Friday, February 15, 2013

Comic #100 : Bengali Indrajal Comics(No.262) : Bahadur meets Bela in the Sada Bhuter Adda(সাদা ভূতের আড্ডা)

Friends,yesterday was the Valentine day(as you know it very much) and today is Swaraswati Puja - known as Bengali's V-Day!! :o) And in this occasion,enjoy the 100th comic of this blog(but not the 100th comic-post,it's 87th only, as some posts have multiple comics).

How Bahadur ,the brave crime-fighter, met his girl-friend Bela?? You will get the answer in this thrilling adventure,4th of the series,scripted by A.Surti & illustrated by G.Brahamania!
 Their meeting was quite dramatic as Bahadur had this wrong impression that Bela was faking that kidnapping story of her father and hence tried to capture her...
...but soon find out that was a wrong move, as Bela was a tough lady(and she taught him a lesson!)
And then, from Mukhia he learnt her true identity,that she was truly the daughter of seth of the village Pipli and her father was indeed kidnapped!!
Apart from their meeting,this tale is special for another character - who later became an integral part of CSF - the dacoit Lakhan(who was one of the kidnappers!).His fight with Bahadur,where he received severe beating from that brave soul,was quite famous!
Further,that infamous hide-out of the kidnappers,located nearby Jaigarh,"sada Bhuter Adda"(White Ghost's Dane), was first time mentioned in this series.Later we have seen it's mention in some other adventures aswell, renamed a bit as "Sada Bhuter Astana".
Now,during a recent discussion at another blog, a thought pop-up in my mind that, while we ALL are ardent Indrajal fans no doubt but then,do we really love all characters appeared in this series or have some favorite heroes whose adventures we love to read,or rather,we actually read Indrajals just to read their adventure only?? From my personal experience & interactions,I learnt that some are fans of only Phantom & Mandrake and don't read other stories at all, while some like all characters published in this series.Well,I do stand between these two extremes.:)

If today I have to pick my favorites,here it is,exactly in the order of preference,or say, craziness :
Mandrake,Phantom, Bahadur, Flash Gordon, Dara & Rip Kirby.

About the rest,I read them more like a general comic-fan but I don't miss them,to tell you the truth!Like me every fan has his/her own picks.What's yours??

Now I can tell you the basic elements of each of the above mentioned heroes that actually hooked me in their respective series!
For Mandrake,it was primarily his amazing power of magic plus those fantasy plots included the adventures in the Central Galaxy with Magnon but one thing that attracted me most was his residence - atop hill exotic mansion -  XANADU and it's crazy drive-away!! I still can remember those stories,where one can have just a glimpse of Xanadu and it's drive-away, became my favorites!:) Despite Karma,Lothar's girlfriend,is bit bore, I do enjoy the stories where all four of them were present,sometimes accompanied by Hojo. And may I dare to say that some of Mandrake & Co.'s arc-enemies made him more popular like 'Cobra','Clay Camel' or that vicious 'League of 8'?? I do believe that,their presence put Mandrake & Lothar among the A-lister crime fighters and adventures became more thrilling and intriguing ones.What's your take on it?

Coming to The Phantom,well,apart from the top-quality stories in general,I love that tree-house & the isle of Eden!I know skull-cave is the most important part of the Phantom's universe but for some reason I like that exotic tree-house bit more.And who doesn't love that amazing world of Eden where all kind animals co-exist??I know most Eden related stories were tend to be less dramatic but that doesn't lessen it's charm any bit for me!Presence of integral characters like Guran,Rex,Diana and the adventures related with Jungle Patrol are among my top favorites.

Next is our own Indian hero - the son of a dacoit - Bahadur! I was introduced with his late '80s adventures where all major CSF(Citizen Security Force) members were more frequent in the plots - stories like Death Duel(V26 N18),Bank Heist(V26 N35) etc - and that made me to love the whole gang than the solely main hero and even today,I love to re-read those adventures more where you will find the majority of CSF members(Bela,Lakhan,Mukhia,Sukhia) having important roles along with Bahadur,compare to Bahadur's solo stunts! Then, it's needless to mention that the charming presence of Bela - Bahadur's live-in girl-friend - only increases the interest in the stories for me,much like for all Bhadur fans! ;o) But saying this,unlike Diana or Narda,Bela wasn't there for glamour quotient solely ,rather being a karate-pro,she helped Bahadur to nab those criminal many a time.So it's rare to find a story where the plot revolved around Bela-was-in danger/kindnaped-and-how-Bahadur-rescued-her!

