Sunday, November 16, 2008

16 Review 07: James Bond Comics 04 - Marma Kottai (மர்ம கோட்டை)

Dear ComiRades,

This is the fourth Instalment in the James Bond Comics Series Started By Mr Rama Jayam. Regular Visitors to TCU May Recollect Posts on Issue No 1, Issue No 2 & Issue No 3 and the subsequent controversies regarding the Right to change the storyline & content so As to Make it more suitable to the children. Anyway, all said and done, Rani Comics have done it & let us not dwell on it so as to Be-Little the efforts made by them towards the Tamil Comics Ulagam. 

Moving On to this Post, Marma Kottai (மர்ம கோட்டை - Secret Castle) is the last issue to get printed in the A4 Size as the next issue was of the same size as that of Rani Comics & Present Day Lion Comics, thus depriving us the charm of Reading a Comics Book in Tamil in that size. ComiRades may remember that Even Mr Vijayan has once described about the dismal sales and the Number of returns they have to take the next month when they were printing XIII Series issues No 6, 7, 8. This may be the curse of Tamil comics that any magazine, from the late 80's till now, which gets printed in Bigger size doesn't has a Longer run.
Yours truly had the privilege of Meeting couple of Comics Publishers (Still continuing to publish, but not Comics) who echoed the same feelings. One Publisher very copulatively said that "The size of a Tamil Comics Book is Inversely proportional to the sale of the book". Which literally means, the bigger the book is, the lesser the sales will be & the smaller the Book is, the better the sales is. The same was noted by Mr Vijayan way back in 1984 when he shifted to Pocket size. As a Matter of Fact, many of the first set Comics Classics issues were not available now-a-days & the same period Comics of Lion/Muthu are available even with the publisher themselves. Amazing Huh? But this is true only. Remember the Tagline for the Hollywood movie Godzilla: Size does matter. It matters, infact.
Cover 8101_4_1984.02 8101_4_1987.09
Enough of the size Talks, This particular issue's story was written by Jack Sutter (Who has a Penchant for Robotic/Unusual Villains) and was published originally in the semic press under the title "Operation - Little" in 1984 as the eighth installment of their series on James Bond Stories. Have a Look at the Tamil James Bond cover and the original cover for the same story: Operation little and the cover from which this Tamil James Bond cover was inspired. These editors - My Oh My- they do really have some kind of a Sense to catch the attention of the ComiRades. Have a Look at these covers and judge for yourself: Which Cover looks more attractive - The Tamil James Bond Comics Cover (Even though this itself is Inspired from) or the Semic issue cover?
03 11
The story line is as follows: The worlds best assassin is a dwarf who goes by the name 'Little' (Very aptly Named by Sutter), he lives in an impregnable castle in Switzerland, where he drives around underground on a large toy train, and he kills any intruders by remotely controlled flying saucers, and various other fancy gadgets. But now someone is trying to kill him and Bond is sent in to discover who it is. Bond also is Captured By Mr Little who informs that the reason why many countries try to kill him is an Identity crisis & he gives some tips towards un-Locking this mystery.
Bond, As usual romances with the Russian Army officer (She was the tip - Come On Ya, this is a James Bond Story and we have to get some female character) and gets to a Video tape which shows that somebody looking like Mr Little Assassinating the Russian Top-Guy. Based on the video Tape only the Russian and other Governments (They also have a similar tape) try to eliminate Mr Little.  Bond Discusses this with Mr Little, who discovers that the Identical personality in the Video Tape is in fact an Ape.  Later on They discover the secret about one Mad Scientist Named Dr Kurth who is bent on to Rule the world with his Animal soldiers who were transformed with serum into an Intellectual level superior to that of Human Beings (So Typical of Jack Sutter). 
23 26
Bond and Mr Little get into Dr Kurth's Place and destroy everything & in that process, Mr Little is changed into another Animal-Soldier and Bond, Taking a Tough Call, Kills Mr Little. He was to be visited by Felix (Remember him in old Rani Comics Stories as Another Secret agent who loses his Hand in Rani Issue No 9 - Mandhira Theevu மந்திர தீவு). ComiRades can have a look into the Editors Write Up on the censorship about the Panels by an ardent fan from Ambur. Look into the part where the editor announces about the English edition of the James bond Comics from this particular month (August 1988) onwards. moving on to the letters to editor page, you can see that many of the Readers were inspired by the cover art work & someone went to the level of saying that the Cost of the book is worth for the wonderful cover itself.
27 28
Look at the Original Semic Panel and the corresponding panel in Page No 11 (2nd Page)
Semic08 Corresponding Panel
Finally, the Back wrapper of the book where the ever-present Night visit Vivek with the wonderful art work of the Immortal Great Artist of Tamil Comics Ulagam, Mr Chellam.

