Thursday, January 19, 2006

I'm back after a long break!!!

As suggested by Saleem, I'll take one issue at a time and write about it, the story, background information, release date and any other related info. Also my opinion, when I have read it, what I feel about it etc. Hope this is OK with you guys. Drop a line as to what you feel about this new approach.

First in this series is the 72nd issue of Muthu. Title is Aaviyin Geetham. See the cover scan below.

This issue was released in April 1978, which can be seen in the page 3 scan of this issue.

I have read this issue sometime in early 80s, when I was in Mettur. This must be the fourth or fifth Muthu issue I have read in my life. This is the first ever Cisco Kid I have read, and my first double color issue as well. The name Cisco impressed me very much, Panjo as well. I thought I'll change my name to Cisco, when I have read this book. :-) Couldn't tolerate when I saw the name of the character changed to Disco in Rani comics. Funny guys!!!

The story goes like this. Some one is trying to murder Randy, a popular singer in a small American town. Cisco, friend of Randy, thwarts the first attempt just in time. Even Randy does not know who the enemy is, as he is such a simpleton. One more indirect attempt was made to kill Randy, by spreading the rumour that Randy carries all his money in the Guitar he carries. And this time Cisco manages to trace the culprit. The originator of the rumour turns out to be Mr Alex, a local banker, who wants to marry Randy's wealthy sweetheart Lisa. Alex is more interested in wealth, which he can inherit by marrying Lisa, that any love for Lisa.As Alex knows that Lisa will never agree to marry him, as long as Randy is alive, he tries to remove Randy from the equation. However Cisco manages to terrorise Alex with Randy's music and songs, who Alex believes was killed for the money in the guitar. He was caught when he tries to escape the supposedly dead Randy, after looting his own bank(of course the money belongs to the public).

The scene I have enjoyed very much is in 29, where Alex runs scared to death, thinking that Randy's ghost is after him.

Very interesting story line. For a long time I was under the impression that this was the only Cisco story in Muthu, as Cisco stories were no longer published in 80s, the time when I have started reading comics seriously. Old issues were rare to come by, even in those times in the town of Mettur, because this was the only entertainment for the kids, when TV transmission was unheard of. You have to go to "Pattanam" (Chennai) to see the idiot box, in those days. Cricket coverage was only through, Akashvani, which will alternate between English and Indhi(as pronounced), except for the test matches in Madras. The copies I have bought from the news stand were mostly the repints of early Muthu issues featuring Mayavi, Johnny Nero, Lawrence & David (issue numbers 140+). I felt very happy when I got some issues of Muthu Comics and Malai Mathi Comics featuring Cisco Kid recently. Luis Jose Salinas, who drew Cisco Kid from 1952 to 1968, remains my favorite strip artist. So I never pass an oppurtuniy to acquire Salinas art work. Few years back I have bought some Dell Cisco Kid issues from Milehigh comics at exhorbitant prices, thinking that they were drawn by Salinas. However I was disappointed, as they turned out to be pre-Salinas issues, with very average artwork.

Take a look at the other non-story pages from this issue.

Front cover inner

Back cover

Back cover inner

This story was reprinted in Rani comics under the title "Pei Manithan" in issue number 125 dated Sep 1-15, 1989. Translation stadard is nowhere near Muthu, apart from Cisco being called Disco. Grrrrrrrr!. Take a look at the cover page and first page of this Rani comics reprint. Compare the translation of Rani with its corresponding Muthu page. I would love to see the original of this issue in English to check, why the translation varies so different between Muthu and Rani.

Rani Cover

Rani Title Page

Compare the translations:

A very big thanks to Dr Sathish(Kovai) for his valuable scans. All the Muthu scans in this post are provided by him.

Hope you have enjoyed this posting. Drop me a line, if you like this approach and for any feedback.

See you soon guys.



Saleem said...

Thanks for another very interesting and informative post. So many scans and so much information, Muthufan, I am wondering if you can afford this much effort only once in two months.

We will be thrilled to see even half the amount of this info in a post once a month (that is if you can spare the time).

Thanks also to Dr. Sathish who Muthufan credits for the excellent scans. The artwork is more beautiful than I remembered.

I am 42 years old, and Beirutil Johnny was the first comics book I read, and thanks to Muthufan, I have that cover scan as the wall paper on my computer now. I used to be the local Muthu comics expert when I was in my teens, but I was nowhere near as good as Muthufan is.

sathish said...


Welcome back, we really missed u.

Here's my take on "Cisco Kid" & "Aaviyin Geedham".

The story was featured in "Muthu Comics #72" in two
colors & reprinted again in "Muthu Comics #176 :
Summer Special". I read the reprint & it was the first
ever "Cisco Kid" story I read.

The story was also published in "Rani Comics",& the
presentation was..., well...,typical "Rani Comics"
style ("Bayangaramaana Sandai Kaatchigal Niraindhadhu
!!!" was the catchphrase. I thought "Cisco Kid" was a
romantic hero!). "Banjo" was called "Milton". I
suppose that took half of the comic element away. The
rest was..., not worth mentioning; especially after
reading the "Muthu" version.

The "Cisco Kid" story I loved most was, (what an
irony?) "Marma Surangam : Muthu #200". I loved the
story for its underlying humour, especially the
sequence in which "Banjo" is captured by the villains
& he sings out of hunger & "Cisco" traces him.
Unfortunately the story was misplaced in such a
landmark issue.

It is rather saddening that our fellow readers have
lost interest in such soft heroes with some romance &
humour in their stories (eg. Rip Kirby). These guys
provided wholesome entertainment. Like our "Thamizh
Movie Fans" our comic fans are also caught up in the
"Masala - Action" genre. Hopefully these guys can make
a cameo appearance in our comics.

I remember watching the "Cisco Kid Movie" once. It was
said to be based on a novel. "Cisco" plays a "Zorro"
like character who fights oppression in Mexico.The
only resemblence to our comic counterpart was the
romantic interludes (like "Cisco" goes into a hotel
and orders for a drink and a "Sinorita"). "Banjo" was
a dirty farmer who joins "Cisco" reluctantly.

Thank u 4 crediting me,

Keep on going,