Whenever we see comic books, we are overwhelmed by nostalgia and it stirs up our happy childhood memories and imaginations. While reading comic books we are momentarily transported to a world of fantasies and superheroes. The comic book industry in India bloomed during the 1990s. During this period, a lot of legendary comic book characters were introduced to the world. These characters not only possessed super human powers but also had a sense of humour and intelligence. The early 2000s was a bad phase for comic books in India but the past five years have seen a resurgence in the comic book industry. In India, about 200 comic book series are published in a year and today it is a Rs 100 crore industry and and it is growing at a stable rate. The trade analysts believe that in the next ten years, the comic industry in India will touch the Rs 500 crore milestone. The journey towards achieving this milestone reached half way during the 3rd Annual Indian Comic Con convention which was held in Bangalore on June 1-2, 2013, when a whole new genre of graphic novels were introduced to the Indian population. These novels will help in creating a whole new generation of young adult fans. Indian comic book industry is dominated by Western characters but still there are many Indian legendary characters that have huge fan following among Indians than their Western counterpart. Mythological characters are the most popular comic book characters among Indians but there were also some characters who single-handedly dominated the comic book Industry in India. Let's take a look at some of these legendary characters who were responsible for redefining the comic book industry in India.

1. Chacha Chaudhary


Chacha Chaudhary is the most popular Indian comic book character. He is portrayed as an old and frail man, who is extremely intelligent. He does not possess any superpowers but he uses his shrewd brain and presence of mind to fight off evil robbers and thieves. This character was first created by the cartoonist Pran in 1971. The characteristic features of Chacha Chaudhary are his iconic red turban, waist coat, and wooden stick. The most important supporting character in this series is Sabu. He is an alien from Jupiter who is very strong and faithful to Chacha. Whenever Chacha needs any physical strength to fight enemies, he seeks the help of Sabu. Chacha's pet dog, Rocket (Raaket), the only vegetarian dog in the whole world, also helps him by attacking his foes. The tagline of this series about Chacha Chaudhary is, "A brain sharper than a needle and faster than a super-computer." This comic book series became so popular that it was also adopted into a television series featuring Raghuvir Yadav as Chacha Chaudhary. Today this comic series is available in ten different Indian languages including English and it is currently published and distributed by Diamond Comics.

2. Nagraj


Nagraj is one of the most popular Indian super hero who can be called the Superman of India. This character was created by Sanjay Gupta in the late 1980s. The term Nagraj means "Snake king." In India snakes are worshipped and this is the reason that this comic book series is highly popular among Indian tweens and teens. Nagraj comics are a mixture of mythology, magic, fantasy, action, and science fiction. Nagaraj is a shape shifting snake (Ichchhadhari Nag) who derives his powers from his bloodstream which contains microscopic snakes instead of white blood cells. He has many powers and abilities like accelerated healing, poisonous breath which can cause quick death to anyone who inhales it, super-human strength, stamina, and reflexes, he can climb walls and can also shoot snakes out of his wrists. Nagraj has many enemies as well as friends. Nagraj comics had started a new world terrorism series in which Nagraj is travelling to different parts of the world to fight and eliminate terrorism. Raj Comics are the publishers of Nagraj series.

3. Super Commando Dhruva


Super Commando Dhruva is also known as Captain Dhruva and he can be called the Indian Batman. Dhruva first made his appearance in the year 1987 when he was created by Anupam Sinha. He does not posses super human powers. As a teenage boy, he learnt martial arts, acrobatics, and stunt training from a circus where his parents used to work as trapeze artists. After the death of his parents due to business rivalry, he decides to fight crime and terrorism. Apart from his acrobatic skills, the only super-human power he posses is the ability to communicate with birds and animals, which he learnt during his days in the circus. He is immensely popular in Northern India because he does not hide his identity behind a mask like most of the superheroes and he is also a normal human being who survives the day with the help of his detective skills, scientific knowledge, and martial art skills. Super Commando Dhruva is also published by Raj Comics.

