Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Falcon Comics(India):Blondie & Beetle Bailey

Famous western humor series like Blondie & Beetle Bailey were introduced in India by the Falcon Comics in the '80s.Like most of the Indian comic fans of  '70s & ‘80s,I had also no idea about these western funnies(back then we were more in the “action superhero”  genre courtesy of the Indrajal & Dolton comics).Now, few years ago,a nice article on the Falcon Comics publication at the Anupam's ICE site caught my attention.That article introduced me with these famous fun series and since then  I am searching for these two titles in the old books’ markets.With time,as I’ve managed to hold some of the earliest issues,it appears that Falcon Comics(FC) had started off from June,1983 as a monthly release but soon after few months, frequency was shifted to the quarterly.Among their releases,I love Blondie & her husband Dagwood’s humorous antics which are the basis for these stories & strips,plus,that lazy-yet-ambitious Beetle,a young private at the Camp Swampy, and his nemesis,the tyrant supervisor,sergent Snorkel’s crazy stories! Beetle’s trademark is that a hat or helmet will always cover his forehead and eyes. J
FC relied on the original stories from the comic-books(stories were typically 3-6 pagers each with the occasional 1-pagers) and the old sunday strips.Most of the stories were done by the respective original creators,Chic Young(for Blondie) & Mort Walker(for Beetle).Besides the vintage FC books,I'm also collecting the recent Sunday pages of Blondie from the Graffiti(Telegraph's sunday).These strips are pretty good with the identical standard of ol' superior illustrations(scripted by Chic Young's son Dean) but those vintage stories are far more humorous...also,in those longer stories,side-characters got more roles to play(compare to the restricted sunday spaces ). J
There was separate numbering for each series i.e. Blondie(B),Beetle(BB),Popeye(P) etc.Books were printed on good quality papers matched with the decent inking.In this post,you can see covers of the some earliest issues(incld. the very 1st issue of FC Blondie) and their promotional ads. Presently I have only those books published in the 1983-84, so the exact period of publication is completely unknown.L
 Anybody who can share the information regarding the complete(or at least more than what we got till now) tenure of Falcon will be highly appreciated. J

Finally,the Indrajal connection: Yes,both Blondie & Beetle got their spaces in the Indrajal,much less than they deserve though.While for Blondie,presently I can recall 2 issues,one in #61(Hero) and another I yet to identify. Beetle was appeared in the Indrajal Comics for only once as a back-up story and eventually that was the 2nd last Indrajal issue(Vol.27 No.7 - Secret Invention;1990).It was a 3-pager story, tittled "The Dog Chase".I have scanned those pages as follows...
After reading those FC stories,I wonder why ToI never tried these most popular characters for their regular back-up spaces??It's more baffling as Blondie & Beetle were owned by KFS - the same official owner of all those superheroes appeared in the Indrajal!! Had ToI picked these,the history of back-up features of Indrajal would been much richer,undoubtedly!!J


Silly Boy said...

Fantastic analysis. If I remember correctly Bloodie also appeared as a side feature in one of the early Inderjals. I have seen the scans somewhere on net.
BTW nowayds TOI in Delhi on Sundays carries Sundays BBs. I have started collecting them very recently. Have a couple of FCs as well but all are of 1984 or 1983. They also used to publish Spinderman.
Anyway it is good to find somebody who also like to collect newspaper stips. Newspapers are the best place to collect newsaper stips!

Hojo said...

@SB: as you have mentioned,it reminds me that I also saw a single(or few) Blondie @Ijc.I can't recall the issue though but it was indeed from very early eras!Thanks for this input,will update the post..:)

About BB,while I am regularly reading Blondie since last 2 years(strips & books),but introduced with the BB just recently through FC,plus,that Ijc's single version,and quite loved these funnies.:))
I will check the ToI's sunday pages(Calcutta Times) as we regularly subscribe this paper but hardly checked the comic-strips there(didn't expected any special).Still,I will very much prefer those vintages strips & stories(like FC etc)!!

crazy said...

Good Analysis about a less popular publishing house.Do post more Falcon covers if possible.