Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Blacksad - Detective Cat

Will you read a comic, where a black cat with haunting eyes is a hero? Well, I’d rather jump and read the book than killing myself in curiosity. Actually, I don’t mind as long as it’s a comic book.

I was introduced to these books by Knavukalin Kathalan, a blogger, regular visitor and constructive commenter on Mr. J’s blog.

At my first glace I was stunned by the colourful art & narration style. Set in a teeming, 1940s-style metropolis. I couldn’t wait too long to read all three books. I managed to convince and get this book from one of my friends who returned home on a vacation from UK.

As I said earlier, a black cat is the hero. He is aided by a side kick named “Weekly”. Problem with this Weekly is the odour that he’s got. This guy hates soap and water. :)

Though the characters got animal face, they’ve got human body. When you read the books these books will remind you some personalities such as Adolf Hitler. Humanoid characters are far better than ordinary comics characters.

As I said earlier there are three books. First book is published in 2000 and the last book Red Soul was published in 2005.

  1. Somewhere Within the Shadows (2000)

  2. Arctic Nation (2003)

  3. Red Soul (2005)

If you ever wanted to read above mentioned comics, I suggest you to start with “Somewhere Within the Shadows”. It’ll give you a head on start in the series and you’ll have good understanding about the characters, though “Weekly” is introduced in second book “Arctic Nation”.

Somewehre Within the Shadows (2000)

Blacksad Part 1
Story goes most of the time in narrative style which I prefer most. Black cat, John Blacksad, who is a private detective, goes hunting for a culprit who killed a renowned actress.

Interesting part is, the actress who got murdered is detective Blacksad’s ex. It doubles his anger.

You can meet interesting characters from Rat to Goanna.

PS: I own this book :D

Arctic Nation (2003)

This book gives you an understanding about inter-racial violence and racial segregation of the 1950s in a pseudo-American suburbia called the Line.

Blacksad meets his sidekick in the scene where a black vulture is hanged. Their first meeting was not a good meeting at all. Blacksad’s sidekick ‘Weekly is a reporter for news agency called “What's News”.

You can read full Tamil review on this book, written by Kanavukalin Kathalan.

Red Soul (2005)

(I yet to read…) Excerpt from Wikipedia to give you an overall idea about the story line.

Blacksad is employed as a bodyguard for a rich old tortoise called Hewitt Mandeline, who goes on a gambling trip to Las Vegas. After returning home, Blacksad's last assignment is to accompany him to an art gallery

However, all is not going well for Liebber and the Gotfield Foundation; the lecture hall is mobbed by anti-communist rioters and Blacksad takes an instant dislike for Gotfield, who makes a mockery of the lecture.

Read the rest in the book or read the full plot in Wikipedia. I hate revealing the plot. :)

Movie in Future??

These days you can see comics are debut into movies and making box office hit. No wonder people are rumouring that this comic going to make into a movie. Wow!

Fathers of Blacksad

After telling all these, if I fail to talk about author and artist then I should be sentenced to death. Artist Juan Díaz Canales is a Spanish artist and an animation film director. He’s popularly known for his work with Blacksad books. Again Juanjo Guarnido is a Spanish illustrator and the co-author of this comic book series.

Although it was the creators' first comics endeavour, the first volume was an immense success, selling more than 200,000 copies in France alone. The series has been translated from the original French and Spanish into Bulgarian, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Serbian, Swedish and Taiwanese.

Guarnido and Diaz Canales have received several prizes for the impressive, lavish visualisation and the books as a whole, among these three nominations for the Eisner Awards, and an Angoulême Prize for Artwork.

And with a special thanks to Kanavukalin Kathalan, I’m closing this post.

My Rating (9/10)

See you soon in another review :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A New Tamil Comics Publisher... YIPEEEEEEE

I have happy news for Tamil Comics fans. Currently only Lion comics and their sister brand Muthu Comics are being published in Tamil. Now Raj Comics is going to compete with them and will publish their comics in some regional languages including Tamil.

Raj Comics (founded 1986) is a leading Hindi and English comic publisher. They’ve entertained million of Indians with local flavoured super heroes like Super Commando Dhrva, Nagraj and Doga - will soon be launching its comics in five other regional languages.

Bollywood Hungama reports

To start with, the publisher has planned to roll with editions in Marathi, Malayalam, Tamil, Bengali and Nepali. Speaking to Bollywood Hungama, Sanjay Gupta, Studio Head, Raj Comics, shared, "We have been in the comics space for several decades and observed that there is a huge demand for local content in India. In an attempt to reach our regional audience, we have planned to roll out with these comics."


