosity to try out a Battle tank, they find themselves engulfed by wildfire, which surrounds them to burn them alive.

Did they escape out of the fire? What more dangers await this unlikely duo, who go for search of life?

Would they ever find another living human in their misadventures, or would they lose their only companion in each other?

Answers to these will be continued in the next blog post, where we will explore further episodes of Survival aka Uyirai Thedi, along with some other gold comic series which found their place in the golden years of Siruvar Malar.

So, Stay Tuned Comikers.

And just in case, if you thought, I broke my earlier promise to provide the digital scans of the Survival Episodes, here are the second batch, as reviewed in this post. Happy Reading, Comikers. Adios Amigos !!

Note: This post was originally made on March 2010, which was further updated on June 2010, with some vintage archives of Faceache’s adventure. The new updates can be tracked with contents over here and here.

Feb 28, 2010

News – Return of Indian Superheroes | HT | Feb ‘10

Those who are passionate about Comics among us would all agree that Comics in India, is largely an industry, which never got its due credit, compared to the ones which its counterparts in Americas, Europe, and Japan enjoyed.

Did we not have the talent, or the interest, or the creativity?, what pushed us in the back corner of the alley, when other industries flourished?

Much was to do with the way the then Indian comics publishers perceived the market, who instead of relying on the wealth which had to be nurtured within, were instead eager to tap to this business medium, by bringing in the foreign content for local publishing. What they did in the process, was to cut out the creativity, and uniqueness of Indian comics creators, who failed to get the necessary backing. And evidently, the success of such publications over test of time, remains the best lesson learnt.

But, not all players followed the suit, as exhibited by a handful of publishers, who stood different and were ready to go any miles to promote local content. Only a handful of them survived the TV and Internet era, and they remain to tell the story.

The Return of Indian Superheroes - Hindustan Times 02152009This month’s Hindustan Times newspaper carried a thought provoking account of the same, with inputs from Comics publishers, who belong to the later category - the legendary Diamond Comics and Raj Comics.

It talks about the survivors from the Dark Ages of Indian Comics, a period highlighted by Diamond’s Gulshan Raj, as between 1997-2003, when TV and Internet medium took over from traditional print runs.

The article talks about the current plans of those surviving publishers, in order to better align with the changing times.

One another interesting reference, in the article, is Raj Comic’s Sanjay Gupta’s acceptance that his creation, Nagraj, created in 1980’s and arguably one of the first and better known Indian Comic heroes, failure from establishing himself in the bigger league. In Gupta’s own words, a stature similar to Superman/Batman.

Superman #1 sells for $1m Batman #1 sells for over $1m Only recently, Superman and Batman’s first ever appearances in Comics, made headlines as they were outbid each other to a tune of $1 million, on comics auction sites.

Eventhough, the real scenario under which these overshot money, could be attributed to the poor economy, and the need for newer investment fronts, the fact remains that the thought of Nagraj breaking grounds with Superman or Batman, cannot be realistic, keeping in mind the difference in the comic market as it was and is available in US, with the one we have/had in India, which are poles apart to say the least.

As much as we could mock the dream for all its ambitions, we couldn’t ignore that the intent was there, when the Nagraj character was envisioned. But was their equal weight of effort in planning to reach the big league? Let’s accept Superman/Batman evolved during time, mainly because that it was born in a language, which had a universal reach, and was contributed by the fact, they were the first of its kind.

On the contrary, Raj Comics concentrated its market only for Hindi speaking sect, thus, apart from the Hindi speaking states in India, it was never popular in the other states, and sometimes even unheard in some among them. If it could not break the Desi language barrier, did it stand any chance at the International stage?

At least, their present focus to reinvent the characterisation, and their increased focus on reprinting the older issues, in better paper quality and print techniques, should bring them into mainstream, and hopefully this time they would do it sans the limited language focus.

The best quote I can draw from the recent media article, was Karan Vir of Vimanika Comics’s assertion on the same quality lines.

..Someday I hope to make Vimanika the DC or Marvel of India. We may not be able to replicate their success in the print runs but I'm sure we'll get there in terms of quality and art.

Comic Punch - Hindustan Times 15022009That isn’t all. Hindustan Times, also carries another Comics article, aptly titled Comic Punch, where it looks in detail the present comics market, and then the future as it is being planned by the new and established players in the field.

Staying with the article, the current comic market in India, is said to be around 300 Crores mark, with an estimated print run 12.5 crores every year. Industry experts also believe that the market is expected to grow by 40% over the next few years, pooling in all those aspiring companies, to join the frenzy.

Diamond Comics, Raj Comics, Amar Chitra Katha (under it’s new ACK Media avatar), all seem to be gung-ho on taking their comics ventures, to the next level, in terms of animated and full-feature films, DVDs, Mobile and eComics.

On a reality check, there is no harm in comics publishers trying to tap into newer mediums, which is the need of the hour. But hopefully, they would realize the importance of staying true to the roots of print medium, which eventually opened up all these frontiers.

For reasons, they can always look back at another promising venture like Virgin Comics (now Liquid Comics), suffered at the hands of dreaming big, and losing their forte. Even though, they keep making news (including this very article in reference), it’s long time since they came out of hibernation, to prove that they still stand a chance in the industry. I hope I am proven wrong, but the Omen is strong enough, considering Virgin’s past track records. All izzz Well or hopefully will be :)


I guess this article, did turn out to a pretty serious mode, and to keep the Pran the Man - Hindustan Times 02152009comic spirit up, here is another article in the same newspaper, talking about the Walt Disney of India, Mr. Pran, the legendary creator of Chacha Chaudhary and umpteen other desi cartoon characters, which have been entertaining the kids and teens alike, for near 4 decades.

Well, I must admit, that I have outgrown most of what Diamond Comics throws at us off late, but the fact remains Pranji, is still considered one of the greatest icon in comics medium, as highlighted by the fan following he enjoys among kids, even today.

No wonder Diamond Comics, which still publishes Chacha Chaudhary and other Pran characters, into comics format, is easily the biggest comics publisher until today. But they can’t sit on their laurels, as other players including the newer ones, are going to take the fight to them. Comics readers are in for a treat, for sure.

1970s Lotpot Cover by Pran In keeping with spirit of current times, here is a Pran designed cover art on occasion of Holi, which decorated the cover of yesteryear Lotpot, a magazine in which Pran’s legendary creation Chacha Chaudhary originally appeared in.
(Courtesy: Comic World)

Wish you all a Happy Holi, dear friends. Adios Amigos!!

Hindustan Times, Steve on Superman #1 Sale, Yahoo on Batman #1 Sale, Comic World on Lotpot, Rediff’s Interview with Karan.


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