Our generation was lucky enough for our parents to have enough disposable income to afford comics subscriptions. No, not the videsi Marvel and DC kind, which only the local counterparts of the Ambanis and Birlas could afford, we are discussing about the Balarama, Balamangalam, etc.
Our humble household subscribed to the Balarama family like the majority. We had access to the other comic book universes only when we made a trip to the local children’s library. As a direct result, this list will be heavily biased towards Balarama, and one other character(may peace be upon him) who has grown so popular that any list without his mention is incomplete.
Buy Tales of Balarama (Amar Chitra Katha) here – amazon
5. Ace detectives Jamban and Thumban.
Compared to their peers in the balarama universe, Jamban and Thumban are pretty recent offerings, having been first introduced somewhere in the mid 2000’s. Jamban and Thumban follows a pretty simple story line, where Jamban is the detective who is contacted pretty frequently by the police to solve crimes ranging from terrorists to petty theft.
He is assisted by his ever so intelligent pet/assistant thumban who is a dog with the ability to speak thanks to an attachment on his tail. Jamban and Thumban was a huge success even to an extent where bromances were being addressed as “dhe ponnu jambanum thumbanum”.
4. Soothran and Sheru
Also fairly new offerings from balarama, Soothran and Sheru were able to quickly eclipse their peers in popularity, mainly due to a narrative heavily based on quick wit and counters. Originally it reminded us of another long running balarama series “Mrugathipathyam Vannal” Soothran and Sheru created a space for themselves among the readership fairly fast.
The story line mainly involves Soothran(a Fox) although very intelligent, getting his plans foiled possibly due to his “slow” friend Sheru(a Tiger). To put it simply for the unacquainted, they are almost like if Squidward and Patrick teamed up for a standalone series.
3. Boban and Molly
Boban and Molly are easily the “Calvin and Hobbes” of malayalam comic book scene. The comic follows the adventures of Boban and Molly, two adolescents and their trusted dog(who curiously appears on almost every scene). Filled with beautifully etched out characters B&M caught the imagination of an entire generation.
The comics were so popular that even led to a habit among an entire generation of reading weeklies back to front(B&M was originally published on the back cover page of manorama weekly). Boban and Mollie’s premise is what later went on to be recreated by the likes of Sathyan Anthikkad and Lal Jose onscreen as a representation of a typical kerala village.
Despite being a part of Balamangalam universe (I rarely had an opportunity to read Balamangalam) we are compelled to include him on the list due to the sheer popularity the character has acquired in recent times. The popularity of the rodent superhero was aided by him becoming an internet meme of sorts on the lines of the giant spaghetti monster.
The character has a cult following, yes, an actual cult which goes by the name “Dinkoism”, which is probably intended to be satire on organized religion. The godly status of the character was furthered by a rumour about a malayalam film superstar being hit by misfortune after misfortune after plans were made public on a film named after the almighty Dinkan himself.
And here you have it, the top spot , the numero uno seat of malayalam comic book scene occupied by none other than the fan favorite Luttappi. The Mayavi series are among the longest running comics on Balarama as well as the malayalam comic scene. The series commands an ardent fan following of possibly millions ranging from adults to toddlers.
Inside the immensely popular Mayavi universe, it is Luttappi, the anti hero “kuttichathan” commands the most followers. Formerly clad in a black underwear which was later replaced by a green toga of sorts, due to apprehensions of aiding pedophilia, Luttappi not only flew his “kuntham” towards the sky but also into our hearts and minds. Even Balarama had a taste of Luttappi’s popularity when fears of his replacement by a female kuttichathi by the name of “Dinghini” brought thousands of Luttappi fans to serve the ever so tasteful “Pongala” on their fb page.
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