Friday, February 20, 2009

Another TPH Original: Colored Pages from Phantom Sunday Strip #136 "The Return of the Thuggees"

A year and half ago, when I decided to scan my first Indrajal Comics, there were not too many scanners in the field. Only 'Comic World' was active in the dual role of a scanner and a blogger. Most of Mr. Ajay Mishra's scans were available to a select few in the form of DVD. Both TCP and ICC were enjoying a good earned holiday without a slight hint of their possible future returns. A lot many indrajals were unavailable for the majority of the visitors of these Indian comics blogs. So, I felt it as my duty to share with all whatever little I could do to spread the joy of reading the beloved indrajals, the nostalgic elements of the wonder years of childhood, the long goneby.

It gave me immense pleasure in sharing my collection in e-form, though I never counted myself in league with the big names like ICC and CW who are having a vast collection of indrajals in physical form, not to forget Sagnik, the most enthusiastic lover of comics I ever came in contact with.

The joy of scanning and sharing has been great and soul satisfying experience as in some way I was able to touch the soft corners of the comics loving generation of yesteryear's.  Today after scanning and posting 70 plus comics, I am feeling proud of my achievement.

With the passage of time many new contributors to the community arrived on the horizon with nice intentions and generous efforts to submit in the greater interest of all. It became clear that soon we'll have all the indrajals on net. That's a very nice feeling to have all that were published. But then, what next? The question is already put by some of the friends. Greater lovers like Sagnik want discussions over the comics. I feel it will require some planned efforts to form a plateform where meaningful thought exchange can take place. Let's hope to build it soon.

Meanwhile, my creative energy is forcing me to try and do something different. Some original contribution to the comic lover's community is what I am eying currently. Few weeks ago, I translated into hindi and put on my blog a full 26 page sunday strip from Graham Nolan. That was a good experience and I felt happy that it was recieved well by many great comic experts like Rafiq Raja and Alok sharma (Toonfactory), together with old stalvart like Desiguru.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been seriously trying to learn the art of comic book coloring. The field has always excited me. When Comicrazee contributed some awsome colourful pages to Balaji (MTM), It made me desirous to work in this area. So I selected Lee Falk's original story with great Sy Barry's own illustrations. This is sunday strip number 136, "The return of the thuggees'. Published in the year 1990, it is a very interesting tale which spread over as many as 65 pages. I have just colored the first 10 pages till now as the process is very time consuming for an ameature like me. It takes me roughly 4-5 hours to colour a page.

Well, here is my first effort in coloring a black and white phantom comics strip for all of you. Those having this story in black in white can add these pages to the story if they wish.

Enjoy friends.

Download complete strip here:

28 comment(s):

  1. Nice work, dude!! From the likes of it, you have done an exceptional job...Keep it up. The "JP entrance" pic looks awesome.








  3. I love those color Sundays! Thank you so much for these TPH! Continue the good work!

  4. I just went through the pages after downloading. The coloring work is superb! What software do you use for this? How many days did it take? This work is unbelievably good.

  5. First of all a very warm 'welcome' after a short break taken by you,and secondly your break seems well justified after watching your painstaking brilliant performance.
    You have done a very nice creative job,yeah,indeed all strips in colored form is the next dream of all Indrajal lovers after all Indrajals do appear online.
    As usual,being inspired by your innovative ideas i am also busy at a 'similar' kind of job which i use to miss while reading some of the very early IJCs.Hope i could also bring some result in front of all IJC lovers soon.
    And yes,i would also like to know the details of the s/w and method which you used in coloring.

  6. Nice coloring(panels)!! will d/l comic shortly...
    And abt discussion,if you remember,I'd asked u few times for continue ur Hindi write-up in English too,as those r really nice!!
    Honestly,after reading so many Phantom/Mandrake Sundailies,d discussions(over characters/stories etc)attract me more than d comic reading itself!!May be most visitors find time only for reading,but we few are like born for more deeper analysis,,,SO LET'S START SOME WAY(forum kinda),,AND BETTER IF U PLZ SUGGEST ONE!:))

  7. Wonderful! A master's work. Thank you very much.

  8. Like the good Colonel, I too have only compliments on a wonderful job.

    Like him, I would also like to know more details about the software used for the purpose.

    Hopefully you will find time to share that knowledge with us.

    BTW, I am just one of the "many new contributors to the community arrived on the horizon with nice intentions and generous efforts to submit in the greater interest of all", as you put it.

    All the best.

  9. All the best in your efforts. May this be just the beginning for future gems such as the 'missing' b/w dailies that we all would so dearly look forward to see in color. Only IJC and DC have that distinction besides a few other exceptions of providing the color versions to Lee Falk's dailies.

    Kudos my friend and keep up the good work. It does look fantastic and you selected a great story as well for the first attempt.


