Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Comic Book Reads: My Comic History


Garfield by Jim Davis

This is my first post on comics and by default I feel duty bound to narrate my history with comic books. The risk, dear reader, of you falling asleep or diverting your limited attention span to narcissistic social networking activities is always there. But this can’t be done without. Here goes.

Phantom by Lee Falk 

The introduction to this colour candy (sometimes black and white) world occurred during my adolescent years. By happy incidence, my dad's colleague was allowed a separate desk built with multiple drawers at the workplace, overflowing with comic books. It was his personal collection that was lent to staff members for the maximum period of one month. Each book cover was marked with a serial number, and a heart shape design as the number’s outline, in red ball pen ink. Written above this number, in red ink again, was the legend: The Comics Club.

In all my visits, the proprietor of The Comics Club never spoke much. Instead, he had a thing for grand effect. I recall the first time, as he led me to the desk and pulled open all possible drawers with an unhurried air of a magician displaying his wares. In moments, my textbook-sick childhood found a happy refuge. Over the next two years I gorged on Phantom, Mandrake the MagicianAsterix and Obelix, Tintin, the War Series (extolling US World War stories), Archie Comics and the sole Indian comic magazine Tinkle (They had some great illustrators back then).

                                    Mandrake the Magician by Lee Falk

Sometime during my teenage years, my reading interests diverted to English literature, the likes of Mark Twain, Somerset Maugham, Agatha Christie and P.G.Wodehouse, among others. It was only recently, with the advent of Manga comics and graphic novels that comic book interest has found its fountain again. In between, there have been the newspaper comic strips, of course.

Comic strips have been a fascination in this second coming: Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield (The lazy bum!), The Piranha Club, The Far Side, Beetle Bailey…such that I maintain now, a couple of glue-stuck volumes of my favourite comic strips. Collecting and reading graphic novels, panel to panel, end to end is a new, rewarding pastime.

On other aspects of comic books and graphic novels and why they are not meant for kids only: that will take another post. Meanwhile, I thank the comic book makers for livening up my childhood.


(Article by Snehith Kumbla) 

Archie Comics -  Created by John L. Goldwater, written by Vic Bloom & drawn by Bob Montana

Beetle Bailey by Mort Walker 

Tinkle - Founded by Anant Pai

Tintin by Herge

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