That's what we have for review in this post.
I'm talking about the first time ever Rip Kirby has appeared in Muthu, who continue(d) to thrill the Muthu comics fan many times over. Anyway their first appearance merits a special mention. We will do more than just "mention" in this post.
As mentioned elsewhere in this blog, as the the Fleetway issues featuring Maayavi, Johnny Nero and Lawrence & David were fast running out, the Muthu publishers have have turned his attention to USA for the comics sourcing. Here is what Vijayan has to say about this in his article written for the Comic World issue 2, published in 2002.
The first issue had THE STEEL CLAW – a secret agent with an artificial steel hand with extraordinary powers of invisibility. Dubbed “Irumbukkai Mayavi” – he was a smash hit and to this day remains “Numero Uno” for the Tamil comics fan. Numerous indigenous creations on the lines of THE STEEL CLAW flooded the market – because putting a guy with a hand of iron on your comic’s cover page seemed to be a recipe for instant success! Such was the popularity of the THE STEEL CLAW!!!
Several more action heroes from Fleetway’s stable followed with equal success. A dashing pair of secret agents BARRACUDDA & FROLLO, a James Bond like JOHNNY NERO with a pretty secretary, were prominent hits.
Some popular heroes from King Features Syndicate in America – in the form of PHANTOM, MANDRAKE, RIP KIRBY, BUZ SAWYER, SECRET AGENT CORRIGAN, CISCO KID joined the fray.
However basically all the stories that MUTHU COMICS published dished up detective stories laced with action (PHANTOM & MANDRAKE being exceptions). So once Fleetway’s popular detective stories were exhausted - MUTHU COMICS found itself in a vacuum of sorts. War stories, western cowboy action, cartoons, sci-fi stories were hardly tried and naturally there was an ebb of interest.
First non-fleetway hero to appear in Muthu was Rip Kirby. It was issue number 28 Pudhayal Vettai, in Jul 1974. Rip Kirby was no stranger to Comics fan in India/Tamil Nadu by then. He was appearing regularly in Malaimathi Comics and in Indrajal Comics. So it was sort of "Plug & Play" him into Muthu without much problems. And he was a instant hit with many readers.
Here is the cover of this memorable issue.
And here is the back cover.
And the story line is simple. Desmond, Kirby's butler takes a daring bet with him in the game of Golf, though he doesn't know anything about Golf. And surprisingly he wins the game, with minor hiccups. Kirby learns that it was due to a band(Thayathu) Desmond got when he went for diving. The girl, Tommy, who gave the band to Desmond tries to chase anyone who comes near her diving site. Kirby learns that she is looking for a sunken treasure based on a map. She was closely watched by Muttai Kannan James(villain, of course you need one in every adventure story right?). When Tommy finally manages to get the bounty, which is nothing but drugs hidden in the sunken boat's life buoy, James moves-in to take hold of the catch. However a hurricane destroys James' boat as well as Kirby's boat. Kirby manages to survive along with his companions, where as the villains minus his girl friend get killed. Bad people gets punished, and good people live happily ever after!!!!
Sample pages from the story are given below.
The main story was only 101 pages long. As all the earlier Fleetway issues had minimum 122 pages, I guess the editor has decided to maintain the same length with lot of filler pages(in fact with 20 filler pages). Take a look at couple of filler pages.
To know more about Rip Kirby, follow the Wikipedia link below:
Surprisingly, none of the stories featuring Rip Kirby appeared in the Top Ten list of the Editor in his article in Muthu issue 300. Roja Maaligai Ragasiyam, Moondru Thoon Marmam, Vazhipari Kollai are some of his best stroies.
And tips on preservation for those who are new to Comics Collection.
1. Never alter the state of the book in anyway.
2. Do not tear the price from the cover(tell this to the book shops from where you buy the back issues regularly)
3. Do not bind the book
4. Do not paste cello tape on the cover(however damaged the book is).
5. Do no use glue to paste any pages.
Here is the list of do's on preservation.
1. Keep the comics in a plastic cover, if possible with a card board back up and store them vertically(never horizondally, as the book tends to curl up when stored this way). Do not remove from book from the plastic cover unless required.
2. Store the comics away from Sun light or bright light.
3. Use book marks when reading, instead of folding the corners.
For the nth time this blog is behind schedule. Sorry guys, tied up with work and personal matters.
As usual please post your comments or mail me firstname.lastname@example.org.