Sunday, July 27, 2008

Kolaikaara Kalaigan!!!!

This first ever Johnny Nero issue from Muthu, has got nothing to do with any of the political leader of Tamil Nadu, past or present.

Someone mentioned in one of the comments section of this blog, about the discussion he (over)heard, when this issue was released in 70s. Current CM was the CM at that time as well. So I guess you can make out the contents of their discussion. But I guess nothing much(of controversy) was made of this topic then (even now, as there was a Comics Classics issue as late as 2003/04) with the same title. Good for us and good for the publishers. :-)

I think the story line will give a better idea, as to why this has got nothing to do with political figures.

Accidental deaths take place one after other in France. In Oorleans, it was Pierre the postman, then it was Hans clipper the newspaper reporter and then in Naples, it was father Roger. There was no connection between these "accidental" deaths, except they all worked for Britain against the nazis in the second world war and the timing of the deaths coincide with the visit of Kohli circus to the city where they lived & died. British intelligence agency gets interested in this and they suspect Sir George, who has access to the secret info about the agents. He vanishes mysteriously with those files. Johnny Nero was asked to follow Sir George, but Sir George himself is only a black mailed pawn in this deadly game. The trial leads to the manager of a wax museum who tries to kill Sir George and Johnny Nero by lighting fire to the wax exhibits. However the manager leaves a trail by way of a cloth worn by circus clowns. Johnny immediately closes on the next target who happens to be the mayor of Leons where the circus is currently performing. Though he couldn't stop the killing of the mayor, he manages to nab the Kolaikaara Circus Kalaigan, Jospeh Krannen who was a ex-nazi, who wants to take revence on all the agents who worked against the nazi Germany. Typical war time story, but with the twists and turns at every stage, it is really gripping. No wonder this got published in Muthu thrice.

This was issue number 9 released in 1972/73. I do not have the original with me, so I'm not sure about the exact date. Most probably Dec 1972.

Take a look at the cover.

Cover courtesy and other Tamil scans below, by Dr Sathish, Kovai. Thank you Doctor.

This was later reprinted during 80s. Take a look at the cover of the reprint.

And it was re-reprinted in 2003/04 in the Comics Classics series. Issue number 15. Take a look at the CC cover. The second story in this issue was Vinnil Maraintha Vimanagal. The cover for this CC is different from other covers. This one was slightly hard cover(like the ones used for Muthu/Lion now). I like this kind of covers very much, as it would help to preserve the comics for a long time. Unfortunately the editor did not use this kind of cover after this issue. Thos who want to buy this CC issues, please get in touch with the Muthu Comics office, as they may still have this issue for sale.

This story was originally published in the Secret Agent series in Mar 1967, issue number 5. Take a look at the cover, sample scans and the corresponding pages from the Muthu issue.

Last few pages of this Fleetway issue which featured Sporty(Vichu Kichu in Tamil) is below. Enjoy!

And here is something linked to the CC issue :-)

As usual post your comments below my signature using the "Comments" link or by mail to

Happy reading!!!


Friday, July 18, 2008

I'm sure you are surprised to see another posting immediately (by my standards) after the last one :-)

This January(2008), when I was in India Mr Haja Ismail(Saudi Arabia), a long time comics enthusiast, visited me. I'm meeting him after fours years. Our last meeting was in Saudi Arabia in 2004. Though we talk regularly over phone, meeting in person is something special. We had a long discussion about, you guessed right, Comics.

He has shown me many interesting comics memorablia, which he has collected over the years, first as a distributor and then as a collector. Some of the things are really rare, like the posters, sample covers etc, meant only for the book shops and distributors. Lucky fellow!!!

Whatever he has in his collection is scanned to the extent possible, and they will feature in the forthcoming blog posts here. A big thanks to him!!!.

First to come is the ads for the Muthu and other comic issues, that have appeared in old Kalkandu, Gokulam issues.

I'm sure many of you feel very nostalgic about the issues advertised.

One has the cover scan of Malaimathi Comics(in Black & White though). I have few covers of Malaimathi Comics, collected from many sources. I'll post them soon. Couple of the covers are posted below, as a teaser preview :-)

Happy reading!!!


Thursday, July 10, 2008

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.