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Saturday, July 09, 2011

12 Mekala Comics: 01-A Summer Special 1995–Buz Sawyer, Johnny Hazard, Juliet Jones & Bujjai Stories

Dear ComiRades,

Welcome back to TCU. We are currently in the series post on Mekala Comics and this is the second post in this series. The previous post (Mekala Comics 01), we have reviewed the history behind the 1st issue and the storyline featuring Agent X-9 AKA Phil Corrigan. The 1st issue of Mekala Comics was launched in the month of May 1995 and as the month of may coincides with the summer holidays, the publishers planned for a special issue as well.

The summer of ‘95 was one of the very best for the summers for the ComiRades. The reason for that was the innovative special launched by Lion Comics titled as Lion Top 10 Special. Priced at INR 25, this was the most costliest ever comics book published at that time in Tamil comics history. The innovation with that special was, it was the readers who picked which story to be published and which one not to be. The Editor has given a choice of 16 stories and asked the readers to pick the top 10 stories amongst them and hence it was titled as so. More on that special can be read over here in TCU’s 50th Special Post. The response for the special was encouraging and the comics distributors felt a new wave emerging in the comics domain.

James Bond Comics Feb 1988 CoverSeeing all this, Mekala Comics publishers also believed that they can also pull a coup by publishing their own summer special. The outcome was this. In the annals of Tamil comics history, there was no complementary issue (Not a free issue given along with the 1st issue) with the 1st issue of any book. However, Mekala comics changed all this and they have numbered this book as Issue No 1 only and the next issue was numbered as No 3. Moreover, this was published in the same month as well (albeit, a little bit later than May 1st, when the actual 1st issue was launched). Comirades were waiting for the Lion comics special, and they received both the books almost on the same week in the month of May 1995.

Yours truly was on a family tour and picked up the Lion comics special and this book. However, one of the relatives switched this book with the Suspense Novel’s summer special. As it was a long train journey, there was no way that this book to be bought in another shop for the next one week. Well, let us not get into the sad stories if how yours truly has missed the book and get on with the review of the summer special. The cover art work of the 1st issue was much appreciated by the ComiRades and the in the second issue, the cover art was radically different. The USP of the 1st issue’s cover was the local touch provided by the talented Artist Shyaam. Even the back cover of the summer special had that distinct local touch. Later on, from Dr 7’s post in Akotheeka (No Comments – 007 Special) we got to know the origin of the cover’s inspiration.

Mekala Comics Issue No 01 May 1995 Agent X9 Phil Corrigan Black mail Joint Issue Ad

Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Cover – Art Work by Artist Shyaam

Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Cover 2 – Art Work by Artist Shyaam
Mekala Comics Issue No 01 May 1995 Agent X9 Phil Corrigan Black mail Joint Issue Ad Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Cover Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Cover 2

Unlike Rani comics, Mekala comics had the editorial page in the beginning issues where the editor used to voice out his thoughts on all possible things related to comics. Wherever possible, the distribution strength of the Filmalaya and group magazines were highlighted. The other thing to be noted is the serialisation of this particular issue. They have mentioned it as complementary issue No 1. Isn’t is strange to have 2 issues from the same brand in a single month? If you think so, then you are sold a googly as this phenomena has already been carried out by Lion comics editor S.Vijayan in the very first year of his arrival.

Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Editorial

Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Index

Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Editorial Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Index

The stories were from the KFS group and it was great to see Buz sawyer appearing in another group’s comics apart from Muthu Comics & Indrajal comics, in Tamil. Though he made his odd appearance in Rani comics under a pseudonym, he wasn’t supposed to be a regular over there. The story is very much similar to what Roscoe Sweeny has to undergo in one of the earlier adventures which was published in the Muthu comics group publications. The elements of Love, revenge and humour are mixed in such a manner by Roy Crane that reading this story was like a soap opera.

Talking about Soap opera's, there wasn’t any better comic strips on opera like that of the “Heart of Juliet Jones”. Though we had the pleasure of Elliot Caplin’s Big Ben Bolt in Tamil (Again another odd appearances in Muthu Comics & Rani comics), ComiRades never had the opportunity to read his master piece – The Heart of Juliet Jones. Though Times of India published few in English in Spectrum comics, they were not available in Tamil Language. Along with one of my all time favourite artist Stan Drake, Caplin produced this long running opera elevated by Drake's exceptional artwork. The figure drawing was characterized by Drake's pioneering use of naturalistic movement and expression, a style he achieved partly through the use of Polaroid photographic reference. The storyline is very simple: A Talented singer (managed by Juliet) keeps the fact that he got married and has twins under the wraps from the public in order to keep his rising fame. How the circumstances force him to acknowledge his family is the rest of the story.