Title:Marma Kottai (மர்ம கோட்டை - Secret Castle)

Cover Design: Art By V.Chinnaiah

Cover: Soft Cover, Non-Laminated. 

Serial Number: No. 4. 

On Sale From: 1st August 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.

Story: Jack Sutter

Original Artwork: Sarompas.

and the next issue announcement.

As a Pattern, Yours Truly will Be sharing the Happenings of Comics Houses in the cyberspace. Here are they:

(1) The New Blog Comics Pookal - காமிக்ஸ் பூக்கள் by Ayyampalayam Venkateshwaran has been completely revamped with better designs. Worth a Visit & Kindly park in your thoughts over there.

(2) Our Own Comics Doctor Has Woken & Posted a New Blog Topic which was Long pending in a Blog which was very recently started. As usual, Doctor has done deep research on the topic & come out with flying colours. So Enthralled was the Readers, that they have Best-Owed the Title "Captain VijayaKanth of Comics" for his style of presenting the facts.

(3) Our Beloved Poet Mr Josh (Of the Share Hunter Series) has started a New Series on the western style where 3 Cowboys which is quite innovative & there is a Surprise Element in the characterisation of the Lead Roles in that story. Read it to find out. Click here to read that.

(4) Going by the popularity of the 2011's Comics Chief Minister Dr Sathish's Blog, There is another Blog (க.கொ.க.கூ = கடத்தல் கொலை கலகக் கூட்டமைப்பு) which is very similar to that in Title of the Blog & Post of the same. However, the similarity ends there itself as the Pretender has a long way to reach the heights of Comic Doctor. Anyway, it is so nice to know that the Blogging interest is now on with reference to Tamil Comics which was not the same case some 2 Months back when yours truly started TCU, Wherein Muthu Fan & Rafiq were the only entrants in Tamil Comics Cyberspace.

Coming Back to Yours Truly, the Non-Appearance of Myself over the last 2 Weeks in the Tamil Comics Blog's in any form (Be it Comments, Visits, Reply's, Posts etc) was for the fact that Our Beloved Pet Dog Browny was Admitted in Hospital for the last One week & Has passed away on 15th Nov 2008 (Saturday evening 4 PM). This particular post was ready by last week itself & could not be posted because of the Mental Agonies we, as a Close Knit Family, were going through. The best Part about Browny was that,within 22 months, it has become such a close part of our Family that even a Person Like My Father (Participated in 2 Wars for India in His career with Indian Army) broke down when he saw Browny on Saturday Morning.
Browny had so much affection towards My father, that it started crying and so was my Dad. In My lifetime, this is the first time am Seeing My Father Crying. Words really, REALLY cannot describe the impact left by Browny with our family. Kindly excuse me if i do not reply to your personal mails, or Comments on the Blogs for the next few weeks as i have to take care of both my "Patient" Parents after the loss of Browny.

Well, that's all for the time being. 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 in the sidebar. The next New Comics Review post on this blog will be the review of Lion Comics Issue No 205 (எமனின் எல்லையில் - Tex Willer Adventure). However, the next Old Review Post will be on the 5th issue of James Bond Comics. The Next Actual post will be on a News Paper article about the 60 Years of Comics in Tamil.

