As the Muthu comics is nearing another milestone (with issue number 300) in its glorious march, I think it is high time we go through the history of Muthu comics. The official historian about Muthu can only be our beloved editor, Mr Vijayan. However as his contribution is missing despite repeated requests from many fans in this regard, I thought I'll write whatever little bit I know about the history of Muthu comics. Hope our editor steps in soon to give more about the history of Muthu Comics.
By the way I'm not very sure whether the current numbering is correct. Merke oru minnal is numbered as 295, but it may be anywhere between 295 and 299. Why I'm saying this is because I have few books without issue number and few books with the same number. In reality we may just be one issue away from issue number 300. Only our editor can clear this by releasing the list of issues starting from issue no:1, which we can treat as official list for the purpose of history. I have compiled the list of muthu comics with the help of many die-hard fans. My special thanks to Murugan, Keelkattalai, Chennai, who helped me a lot in this regard. List of issues is available in this URL.
The first book to be released by Muthu comics in 1971 was "Irumbukkai Maayavi". This book had 128 pages and priced at just 90 paise. Irumbukkai Maayavi is the evergreen hero for many Tamil comics fans till date. He can even be called as the "Superstar" of Tamil comics. Original name of this character is "STEEL CLAW". This book was originally published by Fleetway Publications, England in 1967/68.
The connection between Fleetway Publication of England and Muthu comics is as old as 33 years. Most of the characters from Fleetway were well received by our fans, which contributed in a big way for the success of Muthu comics and later lion comics. In-fact the Fleetway tie-up was the most dominating in the list of books published by Muthu and partly by Lion.
Particularly two series of issues published by Fleetway(under the banner FLEETWAY SUPER LIBRARY) in 1967/68 were very familiar to our readers. It is important to go through this two series to understand the early history of Muthu Comics. Each of this series had 26 issues in all. First one was the Fantastic Series(later named as Stupendous Series from issue number - 3).In this series 13 issues were featuring Steel claw and the remaining 13 were featuring Spider. It is a great surprise as to why the character "Spider" was neglected by Mr Soundarapandian(Mr Vijayan's father, who was the editor at that time). Probably he might have thought that Spider is too strange a character for Tamil fans. Fortunately that decision of Mr Soundarapandian has helped Mr Vijayan later when he started Lion comics, as Spider(issue no :3 of Lion comics) has single-handedly caught the imagination of the Tamil readers. List of issues that were published is given below.
The second series from Fleetway is "SECRET AGENT SERIES". This series also had 26 issues in all. In this series 13 issues were featuring Johnny Nero and the remaining 13 were featuring Barracuda & Frollo(Lawrence & David in Muthu comics). List of the issues that were published is given below.
15.The Double Agent
16.The Devil's Ransom
To my knowlegde all these 52 issues were published in Muthu(39 issues) and Lion(13 issues). It is important to know about these two series, to have a clear understanding of Muthu comics history. I have also given the cover scans of the books published by Fleetway in 1967/68 and also the issues numbers of Muthu and title.
As you can see from the list, I do not have the complete list of names of the Muthu comics equivalents for the originals. If any of you know, please drop me a mail so that I can update the list. I could compile the SECRET AGENT SERIES easily, as I have 24 books from that series. I gave the books to Mr Haja Ismail, Saudi Arabia and he just looked at the first page of each book and gave me the Muthu comics title. A big thanks to him for his help.
I'm waiting for the cover scans of the early Muthu issues from Mr Suresh, Bangalore. Once he sends it to me I'll host them also in the site, so that we can have the cover scans of the original issues as well as the Muthu issues, all at one place. Suresh : Thanks in advance for your help.
I can also post the story (in short) of all the issues mentioned above. Do you guys want it. If yes, please drop a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also please let me know about this article, as to how it is and whether I can continue with the history of Muthu Comics.
Thats all for now. Wait for more of the history soon.
16 Apr 2004