Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sy Barry :The man Behinds our Modernized Phantom!

A rather infamous quote that many fans of Phantom -the GWW having these days,it's like "Sy Barry had a complete team of assistants working for him and majority of his strips are actually the work of those assistants" It's a VERY KNOWN n TERRIBLY WRONG NOTION that many Phans have throughout the world !
Now FACE IT.....Barry did have some Assistants as doin' a series of Dailies and Sundays simultaneously is a much tough thing than one guess!
Now, due to mere assistants,many claimed Barry did only Inking those Sunday strips later,and had nothin' with art-works!!!!

What a S-H-A-M-E!!!

One ,who claims himself Phan,should know that 'Olesen/William' with some others were Barry's Assistants for some decades....n MOST OF THE TIME the art-work in Barry's period (1962-1994)were fabulous....

Then what happened when Barry LEFT KFS in 1994?? Those SAME Olesen/William had took the charge of Illustrator and as a result a series of CRAPPIEST PHANTOM STRIPS were for Phans (specially dailies,though Sundays were managed somewhat when Fred Fredricks,the Mandrake-illustrator,took the charge up to 2000,then another artist,Nolan,was introduced!) .Anybody who've read '94s onwards dailies r knowin' it well... :)

*'SHOCKING' INFO: Olesen as 'Assistant of Sy Barry':

  • [1]Daily :1966 -71(alternate with another one)
  • [2]Daily/Sunday:1979 -1994
  • [3] Daily (after Barry quited):1994 -2005 (with William )
  • [4] Sunday: 1994 -2000 (Fredricks as Major illustrator)

Yet to confirm?? Then let's check some of these strips .....

  • Olesen IN Barry's ERA (1979 -1994'April):

  • Olesen IN 'Post-Barry' ERA (AFTER June'1994):

 So, by now,may b Phans GET THE POINT that I'm trying to convey,I guess! ;-))
Thus what we can conclude??
It's very clear that,Barry had the final touch on the EACH n EVERY strips in his 32-year-period and thus bein' assisted by same O/W ,we got nice strips....
So,give Barry what he deserves..... may b he had assistants BUT without his active presence,Phantom would reach the CRAPPY-LEVEL in '60s ...that happened in '90s!! ;-)
Sy Barry was a great Artist indeed....wish he continued his legacy even after '94 (like Fredricks still doing for Mandrake).

Thursday, November 22, 2007

DARA - The Indian 007 Bond!

When the Indrajal Comics was first released ,way back in 1964,it featured only Lee Falk's Phantom & that too for first 3 years!Then after some odd releases like Disney,Zorro they settled with Phantom,Mandrake & Flash Gordon and published their adventure-strips in a regular pace.

It was 1974 when readers got some test of Indian comics like Sultana -Indian Robinhood etc,though those were failed to create much appeal to readers .After another two years or so,in 1976,Bahadur appeared in IJC & since then we'd see a regular dose of our own Indian hero with other westerns . Indrajal did introduced some other Indian heroes,like Aditya in 1987.But it was,unfortunately,not really fit in IJC-banner,much less exciting than we usually habituated with! But,there was another one,eventually the LAST introduction in IJC,the Prince of the Spies -Dara.
Scripted by Kamini Uppal (any relation with J.Uppal - the famous Bahadur script-writer ??) and illustrated by Pradeep Sathe,this Prince of the Spies had created lots of interests among readers,specially those then newcomers in the fabulous world of IJC like me!He's a Indian representation of James Bond with some shades of Agent X-9.
Dara,originally an ex-prince of Kashmir ,known to his people as Rana Vikram Bir Singh and fondly referred as 'Raja Saheb', first appeared in Indrajal Comics in 1988 as The Enemy Agent (Vol.25 No.43) .He has this code-name as the No.1 secret agent of Intelligence Wing and except the Chief Mr.Rao,very few others were aware of his true identity!.
There are only 8 Dara-Indrajals published as after Apr,1990 IJC suddenly cancelled and there was no other dara stories ever published elsewhere!!

Here I'm giving a brief review of first two Dara comics,so that you guys can understand his stories better!
As I gave said earlier,Dara was introduced in The Enemy Agent (Vol.25 No.43) . In this story the IW had to face a real danger when one of their agents secretly cheat them by leaking the information to some gang-leader and in this process they even tried to kill the Chief ,Mr.Rao !Unable to nab the culprit,,Chief asked Dara to take the charge .Then how Dara nabbed the gang-of-culprits is a 25-page real thriller!Also,it was a perfect intro. of this spy-hero! Then ,,the 2nd release was The Savage Mercenary (Vol.26 N0.7;1989) .In this particular title readers would experience a deadly cold-blooded hired killer who'd 'international fame'' ,namely Nemo .He,being a smuggler too, killed people like mosquitoes and that too hardly showing any emotion (the golden-haired guy in the cover)!! Nemo takes amazing risks to accomplish his mission.Dara had to nab this deadly killer and being a one-man-army he done some terrific stuffs that worth to watch (or read )!The way Dara waited lonely in the ravines situated in North India,which was completely covered with snow-bed and then Nemo's amazing skiing which he used as a smuggling-route ,simply everybody feared to entered those places during winter (except Dara)!
Besides the quite gripping story,the great art-work by Pradeep Sathe was another attraction of this series!In ALL the Dara-thrillers Natural back-drop (of India) was used quite beautifully,specially in this particular story ....those pics depicting snow-covered hills are awesome.
For readers,it's pleasure to have some terrific Indian artists in IJC like P.Brahamania (Bahadur fame),Sehab (Chimpoo/Birbal fame with many IJC-covers) n then here P.Sathe .They were no less to compare any foreign artists.Even I believe,if they were offered more chance to explore their caliber ,they would serve even better! P.S.- In next post,review of the rest six will be there.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Poll has been added!

