Boy sleuth Timpa is back to regale Indian readers after two decades. The recently revived series hit bookshelves with the fast-paced Operation Rescue. Let the chase begin!
At the start, let's get rid of the assumptions. By any stretch of imagination, don't pick up Adventures of Timpa if you're hung over from Herge's Tintin collection of 22 unforgettable adventures each title a classic in its own right. Purists who cried foul after watching the screen version might also want to tread with caution.
Instead, approach it with an openness reserved for 'inspired' versions of familiar characters in fiction. Timpa, along with his parents, bumbling grandfather and friend Kalia are central to the storyline. Set in Kolkata, the re-launch issue takes the reader on a chase where Timpa must clear Kalia of a murder charge.
Originally published by Indrajal Comics, in the 1980s and '90s, the author and creator is Jhangir Kerawala. The artwork is by Sarabjit Sen. By his own admission Kerawala reiterates that Timpa was inspired by Tintin.
While the pace, mood and characterisation is all Tintin, the colouring and production standards are not a patch on the original. The cursive writing font for speech blurbs could've been avoided. The jackets are also inspired.
Then again. imitation is the best form of flattery so we let that pass. If the publishers were publicising Timpa's return with much fanfare, the least his fans could've have been given in return is a high-quality storyboard.
Still, the original team and folks responsible for reviving Timpa deserve a pat on the back for holding their own in a menacingly competitive publishing world, and for bringing back a comic book hero of our times.
The Adventures of Timpa: Operation Rescue, Pop Culture Publishing, Rs 150. Available at leading bookstores. LOG ON TO ww.popculturepublishing.com