Tuesday, October 07, 2008

21 Review O5: James Bond Comics No.2 Rocket Ragasiyam

Dear ComiRades,

Apologies for Posting the second issue review of James Bond Comics late. However, once you read this post completely, then you will agree the difficulty that Yours Truly has gone through to complete this particular Post. Here comes the review of the 2nd Issue of James Bond Comics: Rocket Ragasiyam.

The Cover of the 2nd issue was not as good as the action packed 1st issue of James Bond  Comics in Tamil. The reasons for this could be that the original Semic cover was also not that great. In fact, the English version of the Same James Bond Comics Edited by Mr S.Rama Jayam was comparatively better than the semic original. Have a look at these & judge for yourself.
Coming_Soon Untitled-01 Semic - Cover
This particular story titled as "Death in Florence" in Swedish Semic Press and was Named as "Death of a Spy" in the Tamil Version of the James Bond Comics (Yes, these James bond comics' were published in English as well with full colour). Unlike the first issue of James Bond Comics, This story was written by Bill Harrington and artwork was done by Manuel Carmona. Have a Look at the first page of these issues.
The Original Storyline featured in James Bond Comics was something like this: 007 James Bond comes out of a Movie Hall with an Actress after watching a Movie & was taken inside a car where Mr M briefs him about his next mission in Italy - Florence. A Russian Spy, Mr Orkin, wants to get settled in USA with Italian Missile Secrets. Obviously Italy Doesn't like this & wants to prevent him going to USA at ANY COST. Orkin's Love interest is an Actress named Mirella. After this Brief, Bond comes back to meet his Actress Friend & informs her that he is going to Italy.
Tamil - 03 Untitled-02
Meanwhile, Italian Intelligence Meets Mirella and she is upset with the behaviour of one of them (Bini) and complains this to Their Head (Rinaldi). Later she is informed on Orkin's Mission. She Neither Accepts nor rejects the offer made by Italian Intelligence. Rinaldi asks Bini not to follow her & gives that Responsibility to another secret Agent Gina. When Mirella meets Orkin, He explains his plan of escaping to US of A with the Missile Secrets. He says that they can get their names inscribed in a Locket by a Jeweller named Lodi.
Tamil - 14 Untitled-13
Bond meets mirella posing as London Times Reporter in a Hotel.However, Just below the hotel, Orkin's Dead Body is found & Bini is noticing them. Mirella Confesses the truth to 007 and Says that she is yet to get the Micro Film with Missile Secrets.They Visit the Jeweller Lodi & find out that the Micro Film is not placed in the Locket. They Spend the Night Together.Bini was still around. Later, in the morning Mirella is not to be seen and Gina Enters and informs about Orkin's intentions. They decide to form a Team to find out the Micro Film.
Tamil - 25 Untitled-24
They visit one person known for Duplicate Passport and then to a dentist and finally a Museum where Gina is Shot on her shoulder.Leaving her, 007 follows the Shooter & meets Mirella who says the Shooter is a Lady. She also says that Gina is Her friend. She has noticed the Car Number & 007 goes to the Hospital from where Orkin's Body is taken for the last rituals. The Lady Happens to be Orkin's Secretary Katya who says that there was actually no secret micro film with Orkin & he just wanted that as a cover so that he can settle in US of A. Katya threatened Orkin & he committed suicide. Katya Tries to kill 007 as well & was saved by the Injured Gina and Katya dies in that accident. 007 watches another movie with Mirella and Gina.
Tamil - 26 Untitled-25
This particular story was issue no 20 in Semic publication which got published in 1986 & it appeared in June 1988 in James Bond Comics in India. Here are the Regulars of James Bond Comics Issue (Editorial, Letters to the Editor and The Back Wrapper featuring Night Visit Vivek). Take a note on the next issue Cheena Pudhir (Chineese Puzzle).
Tamil - Editorial Tamil - Letters
The Back Wrapper featuring Night Visit Vivek with artwork by the Great Chellam.
Tamil - Back
Here is the English counterpoint for the same.
English - Credits
As usual, Judge George occupied his usual slot in both the inner pages. The English version (Even though it was a Good idea) was not much of a success as the printing was not up to the best quality. By that time, we were used to the Wonderful colours of Indrajaal comics & hence this kind of colour printing was, let's Say, Average.
Tamil - Front - Inner Tamil - Back - Inner
Here is the Back Wrapper of the English Version of the James Bond Issue No 2.
Title: Rocket Ragasiyam (Death in Florence)

Cover Design: Art By V.Chinnaiah, Soft Cover, Non-Laminated.