  10. @Amit Nag: Thanks you. I am very happy that you liked it. You are most welcome.

    @Rakesh: Thanks and welcome. Yes, colored phantom stories have a pleasant feeling attached to them. Frew have not done justice to the great artwork of the likes of Sy Barry by publishing these marvels in b/w only. Strangely some people believe that b/w strips are good enough, but I firmly believe that good coloring can only enhance the quality of a story by bringing the finer details of drawings to the attention of even the casual reader.

    Thanks once again.

    Col Worobu: A very warm welcome col. It's very satisfying to hear some good words of praise from one of the most respected and loved comic enthusiasts like you. I am highly indebted to you for these kind words. They will surely inspire me to produce more.

    As for the software, I used Adobe Photoshop only. In fact when comicrazee produced those nice colourful panels for MTM, I had asked him the same question and he answered that he used photoshop. So I aimed my efforts to produce something good using this software only and after making few trials, finally arrived at some satisfactory level.

    But I am still learning, and in fact it would be better to say that I have just started my learning in this field. As I mentioned in the post itself, currently it takes me about 5 to 6 hours to complete one page (i.e. 8 panels). This is hell lot of a time and put the patience and determination to the ultimate test. I started on this project on 2nd of February and finished the 10th page yesterday only, i.e., on 19th. So 18 days to complete 10 pages only.

    But I feel, with some experience, investment of time can be reduced to 2 hours per page something. That would not be bad.

    Thanks again. Always a pleasure having you here.

    @CW: Thanks dear. Very kind words of appreciation. And you have created a sense of curiosity among us about the work you are undertaking. I am sure it would be a great treat for all comic lovers.

    About the software used for my coloring work, I have already explained to Col., so you have the answer.

    @Ciro: Welcome Ciro. Will continue.

    @Sagnik: Thanks dear. Yes, I do remember your suggestion and believe me it is high on my agenda. I too would love to be a part of some good discussion over our favourite characters and their tales of bravery and courage. Let's plan it out through mail.

    @Prabhat: Thanks and welcome. You are a great motivator indeed. always very nice having you here.

    @venkitachalam: Thanks and a warm welcome to this blog. I think this is your very first visit here.

    Yes, I know you are one of the more recent contributors to the indrajal fan community. Actually, TCP had informed some of us that you are interested in providing some hitherto unavailable indrajals from your collection. I didn't contact you personally because over the years I have developed this blog only to post my own scans here. But it tells the generous nature of yours to contribute so selflessly for the community. I have downloaded few of your scans from TCP, Sameer and Prabhat's blogs. They are simply fantastic. I thank you for those.

    And I think you have got the answer regarding the software used by me.


    @bhotla/Srinivas: Thanks and welcome. You have very correctly expressed the desire of all phantom phans to see all daily and sunday strips in color. Lee Falk's originals have no comparison and everybody would agree that if we could have all his work available in decent resolution color format, then none could match it.

    Indrajal and Diamond did publish his work in colour but still a lot of dailies and sunday strips remains unavailable in colour. for example most of the Ray Moore's work was never published in India. So most of us don't have it in colour. Hopefully someday, we'll be able to enjoy them in full colour.

    As for the selection of this story, I chose this one not only because I liked the story and illustrations but also due to its availability in high resolution version. It's comparatively easier to work on big pictures.

    Regards and thanks again.

  11. It is amazing that you could do such a wonderful job just by using photoshop. I can't even imagine the pain you went through to produce these wonderful pages. Simple words of thanks are not enough to compliment you, but I want to say THANKS anyway :o)

  12. Dear Phantom Head blogger,

    I am trying to get a hold of vintage copies of the Phantom from Indrajal from a U.S. private collector to borrow for an exhibition of Indian comics that I'm organizing in Los Angeles this Fall. If you or any of your members know someone who would be interested please let me know.

    With many thanks,


  13. Unbelievable.. your hard work is much appreciated..

  14. Hi TPH,
    You have done a commendable and fantastic job. The coloring is amazing. It is truly a feast for Phantom lovers like us. You are doing a great favor to us. If you have time, then you should continue with this, and present colored as well as Hindi translations of the B/W comics. I also saved a few daily strips from the King Features site somewhere around 2002 and 2003. Some of them are excellent stories. If you could tell me your email ID, I can send them over to you. If you wish, you can color/ translate them and present to the comic lovers like us.

    Vijay Gautam

  15. @Col: You are very lavish in extending these kind words of appreciation. Yes, it took some time but after looking at the response now I feel that every second I invested was worth it.

    Most welcome.

    @Julie Romain: That's very interesting. You are arranging for an exhibition of Indian comics in Los Angeles. I'll do my part in spreading the message to the possible audience. Best of luck.

    @kk: Thanks and welcome. I feel very happy in presenting it.

