Thursday, July 14, 2011

Can You ever forget your First Indrajal Comics(ইন্দ্রজাল কমিকস্)??

 First of all,for Bengali Indrajal fans : I will post 2  Indrajals,one-by-one,in the coming weeks.There will be a Betal followed by a Flash Gordon adventure.
 Before going into the actual topic,I should admit the reason behind this particular post. Since the last few weeks,I was again wondering why we are sooo crazy about 'only' Indrajal Comics??Now,just recently,we had a discussion on Indrajal(& our childhood memories associated with this) in a blog-post by fellow blogger Mahasthobir & other fans like Suman etc. More I think about this,more I become nostalgic,hence decide to share my thoughts here.I hope you will also share your own feelings & childhood experience as well!
 [Of course,I know the basic reason is you can read many *new* stories from old Ijcs,plus,many forgotten ones.But I wonder whether the "nostalgia factor" IS the major reason behind this craze,even more than the actual reading??(Because,technically, you CAN read all these stories in unedited strips from the various sites,plus 100s of Diamond's Phantom/Mandrake books etc.Still, ALL fans want only Indrajal's same old edited version!!)]
 All Indrajal fans have their own set of 'special' Indrajal issues and that's does NOT depend on the year-of-publication/issue numbers etc.Yes,I'm talking about those introductory issues responsible for your fondness/addiction/attachment(or whatever you call it) with this series!
 So,let's share those experiences/memories when you were introduced with the magical world of Indrajal Comics(ইন্দ্রজাল কমিকস্)!! :-)
 Personally,I was one of those late-comers(considering that period when this series was still under publication) in the Indrajal universe.It was 1989. [However,we have only a few Ijc-crazies who were introduced years after the cancellation i.e. from the Post-Indrajal era,still addicted with this series,like Aalok from Mumbai,Swagoto(Walker) and my younger brother.(Well,he has allmost stopped reading Ijcs since last 2-3 years due to study and other interests like Games/FB etc!Earlier,he was the one who used to finish the whole lot of old Indrajals,even before me, within the couple of days of my purchase from the old markets! :-))]

 Even today,I can vividly remember that afternoon when one of the class-mates and my buddy, Amritanshu(অমরিতাংশু) showed me that issue - ব্যর্থ চক্রান্ত(খন্ড 26 সংখ্যা 29)  - was my first ever experience with Indrajal Comics!! Well,back then I was an ardent fan of Chacha Choudhary-Sabu/Pinki/Billo/Tintin/Nonte-Phonte etc fun-series only and hence initially ignored that 'unknown' series(with somewhat different format i.e. lesser pages,bigger size and much 'different' art than we used to see in the other comics!) Sometimes later,he flicked a few pages and asked me to read the 'other features' like cartoons/Ripley's etc!!As he was a close pal,so I reluctantly read some of those pages and kept that book aside!Then we were busy in our classes. After the last class,he said "বইটা আমায় দে(return me the book)".That was the moment when I felt asif he had asked something that is very dear to me!!
 I donno why I suddenly felt that way,but somehow requested him to lent that issue(and few more) in the coming days!Like a true buddy, he kept his promise and that's how I was introduced with the magical world of this adventure series - ইন্দ্রজাল কমিকস্!!