Raj comics have a strong presence online. They’ve got e-comics, Official site, active discussion forum, animations etc etc. They’ve released good number of e-comics too, which you could find in their web site. I hope it’s a good example how you can directly reach customers than depending on careless dealers.

I think Lion should re-start their website and should allow online purchases, including subscription. Above all they should have a official discussion forum for fans. They can adopt the business model of marvel where we can read comics online for paying a small amount monthly or annually.

Definitely this is a new era for comics in sub continent.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Battle Shield - Euro Books

This is my first book from Euro Books Publishers. Obviously this book is for young adults or for the core-comics fans like Mr. J.

This is a story of a brother who is longing to avenge his brother’s death. Long time back small British village was gathered for a traditional ceremony. The chief of the village was giving away a shield to the newly elected war head of the village. This shield is having long history and bonded with these people and top of all, these people are thinking that god will protect them if they have this shield with them.

This brave warrior brings this shield and goes to support Roman Emperor in a devastating battle. After the battle he was betrayed and killed in a duel with a Roman officer and that officer takes his shield.

Village people were so disappointed and started to trouble that warrior’s family. Younger brother of the warrior is managed to go with his village battalion along with Romans who is handling another invader.

Rest of the story is surprise. I’m not going to reveal that, but I can guarantee an unexpected ending in the book. It’s not just a happily ever after story.

Small Excerpt from the introduction
known to the Atalani as the Battle Shield, It's precious metal inlay ws said to have been a gift from the gods, passed down through countless generations and offering divine protection to their lands and warriors. Only the tribe's war leader had the right to carry this battle shield into combat. A tradition that continued even after the roman invasion of Britain. For although the Atalani were forced to pay occasional tribute to the conquerors, they retained much independence in the wilds of the south-west and were often in conflict with bandits and neighbours.

Paper quality is poor and having a good cover even though it’s not a hard back. Whole book is printed in black and white so you’ll loose the excitement of reading a colourful comic.

Indians may buy this book in Euro Books India’s site or you can buy even in book stores if available. Sri Lankans can buy this book in Cargills BookCity, Majestic City.

Finding comics book in Sri Lanka is hectic. Yesterday after work, I went to Vijitha Yapa, near MC and found almost no Comics books except Tin Tin and Asterix. .

Anyway I managed to find some Euro books at Cargills book city, Majestic City. You can find wide range of Comics, Manga, Animes at Vijitha Yapa, Crescat, Colombo 3.

That’s all for this post. See you soon in another post.

Sri Lanka 200 LKR
India 60 INR

My Rating (6/10)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Tin Tin - The Brave Reporter

I’ve been asking this question to myself for a long time. Why still none of the “Tin Tin” books are available for Tamil market? We’ll come to this discussion at the end of the article as of now; let’s have a look on the history of Tin Tin series.

Undoubtedly “Tin Tin” is one best piece of work by Hergé, consist of 24 issues. 24th issue published after posthumously.

First Tin Tin stories are published in French in Le Vingtième Siècle on 10 January 1929 on a Belgian news paper. It’s been almost 80 years, but still you can’t find a single book store without Tin Tin books. These books have been translated into more than fifty languages and more than 200 Million copies sold as of today.

You can read more trivia about Tin Tin in Wikipedia.

One of the main reasons why these books are huge success is because of the main character and supporting characters.

Tin Tin is the hero of the series and a young, energetic, fearless, teen Belgian reporter. He looks deep into the peculiar matters and his investigative journalism leads to troubles. His four leg companion is Snowy.

No wonder many people are obsessed by this character. I used to call my dog “Snowy”, even though it’s a black Pomeranian. I used to imitate Tin Tin’s hair style when I was in school and tried to convince my friends that I was having a hair style just like Tin Tin.

There are more supporting characters. One notable character is “Captain Haddock”. He is a person easily getting annoyed on things, and his anger lets him do silly stuffs and ultimately end up giving giggles to the readers.

Another peculiar character is Professor Calculus. His inventions are real awesome such as the rocket used by Tin Tin and crew to land on moon, Shark shape submarine, etc. Throughout the series he brings up his inventions. I don’t have to tell you how funny it’ll be with a absent minded professor who can hardly hear others.

