Friday, February 25, 2011

For Those Who Came In Late

Morning read of HT over my cuppa... and a familiar face of a forgotten friend pops out of a  weekend story.
It's the Phantom. Ghost who walks.

Took me down memory lane when we were young and comics were the biggest source of entertainment.

My collection consisted of Amar Chitra Kathas, Phantom, a couple of Mandrakes, some war comics ( dunno why I liked them though) and Tarzan.

Comics would make an entry when I stood first in class, on my birthday and when my uncles and aunts used to visit us. I would run  through the pages like an express train and then go back and read and reread. Would carefully script out- This comic belongs to Babita Baruah. And the date.

Because comics were borrowed and lent with ease. And sometimes never returned.

Mum would take a bunch of old comics and have them bound up into a thick volume. These were my prized possessions and I would write in big and bold," Please do not borrow". Seems a little selfish now- but those were the days.

What I earned for were the more expensive Archies,  Little Archies and of course, Tintins.  Managed to coax Mum into buying me an Archie digest once a bluemoon. Never owned a Tintin. But read all of them at Rikhi uncle's place. He was an avid Tintin fan.

What made comics tick?

The stories.
The colours.
The art.
They fuelled imagination, made us lead make believe lives when we played, transported us to a different world of rakshasas, heroes, man in the wild.

Phantom was my hero. I followed every strip I could lay my hands on.
Was sad when he married Diana. Celebrated the birth of the twins- Kit and Heloise.
I marvelled at all Phantoms being called Kit.

And wondered and wondered what Phantom looks like.
For as the old Jungle saying goes- "He who sees the Phantom's face, dies a horrible death".

These were the childhood and adolescent years.
When comics helped us lead the life of fun, adventure, friendship and camaraderie.

Today comics have lost their exalted place to newer means of reading, entertainment.
But to me and maybe a whole lot of people out there, comics will always have a special place in our bookshelves. And hearts.


  1. if there is anything i remember about my childhood it honestly would be the joy of reading comics before i got addicted to the video games as i grew. but i still read comics, specially old ones in comic book reader formats (similar to pdf) on my pc and mobile.

    comics had its own special charm. i would read it at my own leisure, get attached to the character and wait eagerly for next episode to hid the bookstalls. comics like tinkle, amar chitra katha, champak, nanhe samrat, were mode of edutainment and to an extent shaped our culture and beliefs.

    today, the indian comic industry is so down, as kids are addicted to technological for of entertainment made by the adults. then comics and video games had its own place but now kids are more glued to television and games.

    while the kids today are getting smarter i wonder what are the little things that they are glued to, shapes their culture and beliefs, apart from the parents as both are busy working?

  2. btw Tintin is coming soon in 3d and it sure gonna be good as its directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson.

    i own the entire collection of tintin comics now. so will wait to watch.

    link for the trailer