As mentioned in THIS Post, TCU is back with the Historical Event Related Mini Lion in the year 1987. Now, Mark that year 1987 as a very important one in the History of Tamil Comics. Yes, That was the Year in which Some Comics
- Got launched (Mini Lion Comics, Junior Lion Comics, Secret Agent James Bond Comics, Paico Classics etc)
- Closed the Shop (Ashok / Metha – Reprints, Ironically Secret Agent James Bond Comics)
- Lost Their Sheen (Rani Comics – Editor S. RamaJayam Left in 1987)
and we can go on. However, this post is about Mini Lion and Junior Lion alone and hence we can discuss the rest some time later. On a Personal Note, Yours Truly Shifted Permanently to Chennai City in the same Year. After the Successful launch of Lion Comics, Editor S Vijayan wanted to carry on with the brand name Lion and hence, Post Thigil Comics, He launched 2 new comics.
As Mentioned, Mini Lion Comics got launched with much fanfare and expectation, being the 4th comics to be started by Editor S Vijayan in a short span of 4 Years. And he planned Mini Lion Comics as a ACTION packed comics. Again Note that the words Action are being highlighted. That is The theme for another blog post in some time next month. The Price was INR 1.00 and the size was pocket size (The Formula for success – Vijayan’s School of thought) and the Number of pages were 66.The 1st four issues of Mini Lion are:
|Mini Lion Issue 1–Jan 87–Thuppaaki Munaiyil||Mini Lion Issue 2–Feb 87–Marana Circus||Mini Lion Issue 3–Mar 87–Kaanaga Mosadi||Mini Lion No 4–Apr 87–KarupuPathiri marmam|
At the same period, Vijayan has launched another Comics and this time he named it as Junior Lion Comics and what a Comic series it turned out to be. The concept behind Junior Lion was to Launch International Comic Characters to Tamil Comics domain which was craving for quality Funny stories. In fact, every other element except quality laughter evoking comics was missing in those days. His idea was Simple: International Characters in full colour at an affordable price. Yes, The Size was Pocket size and the Number of Pages were 50;But the price was INR 1.25 Only. The first issue was a Special and hence it was priced at INR 2.00 and the rest of them were priced at such a price and you have to consider that The Dollar was in the vicinity of 13-15 INR in those days. Considering all these, It was a Fantastic Plan. Here are the 1st four issues of Junior Lion Comics:
Junior Lion Issue 1-Jan 87-Super Circus
Junior Lion 2-Feb 87-Ulagam Sutrum Alibaba
Junior Lion Issue 3-Mar 87-Adhiradi Mannan
Junior Lion Issue 4-Apr 87-Pudhir Gugai
In the 4th Issue’s, this Advertisement featured and at that particular time the ComiRades were wondering the reason for the Combining of these 2 comics magazines. Lots of Guess Work was Going On on the possible reasons for the same.
The real reason was revealed by The Editor Himself in His Flash-Back series in which he says that his own Magazines have become a Competition for him and the Distributors and Shop Owners were not willing to pay Advance amount for all the 4 Magazines and they were choosy about the titles as well.
Considering all these, Editor S Vijayan has came out with a Master stroke of 2 in 1 Special Issues: A New Comics Book titled Junior Mini Lion with the Planned stories of both the original series being featured in their respective titles.
Another easy way of Identifying Series was The Colouring of the stories. If the Stories are in Black and White, the series is Mini Lion and if the Stories are in Multi Colour, then the Series is Junior Lion Comics with the possible exception of Computer Manidhan.
Apart from the Stories, The new Book series was supposed to feature some new sections and Investigative stories as Well. The reason for putting Investigative stories in the Advertisement was simple: Those kind of series were a FAD in those days with each and every one of the magazines featuring some stories of this Genre. The Trend Setter for this, And Many More, was None other than Vaandu Maama (வாண்டு மாமா) Himself. Have a Look at the Covers of the first 2 Issues of the New Junior Mini Lion Comics:
First Ever 2 in 1 Issue – Junior Mini Lion Issue No 5 – Dated June 1987 – 2 Different Titles (1 Story Each for Mini & Junior)
2nd 2 in 1 Issue – July 1987 – Front Cover
However, the Sales figures were far from the expected levels and guess what the Editor Did to arrest the slide in sales? He played His Trump Card and Brought the Hugely Popular Character The Spider to His New Set of Comics. In Fact, he did the same when there was a fall in the sales of Thigil Comics As well. Spider in Thigil Comics? Yes, He featured in a Series which continued for 18 weeks in Thigil Comics. So, The next issues of Junior Mini Lion were Carrying Spider in the Cover to Boost the sales.
