One of the most famous friendships on earth- Mandrake and Lothar. (As they say in the tales)
Mandrake- a magician par extraordinaire known for his mass hypnosis feats.
Lothar-the strongest man on earth, King of 12 nations. Brings an ice machine when Narda asks him for ice cream. Picks up a car when Jed's cufflink rolls under it, rather than going under the car like us ordinary mortals would do.
Narda-another Princess, Mandrake's fiancee.(I forget the name of Lothar's fiancee-she came into the picture later)
Jed- head of Inter Intel-short for International Intelligence, which has a robot as it's big boss(above Jed). No-one thinks that there could be a human being behind the robot's voice which is disguised each time. Finally, in one issue, Mandrake discovers that the Big Boss is Hojo.
Hojo is Mandrake's cook(Uses this as the perfect foil so that people don't suspect his true identity), is a 10th degree black belt judo and karate expert.
Mandrake and Lothar meet courtesy Mad Dog Dill, a NBK(Natural Born Killer) who always leaves a deadly trail, shooting everyone in his path. They go in search of Dill, in Zodum, supposedly the most evil city on earth(I can think of some such cities, today...hehe), where crime bosses rule. Thanks to Mandrake's mass hypnosis, they capture Dill and the King of Zodum without too much of a hassle.
Lothar's enchanted(pun intended) with Mandrake's magic, finds life as a Prince boring and bids farewell to his Dad(the King of 12 nations). He runs after Mandrake and the team is ready to face the baddies of the world.
The sinister World of 8 was one of the most fascinating of their crime-fighting stories. Ran into a number of episodes, each one coming after a big break, to keep up the suspense.
Then, there was also the tale of how Mandrake came to own Xanadu, his dream home, by playing the part of a King of another nation.
Amazing. Fascinating. Today also. I'm just brushing up on all these comics in my spare time, finally. Bringing back memories. Memories of Indrajal comics. Costing 70 paise an issue. Went up to 1 Re and later to Rs 1.5/-, which seemed way too expensive in those days. (But then, an imported Noddy book would cost Rs 4/- then, so this was expensive, wasn't it?). Each issue was coveted by me and Dad. Read from page to page. Also read by my cousins when they'd visit Baroda. And later by my younger brother. And school friends. And others. And, they're still preserved neatly, in the bound form that we used to get them bound in, in those days.
No, Sir. We didn't have Cartoon Network. Or, videos of these comics. Thank God!That'd have taken all the fun out of reading.
Maybe I'll cover some of my other favourites of those days, in future- like Phantom, Laurel and Hardy, Tarzan, Korak, Bahadur, Richie Rich and the team of Little Lotta, Little Dot, Cadbury, Mr. and Mrs. Rich, et al. Each comic a gem in itself. Each story a tale to transport one's mind(Note: I did not say 'kiddie mind'. Haha) into a world of fantasy. Then came the Tintins and Asterixes. And, the shows held for children by Friends' Society(The Society's still there in Fatehgunj)- there used to be a series of Charlie Chaplin movies, or, L&H movies, for example.
Ah well! Nostalgia's always nice, when you recall such good memories, I guess. But, today's not bad either!Except for the surging prices of anything related to paper, where reading is concerned.