Saturday, December 23, 2006

Rip Kirby, Buz Sawyer, Cisco Kid, Phantom, Mandrake - you know them and you love them. What about Dr Gildare? Heard of him before?

Well, for the uninitiated, he was the hero of the first unusual (common man as hero) comic from Muthu. When Muthu finished most of the Maayavi(Steel Claw), Johnny Nero, Lawrence & David(Barracuda) stories from Fleetway, UK, they have moved to US based strips, starting with Rip Kirby, followed by Wing Commander George(Johnny Hazard), Charlie(Buz Sawyer), Corrigan and Cisco(Kid). Surprise package came out in issue number 48, titled "Visithira Vendhan". This was released in Mar 1976. One-off hero Dr Gildare was the hero in this story. Not sure whether he has appeared in any other strip again. Not able to trace the origin of this story as well. Take a look at the front and back cover.



Story line was very interesting. One world famous surgeon Dr Gildare was kidnapped to a kingdom called Paklas to treat the ailing ruler(Prince Vassini) of that country, who was suffering from "Mudakku Mootu Viyadhi(Rheumatoid Arthritis)" a disease Dr Gildare specialises. But this disease does not sound very life threatening as mentioned in the story(Uyirai Parikkum Kodiya Viyadhi). After realising the purpose, the doctor refuses to treat the ruler despite threats to his life. When sama, pedham, dhanam & dhandam methods did not work, the ruler changes his mind and decides to come to America with Dr Gildare for the treatment. A very different story line, compared to other stories Muthu has handled thus far, which were basically adventure and detective stories. Though this story has its share of fights, action, kidnapping etc, the level is not upto the mark that of a Buz or Kirby or Cisco story. Muthu followed up with two more stories of this type. Issue number 50, titled "Theevai Meetiya Theeran" and issue number 54, titled "Kal Nenjan". I guess the response was just luke warm to these stories, as they have not ventured to one-off heroes again for a very, very long time. Cover scans of both, Theevai Meetiya Theeran and Kal Nenjan are below.



The art work looks like typical American art work, however the hero Dr Gildare's features are more like a cross between Corrigan and Johnny Nero, as if Corrigan artist Al Williamson was asked to work in a Johnny Nero story. Take a look at the few pages from the story.












As were the norm in those days, this one also had 132 pages. The main story was just 93 pages, so two Kapish strips were used as fillers for the remaining pages. As I have mentioned elsewhere in this blog, Kapish is one of my favorites. I liked these two stories, than the main story. The Kapish story in this issue was part 2 and 3. Don't know about the part 1, most probably it would have appeared in the issue number 47, Rayil Kollai(first ever Cisco Kid story in Muthu). Few pages from the Kapish story.











Inside front cover has the ad for the next issue "Kaanamal Pona Kalai Pokkisham" featuring Philip Corrigan.



Inside back cover has the ad for the Muthu Mini "Thapal Thalai Marmam" featuring Puthaka Priyan Prabhu.



Also take a look at the list of books available at that time. One from Page number 93 and another from page number 130.



All the sample scans used in this post are from ERB and a big thanks to him.

As usual, post your comments and feelings in this page by clicking the Comments link below my signature, or through mail(muthufan@yahoo.com).

Regards,
Muthufan

17 comments:

Saleem said...

I am pretty sure that Kalnenjan also featured Doctor Kildare. I believe it had a great story of a cult leader in a small commune refusing to allow people to get medical treatment. Theevai Meetiya Theeran, Visithira vendhan and Kalnenjan all featured excellent drama. The title kalnenjan was also later used for a lion comics issue featuring spider though I did not read this one. Also Pazhi vaangiya paavai was a title used for a lion issue which was previously used for a corrigan story in Muthu.
Wikipedia has an excellent article on Doctor Kildare. I saw one episode of the TV show during its syndicated rerun in the early 90's. I could not bring myself to watch it in its entirety since it reminded me of the kalnenjan story. Richard Chamberlain the actor who played Doctor Kildare on the 190 episode television series which originally ran in the 60's was wonderfully gifted. Thanks again for the article and scans.

d.sathish said...

hi all,

i believe this is the very first time muthufan's been caught off guard (that's something unusual, but easily 4given 4 bringing 2 our knowledge abt these rare books). usually his background info abt the originals are very detailed & well-researched. the blame lies with him 4 making us expect the highest standard from him each time, just like the comics we all love.

ok, enuff mf bashing! just adding a bit more 2 the article with just what my memory serves me.

dr.kildare indeed was the hero of "kal-nenjan". the villain was called "Gallop"; the guy on the cover with a cigar , beard, & hat, an "amish" community farmer who is the head of his village. 6 months back an article appeared in the hindu abt the amish way of life. they are averse 2 any modern technology, believing them 2 b the root of evil & way 2 hell. they r very superstitious & god-fearing, keep their necessities 2 a bare minimum & don't believe in science. sounds a bit familiar 2 us doesn't it. rural india was like that just a century ago & in my experience as an intern in Coimbatore Medical College Hospital such people still exist.

