Monday, November 30, 2009

# Vidyarthi Mithram & Chitra Bharti Kathamala

Friends,Tarzan has been published by mostly Kiran Comics in India,but there was another Indian publication which perhaps was the first to publish Tarzan in India,and that was Vidyarthi Mithram(Student friend) comics from Kottayam(Kerala).

Few weeks from today i was totally unaware about this publication until i got hold of some of VM Tarzan comics very recently.From the ad at the back page of their comics its seems that VM were mainly dealer of scientific and laboratory equipments for schools/colleges,its amazing to notice that they also use to publish comics.
In one of their ad its mentioned that they also use to publish Phantom and Mandrake,though Phantom was published in Malayalam and Tamil,Mandrake in Malayalam and Tarzan in English,Hindi and Tamil.

Going by this its totally new information about Phantom and Mandrake Indian publications,as far as my information is concerned VM has never been mentioned anywhere among Phantom/Mandrake Indian publications,even in Bryan Shedden site over Phantom which is considered as best complete reference guide for Phantom publications of all over the world,VM has not been mentioned there also in Indian Phantom publication list.
Perhaps Rafiq or Col.Worobu can throw more light on VM Phantom/Mandrake editions.

VM started publishing Tarzan in early 70's,hence going by this VM becomes the first Indian Tarzan publication as Kiran Comics was started in 80's.Early issues of VM Tarzan were in monochrome color and later issues in 4 color format.

These are mostly illustrated by John Celardo and others,Col.Worobu can you tell more about this Tarzan illustrator!!.

Chitra Bharati Kathamala

In early 80's reading culture was at its peak and comic business was a highly profitable business as already proved by super success of Indrajal comics,Amar Chitra Katha,Manoj Chitra Katha,Dalton Comics and many other publications at that time.
Sensing the business opportunity in comic industry a already well established name in school/college books publication house,S.Chand & Company of Delhi thought of trying its hand in comic publication and started Chitra Bharati Kathamala,which use to publish comics based on Historical stories,science fiction,comedy series and on well known historical persons life story.

Though comics from this publication were of sub-standard except few series such as those written-illustrated by Anupam Sinha such as Kapil,Space Star,Mahamaya and other.

Junior James Bond by Sukhwant was also one of the popular characters of Chitra Bharati.

In late 80's and early 90's reading culture took a back seat with the advent of T.V/Video and comic business no longer remained a profitable venture.Comic publication houses shutters start dropping down due to cold business and in one such year S.Chand and Company also bid adieu to Comic publication and Chitra Bharati Kathamala became a history in readers mind.
Though not of very high quality but still CBK will be remembered by avid comic readers because of Anupam Sinha creations in it.

Today's Comic
Comic of this post is contributed by Navdeep,hence all credit to him only.This is a Fauladi Singh comic,hope will be liked by FS lovers.


Deep said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deep said...

Hi Zaheer..

Vakiya hi bahut aschi post hai. Jaankari se bharpur.

mainey VM publication ka naam pahli barr sunna hai. shayed yeh south india mai publish hota tha iss kaaran.iss ka naam bhi kaya khub hai "Student friend". wow!!

Illustration and printing quality to khub aschi lagti hai. iss ka koi comics post kar saktey ho to bahut ascha rahega.

Yahan tak Chitra Bharti Kathamala ka swaal hai is ke to kaffi comics padee hain kapil,etc.

Aur Junior James Bond to i think sab ko jaad hi hogga.

Comic World said...

Deep: Welcome friend.Yes,i also was not much familiar with this publication until i came across with its Tarzan comics.Their comic quality is pretty fine,i am waiting if anyone can provide VM Phantom/Mandrake issues scans.

Deep said...

Hi Zaheer..

Mai abhi 2007 ki ek post mai se superman ka comic download kar ke read kar raha tha. us ke story kafi aschi hai.

Kya aap ke paas superman ke aur hindi comics hain? yadi hain to post kar sakte ho. pls....

Comic World said...

Deep: दीप,सही कहा,सुपरमैन की हिंदी कॉमिक्स निहायत ही उम्दा हैं.मेरे पास कुछ अंक हैं,जल्दी ही पोस्ट करने की कोशिश करता हूँ.

Toonfactory said...

Humesha ki Tarah Ek Khoobsurat Post Zahir Bhai...Vidyarthi Mitram ki kuchh comics (Sirf Tarzan) haal hi mein kahin aur bhi dekhne ko mili thi...Par Phantom (Jise Tamil mein Mayavi ke naam se jaana jaata hai) aur Mandrake ki knowledge mujhe bhi nahin thi...