 As I have said,that introductory issue was ব্যর্থ চক্রান্ত(খন্ড 26 সংখ্যা 29)  - a Rip Kirby(রিপ কার্বি) story and eventually the last-Rip in the Indrajal. So,Amritanshu was one of the major reasons for my Indrajal addiction and I'm quite grateful to him for this!
[It's 99% probable that he is not reading this post(or any other comic-blogs,in that matter) as he had completely moved on from reading comics(Indrajal/others) from the 5th/6th standard itself(i.e. soon after Ijc's cancellation!)]
  Few weeks later,I bought my first Indrajal issue.It was a Betal(বেতাল) adventure with those little people - কালো বাক্সের রহস্য(খন্ড 26 সংখ্যা 33).. Incidentally,from this issue,ToI did change the format a bit(with a new banner,frequency was reduced from weekly to fortnightly,price hiked from 4.00 to 5.00 and page numbers were increased from 32 to 36!) Somehow I loved that previous banner style over this new one.Anyway, my next buy,actually the previous issue of কালো বাক্সের রহস্য,was a fitting Indrajal adventure - রক্তে ভেজা চক্রান্ত(খন্ড 26 সংখ্যা 32) . I loved this story so much that re-read the book many times within the first few days.:-) This story alone made me an avid fan of Flash Gordon(ফ্ল্যাশ গর্ডন) & his group(Dr.Jarkov,beautiful Dale & others!)
[I've scanned/clicked few covers from my 'old' issues and for the coverless ones,scans/clicks are from the copies I have collected only in the recent years.]
Next was Bahadur(বাহাদুর).And it was one of the best Bahadur adventure's from the late '80s - মৃত্যুর সাথে পাঞ্জা(খন্ড 26 সংখ্যা 18) . Unfortunately,I lost this book due to one careless aunt!!(I never forgave her as I loved that issue very much and worse,it was not my book but from Amritanshu! It's another thing that he never accused me for the loss.)
Now,why I read Bahadur??Well,I can tell you many reasons but major reason,specially on that age,was definitely the charming presence of Bela!!And this story was a great example. ;-) 
[Few years ago,I finally managed to have one copy of মৃত্যুর সাথে পাঞ্জা from our old-book market and that was quite a nostalgic moment for me.It was like,asif I've returned in those years.(Those who have managed to re-collect their old Indrajal issues, years after the loss of the actual issues,can understand this very well!)]
After few months,I read another Bahadur adventure from the same year(1989) - রক্তাক্ত অভিযান(খন্ড 26 সংখ্যা 35).Then it was ক্রোধোন্মোত্ত শয়তান(খন্ড 26 সংখ্যা 28)  where Bela did only a cameo but she was looking super-hot even in that short appearance! :o)
Next was our famous magician friend - Mandrake(ম্যানড্রেক).The first issue I can remember was গান-পাহাড়ের রহস্য(খন্ড 26 সংখ্যা 36)..  After that,সাগরতলের মৃতু্দূত(খন্ড 25 সংখ্যা 14-15) & রহস্যময় দম্পতি(খন্ড 26 সংখ্যা 1-3)   were few other titles from same period,but back then I read only the respective part-1(১ম পর্ব)  issues.

 Finally,the last Mandrake story in Indrajal - গোপন আবিষ্কার(খন্ড 27 সংখ্যা 7)  - was released on 1st April,1990 with a new price-tag(6.00).It was in my collection within a couple of days of the release - only for few hours though - as I lost this book during a long bus-trip on the very next day of purchase!! :(( And,the worst part of the loss is that, I'm yet to see another copy of গোপন আবিস্কার,even after 21 longgg years!! Quite unimaginable I know,but it's only a fact that I am yet to see even a torned Bengali copy of this issue,even after so many visits in the several old-book markets over the years.They have successfully arranged others issues except this one title!![UPDATE(11/1/12): Finally I have got this issue on this day from one of our Ijc friends through exchange! :)) ]

 ড্রাগ অভিযান(খন্ড 26 সংখ্যা 26)  was responsible for my introduction with Dara(দারা) - our own 007 Bond! This story was undoubtedly the best among the 8 Dara adventures,with much grimmer and blood-shaded plot!                                     
 Between,after that unfortunate loss of গোপন আবিস্কার,dad promised me to gift the next issue as a compensation and so he did.That was a Dara story : প্রতারণার ফাঁদ(খন্ড 27 সংখ্যা 8)  and eventually the LAST Indrajal,as you know!! That issue was released on 16th April,1990 and it's in my collection since 23rd April(Yes,I used to mention the 'date-of-purchase' on the inside cover on every issue(incld. any comics & books)! :-))

So friends,it was my own experience with Indrajal Comics from those early days.What's your story??Do share with us!


Mahasthobir said...

:)) Really nice write up... the way you describe not only your first Indrajal comics but a series of comics you have got.
How you lost and get back again...Your sweet memories...:)

I like indrajal because of their wonderful stories. That is the important thing I crazy about.
It is hard to say about my first one but I can tell one of my sweet memories of Indrajal comics.

I remember someone (relative) brought me a bundle of indrajal(bengali) from old bookstore...12-14 issue at a time...that was the day I remember ...I separated myself from everything and entered in the world of Betal and Mandrake.:) Unfortunately I can’t remember every issue except story of one Mandrake. I can’t tell you the bengali name of the issue ( I don’t have it and forgot the name), but I found it in my digital(eng) collection as ‘Criminal Team’.

But I remember the story very clearly...It was a lovely story and very mysterious too. The name of the team was 'সংঘ'...and they did perfect crime with the help of car helicopter and motorboat. Mandrake was surprised when found the boss in a ship.

