A star is born... Literally...!!!!
I mean, Star Comics is born!!!!
Time will only tell whether it is just a shooting star, or a Super Star... I hope it is the later...
When I heard about the idea of a new Tamil comics, first thing that came to my my mind was 'Hmmmmm... Another comics!!!. How long it will survive? What is the quality of the issue? Whether it will be acceptable to the fans? What stories? Periodicity?"
Well, I do not have the answer for the first one, but I do have the answer for the remaining questions now. Quality - You have to see it to believe it. I have not seen anything like this in Tamil. I prefer to call the quality as "First and best in Tamil", rather than calling it as a "Tamil comics in European standard". It is a bound book in A4 size with 48 pages. It costs Rs 100 and it will be available quarterly. I'm sure Tamil readers will be overjoyed by the quality, but I cannot say the same will be their reaction about price. Naturally a comic reader from a small town will start making comparision with the issues available in the market now. He may think in the lines of "For Rs 100, I can get a book of same size with 350 pages, with 5/6 stories(MDS, Jolly Special and Cowboy Special). Why should I go for something which is less page-wise and stories-wise for the same Rs 100. So what, if the paper is good and all pages are in color". A very genuine concern indeed. However we need to benchmark this book from the quality point of view alone. Once we were happy to travel in trains with just second class compartments. Then we moved to First class, then we were introduced the comforts on AC in 2-Tier and to enjoy the same comfort at an affordable price, AC 3-Tier was introduced. Now people prefer to fly in budget airlines than travelling by train. However each type caters for specific market segment. Same way, Star comics is meant for a specific clientele. This is to satisy the thirst of quality seeking readers, who can afford the quality. Till date they did not have the means to quench their thirst. This does not mean that it is not targetted for the poor reader from a small town. He is welcome to buy this book, but it will not be available through the normal distribution channels(read, petty shop in the main road). Not yet, anyway. The way, those who travel in II class aspires to travel by AC/Air, I expect/want the reader to migrate/support from reading normal issues at low price to premium editions. Nothing wrong in seeking for better things in life, right? This will make the Tamil comics industry to make inroads to the larger middle class segment which now frowns upon their kids reading Tamil comics, but happy to buy any of those sleek colourful English issues.
Coming to the current issue, the story is same as the Thihil issue number 11, Pani Mandala Kottai, published about 20 years ago. Captain Prince is the hero of this issue, ably assisted by his side kick Barne. Podiyan Jinn has very limited role to play in this story as Prince and Barne leave him with the ship to climb the misty mountains. Normally most of the Prince stories were, some way or the other, linked to sea. However to add variety, the editors have sometimes moved away from typical sea-scene. This story is one of them. It's a thriller in high altitude. Well, nothing much needs to be said about the story line, as it is well known to many of you.
I have attended two meetings in Mid-March 2007, one in Chennai and one in Salem, where the advance copies were shown to few fans. They have never expected that a Tamil comic book can be so attractive. Most of them were stunned to see the quality of the book. They were clearly running out of words to express their surprise and joy. They were unanimous in their opinion, that Star should continue indefinitely for the benefit of all Tamil fans, with the same quality.
You can see the other details, like preview page, cover page, coming soon issues, message board etc in the official web site of the comics. It is http://www.starcomics.in
You can see the back cover scan and the editor's forward for this issue below(this scans are not available in the Star Comics site):
Last words before signing off. A premium copy(better quality paper) of the same issue is available for Rs 500, on request. Please drop a line to the editor for further details.
Congrats to Raghulan, the editor of Star Comics. Many of us have dreamt of publishing Comics in Tamil, but only you had the courage to take the next step and make it a reality.
Welcome Star, my Super Star!!!