Serial Number: No. 2.

On Sale From: 1st June 1988 Onwards.

Total No. of Pages: 16cmx24cm, 36 Pages (Story 24 Pages), Black & White in Tamil & Colour in English.

Price: Priceless for Comic Fans; For others, INR 2/- for Tamil Version and INR 4/- for English Version.

Partner in Crime: Kovai Dr Sathish.

Here comes the U-Turn in the Post. After the James Bond Comics Issue No 6 (Oct 1987), The Publication stopped the series & Later on Rani Comics Published the same story which featured in issue no 2 in as their Issue No 113 in March 1st 1989. ComiRades will agree that the golden age of Rani Comics was when Mr Rama Jayam was the Editor. When he was replaced by A.M Samy, the quality of Rani Comics took a plunge (Translation, Pronunciation, Story, Editing etc). This issue was the classic example to show that how a story can be altered by the editor.
Rani - Cover Rani - Intro Rani - 08
 Notice the Fact that the title is changed for commercial purpose. Here comes the 1st Twist: The 4 leading bond girls were trimmed to 2 without cutting their panels. Yes, The 1st Actress with whom Bond goes for a Movie in London & The Italian Spy Gina are clubbed into 1 Character (Come On). Later, Mirella and Katya were Clubbed into 1 Character. Mr M becomes Police Commissioner.
Here Comes the Best: Italian Intelligence Chief Rinaldi & The KGB Spy Orkin were clubbed and they become one single person. The Great Editor of Our Beloved Rani Comics thought all the Readers were ignorant fools & if he can say they are one, people will believe. Shame on a Publication which continued with the Editor even after this fiasco.
The Story Goes for a Complete Toss. As they have merged the Characters of Katya and Mirella, look what they have done in the last 2 pages of the story: Editing & Cutting of Artworks in Panel.
Rani - 60 Rani - 61 Rani - 62
The Rani Comics Version was a Complete Mess of a Story. Let us stop cribbing about that. They are a publication which has to be appreciated for a Single fact that their comics were on sale in stands on 1st & 16th of every month for over 2 decades, even though they very much compromised on all aspects of Running a Quality comics after Issue No 92. I want your comments on this. By the way, Am just producing one panel from all the 4 possible versions (Semic, James Bond English, James Bond Tamil & Rani Tamil). Judge Yourself:
Comparison - Semic Comparison - English
Comparison - Tamil Comparison - Rani

Now, here comes the Rani Comics Panel. Even though, they have covered the frontal exposure their way of looking at things leaves a lot to be desired. When 007 is on a mission to meet her, he plans the next step in all the 3 panels; whereas in Rani Comics version, he just admires her beauty. However, when they have actually changed the entire script, they can have the liberty of doing this - i Guess. There are many ComiRades who are Die-Hard Rani Comics Fans who say that the Rani comics issues were of good quality, even at least till issue no 250. This is issue no 113. What's your take on this?

This has become a Very big Post with so many scans. Let me sign off with 3 more scans which showcase how the cover arts are inspired: the original inner panels from which the cover arts get Done.
English - Cover - Reference Tamil - Cover -  Reference Rani - Cover -  Reference
Well, that's all for the time being. As usual, post your comments in the comments section. The next post on this blog will be two news features with relation to comics. However, the next Review Post will be on the 3rd issue of James Bond Comics only. 
Thanks & Regards,
King Viswa.


  1. Viswa,

    The thorough research you have done on this comics is appreciated.

    Though I have started my comics reading habit from Rani Comics, stopped reading it after it lost the quality... (I did not know about the Editors were playing key role in that).

    All the best Viswa..
    Looking forward for your next post :) .