কিছুতেই বোঝা যাচ্ছিল না যে boss-কে...কেবল হাত আর চুরট দেখা যেতো। শেষ পর্যন্ত জানা গেলো সে একজন repectable person এবং Mandrake-র খুব পরিচিত।
দারুণ ভালো গল্প।

শেষে বলি, তোমার লেখাও কিন্তু খুব ভালো...তুমি কি লেখা-লেখি করো?

Mr. Walker said...

@Hojo: besh valo 1st ever ijc jeta ami podechilam was v21n11 "joygarer guptodhan"..of mother had "found" that issue from a vry old almirah/drawer from our home..i've kept 2 copies of this book..1 as fresh, new..& other the old one..boitar ekhon obostha khub e kharap, kintu tao rekhe kore ijc addiction to er thekei suru..!

HojO said...

@MS:Thanks for sharing your experince with us!Like you are grateful to your that relative,same for me about that friend,Amritanshu!!
Btwn,do you have lost all those old issues??if yes,then rather sad..
Yes,I loved that story with "the team(সংঘ)"...quite fascinating!

About writing,ek somoy likhtam(bolar moto kichu noy jodio).I still have few unfinished scripts since years...hopefully,future e complete korte parbo!
@Walker:Thanks!Yes that was a great story...loved the finishing(hidden treasure!)Sune bhal loaglo je tui boitake ekhono rekhe diyechis!!DON'T loss it!!I have kept all of my those 40 odd earliest copies since last 20 years!!Those are much precious than any 'real' early issues for me!:-)
Ar V27 N7(গোপন আবিষ্কার) er cover ta tui scan korechili!!spiral gulo dekhe mone proche?? ;o))

Mahasthobir said...

@Hojo, Yes, I have lost my old IJCs...আমি একটু অগোছালো ধরনের তাই IJC ছাড়াও আরও কিছু হারিয়েছি। আমার কাছে বহু আগের কিছু Mandrake-র newspaper strips ছিল একটা খাতাতে বসানো মানে কেউ strip গুলো একটা খাতাতে বসিয়ে ছিল। গল্পটা ছিল s99 The Astro Pirates(এটা আমি জানলাম মাত্র কয়েকদিন আগে Mandrake Archive থেকে) তারমানে আনন্দবাজারে কত আগে বেড়িয়েছিল ভাবো...আমি কিনেছিলাম পুরানো বইএর দোকান থেকে...সেই খাতাটাও আমি হারিয়ে ফেলেছি। তখন রবিবারে অনেকটা করে Mandrake থাকতো সেটা বুঝেছিলাম খাতাটা থেকে।

প্রথম সংখ্যা আনন্দমেলা হারিয়ে ফেলেছি...প্রচুর শুকতারা আর কিশোরভারতি ছিল এখন খুঁজে পাইনা...আসলে আমার সংগ্রহ আমার হাতের বাইরে চলে গেছে।।তাকে সাজিয়ে গুছিয়ে রাখা আমার হাতের বাইরে। :(

তোমার লেখা সম্পর্কে আমার আগ্রহ রয়েছে ...কিভাবে পড়তে পারবো? আমি কিন্তু পাঠক হিসাবে খারাপ নই...:)

Suman said...

1976 saler january maas. ami takhon class 3te pori. ekdin baba office theke ese amake ekta patla boi die bollen - "ei dyakh, eta berochche dekhlam.. mase duto kore, toke ene debo." sei suru - Ajab Dashyu (#224) die.

HojO said...

@MS:You had those Mandrake's Sunday strips from ABP???Man,you have lost something much precious than any Ijc!!! :(( Any Bengali P/M/RK strips prior '95 are pretty rare!!Betal's sundays at least managable from desh/am etc but not Sundays of MANDRAKE!!:(

For positives,at least,we now aware the earliest MTM sundays from ABP(s99 The Astro Pirates).Thanks for this!

Aar amar lekha somporke bolte pari,onek age,kichu choto golpo likhechilam..all were just thriller/sci-fi gocher and for teens only.Tar kichu bochor por ami amar 1st actual plot ta script kora suru kori...years ago 50-60% had been complted with some 'basic short plot' for some future parts but that's it!!! janina kobe abar suru korbo ota!! :?
Between,this is neither any thriller/fiction nor for the teens....Title diye chilam "উওরণ" ar setai ekhono,after all these years, upojukto mone kori!:)
And thanks for your words..Will update you if I ever re-start the day,will do(asha kori!)

HojO said...

@Suman:Thanks for sharing your experince with 1st Ijc!!
Ar ota darun golpo chilo..actually,there were 2 stories incld. the ONLY 'X-dimension' plot that ever published in Ijc(I simply loved this concept of an unnown dimension - where time is NOT a factor - right from 1st story(S05)..How Fran went there and Mandrake/Lothar's encounter with metal-men etc,was just awesome!)