Thanks & Regards,

King Viswa.


  1. I'm very sad to hear the news. May Time ease your pain. I wish you to Come back to us soon.

  2. Thanks for the update in spite of your present mourning state.

    very nice review. in fact, among all the reviews done by you this one was the complete review in terms of story, background, cover details, artwork etc. Hats off to you.

    it is true that the size of the book plays a vital role in sales. that's why pocket size books were still cherished by us. hence the sales of Comics classics is much better than the regular lion comics and muthu comics, even though the storyline also plays a vial role in sales.

    it is very sad that the original size was not able to be continued with XIII Series (Any update? i paid Rs 200 for the last 1 year) as part 9 came in the regular size owing to sales demands. pity.

    lastly, but most importantly take care of your parents. when you look into the larger picture, comics books are, after all, just our hobbies - Papers which are printed. But, human beings and their health are more important.

  3. From The Desk Of Rebel Ravi:


    As My signature says, Change is the Only constant thing in this world. Get over the tough situation by concentrating
    on other issues which may relax your mind a li'l bit ; comics.

    this post is very categorically organised and all the scans are opening up. am already looking into the other blogs. Take care.

    Rebel Ravi,

    Change is the Only constant thing in this world.

  4. கிங் விஸ்வா,

    உலகின் மிக உன்னதமான அனுபவங்களில் ஒன்று வளர்ப்பு பிராணிகள் ஆகும். துயரமான இந்த நிகழ்விலிருந்து விரைவில் விடுபட்டு வாருங்கள் தோழரே.

    மர்ம கோட்டை விமர்சனம் மிகவும் சிறப்பாக இருந்தது. இந்த புத்தகம் என்னிடம் இல்லாத போதிலும், ஏதோ இந்த கதையை படித்ததை போன்றதொரு உணர்வை ஏற்படுத்தியது உங்களின் விமர்சனம். இதைபோலவே மேலும் சிறப்பாக எழுதுங்கள்.

    ஜேம்ஸ் பான்ட் கதைகளில் உள்ள சித்திரங்கள் நம் நாட்டில் தணிக்கை செய்யபட்டே வருகின்றன. ராணி காமிக்ஸ்'இன் முதல் இதழை தவிர. இதை நாம் வரவேற்க வேண்டும், ஏனெனில் நமது பண்பாடு அப்படி.

    துணிவே துணை.

    தகவலுக்கும் பதிவுக்கும் நன்றி.

    அம்மா ஆசை இரவுகள் விசிறி.

  5. முதலில் உங்கள் இழப்பிற்கு என் ஆழ்ந்த அனுதாபங்களை தெரிவித்துக் கொள்கிறேன். காலங்கள் ஆற்றாத காயங்கள் இல்லை நீங்களும் மீண்டு மீண்டும் வரவேண்டும் என்பதே என் ஆவல்.

    வழமைபோலவே சிறப்பான பதிவு,உங்கள் துக்கத்தின் மத்தியிலும் எங்களை நினைத்து இதனை பதிவிட்டதிற்கு நன்றிகள் பல.

    கட்டங்களில் மொழி மாற்றத்தில் ஆசிரியரின் முடிவு வியப்படைய வைக்கிறது.

    பெரிய அளவு விற்பனையை பாதிக்கிறது என்பது ஆச்சர்யம் தரும் விடயம், என்னை பொறுத்த வரையில் இந்தக்காலத்தில் நல்ல விளம்பரம் இன்றி விற்பனையாவது எதுவுமில்லை[ ஆ.வி முதல் குங்குமம் வரை. ஏன் ஆ.வி தன் அளவை கூட சமீபத்தில் மாற்றிக்கொண்டதே]இதன் பிண்ணனியில் அ.கொ.தீ.க இருக்கும்
    என்று எண்ணுகிறேன்.

    உற்சாகத்துடன் தொடருங்கள்.

