The Perfect Road Trip

The Perfect Road Trip
Runners Up Award- Ambipur Contest

Monday, April 28, 2014

The World of Comics



It was the beginning of summers and we slept on the cots laid out in the verandah when the eyes opened with noise of the paper missile that landed. It was the newspaper vendor who had wrapped the newspaper and the fortnightly comic ‘ Phantom -The Ghost who walks’ by Lee Falk. A fight would break out between the siblings as to who should read the comic first! A long relationship with the new found addiction of getting hooked to the comics had just begun! Every alternate day I would rush to the neighborhood library that stored a huge variety ranging from, Noddy, Archies, Dennis the Menace, Micky Mouse, Tom and Jerry,
 Mandrake –The Magician, Batman, Superman, Spiderman, an endless list.

I would be transported to a different world and every episode of Phantom comic helped me in learning more about the Denkali jungle and the endless bad men who would kidnap Diana the beloved of Phantom. The friendly Guran would find leads and cure the injured with medicines only he knew. Betty Veronica and Archie would be endless source of entertainment, while the antics of Dennis in testing the patience of poor Mr Wilson, would have a rib tickling effect!The US Postal Services issued a set of  44 cent commemorative  postal stamps on 16 July 2010 to honor the Archie characters, sharing a milk shake. More characters kept emerging on the comic scene like Calvin and Hobbs, Garfield, Beetle Bailey and Flintstones. 
The Hindustan Times published from Delhi carried a daily strip on ‘Garth’ for years, before it suddenly went into oblivion. Likewise many such comic strips regularly appeared on the leading dailies like the Times of India especially in the Sunday edition. The intoxication of the comics was such that sometimes the teachers in the class caught some students reading them while the class was on invariably ending with the impounding of the comics and a note with warning to the parents of the delinquents.

Another comic strip that held attention was , ‘Mad’. Mad is often credited with filling a vital gap in political satire from the 1950s to 1970s, when Cold War paranoia and a general culture of censorship prevailed in the United States, especially in literature for teens.

There is a Comic Street in Brussels that eulogizes the cartoon characters like Tin Tin and many more that are painted as huge graffiti. Hundreds of visitors come here every year to relive their childhood with these characters, while the gorge the Belgian handmade chocolates and admire the lace work by local craftsmen in the streets in the vicinity.

The Indian comics scene was not to be left behind with stories of ‘Chotu aur Lambu’ , Chacha Chaudhary, Pinki , Billu and Shrimatiji being the hot favorites. My daughter would pester me to buy the latest issues at the railway station when departing for long journeys and reading them till late at night in the moving train. Pran the creator of most of these characters believed that ’if he could put smile on the face of his readers, he would consider his life successful’

When I landed in college it was good to see the Cartoon scene witnessing a change from the times of Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge to a makeover to Tales of Mahabharata and Ramayan, Aesops Fables , Tenali Rama, Chhota Bheem and hundreds of other characters from mythology  by Amar Chitra Katha
Even today it is always a treat to scan through the comics and admire the creativity of the creators who have enthralled generations of readers and transported them in a ‘make believe fantasy world’. The present generation is lucky to see most of these comic characters on DVDs and dedicated cartoon network channels  leaving little to their own imagination!
A few lovely quotes from comics:
  • “Words and pictures are yin and yang. Married, they produce a progeny more interesting than either parent.”
    ― Dr. Seuss
  • “The world isn't fair, Calvin."
    "I know Dad, but why isn't it ever unfair in my favor?”
    ― Bill Watterson
  • “Your head is where ideas go to die!”― Dilbert Comic Strip
PS-Images Kind Courtesy Google

36 comments:

  1. Hi Rahul, nice post. I was very fond of Archie comics. And ofcourse Tinkle. Nowadays forget about reading I don't even see comics around me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I could not remember about Tinkle:) Thanks Rachna!

