In the recent times there was an increased interest in the Philip Corrigan stories. Many of our old fans have requested for a Corrigan special. And all of them mentioned Virus-X as their most wanted Philip Corrigan story, along with Madalaya Marmam. So I thought it would be appropriate to take up this issue for my review.
After completing the publication of Fleetway issues from UK, starring Maayavi, Lawrence & David and Johnny Nero, the publishers have turned their attention to US for more adventure strips.Most of the heroes who have appeared during this time from the other side of Atlantic were from the well known publishers, King Features Syndicate. First to appear from the non-fleetway was Rip Kirby(Issue 28 - Pudhayal Vettai), followed by Modesty Blaise(Kazhuku Malai Kottai), Wing Commander George(38 - Otran Vellai Nari), Buz Sawyer (39 - Kurangu Thediya Kollayar Pudhayal). Next one in this series was Philip Corrigan. His first appearance was in issue number 45(Madalaya Marmam). The next issue was also a Philip Corrigan issue. And that's Virus-X, released in dated Jan 76, issue number 46.
See what Mr Vijayan has to say about this landmark issue in his column in the Muthu issue 300, which featured his top 10 stories.
Originally known as Secret Agent X-9, Philip Corrigan was created in 1934 by Dashiell Hammet and drawn by Alex Raymond(Same artist who handled Rip Kirby). Initially Corrigan did not even have a name or the agency, he was simply known as X-9. In the early stories he was called as "Dexter" on few occasions. Only after few years he was assigned to FBI and was given a full name. Though the strip was around many years, the golden period of the strip was definitely between 1968 and 1980, when Al Williamson handled the art work. After Williamson's departure, George Evans has taken over the art work. Most of the popular stories that have appeared in Muthu were drawn by Al Williamson. For those of you familiar with Al Willamson's style of art work, I strongly recommend you to buy Star Wars series drawn by Williamson. You'll find striking resemblance between Corrigan stories and Star Wars stories. In fact, if you compare Muthu issue number 102, Parakkum Thattu Marmam(Philip Corrigan story drawn by Williamson) with Rebel Storm (Star Wars), it will look as if he has used the same art work for both the strips.
Coming back to Virus-X, the story was superb thriller. Though you would have seen many movies with this theme, this one was quite something in print form.A disgruntled employee from an American reserach facility, Dr Reeper steals the glass vial contaning Virus-X, which is a prototype of a deadly chemical which can remain in the air for 12 hours and can kill anyone who inhales the contaminated air. The Virus in the glass vial can effectively kill all the people of any big modern city in no time. Corrigan's job was to find who has stolen the vial and to retrive it immediately before it reaches the wrong hands. Unfortunately for Corrigan it reaches the wrong hands even before he could come near it. It reaches the leader of a bike gang known as "Viking". He wants to take over the Borderville town, from where he was chased out by the residents and sheriff. Can Corrigan reach there in time to save the town? Well, I do not want to tell the whole story here, as there is a possibility that this story may appear in the proposed Corrigan special.
Take alook at the cover of this fantastic issue.
And few pages from inside the story.
And here is the credits page.
And the back cover which has the calender for year 1976 with the pciture of K Kamaraj, former CM of Tamil Nadu.
Big thanks to ERB, Chennai for helping me out with the cover scan and sample page scans.
Additional Info 1 : I have missed out what Mr Vijayan has said about Kazhuku Malai Kottai in my previous posting. Read what he has said about KMK, in his column in the Muthu issue 300, which featured his top 10 stories. As the page 3 of this article is already posted in this blog above, I'm posting the remaining two pages of his article titled "Ninaivil Nindravai".
Additional Info 2 : (For those who have missed out the comments section))In my Jan'06 posting about Aaviyin Geetham I haven't mentioned about the reprint of this story in Muthu. It was reprinted in issue number 176, Summer Special(Year 1990/91/92?). Thank you Dr Sathish, Kovai for this info.
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Thats all for now guys!!!