Were Shikari Shambu, Suppandi, Tantri the Mantri your favourite comic characters while growing up? If yes, then it is time to rejoice as on Sunday, November 14, Tinkle turns 30.
Samiya Shakir, 23, grew up in a family where comic books were an obsession. “My brother and I used to run to the raddiwalla to get old comics. And my favourite was Tinkle for its mere simplicity,” recollects Shakir.
Subramoni Harihara, 20, has been reading the comic book for the last 12 years. Tinkle’s tag line “Where learning meets fun” is what Subramoni strongly believes in. “My vocabulary had improved tremendously by reading Tinkle as a child. And moreover it taught me a lot as the comic strips dealt with many social issues,” she says.
Tinkle covers a wide range of subjects like science, history, culture, nature and more through its knowledge sections. This was one reason why most people loved to read Tinkle at a time when comics were a strict no-no in homes and schools.
In the early days, Tinkle content consisted of folktales, original stories woven around the comics’ characters and general knowledge features. Later, due to enthusiastic participation of readers, the bulk of the content was based on stories sent by readers.
But with the changing times Tinkle did undergo a transition in terms of its old characters and the addition of new characters.
Amar Chitra Katha, editor, Luis Fernandes admits, “When the comic was launched in 1980 it was the first of its kind and it soon gained a monopoly in the market. But with the coming of electronic media and the boom of cartoon channels we too had to bring about certain new elements to attract readers.”
Shikari Shambu, in earlier editions, was shown with a gun in his hand. But ardent fans soon noticed that in the new editions Shikari Shambu without a gun. “We realised that people are now environment friendly and showing our most popular character with a gun might give the wrong message,” says Savio Mascarenhas the creative hand behind Shikari Shambu.
Mascarenhas took over the illustrations from VB Halbe in 1997.
Tejal Das, 32, used to read and started enjoying Tinkle because it did not have any violent comic strips in it.
“Today you have all these action heroes. I just don’t understand what children like about them. I have my old collection of Tinkle, which I’ve kept safely for my children,” says Das.
Subramoni has a dedicated Tinkle cupboard in his room with 500 copies of Tinkle excluding the special holiday editions.
Today, Tinkle has made the big leap into technology and it reaches its fans not just through print, but also online and via mobile. Despite many experiments, two things about Tinkle remain the same: its Indian essence and its appeal to readers of all age groups.
Shakir loves the idea of Tinkle going online. “Now I can quickly go to the site and read a couple of comic strip. It is so refreshing and entertaining.” But there are many who still prefer the hard copy of the comic.
Kapil Kulkarni, 27, says, “The charm of reading the book is completely different from going online and clicking on the site. I would prefer to buy my own comic book.” Kulkarni has a collection of around 300 copies of Tinkle.
Fernandes recalls receiving a letter from a lady who has been a Tinkle fan since the comic magazine was launched. “She apparently has read all the issues of the magazine and digests. It’s great when you receive letters like this.”