Welcome back after a small hiatus. As a process, TCU is about to index the popular characters who have carved a niche for themselves in Tamil Comics Ulagam. Amongst them is one Mr Spider (Not To be confused with Spiderman). The Spider That we are talking about is one of the finest Comic characters from the famed Fleetway Publications, UK. The 1st time ever TCU read a comic of Spider was in the Mid 80’s and that story sort of captured the best of spider: Fantasy, Tough Villains, Even tougher duels, Situations that you would never ever face in any other storyline, Science & technology and above all, the Genius of Spider himself. That was பாதாள போராட்டம் (The Immoratals – Fleetway Super Library –Stupendous Series No 20). What caught the attention was the fact that Spider was a super hero without any super powers (Like Spiderman or Superman). At best, he was a well trained and physically fit individual.
Ever Since, TCU is sort of addicted to Spider Stories. Later on, after compiling all of the Spider Stories and reading them in a chronological order gave a new look to spider from that of the earlier one we had about him. Let us get back to the 1st ever story of Spider. It was the summer of 65 in which Spider Made his debut and there was not much of noise about him making his debut in that issue. They even had the Header column to Zip Nolan and there was no mention (Not even the regular style of – Starting this issue) of spider being present in the book. However, on page 4, we have the story: The Spider with artwork by Reg Bunn and storyline presented by Ted Cowan.
Lion Issue No 690 – Dated 26th June 1965 Front Cover Robot Archie
Lion Issue No 690 – Dated 26th June 1965 Page 4 – 1st Page of Spider
This is the 1st panel in Page 2 of the story and this is where Spider makes his 1st ever appearance in Comics. Have a closer look at the fingers and ears of Spider and you will know that you are dealing with someone who is out of ordinary.
While reading the forward of Steve Holland in the One and only book from Titan books, i wondered about the similarity of the questions we had about spider:
- Was the Spider an alien? or his looks were another cunning diversion? What about those fingers and ears? That black hair and his catchphrase “By the webs of juba” (what does it really mean, if it has any?). What is the backdrop of spider? what he was doing before he started his own army? There are many questions and imagining and discussing that with the friends will be one of the best ways to spend time while on a rainy evening.
Reading this story, we had glimpses of Spider and his abilities. And the 2nd story increased his legend and then Jerry Siegel (Co Creator of Superman) took over the strip from Ted Cowan. Under Siegel, there were many more thrilling adventures and the storyline took a great change when Spider started to fight against the crooks started to help Lawmen.
As kids, often we used to dream of having our own Spider Web-Guns. And also the Heli-car (Which had the ability to distinguish Spider’s voice from the rest and respond to his masters voice). It will be a great understatement if we say that Spider was a Success in Tamil Comics. He brought the second wave (The 1st one being steel-claw, who made his his debut in 1972, some 12 years ago in Tamil) in Tamil comics and those were the days in which if you had the picture of Spider in the cover, the book will be sold out. Such was the pulling power of spider that most of the specials in the Mid 80’s had his own presence and Mr S. Vijayan (Editor of Lion Comics, who at the age of 18 Had the guts to Introduce him in Tamil), understood this and he made Spider to appear in his other publications as well to boost their sales (Mini Lion / Junior Lion Comics, Thigil Comics). More from the Editor himself on how and why Spider made his Debut in Tamil.
Now then, Spider was an instant success and then the love story with the readers continued for 2 decades and when the millennium came, The Editor announced a poll and the question was very simple: Who is the Hero of the millennium among all the characters who have made their debut in Tamil Comics. The List included some of the well known international heroes such as James Bond 007, The Steel Claw, The Phantom, Tex Willer, Bernard Prince, Barracuda & Frollo, Johnny Nero, etc.
And so, the poll was announced and you have to consider certain facts as well. Blueberry has appeared in a handful of stories and XIII was not completed at that time. And to the amazement of TCU, there was no mention about Modesty Blaise. However, when the poll results were announced, there was a small issue. At the final stage, the leading heroes were The Steel Claw, Blueberry, Tex Willer and The Spider (In that order). However, the entire order went for a toss once a certain fan from Chennai sent 400 different entries all favouring spider and thus creating chaos. This is what the Editor has to say on that issue.
Now, Here is a complete list of Spider stories appeared so far in Tamil language. This list includes reprints as well. It was sad that these stories were not published in the chronological order. (And that list is applicable for many a storyline as well).
Here are the cover images of all the Spider stories appeared so far. It is near impossible to find ComiRades having the complete set of Spider stories. Hence, the collection becomes a rarity. You can judge the quality of the cover images with that of the originals as they are often inspired from them and in TCU’s opinion, these covers are much better than the original covers.
Prakash publishers ventured into English version of the same in the early part of 90’s and they published the Spider stories in the very similar mould as that of the Fleetway Graphic Novels. These books are still available with the publisher. Contact +91-04562-372649 to purchase from any part of the world.
For those who love stats and indices, Here is the Complete Spider index with Maximum possible details. A Big thanks to Steve Holland & Muthu Fan in helping these compilations. As mentioned, Here are the Fleetway Graphic novels of Spider. Just compare the covers with that of the Tamil ones and you may find that the covers are used in different stories. The Titan Book cover is also included here.
Well, that’s all for this 1st part of Spider post and TCU will be back with another post on Friday and will try to be as regular as possible from here onwards. As usual, post your comments in the comments section. For those who want to Pen their thoughts in Tamil, Kindly Use the Option Provided in the Widget section or Click Here.
Thanks & Regards,