Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Just now discovering Tinkle Comics, thank-you... (1985)

So it turns out I've led a sheltered life.

I was in a thrift store when I found this copy of the May 20th, 1985 issue of India's Tinkle Comics, and for me it was an encounter with something truly exotic and odd.

Locusts, hovercrafts, historical pieces, folklore and parables, content ideas from readers - - What IS this?!? And who is this 'Uncle Pai'??

Growing up in the U.S., and not having traveled much outside its borders, I'd never seen this comic book magazine.

What I've learned is that since its first issue in 1980, Tinkle has continued to be a hugely familiar part of growing up for vast numbers of people in India and beyond.

(Click on images to ENLARGE in a new window) ▶

Tinkle's founding editor Anant Pai had previously launched the Amar Chitra Katha comics imprint in 1967, which soon became one of India's largest series of comic books, crafted to teach Indian kids more about their cultural heritage.

Like most of the ACK titles, editions of Tinkle are published in English and several Indian languages.

In searching about the web for more background, what comes through in abundance are the fond memories people have of reading this comic book, being entertained by it, and learning from it.
Heart-warming stuff.

As a 40-something American, the particular passion of that response is most reminiscent of memories I and my peers have of growing up with titles like Classics Illustrated, Archie and MAD magazine in the 1960's and '70's.

- - But it was fun and refreshing to find myself approaching Tinkle as a truly unknown quantity.
Certainly I've seen tons of comics in my time, so it wasn't TOO alien, but still it smacked of something different.

To digress for a moment, the experience reminded me just a little bit of an elementary school memory; When I found a severely tattered copy of - 'Zap Comix' #5 under a bush in the park (no doubt left there by some filthy hippie I suppose).
I'd never seen an underground comic book, or half of the things this one depicted.
I could barely recognize it as being the same 'species' as the comic books I knew, and yet the experience was indelible.

Finding Tinkle was strange and other-worldly, too, though not as sensational as discovering Zap as a 7-year old.
(Tinkle also didn't immediately fill me with a sense that I was 'in trouble', and sure to be punished.)

At first I found Tinkle's format and artwork a bit
off-putting, but guessed that maybe that comes from it being outside of my experience.
It's just different, not 'wrong'.

Soon my feeling was that it all seemed to be doing its job with precision and economy, which seems appropriate for a comic that's printed fortnightly.

In posting about Tinkle, I realize that for many it's a very mundane thing to see some of these old pages.
Maybe worthy of a little bit of nostalgia, but no big deal.

But those folks will just have to bear with the rest of us for a moment while we pause to take in something outside of familiar territory...

(click on links to open pages in a new window ▼)

▲ As shown above; ▲
- A message from 'Uncle Pai'

- 'The Pledge' ▲▲

- 'Hovercraft' ▲▲

- 'The Flexible Cap', page 1
- 'The Flexible Cap', page 2
- 'The Flexible Cap', page 3
- 'The Flexible Cap', page 4

- 'Bagging a Seat'

- 'Shield Meets Spear'

- 'Raghu' & 'Readers Write...'

- 'Singing Out a Secret', page 1
- 'Singing Out a Secret', page 2
- 'Singing Out a Secret', page 3

- 'Indifference'

- 'Purse Farce' & competition results

- 'Mooshik' & 'To Our Readers...'

- 'A Son-In-Law Comes To Dinner', page 1
- 'A Son-In-Law Comes To Dinner', page 2

- Ad: 'Tuffy the Tortoise'

- Back cover ad: 'Maggi Doodle pens'


SwaG! said...

It would seem, from the mango story, that Benkalal is a paranoid schizophrenic.

Dude. Chill out. She's not singing about you.

Unknown said...

what a score! i want those comics! i must share your blog in my blog if you don't mind

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Tinkle comics!!!!! Thanks so much for posting these, it made my lunch @ work more enjoyable!

Anonymous said...

Very nostalgic! I religiously read every issue of Tinkle right from the first issue till about the 200th. I could actually recollect the stories that you have scanned and posted. If it isn't too much of a hassle, could you please post the rest of this issue? I have a feeling that my contribution to the "Tinkle Tricks and Treats" section was featured in this very issue.

Thanks. Great Work!

The In Crowd said...

B - -

Thanks for your comment. I'm glad this brings back memories.

At the moment, my copy of 'Tinkle' is in storage in another state, along with 99% of everything else I own. When/if I get it my hands on it again, I'll be happy to oblige your request.

MS said...

I love Tinkle. Your post brings back my memories when I would sneak in a Tinkle book as soon as it arrived and keep in between my text book and finish reading it the same day. I was actually searching for Tinkle stories and subscription online for my daughters that I came accross your post, as I wanted them to relish Tinkle as I did when I was young

Diwant Vaidya said...

I grew up on Tinkle (one of the privileged, I guess). In fact, I even have a parody comic of it ( which parodies the Kalia the Crow stories. The comic is a little adult compared to Tinkle, let me know what you think.

Rafiq Raja said...

I don't know how I missed out on this thread, which I remember commenting on. But, surprisingly don't see the comment in here anymore.

Anyways, here is my comment again. So good to meet another Tinkle fan, like me, from the other part of the world. It's sure the charisma of Tinkle of olden times, is irreplaceable. Thanks for rekindling the memories.

Happy Reading, Tinkle fans. :)


Unknown said...

The best description of Shikari Shambu is given on Wikipedia rite now "The faint hearted well renowned hunter, ends up being lauded for everything he did not achieve. Wild animals keep running into self made traps as he sleeps before them."
But Raghu has not been mentioned about there... even Raji. .. those jokes are so laughable now that I completely understand them.... I can recognize the name of the illustrator from the five six illustrators they had in those time, by looking at the illustrations... some of them were Arijit Dutta Choudhary, Souren Roy, Chandu, Ram Waeerkar .. to name a few.

Freshly-stirred links