Hi friends,
Being a curious on what other fans think,I've added a Poll in the left-hand-side of this blog...... about who's the better Bahadur-Comic writer?? I wanna see how many people prefer Surti over Uppal!
Also,for better result,I've enabled the multiple voting option..... so,if anybody feels that BOTH deserve a fair-amount of appreciation,can vote for them ,or do vote for anyone between these wonderful writers! :-)

P.S.- My votes goes for BOTH of them,as I personally fond of all most ALL Bahadur comics! But then,other's choice do matter......so here's this poll!
Please vote. :-)

BTWN,thnaks for visits,as I realised today,since the 'site meter' has been added on 4th November ,the page views already crossed 1,000 within 16 days (total is some ~5,000).......it's really encouraging! What only I can say...... keep visiting n leave comments occasionally! :-)


Monday, November 19, 2007

Mandrake the Magician:Still Kicking! :-))

May be all most all fans aware of the Aman's On-line Mandrake-Site. Here you can find achieves of Mandrake dailies from 2000 onwards.There's another site did publish Mandrake's current Dailies -InsideMangic - which currently inaccessible for some reason unknown. :-/

Between,in these days only Mandrake's Daily strips are publish by KFS (scripted-n-illustrated by Fred Fredricks - the famous Mandrake-strip-Illustrator from last four decades!).
[At the Left-side you can see one panel of the On-going Mandrake Daily:D254:Captain Smash]

It's since March'1999 ,after Lee Falk passed away,he took the complete charge of Mandrake-strips.I'm NOT comparing his work with the great Falk's creation (neither am dared to!) ,but one thing must have to admit..... Fredrick's doing a nice job indeed,specially after so many years of continuous work-loads!If the fans of this fabulous magician have noticed carefully,it's very prominent that current Mandrake strips are NO LESS in any means (if we can ignore the slow-pace of stories and occasional lapse of art-work)......and the best part is,he keep originality by re-telling some fantastic Falk-Davis early Mandrake strips (late '30s to '60s) and then set-up a new direction based on those!!Thus the basic charms never lost neither readers felt otherwise!

A few such examples are like The Walking Man (D244 ;2003) which was originally based on a very early Mandrake Sunday strip:Chamber into the X Dimension(S005;1937)

[The COLORED PICS is from the 1936 strip while B/W strips are from 2003.It's just fact that,today I felt immensely nostalgic when read the BOTH strips again and just wanna share it! ]
Then we can see the strip:Blizzard of Crime (D249;2005) was based on another ol' strip of 1961:Mystery of the Bikini Girl (D110). There are few more examples in which early stories were re-told before had a new direction/angle.
Overall,we can say,even after His creator left us more than 8 years ago,Mandrake, the greatest Magician on earth,still alive and kicking proudly and keeps amazed the world with his fascinating tricks!

Hat's off to you!!! .....:-))

P.S.- Here I present a few current Mandrake strips (2006 & 2007) .....examples of some fabulous art-works,courtesy great Fredricks !!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Meeting with the Masters of Disguise!

A subho Deepavali release!

Masters of Disguise!!......Yes,let's meet with Clay Camel and Aryan ,two fascinating-yet-deadly MoD s!!

While,former one,whose original name is Saki,always leaves a 'clay camel' as his sign,the later AND more modern MoD leaves a metallic sign of the first letter of his name i.e. "A" !

BOTH believes in easy money and for that they can go to any extent,can do any dreaded stuff!.....BUT the key factor lies in their art-of-thieve....as they are the GREATEST ARTISTS of disguise/chaddabesh!! Within a few moments they can become a police officer from milk-man or from a young lady to a old man!! As a result,they are the most toughest criminals to nab and always puzzle the whole world with their unthinkable stuffs and amazing series-of-disguises!....although,they never believe in using guns/arms at first place OR killing!Cool thieves,huh!

But,bottom point is they simply love risks...... ain't??

P.S.- Our great Bollywood-flick Dhoom2(2006) supposed to be based on Clay Camel stories--- that amazing thief who eventually was the one-of-those MOST deadly enemies of Mandrake -the magician...... here Aryan was with more global fame ;-))

Now,just check another couple of pics provided & HAVE some FUN as this blog-author offers you ALL!