Mekala Comics  No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Buz Sawyer Story 1st Page Mekala Comics  Summer Special June 1995 Heart of Juliet Jones Story 1st Page
Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Buz Sawyer Story 1st Page Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Heart of Juliet Jones Story 1st Page

The 3rd story in this special is from the uber talented Mr Bujjai. Well, it will be gross injustice to summarise a great career in a single paragraph and hence TCU will post a detailed lengthy post on the creator who is touted to be the one behind the introduction of comics in South India in the 50’s itself.  A Wonderful story with great narration is what awaits the reader in the mysterious bungalow. If this particular book is considered a collector’s delight, partial reason is the complete story of Bujjai appearing in Tamil language. His talent was well recognised by Mr Vasudevan and wherever he moved as a Editor, Bujjai used to produce his creative works. Be it Dina Mani or Rathnabala, the trend continued. More on him will be spoiler to the post TCU is planning.

The fourth and final full length adventure features none other than Johnny Hazard, the wonderful strip from the famed Frank Robbins. He was a popular character in South India with his appearances in various publications such as MalaiMathi AFI Comics, Muthu Comics, Rani Comics etc. Even the next issue of Muthu comics is an adventure of Johnny Hazard only titled as Vinnil oru Kullanari. This particular story, Deadly date, was serialised in Daily strip No 99 starting from 30th June 1969 spanning over 2 months to be completed on 30th 30th Aug 1969. The story line is very much in line with the series - Staying in New York for a well-deserved holiday after completing his latest assignment, Johnny runs into an old friend with a two-fold problem: his valuable stamp collection has just been stolen and his new fiancée has been brutally murdered in her flat minutes after he left. Is there a connection? Agreeing to help an old friend in deep trouble, Johnny follows the clues to the dating agency responsible for the matchup that encouraged the assignation, only to find that ‘dating’ is not the only risky game on offer from that agency. Very interesting? read on.

Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Bujjai Story 1st Page Mekala Comics No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Johnny Hazard 1st Page
Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Bujjai Story 1st Page Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Johnny Hazard Story 1st Page

Mekala continues it’s trend of having lots of fillers in the book, making it more interesting to read. This was the one thing which was missing from Rani comics for a long, long time. Initially rani comics also had some very nice fillers when Mr Rama Jayam was at the helm. With him moving away from Rani comics, so were the interesting fillers as well.

Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Filler

Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Filler

Bujjai continued to showcase his amazing repertoire with his strips like Mr Tommy (a re-boot of his old Bhairava strips), Idea Appu adoring the pages of Mekala for the 2nd consecutive issue. Though they may look very simple, Bujjai proves his customary point to the viewers. A Pet lover like yours truly doesn’t need secondary reasons to like him than his strip Mr Tommy.

Mekala Comics No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Inner Cover Bujjai Story

Mekala Comics No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Inner Cover Bujjai Story 2

Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Inner Cover Bujjai Story Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Inner Cover Bujjai Story 2

One more short story from Bujjai was part of the summer special, thus making it a grand issue to remember for the fans of Bujjai. Apart from that short story, there was another reader review contest in the book. Just like the previous issue of Mekala, this one also reiterated the concept of advocating the best panel of the story and reasoning it. The best reviews will fetch the prize and instead of the usual INR 500/- prize money, it was the double of INR 1,000/- as this is a special edition.

Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Bujjai Story 3

Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Review Competition

Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Bujjai Story 3 Mekala Comics Issue No 01-A Summer Special June 1995 Review Competition

As a whole, the summer special was a grand success and this was mirrored in the readers letters in the next issue. Most of the readers were the group’s loyal readers and they liked the idea of a new comics in the market. There was even odd fan followings for Bujjai’s works in the book. The cover was much appreciated and the credit goes to the editor and the Artist Shyaam.

Mekala Comics Issue No 3  Readers Response for Summer Special 1

Mekala Comics Issue No 3  Readers Response for Summer Special 2

Mekala Comics Issue No 3 Maaya Vimanam Readers Response for Summer Special 1 Mekala Comics Issue No 3 Maaya Vimanam Readers Response for Summer Special 2

The best review was reserved for the story – The twins, from the series of Heart of Juliet Jones by Stan Drake. Here are the prize winning reviews from the readers. Kindly note down the 3rd consolation prize winners village name. You wouldn’t be surprised.

Mekala Comics Issue No 4 Summer Special Readers review – Award winning Reviews for the best panel / part of the story – Juliet Jones Story Segment
Mekala Comics Issue No 4 Summer Special Readers review 1Mekala Comics Issue No 4 Summer Special Readers review 2

Well, that's all for the time being & TCU will be back with the next issue of this series in the next post. 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 Blog.

Thanks & Regards,

King Viswa.

