As I begin the countdown to Comic Con 2011 @ Dilli Haat, Delhi on February 19 and 20 the excitement is building up.
My brother & I would fervently wish to be magically transported to Comic conventions usually held at San Diego when we were lil’ kids reading Archie Comics. Much later as as we graduated through life comic convention still held a special place in our hearts and mind coz it brought back memories of lazy summer days when Archie Comics, a bag of chips, soft pillows and chocolate milkshake completed our Paradise.
For some reason most of the Comic Cons in Archie Comics would be held at San Diego and Archie and his Gang ganged up to trade comics, talk with Stan Goldberg, while Archie’s friend Chuck would look around for inspiration as the Marvel heroes roamed about in costumes.
Brother & I moved on from Archie Comics to the Archie Digests series. We had fights over Jughead and Laugh digests (somehow we never really took to the Veronica digest or the Archie series either) till The Ghost who walks invaded our collective imagination.
Phantom and Indrajal comics fought for space as we traded comics and fought over who would read the latest issue first. Lee Falks’ Phantom has since remained a favourite and even the pathetic movie version was not able to supplant my child hood hero. My Guardian of the Eastern Dark with his dog Devil and steed Hero was all that I ever wanted in a man.
Remember this: “I swear to devote my life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty, and injustice, in all their forms, and my sons and their sons shall follow me”
Indrajal had several other characters like Bahadur, Mandrake and Lothar, Kerry Drake, Rip Kirby and so many back-page elements like Henry (I still love this tyke) but no one came anywhere close to The Man Who Cannot Die.
So imagine my surprise when I walked into my favourite second-hand book shops to pick up whatever series of Phantom I could lay my hands on- ZERO, that is what I got.
Phantom comics which were available at the neighbourhood kabadiwalla from whom my mosima (grandma) got me my diet of Indrajal for a rupee was not available now even though I was ready to pay a 100. “Sorry ma’am we have such an order backlog for this that before we can even call a buyer who has placed an order some one else walks in to pick it up,” said the second-hand bookwalla.
If any of you folks know of a place I can pick up Phantom comics do let me know, will be eternally grateful. Even better I will trade you some of my old Tarzans for Kit Walker, just bring him on….