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The Best Indian Comic Strip, ever


Manjula Padmanabhan’s Suki is the greatest comic you will ever read in India.

I was introduced to Manjula Padmanabhan’s work through the Target, the children’s magazine (emphasis on “the”). Now, of course, she’s rather well-known for her play “Harvest”, for she won an Aristotle Onassis award, and for the children’s books Mouse Attack and Mouse Invaders ( I have both, thanks!) Did not get Suki until last year, and oh my god, I was blown away. This strip deserves respect, and a lot of our attention, so go right ahead and check out one of the collections.It’s witty, it’s completely whimsical, it’s exquisitely drawn, and it’s SO Indian! I was lucky enough to find a copy of the original Duckfoot Press release of This is Suki, from where these scans have been taken. Penguin has recently released a copy of “Double Talk: The Best of Suki”, it’s priced slightly on the higher side (Rs 250) and available in all fine bookstores everywhere.

I thnk this was in the introduction to the collection – it seems not too many people “got” Suki when the strips came out, in the Sunday Observer in 1982. So there used to be loads of letters of complaint from readers who would yell at the editor for allowing such tripe to run in the periodical. Grrrr. Stupid, stupid rat creatures.

Want to check out more Suki? Check out Ms Padmanabhan’s blog, where she posts the occasional Suki strip. *Sigh* What I wouldn’t do to get one of the original pages….

And just to show you that the lady knows her comics, here’s a slightly-old Rediff article by her about female characters in comicbooks, and her favourite.

On an aside, another cartoonist I remember from Target was Mala Marwah, who did a strip right below the letters’ page. Damned if I remember the name, will just have to go home and flip through my copies. Anyone know what the name of the strip was? It was something like Baiju-Bawra, or maybe a pun on those names.

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27 thoughts on “The Best Indian Comic Strip, ever

      • Why that horrifying icon? Kill Bill is it?

        Well yes, Padmanabhan has been a very well reputed name in postcolonial studies in India. She was a part of the subaltern school and apart from Harvest, also has some very interesting theoretical interventions made in the area. She also has been a very reputed art critic and has written the foreward to many art collections I have edited for books :)

  1. Oye.. You made my day today.. I was looking for something in my bag and found the dvds you asked me to mail your friend.. As soon as I had realized it was The Ghibli collection, Ah!s and Oooh!s and evil grins followed. I promptly started watching “My neighbor Totoro”, one of the few Ghibli movies I hadn’t seen, and almost instantly fell in love with it.

    Thank you, Beatzo! This whole mail-my-friend is some kind of insider-joke which only fanboys are supposed to get, like in all those sci-fi movies.. right? You never meant these dvds to be mailed. Did you? This is the entire Ghibli collection you promised to give me. You wanted me to find out later.

    Thank you, Beatzo! Thank you! Thank you!

    :P

    I am so dumb I didn’t get the joke! :P

  2. OMG A BAIJU FAN!!!1!!!

    I know I’m responding more than a year later..but FYI the comic strip was Beeta Baiju by Mala Marwaha, and he had a sidekick called Thigna Thug. :D
    I so loved Target as a kid!

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