Flash Gordon came much earlier phase of my Indrajal introduction and I loved the sci-fi elements in this series right from the beginning, read one of the best FG stories published in the Indrajal. The presence of wise Dr.Jarkov & Gordon's beautiful girl-friend Dale,their adventures in the planets Mongo & Kkrobu(ruled by Jarkov's wife Matara!), Ming the merciless, Barin's place Arboria and top of the all,the vicious pre-historic creatures(superb illustration by Dan Barry)   - all simply hooked me!

After Bahadur,the 2nd Indian crime-fighter introduced in Indrajal was Dara - the prince of the spies! Introduced in The Enemy Agent (Vol.25 No.43; 1988),he was of course inspired from James Bond - with a licence to kill - but had an Indian touch!He was originally from North India's Kashmir region,a prince and secretly,a spy and crime-fighter.Only few people knew his origin incld. the chief and that brought a nice suspense elements in the stories - 8 in total - those dealt with various kind of national problems,from the terrorists to drug smuggling to high-profile kidnapping.Beside the stories, the art,done by Pradeep Sathe, was simply the top-notch!

Finally,Rip Kirby.Other than Indrajal,his daily strips were regularly published till 2000 in ABP - a Bengali newspaaper - as Goyenda Rip. So I was quite aware about his adventures since the late '80s but wasn't that much of a fan,might be due to his stories were seems to be bit slow-pacy (with more relax atmosphere) than I would like to see in an adventure series(and reading a RK story parallel with Phantom/Mandrake/Bahadur stories didn't help me either)! But in the last few years, I have started to like this cool detective and his adventures,that funny-yet-efficient butler,Desmond, and the other regular characters like Amur sisters,Honey Dorian etc,read both RK-Indrajals and the earlier A.Raymond strips. [Between, I have this uncanny connection with RK Indrajals as other than my introductory Indrajal was a Rip story,the first Bengali Indrajal issue that I bought during my 2nd phase of the Indrajal-hunts(in the early 2000s) was also a Rip story! :o ]

Besides the top heroes,Indrajal was/is famous for the side-heroes/strips and the various informative features.Does anybody can forget the strips of Gunadhar(Henry),Chimpoo,Babua,Chotto Raja's 1-page strips or that kid detective,Timpa & his grand-pa's full-fledged adventures?? Then there were regular dose of  Ripley's own shocking news,Capries' animal world etc various informative articles as fillers, only enhanced the uniqueness of this series.

And last,but not the least,the advertisement pages!! I have never seen or heard about any other comic-series where fans are fascinated about those old ad pages - published solely for commercial purpose!!The most memorable ads were like gold spot,gems,amul etc!

Now,to read the full adventure, download....


Mr. Walker said...

hello..very nice discussion about ijc & its fav. characters..tobe many fans dont like flash gordon/bahadur at all..dont know y, but they have great stories too..

thanks for sada bhuter adda..besides, this is one of the stories which has a "sequel" #270 bengali(dainir gras) which was more interesting!

HojO said...

@Walker: What's you fav. Ijc heroes??If I remember correctly,you were introduced with Bahadur first,but what about other heroes and their preference??

Yes,I know many don't like Flash or this desi hero,but i am interested to know their reason...might be,they were introduced with P/M mostly!

An interesting fact I would like to mention here : in 2007 I read an article by some Ijc fan from mumbai,who suddenly found a sack filled of Ijcs and then how he bought those 100s issues and revived his passion..BUT then,he picked only Phantom & Mandrake issues and nothing else!Here is the link(from Aman's website) :

I feel nostalgic whenever read such articles where fans describe their reunion with this fantastic series from the childhood! :)

Mr. Walker said...

@hojo: yes, though i was introduced to bahadur 1st, my fav. heores are phantom & mandrake..then bahadur, & obviously flash gordon..from vol part, rip the way,can u post the link again..i mean in the comment? :)

Maverick said...

An excellent write up for a discussion. My Top 5 favorite indrajal stars are as follows.
Phantom,Mandrake,Flash Gordon,Bahadur and Rip Kirby.

Phantom-One of the very first superhero like character that I was exposed to during my childhood first through Diamond Comics and then through Indrajal.Great Narration, I like the way the legendary origins of the phantom is emphasized with the words,'For those who came in late' and how the story later cuts back to the present phantom.Not to mention the pygmy bandar, Old Man Mozz, the location of the skull cave deep within the forest, which all captivate my imagination.

Mandrake-Had an equal dose of Phantom and Mandrake through Diamond Comics when I was growing up.Those were the times when young minds were not adulterated with Iphones,Ipods, the internet or even cable television. Mandrake was a treat for an imaginative mind.Many a times I have been transported to Xanadu or the office of inter-intel. The supporting characters were brilliant,especially loved the double identity of Hojo.The whole host of colorful villains completed an amazing storyline.My favorite Villain was the Octon.

