Wednesday, June 30, 2010

# Review of Vol.1 of Hermes Press Phantom Dailies

When it was announced by Hermes Press last year that they will print all Lee Falk written Phantom Dailies and Sundays in full color,from then the first volume(1936-37) of the series was being eagerly awaited by Phantom phans all over the world.
This very first volume was released in March-April this year but in India till May it was not available within reasonable price range which could be afforded by an average Indian reader.
Its cheaper(around Rs.1400-1500/-) version can now be procured through online shopping sites such as flipkart,infibeam etc.

The volume(30 cm x 22 cm,Hard bound,272 pages,landscape format) consists of three dailies,namely 'The Singh Brotherhood,The Sky Band and The Diamond Hunters',printed on glossy paper with quality printing preceded by introduction of 'The Phantom' by Ron Goulart followed by the above mentioned strips and concluded by words by Ed Rhoades.

The introductory feature consists of a interesting writeup about the origin of word 'Phantom' before Falk's venture into it along with some detailed analysis of the very first Phantom Dailiy referring to Falk's background and his early interviews.Images of covers of various Phantom publications such as Harvey,Gold Key etc are also blended up with the feature,these high resolution cover images are specially eye catching and worth watching.

Strips are numbered as Chapters in sequence and each page consists of two rows of strips having maximum of four panels each,leaving behind a lot of space in each page where one more row could have been easily accommodated so as to reduce the number of pages.

The most disappointing fact about this volume is that the strips are published in B/W only against the proposed full color version.All strips have already been published in B/W by many publications many times comparatively at a very low price hence its extremely doubtful that a average Phantom reader will go for it against such a pretty handsome price tag except those few passionate serious collectors who wish to see everything related to Phantom in their collection.

For Manoj Chitra Katha lovers here is a vintage MCK 'Baba Ramdev' 

(MCK No.13,Illustrations:Pratap Mulick,Words:Bimal Chatterji)

Download Baba Ramdev


Bengali Indrajal Comics said...

Very valuable post. Nice Writing and sharing good information about Hermes Press Phantom release.
Your review helps to take the decision if anyone plans to collect it.

With too white spaces, Pages are looking more like an album than a comic book. Yes adding more rows reduce the number of pages and also add reading pleasure, don't have to turn the pages very frequently.

Those strips are precious now; maybe it is the cause for keeping this album like page layout.

Without colour it is really disappointing. But when I notice the colour of the book-cover I also disappointed. It is better those strips are in black and white.

It is hard cover; good printing in 272 of real art paper but Rs. 1500 is too much for me.

And thanks for this rare Manoj Chitra Katha.

kuldeepjain said...

जहीर भाई इस खास कॉमिक्स स्ट्रिप के बारे में आपने जो जानकारी दी उस पे तो मै कुछ भी नहीं कह सकता . इस पर मेरा ज्ञान शुन्य ही है. पर स्ट्रिप के बारे एक बात जरुर है . शुरुआत में जब ये स्ट्रिप 'मृतुन्जय ' वेताल' के नाम से विभिन्न पत्रिकाओ में छपती थी तब २-४ फ्रेम से जयादा नहीं होते थे और इनको पढने के बाद पढने की लालसा और बढ़ जाती थी. येही लालसा धीरे धीरे इंद्रजाल, और फिर कहाँ से कहाँ पहुच गयी.
मृतुन्जय के कथानक "पूर्वी अंचल " " देवता जाल " को मैंने इन्ही स्ट्रिप में पढ़ा था.दीवाना में मृतुन्जय पुरे एक पन्ने में प्रकाशित होता था सो पढने को कुछ जयादा मिलता था.
मनोज 'बाबा रामदेव ' एक अच्छी कॉमिक्स थी | उस समय इस तरह की और नंदन , चंदामामा जैसी पत्रिकाए पढ़कर भारत के इतिहास और धर्म के बारे में काफी पता रहता था.
अब तो सब गूगल पे सिमट के रह गए है ये जानने के लिए.
मजे की बात.. ये लाइन टाइप करने के बाद गूगल पे बाबा रामदेव को ढूंडने की कोसिस की और योग गुरु बाबा रामदेव सामने आ गए. इन बाबा रामदेव का पता पहले पेज पर तो नहीं था.
चलो कही तो गूगल थोडा पीछे है.

Comic World said...

BIC: Thanks and welcome Ranjan Da.Yes,its more like album rather than a normal book which can be read easily,its heavy weight also adds to the trouble while reading.
As i mentioned in the post also that considering its price and B/W format its highly unlikely that it may find a place in book shelves of average middle class Indian comics lovers.

Rafiq Raja said...

Thanks for Hermese Press's Phantom sojourn review, Zaheer Bhai. Frankly, it's their worst attempt, and they should learn something from the Titan reprints in UK, which are bringing the cult classic strips like Modesty and James Bond back to business, in a comic book format, to save space.

It's such a waste to see two strips each per page, clearly a waste of al those papers. At 1500, I guess we can miss out on this.

Rafiq Raja said...

Zaheer Bhai, just noted that you mentioned about your disappointment of not seeing the colored strips as advertised.

I remember (and confirmed it again) reading that Hermese had only planned to do a recoloring for sunday strips, which they are planning to launch once in a year (unlike 3 in a year for Dailies).

Clearly, colored or not, I don't think Hermese did a good job with their presentation. Sucks.

Comic World said...

Kuldeep Jain: कुलदीप भाई स्वागत है आपका.जी हाँ,सही कहा वेताल स्ट्रिप्स पहले 'दीवाना' जैसी पत्रिकाओं और अनेक समाचारपत्रों में आती थी जिनका पढ़ने का अलग ही मज़ा था.मनोज चित्र कथा ने सूफी,साधू संतों पर बहुत कम कॉमिक्स निकली हैं जिनमे से 'बाबा रामदेव' एक है.अब तो तमाम जानकारियों के एक ही स्रोत 'नेट' बन गया है,भूगोल,धर्म आदि की जानकारी पाने के लिए कितने लोग आज किताबों का सहारा लेते होंगे इसमें संदेह है.

Comic World said...

Rafiq Raja: True,really its a bad attempt regarding commercial aspect too as how many comic lovers will really spend such a amount on this book cum album is highly doubtful.If it would have been in color then it might be of some worth.
Last year i somewhere read that Hermes press is going to reprint all the strips(daily+Sunday) in full color and since from then i was waiting to have a glimpse of it but after your comment i verified and came to know that later they changed their plan to print only Sundays in color.But after the first volume outcome i am very much doubtful whether they will really be able to produce a useful product for all Phantom Phans.

Andreas said...

I found this review very late, but still think it needs to be pointed out that the old daily strips were not intended to be published in color, and in my opinion SHOULDN'T be published in color. Hermes wants to publish the dailies as close to the original as possible, so color has NEVER been proposed for this series! Hopefully the Sunday volumes will be in color though, as the Sundays were originally published in color.
But the dailies - no, never in color.

Comic World said...

Andreas: Yes,color was proposed for Sundays only which i later came to know but in my view many many Phans(specially we Indians) are longing to read both Dailies and Sundays in color hence it would be both good and profitable idea if some publication can come up with the same idea.

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