Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Pudhayal Vettai!!!

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 muthufan@yahoo.com.



Rafiq Raja said...

Wonderful article about Rip Kirby's first adventure on Muthu. I wasn't fortunate enough to read that so far, and I don't think Rip Kirby is on the priorities list for Mr.Vijayan to publish on Comics Classics either.

And the reason is understandable, that why none of Rip Kirby's stories featured in editors Top 10, as he had history of poor sales whenever Kirby's stories were published, as his way of detective without much action isn't preferred among the masses.

But, personally I like Rip Kirby as he was one detective who had his limitations but excelled with them. Moreover, unlike other Detectives, he tend to be little away from girlish attraction, and that is supported by the fact that many of his stories are accompanied by his male butler, then his love interest.

Muthufan, thanks for bringing the first edition of Rip's online, eventhough if on review. Moreover, the Orange color text was little eye-hurting... suggest to change them to more darker ones... :)

Looking forward for #200 review.

Viswa said...

Dear MuthuFan,

I was Fortunate enough in one sense. Just 4 weeks back, i got this particular book (Cover To Cover). And i was wondering why no one is talking about this in a big way. I do believe this one is very good, in the way they have narrated the Luck that desmond gets with the Band being associated with that.

AnyWay, Nice Article on this & The way you post the reviews, It makes worth to read the story again.

Rafiq Raja: I do Not agree with the sales point of view. In the sense, The stories that Vijayan is selecting should be questioned rather than saying that Rip Kirby Stories does not sell.

For Example, Take a story like "Computer Kolaigal". What's Your take on this. All am saying is that, every hero has his own set of Not so good stories & i do believe Vijayan is bent on publishing only those when it comes to Rip Kirby.

Muthu Fan: What happened to the Cow Boy Special Review? I Hope you got the book now? We are eagerly waiting for your review.

All The Very Best.

Thanks & Regards,

Viswa Nathan.D
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

Rafiq Raja said...

Viswa, you lucky dude, I envy on your recent acquisition.

and As you pointed, selection of stories could well be the issue with Rip Kirby on Lion.

Rip Kirby stories were even adopted by Rani Comics, when they ran out of Phantom stories in their editions. So, I also don't buy Mr. Vijayan's idea of Rip being a sore seller.

I remember reading one Hotline, where Mr. Vijayan says that he has pile of Rip Kirby's stories on desk, and isn't able to feature it due to demand.

God only knows, what kind of stories are awaiting in there.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Muthufan for this much awaited article.

The images you have printed are just gorgeous.

I remember the day I bought this book brand spanking new from the petty shop and walking home all disappointed. Not only did this book not have the usual heroes, but it also came out in a much smaller size. The first 19 or 20 issues of Muthu comics had the same fabulous original fleetway size. Starting with either #20 kadathal mudhalaigal or the next issue vaanveli kollaiyar, the size got smaller and pudhayal vettai ended up being even smaller.

But the story was captivating, and I held onto this book dearly till I lost my entire collection due to rain water seeping in. The books were damaged and may be I could have dried them and kept them, but I did not realize that, they looked bad with all the covers stuck together and I threw them out.

It is nice to see this again.

Thanks. Saleem.