Friday, July 25, 2014

Comic #114 - LAST Mandrake Indrajal : গোপন আবিষ্কার(খন্ড 27 সংখ্যা 7 - Apr'90)

   Before going to the comic,I would (once again) like to share few words about this series,Indrajal Comics.
   After reading a quite a number of comic-publishers' out-put(both Indian and Western),I yet to find a series with so much variety in one place!Not their every effort clicked and I have my dislike-list from those 800 odd published issues,but have to agree that this series stands unique even after more than 24 years have been passed since the last issue released! And with every passing year,the interest associates with Indrajal Comics is only getting bigger and bigger,not restricted within Indian fans anymore!

 If we talk about the major heroes(cover-stories),you will find as many as 12-13 such. If we talk about the pin-up/one-off characters, mostly humor with few detective ones, there were at least 10+ of such,and then the numerous GK/informative articles those were regularly appeared in the back-pages of each issues(and let's not forget those memorable and vintage ads,although the purpose was solely commercial!)

  Then, top of the all,these were mixed of both Western and Indian flavors.

 While Phantom (Betal),Mandrake,Flash/Kirby etc represented the foreign league, Bahadur,Dara etc. represented the very Indian rooting!
  While Micky Mouse,Robinhood,Zorro etc were from Walt Disney classics, Henry/Gunodhar,Chalky,Little King etc introduced us with the western funnies,in the other hand Chimpoo,Timpa,Pasha etc were our kids!
 Same goes about those very informative and interesting articles like Ripley's believe it or not,Capree's animal world,Ancient World History to only name a few! 
  Now would request other fans to tell us if they have encountered with any other comic series throughout the world, where as much variety-of-contents were present??  Tell us if there is/was any other comic-series with so much depth and versatility?? And not to forget,all these happened for more than 25 years!
(It's a humble request to all fans as although I read several comics from different countries/continents,still there is a chance that I missed some,specially those which were not published in English!) 
Now, the comic...

  গোপন আবিষ্কার was not only the last official Mandrake issue from Indrajal Comics,but it's also the last Bengali Mandrake Comic! After ToI cancelled the series, Diamond Comics bought the right,as we know.But they published Mandrake only in English and Hindi,so Bengali fans were left out.Later on 2000,after DC cancelled these comics,Egmont(India) bought the right,published as many as 15 old Mandrake stories(from Falk-Davis era) alongwith the Phantom,but all were in English only!
  So even after more than 24 years,if one look back,he will find this issue,গোপন আবিষ্কার, dated 1-15 April 1990, as the last available Mandrake comic in Bengali - a very unfortunate truth(as I believe there are many Bengali fans who love this magician and his friends' adventures in a great extent!).
 Anyway,the story was fine,nothing great but that doesn't matter it's the last time you are reading this magicians' adventure in Bengali in a prominent book-format! This story was the extended part of the previous tale 'ষড়যন্ত্রের জাল'(খন্ড 27 সংখ্যা 4/Mar'90) and this time the fantastic duo finally reached that small university named Harrison. There they met vastly talented and seemingly funny Prof.Ghagah who invented a fantastic device which will move matters through the air without any visible means! But soon after,he was kidnapped..!!

 For the rest,read the story....

 Sometimes it happens that when you first obtain some books,you might haven't realized the importance of that issue,due to either lack of exposer or simply the fact that,we are not future-tellers!! ;-) Same thing happened with me back on 1990,when I had this issue just withing the couple of days of the release,lost on very next day,felt bad but not too bad :-), and hence decided to buy the next issue as a substitute(which was ,as you know, eventually the last Indrajal issue).

 But years later when I was re-started my hunts for Indrajals,on and from 2005,bought plenty of issues from various sellers,when Indrajal Comics used arrive in the markets in 200-300 per bundle and they showcased those openly..
 In all those years while purchasing all other issues, I failed to manage a single issue of গোপন আবিষ্কার,even a coverless one! On 2008-9 Chandan(from Goa) gave me the English version but that's it....
Finally, on 2012, I have this rather elusive issue through exchange with Swagata,and this year another issue,this time,and for the first time in 9 years, from a seller!!
 I guess all these happened as a lesson that you should immediately purchase a 2nd issue if your original copy(of any kind of book,specially magazine sort) is lost! Because you never know when that issue will vanish from market...for me,this period was lasted for only 21 years!! ;)
PS - In a 2011 blog-post(Can You ever forget your First Indrajal Comics(ইন্দ্রজাল কমিকস্)??), I have mentioned this incident,when still I was missing that issue....but soon after got this!! It's like if you desire something pretty hard,you ended up having that....isn't it?? :)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Comic #113 : First Indrajal Comics(The Phantom's Belt) in BENGALI : বেতালের বেল্ট[Translated]

 UPDATE(19/7/2014) :  A very fine article was published at today's edition of a Bengali newspaper  "EI SOMOY" on Indrajal Comics,the 50 years of this series,and I was mentioned there as a fan and avid collector of this series... :)  
[The number of Indrajal I have in my collection mentioned there is total i.e. incld. all versions and spares. I have 745 specific issues(out of 803).. ]

Few months back,I have translated a Mayukh Chawdhury comics -শয়তানের দ্বীপ - in English(The Devil's Island). The purpose was to introduce this famous Bengali artist-cum-storyteller's work with all non-Bengali Indian fans and fans around the globe(like Celso from Brazil)..