12 comments:

  1. when i started to collect Tamil comics seriously sometime in 2003, this was the only book that i got it from the old book shops.

    the strange thing was that the name tag of the book in the cover was torn and was available in very good condition (except for the 20% of the cover being torn). Later on, i came to know that the book distributors used to tear the name tag of the books for the proof to the publishers and used to give the torn off books to the old book sellers at a cost (My neighbour, used to buy a lot of Sportstar issues like this in the 90's, told me this trade secret).

    i used to think that this book was a failure and hence it was available in such form. When i read your post i was completely taken off by the specialty of the stories involved and started to wonder why then i bought this book in that form?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Going by the words of you, it seems that that the artist Bujjai is a natural artist. I haven't seen much of his works in comics form, apart from an odd sighting here and there.

    it will be really great of you can post such a post soon. awaiting for that, eagerly.

    ReplyDelete
  3. ஹாய் விஸ்வா,

    இதுநாள்வரை காரிகன் மாத்திரமே மேகலா காமிக்ஸில் தோன்றியிருக்கிறார் என்று நினைத்திருந்தேன். இப்போதுதான் சார்லி, ஜார்ஜ் கதைகள் வந்துள்ளது தெரிகிறது. ஆனால் அவர்களது original பெயர்கள் மாற்றப்படாமலே வந்ததை கவனிக்க கூடியதாக உள்ளது.

    அந்த காலங்களிலே ஒரு சில மேகலா காமிக்ஸ்களை வாசித்த ஞாபகம் உள்ளது. ஆனால் சேர்த்து வைக்காமல் விட்டு விட்டேன்

    ReplyDelete
  4. //இதுநாள்வரை காரிகன் மாத்திரமே மேகலா காமிக்ஸில் தோன்றியிருக்கிறார் என்று நினைத்திருந்தேன். இப்போதுதான் சார்லி, ஜார்ஜ் கதைகள் வந்துள்ளது தெரிகிறது//

    விமல்,
    காரிகன் மட்டுமல்ல, சமீபத்தில் நீங்கள் பதிவிட்ட மைக்கேல் கியான் (ராணி காமிக்ஸ் - இருண்ட உலகின் இரும்பு மனிதன்) கதை கூட மேகலா காமிக்ஸின் கடைசி இரண்டு இதழ்களில் வந்தது. அதை தவிர கார்ட்டர் கதை ஒன்றும்கூட வந்தது.

    ReplyDelete
  5. //ஆனால் அவர்களது original பெயர்கள் மாற்றப்படாமலே வந்ததை கவனிக்க கூடியதாக உள்ளது.//

    உண்மைதான். இந்த விஷயத்தை பற்றி விஸ்வா ஏன் இன்னும் ஒன்றும் கூறாமல் இருக்கிறார்? இது ஒரு முக்கியமான தகவல். ஏனென்றால் தமிழின் முக்கியமான பல காமிக்ஸ்களில் ஹீரோக்களின் பெயர்களை மாற்றி நமக்காக அதனை எடிட் செய்தே அளித்திருப்பார்கள். ஆனால் மேகலாவில் அப்படி இல்லாமல் உண்மையபெயர்களை அளித்திருப்பது ஆச்சர்யமான விஷயமே.

    ReplyDelete
  6. என்னிடம் இல்லாத ஒரு சில மேகலா காமிக்ஸ் இதழ்களில் இதுவும் ஒன்று. முதலில் மேகலா காமிக்ஸ் வாங்கும்போது இது மிஸ் ஆகிவிட்டது. பிறகு கிடைக்கவே இல்லை.

    ReplyDelete
  7. என்னுடைய அபிமான ஹீரோ ஜானி ஹசார்ட் இதில் வந்து இருப்பது ஒரு இன்ப அதிர்ச்சியே. அதுவும் முத்து காமிக்ஸ் சார்லி வேறு இருக்கிறார். ஜூலியட் ஜோன்ஸ் அறிமுகம் வேறு என்று ஒரு மிரட்டல் காம்பினேஷன் இந்த இதழில்.

    ReplyDelete
  8. மைக்கேல் கியான் ராணி காமிக்ஸில் வந்து இருக்கிறாரா என்ன? அதைப்பற்றி ஒரு பதிவு இட்டால் நலம்.

    ReplyDelete
  9. நான் லயன் காமிக்ஸ் டாப் டென் ஸ்பெஷல் புத்தகத்தை கடையில் வாங்கும்போது இந்த புத்தகம் விற்பனைக்கு இல்லையே?

    ReplyDelete
  10. any news on the latest lion comics? muthu comics? it is almost 4 months since we had the last issue.

    very nice. why is that the johnny hazard books do not have any download links / be it in any language?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Bujjai's comics titled "Balala Bommala Panchatantram" fascinated me half a century ago. I wish to present the same to my grandsons. will someone give me the address of the artist/publisher or the book store where I can obtain it.

    ReplyDelete

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