Flash Gordon- Interstellar travel, Planets inhabited with aliens of different forms and shapes,laser guns,new adventures unfolding at distant planets with every new issue...What else could kids have asked for during the 80's and 90's? Imagination ran wild as I dreamt of travelling to distant galaxies and fighting with evil aliens!

Bahadur- Was introduced pretty late to one of the first Indian Crime Fighters.Have to admit,it was a refreshing change to the foreign stories.The stories set in our own country with an excellent supporting cast and local villains immediately drew my interest.Hoping that he will make a come back soon to fight the villains of the present day.

Rip Kirby-Have always been fascinated by detective stories and it was no surprise that I got hooked on to the adventures of Rip kirby. Loved the Butler,Desmond and the new villains who came with every issue.

HojO said...

@Walker: When u r going to post another research oriented post?? I would like to hear more on Bengali comics of our fav(Indian/Western) heroes!
About that article,here I'm giving the actual texts(remember one thing,that person was wrote that after his sudden discovery of a pile of Ijcs,so his statistical knowledge was not that perfect,but emotion was right from the beginning )

"Return to Comics
[By Shalabh Mohan]

Does anyone get nostalgic about the comics of our youth? I am referring to Indrajal comics - of the '60', '70s and '80s - when competition to these were Tintin & Asterix (too expensive), Chacha Choudhury (too downmarket!) and Amar Chitra Katha (who wants boring history lessons?). My favorites were Phantom (the ghost who walks), Mandrake (the magician), Bahadur (the brave) etc. Only last week, I happened to pass by a raddiwala in the Juhu market who had a huge stockpile of 300 odd assorted Indrajal comics. Attracted like a fire-fly to the fire, I dropped everything else and zeroed in on the pile. Lots of old comics, going at the rate of - hold your breath - Rs. 2.00 a piece (after bargaining dutifully), For the first time, I thought I had a great bargain - I could even have gone up to Rs 5.00 per piece. The Rs. 3.00 I credited to my consumer surplus (as taught by my Economics teacher). I rifled through the collection, scientifically sorting the comic pile into Phantom, Mandrake and others. A lot of the comics were in parts, i.e. each issue had only one part of the adventure / story. The ones in parts were kept separately, to be checked if all the parts in a particular story were available or not. These were later sorted to sift out the complete adventures. All in all, the exercise took about 2 hours. In between there were other customers who were trying to get to other magazines and novels, whom I quelled with a strong glare. The ones I couldn't quell with glares came in for some shoving and pushing from my side. The final haul was 121 Phantom and 48 Mandrake comics. I had to leave behind some, because they were unfortunately incomplete. The money was paid out grudgingly, as was my duty as a (apparently) disgruntled customer. I have been feasting on these comics since last Sunday, devouring them one by one.

Some of the comics date back to 1968/69, i.e. pre my birthday. The price of the comic was a princely 0.70 Rupee per issue and the subscription for the whole year (26 issues) was a princely Rs.19!! (What kind of comic would you get in Rs.19 today?). After 1973, the price was raised to Rs.1 per issue, then to Rs.2 and then to Rs.3. When Indrajal comics closed operations (I think it was 1986 / 87) the comics were going at Rs.3.

Brought back nostalgic memories - for those of you who are familiar with Phantom / Mandrake and others of their ilk, each comic superhero had individual traits - and also a unique environment around him.
My favorite always has been Mandrake (probably because he used to get involved in esoteric adventures, some of them inter-galactic (!), and also I thought the artwork of Mandrake comics was the best of the lot.)
Adding to the whole nostalgia bit are the sort of fillers, or one page comics / advertisements / competitions which appear towards the end of each issue, after the main adventure is over. Henry, Baboa, Chalky, the little king, are the perennial favorites - most of these characters were the strong, silent types. The first prize in various kiddies' competition used to be in the range of Rs.10-20! and various banks would put in their ads at regular intervals, exhorting the young ones to start saving with a princely sum of Rs.5!

Meanwhile, will continue search for more Indrajal comics, specially the Phantom & Mandrake ones. People who have any information on where these comics can be got in bulk may please put it on the site."

HojO said...

@Maverick : Fantastic write-up,buddy!!You should write regularly in your blog about your association with comics etc! :)Yes,Phantom & Mandrake will always occupy the TOP TWO seats for all fans(as I yet to come across a fan with different top 2's!) but then taste differs from one to another!I guess as you were introduced with Bahadur much later,so were introduced with both Surti & Uppal's stories,simultaneously!

Now I have one query : when you were actually introduced with Indrajal(year,hero etc)??From your write-up,I think you were one of the '90s comic-buffs but might be wrong.

Maverick said...

Thanks Hojo, will try and write something in my blog as frequently as possible.