4. Doga


Doga is published by Raj Comics and he is the first and only antihero character in Raj Comics. Doga was created by Tarun Kumar Wahi, Sanjay gupta, and designed by Manu and he first appeared in 1992 in the issue titled Curfew. Doga is the story of an orphan named Suraj who witnesses endless horrors during his childhood and to destroy the evil he suffered during his childhood he dons the mask of a dog and adopts the name Doga to fight against all the evils that are against humanity. His policy is to uproot the problem rather than solving it. Since the whole system is corrupted, he does not follows any laws or rules. Doga is the only Raj Comics character who has a huge fan following similar to that of Nagraj and Super Commando Dhruva. Famous Bollywood director, Anurag Kashyap is planning to make a movie based on the character of Doga and if rumour mills are to be believed then Ranbir Kapoor will be playing the lead.

5. Suppandi


Suppandi is one of the most popular Indian comic book characters who had thoroughly amused and entertained us with his antics for more than 20 years. Suppandi first made his appearance in the Tinkle comic magazine in the year 1983. Famous artist, Ram Waeerkar was responsible for illustrating the first appearance of Suppandi. Suppandi is a character based on a Tamil folklore. During the beginning of Suppandi series, he is portrayed as a very foolish servant, who keeps on getting fired and is always in search of a new job. He is a simpleton, whose antics leave his bosses bothered and bewildered. Even today, he is considered as the most popular comic character ever appeared in Tinkle. Suppandi is published by Amar Chitra Katha. In the year 2012, Suppandi was made into a three-dimensional animated series, titled "Suppandi Suppandi." This animated series was a huge success among Suppandi fans.

6. Shikari Shambu


Everybody in India is familiar with this accident-prone hunter. Shikari Shambu is known for his trademark hunter's hat pulled down over his eyes. He was created by Vasant Halbe and he made his debut in Tinkle in the year 1983. He is the cowardly and henpecked husband of Shanti, who always by some stoke of luck ends up as a hero. The slang "Shikari Shambu" became a hit in India and it is still used against boastful, lazy, and cowardly people, who always achieve something accidentally. Shikari Shambu made his debut on the big screen with a short animated film titled, "Shikari Shambu and the Man Eater." Shikari Shambu is also published by Amar Chitra Katha.

7. Parmanu


Parmanu is an Indian Superhero comic book character which was created by Sanjay Gupta in the year 1991. Parmanu means "atom" and he can be considered as the Indian version of "Flash." Parmanu is a police inspector named Vinay, who had witnessed the murder of his friend during his childhood. To avenge her death, Vinay dons a special suit given by his uncle. This suit contains many atomic based powers which enables Parmanu to fly at a speed of 1000 km/hr and he can also transform into atoms. The publishers of Parmanu are Raj Comics, who had published more than 40 titles of this popular comic series.

8. The Common Man

The common man is not a superhero but he portrays the daily sufferings, hopes and, aspirations of a common man (aam aadmi). The famous cartoonist, R K Laxman created the common man more than half a century ago. This comic was first published in the year 1951 in "The Times Of India." R K Laxman's common man had captured the attention of Indian public by portraying the common man from financial crisis to the woes of householders and from political instability to rampant corruption. The common man does not speak but his actions represent the whole of India.

9. Captain Vyom

Even today when most of us see Captain Vyom comics it takes us to our childhood days when we used to watch the Captain Vyom television series which was aired on DD1 on every Sunday at 10 a.m. The immense popularity of this science fiction television series prompted Diamond Comics to launch a Captain Vyom comic series. In the comic book series captain Vyom looks similar to Milind Soman, who played the lead in the television series. The story of Captain Vyom is set in the year 2220. Human beings have conquered the solar system but a meteorite strike helps 12 most notorious criminals to escape from their prison. The rest of the story is based on how Captain Vyom, one of the best law enforcers brings these criminals to justice.

10. Shaktimaan

There is no need to explain about Shaktimaan television series because he is the most known superhero in India. Diamond and Raj Comics were responsible for creating the first Shaktimaan comic book series. This series was published in different Indian languages including English.

Image Source: Wikimedia

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