  2. கிங் விஸ்வா,

    நன்றி. அருமையாக இருந்தது.


  3. From The Desk Of Rebel Ravi:

    Very good post on James bond comics 2nd issue.however, you created a controversy about the editor of rani comics. there was no need for doing so on the most loved comics in tamil, rani.

    I do agree that muthu/lion comics group introduced many characters to tamil. but they couldn't sustain their consistency. on the other hand, rani comics, as rightly pointed out by you, was on stands in almost all the news paper shops on 1st and 16th of every month.

    iam wondering what made them to stop. maybe, story selections like this could have paved way for that.

    Rebel Ravi,

    Change is the Only constant thing in this world.

  4. A wonderfull post with all the related news and facts, which makes your blog an unique one among others. I could have never related any Tamil Comics to its Original publication, as they go down with multiple plot changes, and the Tamil Comic Publishers, generally hide all the author/writer/publication details.

    But with Dr.Sathish in arms, you continue to show your detective skills, to dig down those sub-plot data for all of us. Thanks for that.

    I agree I felt disconnected with Rani Comics storylines during the late 80's, and now realize the reason behind it being the Editor change. Rani Comics continuously printed James Bond stories from Issue #89 to Issue #97 during 1988, and you can see a big difference between the timeline (#91, when Ramajayam left), mentioned by Viswa, in the story content, and translation. It only turned from best to worst during that period, eventually dragged themsel up and folded with Issue 500.

    I would have hoped that Secret Agent series of Ramajayam could have gone a little longer, so as that it could have got a better reception from comic fans. Maybe the English Comics color editions could have turned out to be an overkill for this new publication, which was clearly undercooked among the other publications. Look at the way the colors are applied... that looked childish. Also the cover arts are offshooted from Roger Moore James Bond Movies :). Is Mr. Ramajayam still onto any projects? Would love to read any interview with him.

    Thanks for posting in between your busy schedule Viswa. As I believe all our fellow readers would continue to expect the quality work you have been doing, and won't mind a delay in collecting and posting it with all ends of information.

    Rafiq Raja

  5. Viswa,

    Fine posting with deep research. I admire your memory power at this age(!). Your postings boost up my interest on my collection also. I just collect comics like coins collection but you are doing it with great involvement.

  6. கிங் விஸ்வா இப்படி அக்குவேறு ஆணி வேறாக ஒர் காமிக்ஸ்சை வேவுபார்த்து பதிவிட்டதற்காக உங்களிற்கும்,சத்திஷ்ஷிற்கும் முறையே 008,009 பட்டமளிக்கலாம் பதிவின் பின்னுள்ள இருவரின் உழைப்பிற்கும் பராட்டுக்கள்.காமிக்ஸ் மேல் காதலும், அந்த காதலை காமிக்ஸ் காதலர்களிடம் உயிர்பிக்கவைக்கும் அர்பணிப்பும் இருந்தால் மாத்திரமே தரமான இதழ்கள் உருவாகும் வாய்ப்புண்டு,அந்த சாத்தியம் தமிழில் அதிகம் இருந்ததில்லை.இல்லை என்பதற்கு நீங்களே உதாரணம் தந்துவிட்டீர்கள், உண்டு என்பதற்க்கு நீங்களும் ஒர் உதாரணம்.உற்சாகத்த்துடன் தொடருங்கள்,பதிவு அருமை.

  7. nice posting on james bond. can you please share your views about war comics which was published once upon a time in muthu?

    shiva, chennai

  8. Excellent posting on james bond comics with apt connectivity provided by english version, Original version and rani comics version.

    am an ardent fan of rani comics and i've to agree to the fact that you have really showed the difference between the stories. (am posting this 2 days late because i had to search for the rani comics and read with the james bond comics synopsis provided by you).

    iam wondering how i missed minute details like rinaldi being shown as the same person as orkin. when i read the comics way back in the late 80's, i never realised that this was a bad story or badly edited story. but when i read your posting on this, then only i realised that i have been conned by rani comics editor.

    still what irritates me is the fact, that their irrelevance for most of the panels like in the climax where they have modified it to suit their version of the story.

    i have a question to ask: isn't it violation of patent/copyright law when you modify the content so much? i can understand when they do it to cover the exposures from the ladies. but not this.