Yes,u guessed it right!I am a 90's comic buff.I started off with Tinkle,which I think, I got introduced to around 1992.Following that was Diamond Comics,sometime around 1993.Still remember rushing home from school day after day and eagerly inquiring with my mom if the VPP from diamond had arrived,starting the second week of every month!

Indrajal came much later on.If I remember correctly,my first indrajal was a Mike Nomad issue called 'Satan Commands'.

I loved the article written by Shalabh Mohan.Somehow,I have never come across it on the net during my google searches.Reminded me of time when I used to find bundles of Indrajals here till about a few years back.Now they have completely dried up in Chennai.

How is the comic scene in Kolkata now? I have read in many blogs about college street being the hub for Indrajals.Do you still get to find them there?

Mr. Walker said...

@Maveric: truly, very interesting write up!its really great to read..yes, we still get ijc in colegstreet!

@Hojo: thanks for puting up the article in "comments" the way,i'll post another research topic very soon..

HojO said...

@Maverick: So you have a good collection of DC-Phantom/Mandrake issues.And how many Ijcs you have in your collection??I guess it's plenty! :)
Between,CS was indeed an 'INDRAJAL COMICS HUB' even 3-4 years ago but later,due to some black-marketiers etc suddenly the market dried-up!

By the way,my Ijc-hunt wasn't started from CS,but from two different 'lesser exposed' places(old-shops at my University lane & at the Sealdah RS).It was only later I went there,during 2006 or so,and that too due to a funny incident. During that period,in the pre e-Indrajal era,I was quite frustrated for not getting many Ijcs and tried my hands at CS,but due to the lesser versed in that area(a Bhulbhuliya sort of place indeed with so many lanes and sub-lanes),I failed to get a single Indrajal. Then on my 3rd attempt(and probably went to be my last,if failed!) I took a 2nd route to reach the CS,met a lone seller on my way on the foot-path with hardly 10-12 total books who 'told' me that Ijcs are quite available in that area,even showed me few and assured me that he can arrange many!After few days I discovered few more sellers and since then there was no looking back till 2009.:)
And most funny thing is that,while that seller served me the much needed encouragement,he himself never arranged a single copy for me,being a really small-scale seller!! ;o)

@WALKER : U r welcome.

Maverick said...

@Walker-Thank you very much for your appreciation.You guys are lucky that you still find Indrajals in College Street :)

@Hojo-An interesting account of your Indrajal hunt.I think increasingly these pavement second hand shops all over India are stashing away rare comics for a few loyal or high paying customers alone.

I actually do not have much of DC in my collection.Most of my precious collection was lost over the years while shifting from one place to another.Started recollecting them again a few years back.Bought some Phantoms and Mandrakes directly from the DC office,but the new re-prints do not have the same charm of the older versions,somehow.

As far as Indrajal goes,I think I have around 600 odd comics.Still missing a lot of the earlier issues.Lets C,hopefully I will have the complete Indrajal collection within the next decade :)

HojO said...

@Maverick : Losing own old collection is quite hart-breaking but common among the fans who shifted their houses(I was fortunate to not lose a single copy during shifting but had always the fear of losing some)! Between,you got a good collection of Indrajals!About the missing Ijcs,the current rates are almost absurd and hence impossible to buy for regular fans.But I guess after some years the market will be in the better position for buyers once again,which is in the near 'saturation point',so you have to be bit patient only!
And yes,I have many such interesting stories to share regarding Ijc-hunt as I'm talking about the pre-Indrajal-blogs period when one don't have full knowledge regarding this series,forget about knowing the titles/covers of missing issues!And years after,now we well aware which issues we are missing ,the heroes and moreover,we have already "read" the stories evenif haven't the hard copies!Things have been changed,for better! :))

Only one thing that current knowledgeable Ijc fans(courtesy complete title Index/wiki etc) will miss,that,the joy of digging out some "new" Indrajals from old-book shops which you never saw/heard about before and those days become quite memorable!A haul of 20 odd Indrajals in one single-day meant a lot for me(and my brother) in those days!Indrajals were in abundance even with odd sellers with very few connection and what was the rates??? ONLY 3-5 INR/COPY!!:o)'New' fans can't imagine such things!
In those years all fans,like you and me,had to put much more effort than the latter fans,but no complain!We do cherish those moments!:)

Maverick said...

Yup.True.The good old days of paying single digit prices for a copy of Indrajal will never come back.Its a fascinating topic that you have bought up regarding the prices of Indrajals having reached a saturation point.When I get into discussion regarding this with comics enthusiasts here,there are always some people who think that the prices have reached the upper threshold, while an equal number of people feel the prices will keep going up.Maybe we should have an authority for comic grading and for publishing comic book price guides in our country like in the US so that the prices are regulated to an extent.With the concept of Comic-Con having dawned on India recently,the emergence of a comic grading body in our country may not be far away.


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