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Good will prevail


Indrajal comics brought home to us heroes like the Phantom, Kerry Drake, Mike Nomad and more.

Wandering through the dim, dusty confines of the library I haunt, I chanced upon a group of old friends. Kerry Drake, Rip Kirby, the Phantom, Mike Nomad, Garth, Flash Gordon, Buz Sawyer, Bahadur and others from Indrajal Comics that had kept me amused through many dull days.

Though each deals with pretty much the same elements — small time crooks, drug smugglers, mafia and even satanic cults — their methods are different. Kerry Drake was a no-nonsense New York cop, ably assisted by his sergeants Sampson and Barrio. He was no super hero. He often got hurt in the line of duty — something that upset his wife Mindy on a regular basis. But Drake dealt with a weeping wife with as much panache as he did his enemies. Blond, brooding Garth was a Lone Ranger helped by his soul mate, the goddess Astra. Buz Sawyer brought some comic relief to his adventures while Rip Kirby was the intellectual of the lot. Though of course he could swing his fists if necessary.

The only one on a different plane was Flash Gordon, who patrolled outer space with Dr. Zarkov and girlfriend Dale trying to establish democracy and republics in other planets. Flash was helped by Barin and U-lan in his fight against the despotic emperor Ming — the latter being Ming's son.

The Phantom was the most exotic of this lot. With a skull cave in deepest Africa filled with ancient treasures and an island where prehistoric monsters lived in peaceful co-existence with more modern animals, a wife who worked at the UN, he owned property across the globe. His forefathers had been a diverse lot — one was a cabin boy on Columbus' ship, another fought with the pirates on the Spanish main ... Corny one-liners punctuated the narrative (Phantom's angry stare freezes the blood of tigers, the ghost who walks, the man who can never die) and his enemies were either tyrannical rulers (as opposed to his friends, the presidents of other nations) or the regular smuggler-local hood types.

Bahadur the Brave was the Indian hero. Son of a dacoit, Bahadur was brought up by the police chief Vishal and he decided to join the law keepers. He established the Citizens Security Force and a women's force under his fiancé Bela. Sukhia, a policeman; Mukhia, the headman of a village; and Lakhan were his henchmen as he took on dacoits, smugglers, drug runners and others.

But Bahadur would make some concessions for dacoits in the hope of leading them on to a better life. He made none for the other criminals.

Through the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Indrajal comics provided a lot of fun to kids. While the stories were, by nature, violent, there was not much blood and gore spattering the pages. The heroes, more often than not, preferred to knock the bad man out (the Phantom was the expert on that) and let the law take its course. None of the modern "take the law into your hands" for these men. Ah, for those innocent times.

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