Saturday, January 28, 2006


I would have lived without the knowledge of this genius writer, had he not been introduced by Prakash Publishers.

One of the biggest contribution of Prakash Publishers to the Tamil comics industry is the introduction of European comics. Till mid-80s, the comics printed in Tamil were mainly from the English originals. However, once Lion family entered Eurpean market to bring the non-English speaking heroes, we had choice like never before. Characters like Iznogoud(Mathi Illa Manthiri), Bruno Brazil, Bob Morane(Roger & Bill), Paul Foran(CID Marshall), Ric Hocket(Reporter Johnny), XIII have become household names among Tamil comics fans. They have also become familiar with the names of their creators, Goscinny, Greg, Van Hamme, William Vance etc.

First in the series of European characters is Lucky Luke created by Goscinny, who also created Asterix, Ompa-pa, Iznogoud (Mathi Illa Manthiri in Tamil). Illustrations were done by Morris for this issue.

He entered the Tamil comics scene like a super star. First issue itself is a special issue, that too in color and for just Rs 2/-. Wow!!! What a grand entry!!! He never looked back since then. Even today he remains the No:1 cartoon character among Tamil comics fans. He is as popular as the other cow-boys, Tex Willer and Captain Tiger(Blueberry).

The editor has selected a very lively comedy story as the first story of this super star. Titled "Super Circus", this was released under the Junior Lion banner on 01 Jan 1987. Take a look at the cover and the editor's forward for this issue below:

Note, the editor wrongly mentions, that the artist name is Goscinny Morris, in fact they are two different persons. Goscinny is the writer and Morris is the artist.

The story starts with an introduction about Lucky Luke and his horse & campanion Jolly Jumper. He can shoot faster than his own shadow. Hmmm!!!That is too fast, even for a comic book hero.

A very simple and comical story line. Lucky Luke comes across a circus which was moving to the next town through Indian infested territory. Looking at the condition of the owner Lucky Luke decides to accompany them to the next town, where they would be safe. However problem was awaiting them, as soon as they enter the next town. Mr Regan, who owns almost everything in the town does not like the circus to become the attraction during his rodeo competition. He tries his level best, not to let them perform in the town. The story revolves around how Lukcy Luke manages to thwart all his attempts against the circus and how Mr Regan finally becomes a part of the circus. Ever drinking gambler owner Morris, his wife and Trapeze artist Vanessa, his son-in-law and jestor, and horse riding daughter all play their part in making this a lively story. Even the elephant Jumbo and Lion play a major role in the story.Each time Luke punches Mr Regan, his diamond tooth falls down somewhere. In one scene he asks Lucky Luke to wait to remove his diamond tooth, before hitting him.

The first and last page of the story is below:

Also take a look at the ad for the forthcoming issues.

See what the editor has to say about this issue, in his article about Tamil comics in the magazine "World's Comic" issue 2, published in Spring 2002.

In Jan 1987 – JUNIOR LION COMICS, a new comic exclusively for cartoons and MINI-LION a pint sized mag for short action tales were introduced.

The first issue of JUNIOR LION COMICS had the international favorite LUCKY LUKE in full color at a price of Rupees Two!!. One daresay this will stand as an unsurpassed feat because virtually nobody can ever again do a multicolor issue at this price. This was the first taste of a full length cartoon story for Tamil readers and the response was overwhelming. This was a period in which Tamil readers had a choice like never before to savor the very best of world comics.

This story was released under the title "Western Circus" in the Orignal French and in English. Take a look at the English cover. This issue is one of the few English Lucky Luke titles you can get in the market now.

The write up for this issue at the Amazon site is given below:

In this tale, he joins a circus at risk of going out of business, and takes on the bigwig who "owns" a town and doesn't want an alternative entertainment to his annual rodeo. You get bandits, hitmen, "injuns", elephants, lions, drunks, all leading up to the final climax at the rodeo.

Recently I watched the cartoon VCD of this issue. Needless to say, I have enjoyed the whole episode. 26 minutes of non-stop fun. Even my three year daughter can identify Lucky Luke now, thanks to this VCD.

Those who watch Star One in India, don't miss out this episode of Lucky Luke for anything.

Thats all for now guys. Do let me know, what you feel about this post.

See you soon!!!.



Saleem said...

Thank you for an entertaining article. I did not know about this comics hero lucky luke till several months ago when I purchased back issues from Prakash Publishers. I have enjoyed the few titles I have read like "Dalton Nagaram", "Paralogathirkoru Paalam" and "Jane irukka payamaen".

I was surprised to find that Lucky Luke's first issue was released January 1, 1987, the day I landed in USA for the first time.

I particularly enjoy subtle jokes found in different issues when Lucky Luke enters a bar, there is a small sign on the side that you have to really strain to read and it has some hilarious saying like "kandippa yedhachum kudiche Aaganum" and "Piano vaasippavarai sudak koodaadhu".

I also have a comment about the previous post which described the Muthu issue "Aaviyin Geetham" which was later on Rani comics also under the title "Pei Manithan". I have found that Rani comics uses a very simple way of telling a story, and very poor but easy to understand translation.

And finally, can you touch upon how you have put together your collection. And will you please ask Dr. Sathish and your other friends if any of them have the front and back covers of the original "flight 731" and "kaatril karaindha kappalgal".

Anonymous said...

Cool looky luke!Good job Mr.MF!Keep the good work going.
Ahmed Sha.

sathish said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sathish said...

hi saleem,

give me ur e-mail id, i'll try 2 send u flight 731 reprint cover scans (pocket size). it'll take some time as i'm out of station.

my id,

Anonymous said...

great work!!!!!
iam a die hard fan of lucky luke..
could u give some more detail on english version of lucky luke..
cause i cant find any informative english sites on lucky luke..
thank u