Junior Mini Lion Issue No 7 – Aug 1987 - Cover
Junior Mini Lion Issue No 8 – Sep 1987 - Cover
Junior Mini Lion Last Issue No 9 – Oct 1987 - Cover
Even Spider Was not of much Help. The reason was the Economical Situation existing at that time and the increase in the Cost of print materials. It was so Un-Controllable that Even a Big Player Such as the Rani Syndicate (Publisher of Rani Comics - ராணி காமிக்ஸ்) had to increase the Price of their Magazine from INR 1.50 to INR 2.00; Now, Imagine that a Big Player such as the Rani Syndicate with so much of Financial clout coupled with the pulling power of Wide distribution Network and Ability to acquire Advertisements has to increase the Rate, What will happen to the rest of the players?
Under such circumstances, The cost of INR 2.50 for a Comics was much High and hence there were so many letters written to the Editor (One of the Very Few Editor’s Who Respects the ComiRades Views) that he immediately took action and announced that there will be changes from the Next issue itself. Look for Yourself:
Editor’s Letter on the Revamping of Junior Mini Lion Comics in Issue No 9 – Junior Lion Gone
Advertisement of the Next Issue with Mini Lion as the Solo Brand in Issue No9–Look at the Logo
The Magazine was renamed as Mini Lion and Junior Lion Comics as a Banner Name was Lost forever, Not to Forget the Brand Itself. Isn’t it Ironical that the Last 2 in 1 Issue Featured Only One Brand on the Cover (The Back Wrapper Carried an Advertisement of the Forthcoming issue) and that the Brand Junior Lion Comics May (Never?!?) to be seen in the Banner from then?
As Planned, The Next issue was Not the Vellai Pisasu and Instead of that, we had Oru Kallap Parundhin Kadhai in which Buz Sawyer made his Debut to Mini Lion Comics. and the next issues were very much regular in the shape and size. Hence, 1987 was the Year in which we saw the Launch of 2 ew Comics from the Lion Family and the Merger of the Same in the Same year and the Stand Alone Issue of Mini Lion Thus Dropping Junior Lion from the Banner.
For a Comics Historian, this is something Unprecedented as for as Tamil Comics are Concerned. And TCU is Very much Happy to bring these facts to the ComiRades. If You Happen to have any of these Books, They are Worth a Lot. Some People may Ask, How Much. Now, That will be Answered By Our Comics God Father Very Soon.
|Mini Lion As a Stand Alone Comics Again – Issue No 10 -Cover|| |
Mini Lion Issue No 11 – Annual – Visithira Jodi
Mini Lion Issue No 12 – Vellai Pisasu - Cover
When we Said Unprecedented, we meant only Tamil Comics and not others. When you look into the UK Comics Magazines, there are More than Half a Dozen of such Mergers and TCU is Delighted to bring in Some of them for your eyes Only.
|Lion & Thunder UK Comics Magazine Dated 18th May 1974 – Big News Announcement in Cover|| |
Lion & Thunder UK Comics Magazine Dated 18th May 1974 – Merger Ad
Well, the Above Cover was such an Valuable one for the fact that Spell Binder ended with that issue (Forever in English Language). What he has to do with Tamil Comics? Well, Spell Binder featured in Our Own Prakash Publishers Comics Once. Can You Guess? Well, let me leave that as a Clue for one of my forthcoming posts in TCU. Here are some other Merger Ads:
Now, When Mini Lion Dropped the Brand Name Junior Lion Comics from the Banner, It was the 1st time in Tamil Comics. There is a Precedent for that in UK Comics as Well. This particular issue of Valiant and Lion was one such in which the Brand Name of Lion Appeared for the Last time as the next issue was Renamed as Valiant alone, thus dropping the Name Lion from the Banner name.
Lion and Valiant Last Issue Dated 22-03-1975 Cover - Valiant Becomes The Stand Alone Magazine after Dropping Lion From the Title Banner – Notice the Ad – Just Valiant Alone
Thus we conclude the Special Post on Junior Mini Lion Comics and a Historical Event which was happening for the 1st time in Tamil Comics History. 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.
Note: As per the Request Made By ComiRade Siv (சிவ்) in This POST’s Comment Section, TCU Will Post an Election Special on Wednesday the 13th, Which Happens to be the Day of Elections in TCU’s State (Tamil Nadu). Don’t Be Surprised if you happen to see Multiple Posts related to Election on that Day.
Thanks & Regards,