It all started with the advent of Indrajal comics, when Indian characters were introduced into the mainstream. And from then on there was no looking back. However, while the comic reading demographic in India swung heavily, in time Indian characters were forgotten. In some cases language was the barrier. As a result, a number of Indian comic readers know every bit of trivia when it comes to DC and Marvel superheroes, but are completely at sea when it comes to Indian comic characters. Growing up, we thrived on the adventures of these characters and AlmaMapper would like to share with you, 5 Indian characters that comic lover ought to know.
1. Nagraj: For children who grew up in the hindi speaking belt of the country, Nagraj is one of the most iconic superheroes. His snake-like powers and desire to help humanity were showcased rather well in the stories that blended mythology, magic, adventure, action, and even romance, rather beautifully. More recent avatars of the character have evolved due to changing times. Nagraj continues to be printed by Raj publishers Comics and remains that mainstay even today.
2. Bahadur: The son of a dacoit, adopted by the very officer who killed his father, grows up to become a lawful man. Bahadur and his lovely fiancée Bela join hands with the police to battle dacoits in the dreaded Chambal valley in Madhya Pradesh. Bahadur comics were so captivating and relevant as they were reflective of the very real dacoit problem that once plagued Madhya Pradesh. Bahadur had no super-powers. Just wit, determination, and acute hatred of those who oppress. There are talks of Bahadur being resurrected. While there are PDFs of old comics available, the wait to get one’s hands on a new Bahadur comic is unbearable.
3. Super Commando Dhruv: Another from the Raj Comics stable, unlike Nagraj, Dhruv possesses no super-powers, but relies on his strength, presence of mind, and ability to communicate with animals to overcome evil. Fans have drawn parallels between Dhruv’s and Robin/Nightwing’s characters (both grew up in a circus, both lost their parents as children, both are expert gymnasts, etc.) Moving with the times, modifications to Dhruv’s storylines, gadgets, origins, etc., have made for rather interesting developments.
4. Supremo: Did you know that Amitabh Bachchan was once a comic book superhero? Well he was! He even had a pet dolphin, eagle, and chimpanzee. In the comics, Amitabh Bachchan would don spandex and large ski glasses to become Supremo. The character enjoyed success, albeit for a limited period, before going out of circulation.
5. Doga: The protector of the meek, the man who patrols the dark alleys of Mumbai, the dog-masked hero who deals with the mean underbelly of India’s commercial capital - Doga. An orphan, brought up by a dacoit-turned-gangster-turned-politician, young Suraj escapes his evil master to come under the wings of a kind old body-builder. Suraj channelises his anger, despair, and humiliation, to build his body, learn diverse kinds of martial arts, and become an expert marksman. Doga and his merciless way of dealing with crime and criminals have been compared with The Punisher. There have been talks between publishers Raj Comics and filmmaker Anurag Kashyap to bring Doga to the big screen, but they are yet to reach fruition.
That were 5 Indian characters that comic lovers ought to have read. Have you read any of these? Have we missed out any? Would you like to see more? Do share and AlmaMapper will comply!
Credit: Varun Rajagopalan
Image: Google Images