A list of the best of our childhood memories: Books & Comics! There was a world before the internet for children and it was filled with books and comics that today’s generation needs to know about! What do you do in your summer vacations? Iced lollies, long cricket sessions in the afternoon, He-Man on Doordarshan and train journeys to meet cousins were a staple. But I look back at my childhood, I remember comics and story books as being the best part of it. Summer meant endless days of reading comics while enjoying deliciously cool pepsi colas
! Travelling somewhere meant taking these books along to read on the journey. The funny, informative and adventurous stories in these books never made reading seem like a boring task. One can still remember the excitement of sending subscriptions via post and waiting for the comics to arrive every month. Almost everyone read books by Enid Blyton and attempted to imitate some of the adventures. Here’s a list of some comics of the golden days that you would love to get your hands on again:
Where learning truly met fun! Characters like Shikari Shambhu, Tantri the Mantri, Suppandi, Kalia the crow, etc were hilarious while instilling morals at the same time. The quizzes and Tinkle tells you why sections were responsible for what little GK we had.
Before Tinkle, Champak was THE magazine for kids. Published mostly in Hindi, its short stories, puzzles and jokes were always imaginative and dominated by animal characters.
Chandamama was another one of kids’ favourites and was originally started in Telugu. Chandamama was mostly famous for mythological stories and reading it was like listening to stories by grandparents.
4. Amar Chitra Katha
Another creation of “Uncle Pai”, Amar Chitra Katha was an attempt to introduce children to their own Indian mythology. With beautiful illustrations and story-telling, ACK was responsible for children developing an interest to know their heritage.
5. Diamond Comics
Who doesn’t remember Chacha Choudhary with his glorious moustache and tag-along bodyguard from Jupiter? Famous cartoonist Pran also created brilliant cartoons like Daboo, Pinki and action figures like Mahabali Shaka.
6. Raj Comics
Raj Comics was founded in the quest of an Indian superhero. They majorly published in Hindi but some special editions were translated into English. Their best characters were Nagraj, Super Commando Dhruv and Doga. Many a visit to the railway Wheeler book stalls were made for these amazingly original Indian comics.
A monthly children’s magazine, Gokulam was originally in Tamil and published in English in their later years. Very similar to Champak, Gokulam had amazing children’s stories and games and taught us balance between tradition and modern values.
8. Bal Vihar
Bal Vihar was a children’s monthly published by the Chinmaya mission. The magazine had stories of Indian mythology, focusing on behaviour, morals, development of skills. One of the few magazines that needed actual subscription and which were not available on Wheeler stalls.
The adventures of Tintin and his dog Snowy were originally published in French but later came out in English after immense popularity. Tintin is a young reporter who gets involved in dangerous situations with help from his four-legged partner in crime to save the day. It was later adapted into cartoons and movies.
Archie comics were sort of the coming of age comics. The humour and romance genre appealed to teens with its love triangle of sorts. Archie is a regular and relatable character who has two hot chicks desiring his attention. Archie and his friend’s dumb antics and Jughead’s occasional wise cracks make it a hilarious read.
Marvel comics spanned its popularity with series like Spiderman, X-men, The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk, etc. These teen comics had an ardent following and the cousin returning from the US was always asked for more of these!
Detective Comics revolutionized comic books with pop icons like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc and created the modern comic industry. DC gave us heroes to look up to and created a childhood of vast imagination.
Apart from comics, some children’s novels were also dear to us when growing up. Here are some of the best ones:
1. Famous Five
Enid Blyton turned into a legend after writing this series. The Famous Five was a group of cousins and their adorable dog, Timmy. The Five used to meet every holiday when they returned from their boarding schools and always had a series of hair-raising adventures that made us want to be a part of them.
2. Secret Seven
Another Enid Blyton masterpiece, the Secret Seven was a society of child detectives and their dog. Along with their bossy leader, the Seven try to bust wrong doers in their neighbourhood while regularly putting themselves in danger.
3. Nancy Drew
Girl detective Nancy Drew was quite the inspiration for many young girls all over the world. The original Nancy Drew series changed female stereotypes of those times with the young woman nailing criminals and fighting danger.
4. Hardy Boys
The Hardy boys are two teenage brothers with some of their detective father’s talents. The young sleuths often help their father or stumble upon incidents that lead to them inevitably cracking a case. The boys also teamed up with Nancy Drew in books and TV series, much to the delight of fans.
Goosebumps was a series of horror stories meant for children. It followed different characters in different books while they had spooky encounters. Although there was hardly any death portrayed, the series was quite scary if you were 10 and read it during the night.
While our reading preferences matured over the years, these books were our fondest memories and I’m sure many were reluctant when it was time to get rid of them. While many of the above mentioned comics and books have evolved and been digitised, some have been sadly forgotten. Which other comics and books do you remember loving?