Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sirai Meetiya Siththira Kathai!!!

I'm sure many of the old timers have very fond memories about this story.

This was the second ever Buz Sawyer(Charlie) story to appear in Muthu. Issue number is 42 and the book was released in September 1975. First Buz story was Kurangu Thediya Koolaiyar Pudhayal(issue number 39, Jun 1975).

This is one of the top ten stories of Mr Vijayan, Editor, Lion Comics. In the Muthu issue 300, he has the following to say about this issue.

In my opinion the cover is one of the best that has ever been published by Muthu. Take a look at the front and back cover of this memorable issue.

The story unfolds in Asia. Assuming that Muthu has used the original names as used in the English original, the country is something like Nepal. In the story it is called Malya, (people refer Nepal as HiMALAYAn Kingdom). And the capital of Malya is Singmodu in the story (capital of Nepal is Kathmandu) and the news paper which is used for drawing strips is called as Bangkok Post(capital of Thailand). After escaping from Malya they reach Calcutta(Kolkata now) in India. And most of the characters look like chinese. So we can assume that the setting is somewhere near India.

Americans Kelly and Booby visit Malya as tourists. When Kelly sits on a statue to take a photo,(without realising that it is their most respected king) she gets arrested and thrown in the jail. Kelly's father, who wants to please his artist son, so that he can join him in the family business, hires Charlie to rescue Booby from jail. Charlie takes the help of a circus family who reside next to the jail. The plan was to make a rope link from the jail complex and carry Booby out of the jail. To explain the plan to Booby, Kelly draws the entire escape sequence in a news paper which is delivered to the jail warden, which is also read by Booby. How they manage to escape from the jail and the country is the rest of the story. A gripping story.

This issue was reprinted in Muthu number 192. This time, with a different cover. This cover does not have anything to do with the story. If the cover was a let-down, size is even bigger disappointment. The reprint was printed in less than pocket size. Gross injustice to one of the golden oldies.

I don't have a clue about the English original of this issue. I guess this was printed some time between 1956 and 1975.

Some sample scans from this golden issue.

Well, regarding my previous post about Visithira Vendhan and my goof-up about not mentioning "Kal Nenjan" as Kildare issue, my brave defense is "SORRY". No excuses for the goof-up, but please hear my part of the story. Though I have the sample scans from Kal Nenjan, it never occurred to me to cross refer them before posting. As I have not read the full story so far, the story never got registered in my mind. Nevertheless, I'm not an official historian about Comics, but just an avid fan who wants to share his knowledge and joy with fellow fans, that's all. So please forgive me for the no-balls and wide balls. As my middle aged friends will surely agree, age really blunts one's memory :-).

Sorry Viswa. Couldn't post earlier than this. Belated Birthday Wishes(Apr 13).

Well, that's all for now guys. As usual, feel free to post your comments and suggestions in this blog using the Comments link below my sign or send mail to

Enjoy reading!!!

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

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!!!