If I don’t talk about “Thomson and Thomson” then Tin Tin fan would hang me. Thomson and Thomson are identical detectives, who come to investigate but end up screwing the whole scene. You can differentiate them only by the shape of their mustache. Though they look identical, book never revealed anything personal about these detectives; therefore we don’t know whether these two are brothers or twins.

English translation of these books started in 1956 and it was a tedious project. Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper and Michael Turner, who worked closely with Hergé to attain an accurate translation as true as possible to the original work. The works were also sold in the American market by Golden Books, a branch of the Western Publishing Company in the 1950s.

The albums were translated from French into American English with some blocks blanked except for the speech balloons. This was done to remove content considered to be inappropriate for children, such as drunkenness and free mixing of races. We can find blank balloons in Tin Tin books just because of these reasons. Anyway later British lads also translated this book into British English.

Now Stephen Spielberg is saddling up to make a Tin Tin animation movie.

Tin Tin in Tamil

Ok, now come to the point. I can find in net that Tin Tin books are published in Hindi. Also in Sri Lanka Tin Tin books are published in Sinhalese too. I’m just wondering why still we don’t have Tin Tin books in Tamil.

If we have it in Tamil, I’m sure Tamil kids will enjoy it and when they come to the age of 40s or 50s they can tell their grand children a story on how they read these books.

I personally don’t like these books to be published in Tamil with some poor quality. I know the translation will be met with the resources we have but when it comes to quality of the papers, it’ll be such a disappointment.

Most of us are used to read Tamil comics on poor paperback copies. I hope things will change sooner or later and we’ll get to read Tin Tin in Tamil. If someone publishes the book for Sinhalese market, which is 1/5 of Tamil market then, why not Tamil???

Meet you again in next post, bye bye addicts.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Origin (Wolverine)

Just like every other kid, I was grown up watching Wolverine cartoons. I still remember those days when I used to cut other activities just to watch Wolverine on Television.

Now today, wolverine is a popular character because of X-Men trilogy as well as the Origins movie where Huge Jackman featuring as Wolverine.

Lately I got the chance to read Wolverine comics. But his past remains unclear until Marvel comics released the book Origin. It was published between November 2001 to July 2002. It was jointly written by Bill Jemas, Joe Quesada and Paul Jenkins, and illustrated by Andy Kubert (pencils) and Richard Isanove (colour).

Plot (No Spoiler)

Only this book reveals the dark child hood days of Wolverine. Wolverine’s child hood name is James Howlett. He was born in a rich family where his father is a plantation owner. Wolverine remained sick during his child hood and had allergies to several stuffs. His father brings him a companion from town named Rose. Rose is a girl who supports him during the hard times.

I’m not going to reveal the plot here; if you’re still interested you can read it on Wikipedia.

Comics and Movie

Comic story is way too better than the story portrayed in the movie. Movie’s plot is full of visual and sound effects, where comic’s story line sticks to beautiful story line full love love and desperation. You can clearly see the disturbed child hood of wolverine and how he was logging for his mother’s love.


Wolverine movie shows the origin of Sabertooth along with Wolverine’s character, but the Comic has a character called “Dog Logan”, which is a potential candidate to fit with Sabertooth. Author Paul Jenkins says

Who knows? In my mind, Dog is not intended to be Sabretooth, but he could be. It doesn’t matter. As long as the next writer respects the character and writes a simple story, anything could happen.

If you haven’t read it yet, I strongly suggest you to read this comics. I hope one day one of the Tamil comics publishers such as Lion will publish these stories in Tamil too. If they can do that, it’ll be a feast for Tamil comics fan base.

My Rating (10/10)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

XIII Collectors Edition is still a Dream

So it’s true that Vijayan from Lion Comics still holding on the plan of releasing “இரத்தப் படலம்” very soon. But the problem is they couldn’t reach the magic number of 900 orders so far. As of now they've got around 500 orders only :(

If you’ve planned to buy one, I think this is the high time to order one. As usually this issue of Lion Comics also delayed and Vijayan has given the reasons. It’s good that now they’re thinking of different business model where they can directly reach their customers.

Marvel comics now having their online library where people can read good number of old classic comics by paying small amount $5 per month. I think Lion should also adapt to one of these models, in order to get more out of the hungry Tamil Comic lover.

Guys! Please do Pre-Order for the XIII collector’s Edition (in Tamil), the more you wait, the more we all have to wait. Hurry up.
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