  6. Hiya,

    Nice Update on james bond comics issue no 4. Has this story appeared in rani comics?

    i haven't bought this james bond comics & never remember this coming in the first 200 issues of rani comics, which is what people like you call it as the golden period of rani comics.

    may be they could have published this story after issue no 350 or so as they went on publishing some new stories of james bond along with some of the golden oldies. i need to check it out.

    as mentioned by you, there are 6-8 issues of james bond comics & you have reviewd 4 of them, after the remaining 4, what is your plan? why dont you start reviewing Rani comics? by the way, saw your post in the rani comics orkut community. kindly do visit my facebook community for rani comics also.

  7. another nice review from you. good to know that all the links are opening now.

    Has the lion comics book available to subscribers? is that so? kindly tell us.

    when you are talikng about rani comics panel translations not matching up, just have a look into the panel comparison of james bond comics and original version (how can that be original? the original published in semic was not in english).

    it shows that all the editors are falliable and prone to this. kindly do not blame rani comics alone.

  8. விஷ்வா...

    சில பறவைகள் முட்டையிலிருந்து வெளி வரும்போது எந்த நகரும் பொருளை (அல்லது உயிரினத்தை) பார்கிறதோ அதனையே தங்கள் தாயாக பாவிப்பதுண்டாம். அது போல தற்போதைய காமிக்ஸ் ஆர்வலர்களுக்கு காமிக்ஸ்-களும், பிற சிறுவர் இதழ்களும் மற்ற வெகு ஜன இதழ்களின் அளவை விட சிறிய அளவிலேயே அறிமுகமாகியுள்ளன. முத்து குடும்ப காமிக்ஸ்கள், அணில் அண்ணா போன்றவை நல்ல உதாரணங்கள். எனவே தான் பாக்கெட் வடிவ காமிக்ஸ் -கள் நமது மனதில் நீங்க இடம் பிடித்து விட்டன. இக்கருத்து மற்றவர்களுக்கு பொருந்துமோ இல்லையோ எனக்கு நிரம்ப பொருந்துகிறது. மேலும் பாக்கெட் வடிவில் புத்தகம் சற்று கனமாக தோன்றும். அது ஒரு வித திருப்தி!
    இன்னும் கூட நான் பாக்கெட் வடிவ காமிக்ஸ்-இன் விசிறிதான்.

    பாக்கெட் வடிவின் ஒரு வரப்பிரசாதம் என்னவென்றல் அதனை தனித்தனியே கிழித்து 'பொட்டலம்' போட முடியாது! பழைய முத்து குடும்ப காமிக்ஸ்-களின் பெரிய வடிவ இதழ்கள் கிடைப்பது அரிதாகி போனதின் பின்னணி இதுவாக கூட இருக்கலாம்.

    'மர்மக் கோட்டைக்கு' வருவோம். இக்கட்டான சூழ்நிலையிலும் பீனிக்ஸ் பறவையாக வந்து மதிப்பான ஒரு பதிவை இட்டுள்ளீர்கள். உற்சாகத்தோடு பாராட்ட இயலவில்லையானுளும் உள்ளன்போடு பாராட்டுகிறேன். காலங்கள் மாறும்... காயங்களும் மாறும்...

  9. Dear Viswa, I agree that A4 Size is never considered a best package when it comes to any form of magazines (including Comics) in India. The Indian Book readers generally prefer the Magazine size (Readers Digest Format/B6), as that is easy to take around. I too personally tend to prefer this format, has it is good for storage, but a point of losing to witness the artwork in its full form is heartening. Maybe, the Western Comics Size adopted by Marvel, DC now (or B5), which is a tradeoff between A4 and C5 Size could be the way these comic publishers should adopt in India. They seem to satisfy both the worlds of interest. But as with A4 Size, Cinebook, Tara Press, and Euro Books seem to be sticking on with A4 with a nice packaging of hard-cover, so I hope the others take note from them on it.

    Coming back to the Topic, The coverart of Semic Press is a real classic. Tamil Version seems to have made it more attractible, but I still prefer Semic version.

