Tuesday, December 16, 2014

comic books

Thought behind the thought:
In a day and age where television channels could be counted, on the fingers of one hand, comics books were the single most form of entertainment to young minds in the 70's and 80's. Millions of children who grew up back then in India have fond memories attached to these comics. Mandrake the magician, Phantom the ghost who walks, Flash Gordon and Bahadur (Indrajal Comics) transported every child into a fantasy world full of drama, action, wonder and discovery. Simple, entertaining, affordable and knowledge based material was what Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle provided the average Indian child. Comics like Amar Chitra Katha made mythology seem so exciting and enjoyable. History books could never compete with the charm that Amar Chitra Katha offered. Tinkle bought humour, trivia, general knowledge and quizzes to every child that eagerly waited for it to be delivered monthly. I happened to find a very different looking bound volume of Tinkle recently and bought it for my kids. Apparently Supandi and Shikari Shambhu still hold the same magic, as I distinctly heard my daughter laugh out loud as she read it.

Amar Chitra Katha First Issue no:11
Krishna Illustrated by Ram Waeerkar

 Amar Chitra Katha's unique colour illustrations

Cover of first Issue of Tinkle December 1980

Anant Pai 

17th September 1929 – 24th  February 2011

About the Art:
Comic books and Anant Pai, or fondly known as Uncle Pai, are synonyms in India. In February 1967 in a quiz contest aired on Doordarshan (official Indian Channel) children were able to answer difficult questions in Greek and Roman Mythology but failed to answer basic questions like "In the Ramayana, who was Rama's mother?

Deeply shocked and pained by this Anant Pai, who then was a junior executive in The Times of India books division, left his job and undertook the work of Amar Chitra Katha. He assumed the position of writer, editor and publisher. The series went on to become a publishing milestone for the Indian comic book scene, selling over 86 million copies of about 440 titles.

Writers like Kamala Chandrakant, Margie Sastry, Subba Rao, Debrani Mitra and C.R Sharma joined the creative team of Amar Chitra Katha. The illustrators attached to ACK were Ram Waeerkar, who illustrated the very first issue of Amar Chitra Katha, Krishna. Some of the other eminent names are Dilip Kadam, C. M. Vitankar,Sanjeev Waeerkar, Souren Roy, C.D Rane, Ashok Dongre, V.B. Halbe, Jeffrey Fowler, Pratap Mullick and Yusuf Lien aka Yusuf Bangalorewala.

The first issue of Tinkle was launched in April 1980. As of today 622 issues have been printed. The whole interactive format of the magazine was what held its audiences. Children wrote directly to Uncle Pai! He responded to their letters. Drawings were made, stories were written and they could actually be printed in the magazine! Former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was one of the fans of Tinkle due to its educational and entertainment format.


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