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.

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