    Kindly check it out with your Investigation head sathish and let us know.

    Still, i do believe, rani comics redeemed themselves by introducing Phantom/mandrake/rib kirby in the issues after 140. what is your take on the vintage issues of phantom like "AVAL THODHUTHA AMBU", "MUDHALAI THEEVU", "MARANA MURASU" etc or the Rib kerby stories "VAARAYO VAIRA NECKLACE", or the mandrake stories? i do belive they were some of the best.

    By the way, clarify the hero: Dhillon who featured in rani comics after issue no 100 (even one of his story was featured as Wes slade story in muthu).

    thuppariyum singam raayan: featured in janathipathi kolai etc.

    Theo: Egipthyia mummy, super car etc.

  9. திரு அய்யம்பாளையம் லெச்சுமணன் வெங்கடேஸ்வரன்,
    அதெப்படி விசுவ பாத்து இப்படியொரு கேள்வி கேக்கலாம்?

    To Rebel Ravi, Blogger & other RANI fans,

    Since Viswa, Rafiq, Muthufan & many others including myself are ardent fans of MUTHU, LION group of publications, we generally tend to look down upon RANI comics as inferior in quality since our childhood, as would you guys think vice-versa.

    But we generally don't let this affect our judgements while posting something. So there's no need for us to create controversies & we don't want to start one either. We just state facts & support it with ample evidence.

    Pretty soon we'll focussing on PRAKASH PUBLISHERS' many follies, as requested by many ComiRades, too.

    I'll also start working on those RANI heroes (Detective Julian/Rayan, Theo, Dillon) & you'll have somthing on them asap :)

  10. OOPS! Forgot to add one more thing!

    Regarding the copyrights issue raised by Blogger, I don't think RANI would've got the rights to publish this issue, as the quality of pictures as compared to JAMES BOND COMICS looks like they've been badly scanned (if scan was available back then, i doubt it) or more probably XEROXed.

    In fact in later issues they just scanned & reprinted many INDRAJAL Phantom stories in both B&W and color.

    So no point in asking how could they change the story!

    BTW, Rani weren't the sole culprits in this matter. LION comics have published some stories which include XIII, Prince etc... in such poor quality that there is no doubt they were scanned or xeroxed. The royalty must've been too high for them to afford to quality originals :)

  11. hi there,

    very very refreshing to see a blog on tamil comics with real inputs & research work unlike just scans of the covers and general typing on "This is a nice comics" etc etc.

    hats off to you. keep the gud work.

    might yet to get married. right? saw some comments over there on your age.How old are you?

  12. From The Desk Of Rebel Ravi:

    Again you have created another controversy by saying that rani comics wouldhave scanned / xeroxed the books and published in tamil.

    come on. how come a big group like thina thanthi can do this kind of silly activity? you are just throwing comments without proof.

    How will you justify your comments? have you got any proof for all this? just because they were not printed in good quality, does not mean that they would have done something like this.

    King vishwa, what's your take on this matter? why haven't you commented on this? kindly stop this kind of wrong communication.

    infact, satheesh says that lion comics also culprits in this. i have mailed these contents to praksh publishers. waiting to hear from them.

    Kindly do not hurt the feelings of others.

    Rebel Ravi,

    Change is the Only constant thing in this world.

  13. In my view Rani comics was targeted the readers who were in the age of 10 ~ 16. So, they always wanted complicated stories.
    Rani comics's roll in promoting comics reading habbit in Tamil is big. (Same time they only gave Childish image for comics in Tamilnadu)

  14. Pls correct the comment as follows
    "So, they always wanted to avoid complicated stories"

  15. Venkatesh: At this Age...? :) You might be knowing that in Indian Media... people are called youngsters till the age of 35 (as mentioned in newspapers time and time again, as 35 வயது நிரம்பிய வாலிபர்), so we still haven't reached the end of the ageing cycle where the greymatter stops to from learning new things. Infact, we are far away from it :)

    Blogger: As Sathish pointed out when compared with Lion & Muthu, Rani Comics always was a low performer, in terms of Editorial work, and packaging. Yet it shouldn't be denied the fact that Rani Comics did bring in a continuous flow of titles from the Comics Heroes like Phantom, Rip Kirby, Mandrak, which were forgotten by Lion/Muthu publishers, as they gave preference to the Cowboy storylines for the last few decades. I also share a common feel about the titles you mentioned of Rani Comics, they were some golden oldies and real-real good ones. I will give the credit to the Original Writers and Artists for that, more than to Rani Comics.