I am looking for some Chitrabharati titles drawn by Chitrak saab. milein to post kijiyega plz.


Colonel Worobu said...

I used to collect these Vidyarthi Mithram Tarzan comics in the 70's. John Celardo was a Tarzan daily strip artist who came after Bob Lubbers. Russ Manning took over the strips after John Celardo and Dick Van Buren. The Tarzan Strips that were posted at Prabhat's blog contain a lot of Celardo, Lubbers and Van Buren stories. The stories were violent but very interesting to read. These strips used to come daily in the Indian Express newspaper in the 60's and 70's.

Can I expect "Rebels of Cristonia" soon :o) ?

Silly Boy said...

Good post buddy. I was also not aware about VM comics. Thanks for the scans. CBKM is also remembered for Sukhwant comics. Apart from JJB he also created Chocolate, Bhabhiji, Lapeturam-Jhapeturam and some other characters for CBKM. His character Chandru which used to be appeared in MM had also appeared in CBKM. You were talking about some big post. Is this that big post or just another quickee before that big post.

Comic World said...

Toonfactory: शुक्रिया आलोक भाई.विद्यार्थी मिथ्रम कॉमिक्स के बारे में मुझे भी पहले से कोई ख़ास इल्म नहीं था,हाल में ही एक दोस्त के ज़रिये इनकी कुछ कॉमिक्स हाथ लगी थीं,जिनसे मुझे ये मालूमात हासिल हुई,और ये जान कर ताज्जुब भरी ख़ुशी हुई के इन्होने मैन्ड्रेक और मायावी(वेताल के लिए,हालाँकि ये नाम मैन्ड्रेक पर ज्यादा मुनासिब बैठता है) की कॉमिक्स भी शाया(publish) की थीं.
खाकसार के पास कुछ चित्र-भारती कॉमिक्स है,आप चित्रक जी की कुछ कॉमिक्स के उन्वान(title) बताईये,अगर हुई तो पोस्ट करने की पुरज़ोर कोशिश करता हूँ.

Comic World said...

Col.Worobu: Thanks for information Col,do you have some information on VM Phantom/Mandrake comics too.
Yes,why not!will try to post your requested comic soon.

Comic World said...

SB: Welcome Arun,yeah,Chandru was another fine character from Sukhwant.In my childhood i was much impressed by Chandru and Jr.James Bond.Anupam Sinha and Sukhwant were the two main protagonist of CBKM and were the sole cause behind whatever attraction of Chitra Bharati comics.
No,this is not that big post about which it was mentioned before,that big post is being prepared hence taking some time.

Colonel Worobu said...

CW, unfortunately I never knew that VM had Phantom/Mandrake issues.

Thanks for offering to scan the VM issues for me! Really appreciate it :o)

Colonel Worobu said...

Here you may find some more info:

Comic World said...

Col.Worobu: You are always most welcome Col.,and you know it.
Many thanks for the information and link,as because of it at least we could have viewed some title of Phantom VM.Now only Mandrake VM has left for witnessing.

Silly Boy. said...

Buddy in some of the Tarzon comics on the front covers alphabet 'W' is mentioned with serial number. I also found the same 'W' mentioned on some of Laurel & Hardy Comics which I acquired recently. What does that 'W' indicate. Also on some of the comics I found approved by Comic Code Authority. Can you throw some light on Comic Code Authority as well.

Old Man Mozz said...

Hi Zaheerbhai,

Thanks for the comic. Great post with a lot of trivia and takes you back to childhood and the wonderful times we had back then with a lot of comics to choose from and exchanging it with friends and the local library.

I believe I used to have some of the old BW issues of VM but only for Tarzan. First time I heard about Phantom & Mandrake.

Colonel Worobu said...

That "W" symbol was the logo of Warner Bros. Studios upto the 80's. They changed their logo to something else now, but all the old 70's movies from WB like Exorcist, Enter the dragon etc have this logo at the beginning of the movie.

Comic World said...

SB: Comic Code Authority(CCA) is a regulatory authority for comics which was formed by Comics Magazine Association of America in 1954 to regulate(censor) the comic contents in order to provide a healthy reading.
Member publishers submit comics published by them to CCA for its approval,which authorizes the use of its seal on comic covers after verifying the comic content for compliance in accordance with codes set by CCA.
Though CCA has no legal authority over other publishers but often distributors refused to carry/distribute comics without CCA seal on comics cover.
About 'W' logo,it has been already answered by Col.