 This time,I did just opposite..
 That is,I have translated a famous and already read-by-millions English Phantom tale in Bengali,which was eventually picked as the cover-story of the introductory issue of Indrajal Comics  - The Phantom's Belt - published on March 1964! That time Indrajal had no Bengali version nor this story was ever reprinted,hence this fantastic adventure was never published in Bengali till date...

 So here it is for all of you,the Bengali Indrajal & Phantom(aka Betal aka Aranyadev) fans,the very first Indrajal Comics(The Phantom's Belt) in Bengali - বেতালের বেল্ট - after 50 years of the original publication!
  As you know Indrajal Comics completed it's 50 years of existence on the last March,so you can consider this post as an extended part of that celebration of this unforgettable series....something that will remain attached with me till my last days..!!
 And it was a fitting tale of avenge created by Falk and illustrated by McCoy on 1954.

 According to me,the best part of the story was that double rain-bow aspect...most unique....And unlike the many other 'superstitious/supernatural facts' associated with the Ghost Who Walks,this was never repeated in any of the later adventures of him...

[i] In the Indrajal version,Singh pirate was called 'Singha' and 'Bengali Explorer Club' was renamed 'Rankali Explorer Club'. Times of India(ToI) was obviously puzzled with these words,specially with name of that African country,and the first they renamed that by Rankali and later settled with Denkali! (I have used Denkali for readers' we are most familiar with this!)
Both changes were obviously required and that 'Bengali' one was of course a mistake by Falk as he tried to  'naming' a fictitious country using a real 'dialect'(Bengali)..

[ii] One person called Ramsay was renamed Ramlu BUT strangely name of that killer - Rama - was retained!!

[iii] The scans of the English issue(that I have used) was quite ordinary,pages weren't properly aligned, plus,it was done from a book in very tattered condition. So I had to edit and clean some parts as you can check here...I don't know PS and hence the cleaning was quite tiring and time-consuming,but the end result was satisfactory!
[iv] The numbering in Bengali I choose is খন্ড ১ সংখ্যা ১ this would be(for all versions) if  ToI picked the Vol.No. pattern from the very first year instead of the 20th! Thought it's better than using "-২২" ...what you guys think?? :-)

[v] I have translated the Phantom story only and skipped those other GK type pages & cartoons...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

John Celardo's TARZAN Daily Strips from the BARTAMAN(বর্তমান) Newspaper

 In the late '80s and early '90s we used to subscribe a Bengali newspaper - BARTAMAN(বর্তমান) and their licensed comic-strip was TARZAN!! Very soon I was hooked with this mighty ape-man. I still remember the way I used wait for everyday's newspaper(except Sunday) just to read those strips!

But I never tried to collect those strips back then...and I was still regretting for that! Until very recently,little I knew that there is a re-run of old Tarzan strips since last few years and they are publishing the same old strips!! And the artist JOHN CELADO was as efficient as RUSS MANNING - his successor!(For a long time I thought all were done by  Manning...while Manning redefined the series altogether but J.Celardo  had even more mystic charm in his style....his detailed description of a dense jungle and the atmosphere...all were just mind-blowing!)

So I am now subscribing Bartaman once again,for these strips alone,and this time I will collect each and every strips - as these TARZAN daily strips were never published in India in book-format/magazine,so Bartaman's reprint is the only source of these rare Tarzan strips in Bengali!! 

Here are scans of few such you can see,the current run is from 1964...that is, 50 years' old strips!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Comic #112 - The Devil's Island by Mayukh Chowdhury[Translated]

                                            বঙ্গদেশে জন্মে তুমি দেখিয়েছ যে রঙ্গ,
                                          প্রাচ্য থেকে প্রাশ্চাত্য পেয়েছে সমান সঙ্গ।
                                              তোঁমার রচনায় তাই দেখি তাই 
                                               জাতি-দেশ ভুলে এসেছে সবাই,
                                                  দেয়নি কেউ রণে-ভঙ্গ ! 
                                                                        (a few lines by me as a tribute to Mayukh Chawdhury)

During a  recent discussion on a topic on Mayukh Chowdhury - the renowned Bengali artist and story-teller - at Facebook, a fan commented what would happened if MC was born outside of Bengal/India where his work would had been not restricted in the regional language(i.e. Bengali) but in English and would been read by millions!! And that's so true because his works were mostly free of the regional/national boundary, be it wild-life based comics,or Robinhood comics or those alien tales - all these stories deserve a much wider range of readers because of the contents!
 But what a pity that,even after 52 years of his first published work and 18 years after his demise, there is no single translated job done on his work,at least I never seen/heard about any!!(While Narayan Debnath and Satyajit Ray's some works have been already translated,it's baffling why MC was omitted till date!)

 That particular discussion promoted me to do the job. And so as a very small tribute to this legendary artist, I have translated one of the Mayukh's earlier work - a fascinating thriller based on the Californian coast - ''শয়তানের দ্বীপ" i.e. The Devil's Island!

 I have tried every possible way to retain the original feel,starting from the way MC narrated the dramatic events happened there to the font/text color and font size! Hopefully it will show to many,specially those who can't read Bengali,that what a great artist-come-narrator he was!
 And then, this is a just very small piece of his numerous work!

  • Original Story Title : শয়তানের দ্বীপ
  • First Publication Year : 1965
  • Original Version : Bengali
  • Creator : Mayukh Chowdhury (1926-1996)
  • Translator : HojO

PS - This blog has completed it's 7th anniversary on the 6th of this month!So you can also consider this post as a belated anniversary post! :o)