a mysterious illness (most probably rocky mountain spotted fever, a deadly viral hemorrhagic fever similar 2 dengu which is endemic in the mountains of north america which is where this story takes place) strikes everyone in the remote village of borderville (or something like that, i don't remember exactly) which is cut off from the mainland by a rampaging river whose floods threaten 2 destroy the bridge in-between.

gallop being the stict amish he is, doesn't allow the local dr. 2 treat his villagers & even 4bids his villagers from going outside 4 treatment. dr.kildare calls in on spl request. he treats everyone suffering amidst death-threats from gallop. the twist in the tale comes when gallop's own son falls ill. as usual gallop doesn,t want dr.kildare in his home. will dr.kildare be able 2 save the boy & his own life b4 the floods worsen & the village is totally cut-off? go & read the story! he! he! he!

abt visithira vendhan & rheumatoid arthritis being a life threatening disease, severe forms are known 2 cause renal failure which is serious indeed! if u have time, u can google search 4 more or contact ur family physician!

enuff of this loooong & boring lecture on medicine! let's talk a bit more on comics.

the strip featured in theevai meettiya dheeran is not dr.kildare, but it is about a boxer who fights 2 save his home island from buisness-sharks. the team also featured in "rani-comics" in a story called "KUTHU SANDAI VEERAN".

in fact dr.kildare (called mr.gill in rani) makes an appearance in a story called "KAATTIL VIZHUNDHA VIMAANAM" in rani. those who have these books can compare. i don't think these heroes made another appearance in tamil comics.

that's all 4 now!

bye!

p.s.:- richard chamberlain the guy who played dr.kildare in the tv serial was the hero "Allen Quartermain" in the movie "King Solomon's Mines I & II". don't miss these movies, they co-star sharon stone!!! he! he! he!

d.sathish said...

CORRECTION!

the first ever kapish story featuring the origin of kapish & how he got his powers by praying 2 hanuman was published in virus-x & not in rail kollai.

Anonymous said...

Is there a way that we get the scans of these books?. I know its a herculean effort but if possible could you please post the scans of stories from ceased tamil comics publishers (NOT FROM LION/MUTHU).

For example, Metha/Ashok/Rani/Indirajaal Comics?.

It would be nice to see those in electronic version.

Anonymous said...

Muthufan

I just emailed you a scan of the front cover of a Dellissue featuring Dr. Kildare

BN_USA said...

(I forgot to attach my name to the post I made above -- BN)

Muthufan

I just emailed you a scan of the front cover of a Dellissue featuring Dr. Kildare

BN_USA said...

Has anyone been following the censorship and stupidity of the editorial staff at the Lion forum recently? I had posted some comments criticising Vijayan's comments regarding the old book prices in January and they simply dropped them. It looks as if only dumb posts like "Dear editor, lion is the best in the comicsworld. thats all." are now allowed.

Are Vijayan and Prakash really this stupid?

Rafiq Raja said...

Another wonderful article from Muthufan. It's long since I browsed his blog, since the supposedly dead lioncomics forum, and censorship (that too a post takes atleast 2 weeks time before it appears after review)... had made me completely unaware that on the webosphere there lives an another site which is live of entertainment. Good to be back and read the other reviews. It's astonishing to see the amount of knowledge muthufan, saleem, and dr.satish all have. And it's the place to be for a comic fan, when all three are around... TriSome.. awesome.

Rafiq Raja said...

By the way, Never heard about Dr. Kildare storylines until now. I do have those two rani comics, which Dr.Satish refers too, but never realised there are part of a rare comic sequels... Good that I have some piece in the history with me :)

Sunshine said...

@bn_usa: You can find the scans of Indrajal comics at thecomicproject.blogspot.com. Only one is in Tamil though.

BN_USA said...

Hello Sunshine!

I have been a visitor of TCP since inception of the site.

Also please check out http://comic-guy.blogspot.com/index.html for more Indrajal comics!

Hmmm..tamil Indrajal? I do not recall TCP having posted one even though I have visited the site every day for the past 3 years. Do you have the title or link?

bn_usa said...

Oh, by the way, the "anonymous" poster who asked for scanned comics was not me. Now I understand why Sunshine referred me to the TCP site....a case of mistaken identity..

kamal anjelo said...

Hi!

your's this blog bring back a lot of memories from my childhood,and what a wonderful comics they are.

its really a delight to gothrough this wonderful place...keep up the good work!cheers.

bn_USA said...

I received the new Lion (thedi vandha thooku kayiru) and Muthu (thigil thirumanam) today. The cowboy express announcement looks exciting....

kamal anjelo said...

No Updates :(

Ahmed Sha said...

Dear MFan,
Thanks for keeping our childhood memories alive.Hats off for another blog!

Viswa Nathan.D said...

Dear Muthu Fan,

Kindly post the Next One. Eagerly Awaiting for your post. Tomorrow is mY Birthday & will it be possibel that i read an article from you on my birth day? I know how hectic your schedule is, still as the kid which asks for one more candy, am requsting you.