    Ravi: The Copyright Issues explanation by Sathish seems to have created a ROAR among the ardent fans. Let us not jump to be a "FanBoy-type of" over the comics publishers. We all love the comics brands which have strived to live long enough and provided us some wonderful titles and introduced to number of heroes. But that shouldn't make us be ignorant of the fact that there were miss-ups and let-downs on part of tamil comics publishers (both Rani and Lion/Muthu) at various stages. Being Critical of them, doesn't mean that we mudshed the brand value, rather try to make it aware of the areas where they could have done better. Critics in Movie Industry do a same kind of work. Everyone has a right to share their feeling and findings over the Comics, and to an extent Dr. Sathish is right.

    Rani Comics did miss on the proper Copyrights many a times. Infact, if you notice the earlier Rani Issues before #100 (If I recollect correctly), used to a feature an end note with due copyright information. That thing was totally ignored in the later part of the releases. I do remember once Rani Comics even went to the audacity of creating a Modesty title of its own with Local Arts (should be after Issue #400). Even Mr. Vijayan had expressed his displeasure over this in one of his Hotlines. Also provided that International Copyright holders don't care to see their Tamil versions of their comics, they had a free hand in deciding what titles to publish and how to edit them, in turn only paying license fee for the lesser number of titles to the original publishers. I agree on the view of Siv, that they were targetting an younger audience, and that could have resulted in them editing stories to fit their reading habits. But, they never had the right to change the plot or chopping off panels completely.

    That brings us to Prakash Publishers too. Ardent Comic fans have strong evidence and facts, that quite a lot of titles which are published in Lion/Muthu didn't carry a proper licensing from its international distributors, Eventhough they had a right obtained to bring these Comic Heroes to Tamil Comics. It's like acquiring a license for one/two out of the total 10 titles in a series by paying for them, and then printing all the 10 editions with that. It has happened for Captain Prince (Bernard Prince), Tex Willer, etc. in the past. You can wait for a response from Prakash Publishers for your mail, but I don't expect them to respond to the thread, because they know it has some truth to go with.

    Overall, the idea of these recent comics blogs is to bring the old memories to share with the like-minded people, and make them also aware of the background information, like let-ups by the publishers. That said, it was never meant to hurt anybody's feeling or to create controversies (which was never in mind among any of us right from the start). Let's enjoy the Comics together and share each other's thoughts on the same.

    Rafiq Raja

  16. Mahesh Kumar: Thanks for your visit & comments. Even i lost interest in buying Rani Comics after issue no 100. However, Later bought them for collection purpose.

    அம்மா ஆசை இரவுகள் Fan: Thanks for your Visit. Of Late, i have noticed that You Are a Regular Visitor. Keep Doing so By Adding Your Valuable Presence.

    Rebel Ravi: Thanks for your Visit. I Do believe that you are a Great Rani Comics Fan (Just Like Me - The First Tamil Comics That I Read Was Rani Comics Only). However, there is No Controversy over here as the reason behind putting Rani Comics Comparative Scans was just to compare 2 Different Schools of Thought i Publishing. As for As Dr Sathish's Comments on this regard, Let me Tell you This: He is One Person who is Than the Best when it comes to Comics. In Fact, Am About To Start a New Section whereby All the Queries On Comics will Be Clarified By The Comics Doctor Himself.

    However, I Sincerely Apologise to you had Our Comments caused any ripples in your mind with reference to Rani Comics.

    Rafiq: James Bond Comics Incurred Huge Financial Loss to the Publishers & Am Still On the Look Out on Mr RamaJayam. Hopefully, will let you Know very Soon. Thanks for Your Continued Support.

