Remember the Golden Age of Indian comics, way back in the 90s, when 3 of the biggest comic book publishers in India used to compete for the top spot? I’m talking about Diamond Comics, Raj Comics and…. you guessed it right! Manoj Comics!
Those were some interesting times in the world of comics with these companies competing week after week for the fans’ loyalty comic book sales. Manoj Comics had its own set of popular superheroes, most notably Ram-Rahim, along with intriguing characters like Inspector Manoj, Crookbond and more. Who can forget the perfect embodiment of humor, Hawaldaar Bahadur. He had his fair share of success and was one of the bestselling characters across all the three companies for a brief period of time.
But MC’s real strength lied on its one shot story books. These stories mostly focused on Kings and queens, supernatural entities like demons, genies and ghosts. These stories, with their classic backdrop of ancient India, which was perfectly captured by the brilliant artwork, were a hit among the fans. RC used to publish these kind of comics too, but they never managed to reach the amount of success that MC achieved with this line of comics. Today, these comics published by Manoj are considered super rare, with people selling them as collector’s items for thousands of rupees!
Manoj Comics also used to publish stories which had become famous all over the world. Stories like Gulliver’s Travels, The Three Musketeers and Arabian Nights were published under this line. MC also made good use of the legendary count known as Dracula, and published a complete line of comics dedicated to him, with popular characters of the company facing off against him on different occasions.
The greatest and most iconic offering from Manoj Comics according to me were “Dark Tales”. Each of these comics used to have three stories, full of mystery, suspense, horror, complemented with a mind boggling twist ending which was a concept not seen much in Indian comics at that time. The stories actually were dark in their tones and the way they were presented was nothing short of perfection.
Today, Manoj Comics are only seen in the collections of lifelong comic book fans. The company folded more than a decade ago, but the comics it gave us over the course of several years, along with forcing RC to improve its offerings to stay relevant among the fans, would make sure that MC will always be remembered by the fans and would be passed on to future generations to enjoy and appreciate the rich history of Indian comics.