Comics can be wonderful. People may not read a book but they will never say no to a comic book.
Human beings receive information through words and images. A comic book is hence a more efficient way to tell a tale.
Bengali magazines have contributed a lot to its literature in the last hundred years or so. Later, the young-adult targeted magazines regularly featured comic strips from indigenous and foreign creators. The magazines in this way shaped the imagination of many generations.
These Bengali comics were not only full of clean humour but also were great way of knowing the world. The comics became magical – it taught you all the knowledge of a book in the most enjoyable way. People who read comics also became more imaginative and had more emotional quotient.
Here are some very loved comics from the bygone days. How many do you remember?
Batul the Great
The Bengali superhero, Batul!
Narayan Debnath’s creation Batul the Great adorned the first pages of Shuktara. It was a fantastic magazine for children and all alike, if you like a good story.
Batul is Superman plus Iron Man and like a true Bengali, never misses a tasty fish fry. Uncomplicated, innocent and hilarious, Batul is our most beloved superhero.
Talk about being a naughty boy. How many times Bhonda had been in trouble for the mischievous Handa? The Handa-Bhonda duo is always up to something. Although most of the time they are caught red-handed but in the end they did give us a good time. Thanks to Narayan Debnath and Shuktara, again.
You cannot not love Gablu. Gablu’s actual name is Henry and he was the brainchild of comic artist Carl Anderson.
However for Bengalis, he is just the little boy Gablu whose antics won everyone’s heart. We all fondly remember Gablu, his little brown dog and his mother punishing him for eating all the cookies.
Poor Nonte Fonte! Kelto da is always cooking up something. Their ‘Sar’ finishes off the food. But Narayan Debnath made sure the good always wins and we get a wonderful story.
Do you remember Topshe holding a Tintin in Sonar Kella?
Tintin is so deep into Bengalis’ heart that he is part of our culture. There was a time when the Anandamela magazine would feature two pages of Tintin and all would eagerly wait for it. Tintin and his gang consisted of his white dog Kuttus (Snowy), the great Captain Haddock and the hard on hearing Professor Calculus.
Later Tintin came out as full comics and needless to say, a Tintin comic is a treasure to keep forever.
History changes when you come to Gaul! Julius Caesar was great but not greater than our hero Asterix and gluttonous Obelisk.
The people of Gaul stay peacefully and the fearlessly with the magic potion. They love to sing, dance and eat roasted wild boar. This hilarious utopian comic is one of the best comics that has ever been made.
Out of all heroes, there is a singular appeal to Aranyadeb (Phantom). Was it the African jungle or the Khuli-guha (skull cave)? Aranyadeb was an extremely strong character whose personality and behavior left an indelible print in his readers.
Chacha Choudhury’s brain works faster than a computer!
Pran’s Chacha Choudhury has created history. Though it came out originally in Hindi, it was equally popular in Bengali translation.
Chacha Choudhury was not only a favourite among children but also among grownups. The red-turbaned Chacha’s adventure with his sidekick from Jupiter and his dog Rocket – along with Chachi’s complaints and Dhamaka Singh’s mischief – is simply unforgettable.
Related: Samaresh Majumdar’s Arjun and other wonderful stories