Again,have a nice time! :-))

Here's an another few pics of Clay Camel(imaginative) and Aryan's gals!Hottie they are....ENJOY ;-))

(Dialogues are added for the sake of fun ONLY)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Some Mysterious Editing!

It's very known fact that ,whenever comic-publication houses decided to publish some newspaper-strips,they had done some editing/inking job to fit with their fixed format. But,sometimes they did some weird stuffs ! Among them,most common was some dressing-up of skimpy-dressed female characters....to suit with respective cultures/tastes etc. It was specially very common practice in most Asian comic-publications & that's most probably to avoid unnecessary controversies! Still ,it's quite understandable .....

But,then some editing were beyond ALL explanations n even though some fans tried to reasoning with it,those are hard to believe!!
One famous example is how ToI edited a Shaikh and present him as a European billionaire! Also,the name has to be changed accordingly & it was Count-Petro from Ali-Petro!!!

It was Indrajal Comics No.340 (Curse of Gold;1979) and Originally a Falk/Frederricks sunday strips (S138;Mandrake and Ali-Petro;1978).

Some fan tried to justify that 'editing' & according to them,then India had a very good political relation with UAE ...so it was quite play-safe act by ToI guys! Well,it's a good try but no....that was NOT the reason for sure!I'm saying it with a certain surity,because just after 3/4 years,there was another strip (Prince Nasdaq;S148;1982) which was published in IJC as The Avaricious Prince (Vol.20 No.32;1983) in which that Sikh,Nasdaq, retained with his original identity!

Now,if we give a quick-look to BOTH stories,while the former Shaikh was only a typical representation of his stubborn-n-dictator ancestors ,the later one,Nasdaq ,was quite nasty !! It was mentioned that he'd 51 wives and looking for the 52nd ,so that he can spend one-week with each n every wives,annually! ;-) That nasty prince even tried to set a deal for Narda n Karma and was rightly kicked by Mandrake for that ,after being a 'victim' of some fascinating hypnotic tricks ! It follows some further dangerous n scary encounters that ONLY exposed the darker side of a Shaikh-kingdom!

Anyway,I don't think that was any decent representation of Shaikhs,hence doesn't help either UAE-INDIA relation....still it was published in original format!!

Ohh well...some things are always remain mysterious!!!...;-)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Falk-Mandrake v/s King-Mandrake!

Initially,i.e. before our Mandrake-blog(MTM),I'd a terrible misconception that, ALL THOSE early Mandrake comics published in IJC(initial 6/7 in precise) were Falk/Davis creations...and as I never liked either art-work or script of those comics,I simply decide to ignore anything before Fredrick's era!!It's only after MTM showcased several early Mandrake strips,I realised that Phil Davis was as good as Fredrick's....and ALL those early Mandrake comics published in IJC are King Mandrake! those were created by a group of script-writer/artists and WORTHLESS by all means....be it scripts OR those crappy art-works!
[Above you can see some covers of King-Mandrake in Indrajals and below the First Falk-Mandrake in the same!]

For Lee Falk-Mandrake,I like those strips from very beginning i.e. from 1934 onwards (even I very much follower of the current Mandrake-strips created by Fredricks himself..& believe me,those are still very much maintained the charm of original strips,if we can ignore some loop-holes!! ) and loved many strips very much n re-read those !!....for an example, The Octopus Gang(D022)/Mandrake in Love(D016) ,which are ,like any great Falk-Fred Mandrake (from 1965 onwards), gripping from very beginning!

For an interesting info,very few fans may realised that ,though Mandrake appeared in Indrajal from No.46--a King-M, the FIRST Falk/Davis Mandrake published very lately,as No.75 --- The Disturber! and it's the D123 actually!!Then, except Indrajal No.83 and No.128,ALL were Falk-Mandrake..thankfully!!

Now between Phil Davis and Fred Fredricks,no doubt,I've a special soft-corner for the later illustrator and the reason is obvious.....in his (Fred's) era only,we have seen many excellent stories with terrific art-work!Very common examples are ,introduction of fabulous Xanadu and the amazing description of it's entrance never bored me,even though it'd mentioned hundred times in this magician's strips! :-)) AND another is,a famous one ,"8" or "League of 8" that world-wide dreaded crime-gang which appeared in strips (& in Mandrake's life as well) many times since it accidentally discovered by Narda in 1965!Remember Octon ?? Wonder ,who'll forget him!! Also, Inter-Intel,that secret-crime-bureau,and those mysterious entrances really amaze me all the time!! Do u remember that description," Somewhere in a hidden part of the city..." ,It's simply mind-blowing!! Ain't??
However,all these praise are NOT meant that Phil Davis was any less as in his time as well we got several thrillers including that amazing 8-part Flame Pearl series ..... And after all,he was the ORIGINAL artist of Mandrake-strips (if those few Falk's early-art-works are not taking in account ;-))