Comic World said...

OMM: Welcome Mozz.It would be nice if you also could scan some of Tarzan VM comics for all of us.

Rafiq Raja said...

Zaheer Bhai, another treasure you have unearthed.

I heard about VM comics, back in 2007, when one of the fellow tamil comics bloggers (whose link Colonel has shared), had mentioned about it, as his recent buy. There was the place where I came to know that not only Tarzan, but they also published Phantom too. But now, I hear that they have also published Mandrake with your post.

Seems, their little know title or brand, didn't allow them to publish more regularly, and the fierce competition and popularity of Indrajal would have turned them out of business.

Wish someone else picks up that mantle now, that Mandrake,Phantom,Tarzan have been considered as a bygone era, and no comics publisher past or present want to try it again for the Indian comics fans. :) :(

CW, looking forward for VM scan, like Col, and also if you do get a Mandrake or Phantom VM, then share them too.

Col: Seeing that you have been following all the Tamil blogs for long, where I have been frequenting even earlier, than I made my presence on Indrajal blogs, have we spoke b4, probably in a diff. avatar of yours ?? :)

SB: CCA as explained by Zaheer Bhai, is a pathbreaking concept, which changed the landscape of comics publishing companies, in the Silver Age of American Comics. You can refer to the Wikipedia article, which will give you more details, to know about this important event in comics history.

But CCA was more related to American comics publishers, and I wonderr why some of our Indian publishers also chose to feature that in their cover, quite surprisingly, Amar Chitra Katha. Well, they might have thought that it's an international standard, but it applied more to the American Genre, which had gone to a gore level in comics, than the Indian ventures, which were still down to earth with our culture.

Happy Reading !!

Old Man Mozz said...

Hi Zaheer,

I would love to but the problem is I am no longer in India and all my comic collection is over there and trust me I missed it a lot till TCP came along....and rest as they say is history.

Comic World said...

Rafiq Raja: Yes,Rafiq Bhai,VM comics were like a undiscovered treasure,specially its Phantom/Mandrake issues.
Who knows,there may me more such unearthed Indian publications hidden under fog of time.
Yes,correctly explained that why our Indian publishers felt to seek approval of CCA,whereas there is not any apparent need to do so.

Comic World said...

OMM: No problem buddy,you can contribute whenever you visit India next.

Anonymous said...

>John Celardo was a Tarzan
> daily strip artist who came after
> Bob Lubbers. Russ Manning…

Not only daily strips, but sunday strips too!

That is for all three: Bob Lubbers, John Celardo and Russ Manning…

Alain said...

About Vidyarthi Mithram Phantom issues, see also the excellent page:
The issues look very collectable publications.

Comic World said...

Alain: Welcome and thanks for the link,but Col.Worobu already shared that very link in this comment section.

वेताल शिखर said...

Nice Tarzan covers. Chitra Bharti is an old familiar name but I don't remember the titles of stories published by them unlike a few names from diamond comics and manoj chitra katha that still persist in my mind.

Thanks for the covers.

Comic World said...

वेताल शिखर: Welcome.Chitra Bharati overall was not that much famous but few titles of it specially by Anupam Sinha were worth reading/remembering.

Vedha said...

Dear comics lovers,

It is very sad to inform you people that One of India's greatest ever comics artist Mr Govind Brahmania is No More.

May His soul rest in peace.(Info courtesy: Usman Bhai)

Govind Bramania (02-03-1938 - 09-12-2009) R.I.P

Prabhat's Books and Comics said...

Looking forward some VMC's Tarzan from your collection. Mainly collectors have USA prints and strips. With time Phantom, Mandrake has taken lead to this character, at least in India, however Tarzan will remain one of the most demanding hero for long time in future. Tarzan (1999) American animated feature film had proved it.

Comic World said...

PBC: Yes,though Phantom/Mandrake have taken driver seat but still Tarzan has secured a special place for himself.Will be trying to post some of the VM.

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If we can recollect a previous news when US blamed Russia for the earthquake in Georgio. What do you guys think? Is it really possible to create an earthquake by humans?
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Ajn aabi said...

Hi CW,
U have the covers = means u have the comic :)

Could U plz Upload the VM Tarzan
1/ The rebel from Cristonia
2/ The mad Professor
3/ The Masked Avenger.

I have uploaded many VM Tarzans in the past and some are on their way to come, but i have lost those 3 books years back while in Class 1.

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