I have been collecting the English originals of the Muthu and Lion group for some time now. Though the condition of the books I have managed to buy so far is far better than their Tamil counterparts, there is somthing missing in them. Yes, it is the language. Though the fluency and originality is there in the English versions, nothing comes near to the thrill of reading them in Tamil. I'm sure many of you out there wil feel the same way.
Recently I have come across a book in an old book shop, which attracted my attention. It is the first English issue of Steel Claw(Irumbukkai Maayavi) by Muthu comics. We have seen about this issue elsewhere in this blog. Take a look at the original cover of this English issue and the Tamil issue(first Muthu issue).
Note, the English comics is named "Moti Comics".
Coming back to the story, this book definitely looked much bigger than the English or Tamil issue. I have opened the pages and to my amusement I have found that the entire book has been translated, literally. Somebody has pasted the Tamil dialogues over the original English texts. Not on one or two pages, but in each and every page of the book. I was amazed by this guy's patience and interest. I do not know the reason why he has done it, but it is very interesting to see this issue.
Take a look at some of the pages, in Tamil(first issue), same page in English and the Tamil/English version.
Page Number 7
Page Numbers 32 and 33
Page Numbers 56 and 57
Page Number 100 and 101
Last Page 122
Few years back I have bought a French Lucky Luke for a friend of Mr RT Murugan. The issue is Billy the Kid(much before the current English version was released). At that time I have asked him, who is the guy living in Karur who is capable of reading a French comic. He said the person wants the book not to read in French, but to read in Tamil. He mentioned that the person will do a laser printing of the Tamil text from the Bayangara Podiyan issue(Lion issue 42 - Lion Super Special) and paste them over the French texts. I thought he was just pulling my leg. After seeing this Steel claw issue, I realise that it may be true. I have seen many comics fans so far, but this guy takes the cake. As the writings in Tamil follows the old style Tamil writing, I guess this was done end 70s before the Tamil Nadu government has changed the writing styles. Specifically look for the letters 'lai/nai'(page 32 bottom panel)
By the way friends, few months back I have moved to the land of our former rulers. I will be here for few more months, if not years. I hope to complete the originals buying during this period, specifically originals of the golden age issues of Muthu/Lion. My shopping is going on at full swing. So far I have found few issues of Steel Claw and Spider, which are not yet published in Tamil. I'll post about these stories soon. I may be wrong, as I do not remember about all the issues in Tamil. I need to verify this first(that they are not yet printed in Tamil), than cutting a sorry figure later on :-)
Stay tuned for more postings soon.