    L Venkateshwaran அய்யம்பாளையம் லெச்சுமணன் வெங்கடேஸ்வரன்: Thanks Sir. Thanks for Starting This Great Debate on My Age. Still, No One Would have Remembered Your Comment. However, Dr Sathish made it Obvious to others by replying. Thanks to Him As Well. By the Way, Thanks for Your Visit Though.

    Shankar Viswalingam: Than You Sir. Of Late, You've Been Supporting TCU with Regular Visits and Your Valuable Comments. We Are Honoured By the 00 (Double O) Awards. So, Do We Now Have the License to Kill?

    Cap Tiger: I Do Believe You Are Referring About Naragathai Paarthen (Experiences of an Artist amidst The 2nd World War Torn Hiroshima). I Do believe it was a Cult Classic. I still get very Sorrowful when i recall How the Lead Character used to recall Those Incidents and How they Used to Share the Rice. Thanks for Your Comments Though.

    Blogger: Thanks for your Comment. Yes, i do believe Rafiq Has Already Answered to Your Query on Copyright.On the Rani Comics Part, Apart From 2/3 issues of Rib Kirby Or 5-6 Issues of Mandrake,I Don't Remember These 2 Heroes Featuring Much in their Storyline.

    Yes, Phantom Stories were Some of the Best till Issue No 200.Period. Let Us Review Rani Comics Later As Anything Related with Rani Comics Turns out to Be "Controversial" over here.

    Dr Sathish: Thanks for Reminding Everyone About Venkateshwaran's Comment. On Serious Part, I Always Refrain From Making a Serious Comment on Topical Issues in Public which may relate to Legal Hassles.

    Ocean's 1st: Thanks for Your Visit. Yes, You Guessed it Right. Am Yet To Get Entangled In The Wed Lock & Am Yet to Touch 30.

    Siv: Thanks a Ton for Entering in to (Y)our Blog. Am Honoured. Planning to Write About Your Comics Initiative in the Next Post.

  17. Vishwa Ji,

    Why are you silent on this Rani Comics/Lion Comics Matter?

    Lion Century Special (100th issue of Lion Comics), Does anyone remember the spider story that appeared in that book?

    It was titled as "Pani ilavarasan". If My memory serves me right, that was taken from a DC Comics Story featuring Batman & that comics off the late 80's. I Got the lion century special only recently from Dr Sathish of Cbe & hence i couldn't post my comments about that earlier.

    What Mr Vijayan has done was, He took the book & may be scanned the pages & re-created it with spider by replacing wherever batman was. If you look into that story closely, You will find the diffences:

    (1) There will be no Roy Ordini / Professor Pelham in that entire story.

    (2) There was no heli-Car in that entire story.

    (3) The Combination art work (Spider with other characters) was not appropriate.

    (4) The individual panels in which spider appears alone were taken from some of the earlier spider stories (Like Kal Nenjan etc).

    i have the complete list of spider stories published by Fleetway publication, UK : Written by Ted Cowan and illustrated by Reg Bunn. However, there is no story like this.

    Sorry Mr Vijayn, i NEVER EVER expected this from You. Once in a hotline of yours, you have mentioned about rani comics recreating the character of Modesty Blaise with local artists. You said it is a big crime. Now hat have you done sir?

    Only one question rings in my mind: Et Tuu Vijayan? (You Too Vijayan?).

    Vishwa Ji, What's Ypur Take on this issue? Forget About Ravi (Rani Comics FAN). Answer for the Lion Comics Fiasco.

    Tamil Nadu.

  18. true?

    kindly refrer and do a post on the above comment on Spider comics done by local.

  19. download links =

  20. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  21. ar Viswa,
    I'm a collector and the first issue of this series - Super Duper is missing from my collection.I came to your blog while searching for a copy and though i have limited understanding of tamil i still appreciate the deep research you have done for this post.
    I hope you would not mind if i ask that should you have a spare copy of 'super duper' i would really like to exchange or trade whatever is your preference.
    PS: My proxy setting is not letting me login to my google a/c


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