Indrajal Comics

Bennet, Coleman & Co., 1964 Series
Published in English (India) India
 
Random Cover from Series #283

Cover Gallery 
Publication Dates:
March 1964 - 16 April 1990
Number of Issues Published:
803 (#1 - #v27#8 [805])
Color:
Colour
Dimensions:
Standard Modern Age US
Paper Stock:
Newsprint
Binding:
Saddle-stitched
Publishing Format:
Was ongoing
Publication Type:
magazine
Series Details:
Publisher's Brands:
Indicia Publishers:
  • without indicia publisher information (803 issues)
Notes
No issues #123 and 124, which were skipped due to industrial strike action.

Format:
* #1-10: Devoted 16 pages to The Phantom, so many of the stories were edited to fit this format. Twelve pages were devoted to general knowledge (Gold Key style) and other material.
* #11-28: 20-24 pages.
* #29-v26#32 [#788]: 32 pages
* v26#33 [#789]-v27#8: 36 pages

Content:
The first 32 issues contained The Phantom stories, but thereafter, the title alternated between various King Features characters, including Mandrake, Flash Gordon, and Buz Sawyer.
Mandrake made his first of many appearances in #46 (15 July 1967). The cover artwork for the first 50 or so issues of Indrajal Comics was done by B. Govind, with the back cover featuring a pin-up poster. Govind's painted covers are highly regarded amongst Indian Phantom fans, and are on par with those of George Wilson for the Gold Key series and the Avon novels from the USA. The Indrajal Comics were a full-colour production from #8 onwards, with The Phantom's costume being coloured blue for the first 10 issues in the series, but thereafter the colour was changed to the more traditional purple. Several of the covers (eg. #1, #9, #10 and #13) even dared to show The Phantom's eyes. Because of The Phantom's close connection to India, the editors made several "politically correct" changes to places and names - Bengali became Denkali (there are no pygmy people in Bengal, which would have puzzled Indian readers); the Singh Brotherhood were known as "Singa" pirates; and Rama (the murderer of the 20th Phantom) became Ramalu, even though Ramalu is also a common Indian name.
More than half of the issues contained Phantom stories. For some reason, Ray Moore's work was never popular in India. Only a few of the stories in which Moore was assisted by Wilson McCoy, were ever published in the Indrajal Comics. Ray Moore classics such as "The Singh Brotherhood" were never heard of by the majority of Indian Phantom fans. Instead, the editors relied heavily on Wilson McCoy and Sy Barry stories, in addition to most of the stories from the American Phantom comics produced by Western, King, and Charlton. Indrajal also published one story created by Team Fantomen in Sweden (Vultures over Vacul from #18/1976 was reprinted in #341-342).

Publication schedule:
* #1-34: Monthly publication
* #35-384: Fortnightly publication (released on the 1st and 15th of each month) from 1 January 1967
* #385-v26#32 [#788]: Weekly publication from 1 November 1981
* v26#33 [#789]-v27#8 [#805]: Fortnightly publication from 20 August 1989

Dialects/languages:
From about 1980, Indrajal began to produce their Phantom comic in at least a dozen Indian dialects. One of the first was Kannada (called Canarese by the English), spoken in the state of Karnataka, in South India. The first Kannada Phantom was published on 1 May 1980 (see below), commencing with a 3-part version of the daily story Return to Tarakimo (D138) retitled as Return of the Ghost.
"The Phantom" was called "Bethala" (pronounced as bay-ta-la) or "Ghost" in Kannada. After a few issues, the editors at Indrajal must have realised their mistake and thereafter called him "Fantom" for a while before finally settling on "Phantom".

Numbering:
Each issue was individually numbered until 2 January 1983 when the editors decided to use a volume and number typical of periodical publications. Hence, #444 was identified as v20#1. The front cover design was also changed, with the introduction of the distinctive Indrajal Comics banner.

Index Status

Indexed Partially Indexed Pending Approval Reserved Skeleton Data Only
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Cover Status

Scan available Needs Replacement No Scan available
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