    On the story, the Dwarf riding a toy train, reminds me of Tiger stories of erstwhile Rani Comics. They indeed were fun all out. The artwork in James Bond stories by Semic, is real impressing with new style, but the fact of missing the James Bond originality is not to be missed.

    And to your personal loss, I truly share the feeling and the mental torchure you might be going through. Losing a Pet is something I could also never manage to get over right from my childhood. For instance, I was so fond of the Chickens, and Pigeons grown in my house that, I never allowed any of them to be cut for meat either. Losing them, as they grow older, and crying out for that, made me realise that it is a pain which you have to go through. For the past decade, I don't have any Pets for the same reason. As the great saying goes, Time Heals all Wounds. Looking forward for your next post.

    Rafiq Raja

  10. அண்ணாச்சி,

    டீ சொல்லி அரைமணி நேரம் ஆச்சி. இன்னும் காணோம்? என்னது இது?

  11. Dear ComiRades,

    A Big Thanks to All those who stood by Yours Truly's saddest Day till now. As many of you have mentioned, Time is the Biggest Healer; However, the problem with that is the TIME itself is not moving fast enough.

    Josh: Thanks for your Visit & Comments. From Now Onwards, i will never ever make you to wait for more than Half-An-Hour.

    MoonLess Night: Thanks for your (Regular) Visit and comment. Yes, in a way, you are right. The Comics classics sales are much better as for as some of the Distributors whom i have met. Will try to match your expectation in the near future as well with the same kind of reviews.

    Rebel Ravi: Thanks. Will do the same as well in all my posts.

    Amma Aasai Iravugal Fan: வருகைக்கும், கருத்துக்கும் நன்றி. தணிக்கை செய்யப்பட வேண்டும் என்பதே எனது விருப்பமும் ஆகும்.

    Sankara ViswaLingam: வருகைக்கும், கருத்துக்கும் நன்றி.ஒவ்வொரு கட்டங்களுக்கும் அதைப் போன்றே மொழி மாற்றம் செய்ய இயலாது என்பது எனது கருத்து. அதற்க்கு முன்னால் உள்ள கதையோட்டத்தை சார்ந்தே கட்டங்களின் மொழி மாற்றம் இருக்கும். அப்படி செய்ய வில்லைஎனில் மொழி மாற்றம் சில வருடங்களுக்கு முன்னர் DD 1ல் வெளிவந்த ஜுனூன் கதை போலவே இருக்கும்.

    புத்தகங்களின் அளவு அதன் விற்பனையை பாதிக்கும் என்பதை கண்கூடாக பார்த்தவன் நான் என்பதால் அவ்வாறு எழுதினேன்.

    Blogger: Thanks for your visit & comment. No Sir, this story has not featured in Rani Comics in the entire set of 500 books.
    After reviewing the James Bond series, am yet to plan for the next series. will intimate to you very soon.
    By the way, am searching for your facebook I.D. Mail it to me.

    Anony: The way you have commented, it shows that you must be a regular visitor to TCU. I Request you to use your Blogger ID/ Gmail ID to comment. Or else, My partner in Crime Dr Sathish thinks that It is Yours Truly who comments on the sly using the Anon option as a mask. I have answered the panel comparison query to sankar.

    அய்யம்பாளையம் வெங்கடேஷ்வரன் சார்: நீங்கள் கூறியது முற்றிலும் சரி. பொட்டலம் போட முடியாத அளவே பாக்கெட் அளவு என்று நீங்கள் கூறியது நகைப்பை கொணர்ந்தாலும் உண்மை நிலவரம் அதுதான்.

    Rafiq: Yes, you mirrored my thoughts on the size issue of Comics.In a Way, the cover art of semic was good; However, we were fed up with colourful images throughout our life and hence i said that the tamil version was more attractive. Many of the Semic stories were missing the James Bond Originality. I Have written enough about this in the latest review of issue no.5

  12. நல்லா இருக்கு தொடர்ந்து போடுங்க

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