      Delete
  2. reminds me of panchtantra, vikram betal :P used to grab all hindi comics around and read them day n night...:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True Monica, the joy of reading these was unparalleled:)

      Delete
  3. Comics make us laugh - and in doing so, are vital.

    ReplyDelete
  4. awwww nice post! i love cartoons! :) loved reading it :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Comics remain evergreen at any age, they are the best to cheer you up! I loved creating my own comics for neighbors kids long ago, dont have any idea where they are now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do share when you find your own creation too, Padmaja:)

      Delete
  6. Comics were a welcome distraction in childhood. Distractions for me are not so welcome anymore :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Distractions for me have been a way of life... KK:)

      Delete
  7. I remember how when I was a kid I would save up coins that I found around my place and would save it till the summer vacation started. Then I would go to the local stationary and book store where there was an uncle who used to rent comic books for a day..one comic for 2 rupees. Chacha chaudhary, tom n jerry, batman, spiderman, tinkle, akbar birbal and what not...
    Kids these days don't read much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So nice to read that comment Red as I have just the same memories a few of which I penned here:) Kids play game on mobiles and watch the TV now!

      Delete
  8. I too have read many Pinku, Billu and Chacha Choudhary in the past! Nice post.. took me back to my childhood days :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So good to read that you too enjoyed reading Pinki n Billu comics, Radhika:)

      Delete
  9. Nice nostalgic post...i remember Garth,Elmer & Blondie and Chandamama.Ah those were the days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot Induji and am happy I could revive some of your old memories:)

      Delete
  10. oh yes rahul sir, i remember them phantom,tarzan, tintin, astrex and obleix and who can forget tom and jerry .. .

    brought back memories ...

    Bikram

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome back , Bikram!So nice to see you return!

      Delete
  11. I haven't read many of the strips you have mentioned in this post. Will buy the Archie stamp collection from USPS. Lovely post, refreshed some memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Saru, agree these are slightly vintage comic strips but do read if you ever get a chance!It is good to see you back after a long break:)

      Delete
  12. Though ,i have crossed the stage of reading comics...I was very happy having released a lot of Walt Disney stuff on DVD.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot Mr Chowla! It was nice to know of your contribution to entertainment industry reated to Walt Disney, productions!

      Delete
  13. Nostagic, you took me on a memory lane. I loved reading chacha chowdhary, dennis the menace and tom and jerry in particular. Even now I always make it a point to catch Calvin and Hobbes in the newspaper for my daily dose of laughter!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Arti ,as many of us have traversed that road and still retain some fond memories!

      Delete
  14. I still love reading some comics like Calvin n hobbes, aestrix, Do not mock me but- Archies...my ,most fav is Dilbert. Thank u for reminding me them all again.

    www.numerounity.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why mock at you, Ekta, I read whatever I can lay my hands on even now:) Your writing reflects the wide spectrum of reading you indulge in!

      Delete
  15. That was a most wonderful tribute to comics, some familiar and some not. And ending with those quotes was a masterstroke. Had me laughing out loud. Thanks, Rahul.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A big thanks KayEm, as some of these comics helped big time in taking flights of fantasy:)

      Delete
  16. My favourite will always be Asterix. I was introduced to Mad magazines by my husband and I took just a few weeks to finish reading his stash, Needless to say, I loved it.

    But now when you think back on the Phantom series, don't you think it was racist?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually the list is a long one,Purba and it was a struggle to recollect all the names and indeed Asterix is one which was a note able slip! I am sure you would have enjoyed the 'Mad'--ness introduced to you by your hubby:) I was too innocent to think about racism when I read Phantom!

      Delete
  17. That line about reading comics on the train made me nostalgic Rah ul. I used to pester my Dad for those too

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jaishree for reading and also am happy it made you remember about enjoyable past:) I believe there is a Comics exhibition on in Singapore:)

      Delete
  18. We did wait for the newspapers to read the comics, too some of which were serialised. Children these days look down upon anything you tell as being from your times, as if we are already the dinosaurs :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Ha ha... agree...., things change with time~

    ReplyDelete