Ar kotodin ei regular Ijc pora continue kore chile??till early '80s I guess? :-)

SaYak said...

my very first Indrajals were in Hindi. i bought two books. Mandrake- shaitaano ki basti and Phantom- Jungle se bulawa. The mandrake story was pretty thanda and the Betaal story also didn't interest me much. So I didnt pursue them. Back then I was into collecting original DC and Marvel books. Then after 4-5 months, on a casual visit I picked up a bound Indrajal which fired my interest. the very first story I read was The witch queen's prophecy Part 2 and I was hooked. it also introduced me to my favourite character Bahadur with Journey to the silver sands. so witch queen cn be said to be my first Indrajal in the true sense.

HojO said...

Indrajal-er Hindi title gulo thik identify korte parlam na..which issue No.s?? Btwn,yes,amar Indrajal-e introduction 1989 hoy,but ami notun kore suru kori on 2005-e...tokhon ja petam,mane Ben/Eng/Hindi sobi kintam...jodio Ben n Eng-i prefer kortam!
R hyaan,witch queen r Bahadur-er goppo gulo ottonto interesting chilo/ bar pora jay!!

SaYak said...

mandrake- Vol 23 no.7 and Phantom- Issue 394. ami english/hindi prefer kori but bangla is more pocket friendly. kichu din agei witch queen er part 1 ta pelam. for some reason, jeta ami bojhate parbona, golpo ta amay khub fascinate korey. it is as of now, my favourite Phantom story.

Bahadur er to kono kothai hobena.

HojO said...

Hmm,that mandrake was lame and that Betal story wasn't bad,but no action at all - but that was a preparation for my one of the best thing @Betal's world - Akash-bari(or castle-in-air).

Witch queen-er golpota of course unique chilo,prothombar porar por ekta odbhut shioron diyechilo,specially the onekbar porechi r protibari darun legeche!

HojO said...

About the relative price,yes,Bengali ijcs are cheaper now...sometime much cheaper than Eng issues but that was NOT the case 5-7 years back!! Till 2009,I have seen how Bengali ijcs were charged @max. rate,as those were in most-demand for obvious reason,and English @lesser/same,Hindi ver. were even lesser(one seller had a fixed rate : Ben @5 INR,Eng @4 INR and Hin @3 INR.....ha ha!! nowadays,no body can imagine such amazing open offers!! :)))

SaYak said...

at Rs 5/4/3 !!! I envy you and all you guys who came to know about it before me. i knew prices were dis low but i thot it was at the turn of century like 1999-2000. oh! damn.

I read abt this guy on a blog, i thin, that he bought indrajals for Rs 2 per piece.

SaYak said...

but how did the price sky rocket like this?

HojO said...

Yes,that low!!back then I had 2 things to do,to find a job(as i was just passed out PG) and to search for these lost treasures!! And i loved the latter more...;-) although the former was more important!

Back then,Ijc used to come in 100-200's lot,huge piled up and the sellers were like selling 'normal' books 'cos they knew when this pile will disappear,the next will come and so on(UNLIKE todays' time when they consider themselves lucky if they get 10-15 old ijcs!)

This was continued till 2009 i.e. the whole first decade of 21st century..but as the new decade begins,some black-marketiers and some readers-turned-sellers became quite active,they started stocking piles of ijcs @very low price and then hike the price artificially,in 10-20 folds!!! These frauds changed the good regular sellers completely...

Then I had to stop buying ijcs and started the exchange wid my spares,and that way mostly I survived!!These idiots,NOT all from WB,destroyed the good atmosphre very much(when ur known sellers started 'hiding' indrajals,u wud realise that there is something every wrong!!The same sellers used to call me/others if any rare ijcs wud arrive...and they used to sell@very reasonable price!! )

HojO said...

by da way,the article u read abt someone's lucky-haul of ~200 ijcs @2/- each,is one of the earliest e-articles i read on Indrajal aswell..he wrote on 2007 and @Mumbai!! so u can understand how things have been changed!!

SaYak said...

I know 2 such "sellers". in my early days of collection, even went to one of them because I thought it was the only way i cud obtain Indrajal. do you know how much he asked for Shapoorer Toep? 350 rupees!! can you believe it?

anyways I got two Indrajals recently which I have been searching for sometime now. sukha nalla and el dorado (mandrake).

SaYak said...

I know the feeling when you say that you preferred collecting Indrajals to searching for a job. same feeling amar. amar to khair pora shona.