    @Vijay: Thank you. I've just started my learning and hopefully will be able to improve upon this as I go further. There are few panels in these pages I am still not satisfied with my work on which.

    comic book coloring is a very delicate art and though it requires time and energy but on the other hand is quite joyful also. I wish to color and present to all as much as I could possibly do.

    The translation work was also very interesting and I enjoyed it also, though my working style is vey raw and unrefined because I used an old version of Photoshop (ver. 6) which doesn't allow unicode characters to fill in the panels. That made the working doubly difficult as first I put those hindi dialogues in wordpad and then made images by taking screen shots and then pasted them on the english speech balloons.

    Well, I'll keep doing translation and coloring as it gives me some way to release my creative energy in a proper direction. I don't see any chance or possibility to find some way to mobilize it into the direction of any monetary advantage.

    You can contact me at or alternatively at Thanks for your valuable comment. Most welcome


  16. TPH,
    Excellent effort with a professional touch. Colouring b/w strip is indeed a tiring job. Keep it up


  17. Dear TPH, this is totally fantastic work! since i am in the field, i know how much efforts u have to put for doing this.
    Just for everybody's knowledge, I will post the method of comic making in my blog in detail, maybe today or tommorrow with the old techologies, so everyone can know how difficult it was to make a comic.
    For the coloring of the strips,I have one small suggestion: if you can color them without gradations, i.e. just fill colors as in the IJC, it will look near to the IJC. the gradation makes it feel like the current dailies. this is just a suggestion, see if you can try it.



  18. Hello man,
    Just sent a mail regarding some topic!plz check your In-box!:)

  19. Getting good reviews from "the experts" is the ultimate satisfaction. I am happy that I managed that from Comicrazee and Sameer.

    @Comicrazee: Thanks friend. You are the one who inspired me to try something like this.

    @Sameer: Thanks and welcome. We'll all look for your post on comic coloring technique. I am looking forward to learn some time saving tricks. I'm sure it'll be a great post. Thank you in advance.

    Regarding gradation, I have a slightly different opinion. In my view indrajals coloring was of ordinary standards. They used simple style to produce the copies in time, a new comic every week is a tough assignment for the artists and by the looks of their work it appears that they were working under strict dead-lines.

    While undergoing this project, for the first seven pages, I didn't take a look at any of the phantom publication. Just went on my own imagination. After that I took a deeper look at various publications and found that most of them were almost very simple and (by todays standards) dull. The best coloring I consider is from Wolf publication from UK whom beautiful work stands apart.

    But I agree that too much of technicality may also leave some distracting effect. Good variations with sober eye soothing colors is what suits best to the comic panels. Will try and keep your advice in mind. Thank you very much.

    @Sagnik: OK. I'll just check it right now. Thanks.

  20. Fantastic!!! You have done a commendable job. Keep it up.

  21. Very nice . I can easily understand the all troubles involved in coloring all these pages .

    Excellent . Keep it up .


  22. TPH.......fantastic,mind blowing awesome work.
    "There are times when TPH leaves routine normal stuff and tries and does something extraordinary...this is one of those times".....old saying.
    A real dogged effort,keep it up.

  23. @chatur Cheeta: Many thanks and a warm welcome here at your first visit.

    Hopefully I'll present the set of next 10 pages withing a week's time. Thanks again.

    @Ajay: Nice to here words of encouragement from the "Bheeshm Pitamah" of indian comic scanners group. I feel honoured. Many thanks.

    @Chandan: Hey man! Seen after such a long absence. I missed your witty, sharp, crispy and heart warming feed-backs. Thanks and welcome.

  24. Dear TPH, Sorry for a late comment. I got behind on my comic blog reading activity, due to work, and look what I missed from commenting. You have done a marvellous job of taking up something different from scanning and posting comics. Obviously, they are bigger fishes in that pool, and it's good to see one of the earliest indrajal bloggers moving to a new field. And what more great effort then coloring the pieces which we love the most.

    Your job is pretty commedable. I personally liked the first color emblem of Falk & Barry's signature in opening panel. Colors blend are amazing, and it continues through the various pages. Thanks much for your extended hours on this... Would love to see the remaining pages

    I agree with your point that despite the comics lovers of Originality might prefer the B/W look, the Coloring (if done better) can only enhance and talk more great about the artists work. Recently I did blog about this often unsung heroes involved in Coloring, with the recently released Bone coloring stuff. Please have a look, when u find time.

    And what more if you can combine forces with Sameer (Skull Cave Treasures), who is now revolutionizing the daily strips in book format for us. Once you are comfortable in coloring with great pace, I would love to see that concept materializing on a paper :). It might be too much ask, but it's just from an enthusiastic comic lover :)

    And also Imagine what this will add to the Frew lineup of Phantom Comics. I only Dream.

    Lastly, thanks for including my name on your post along with Toonfactory Alok & Desiguru, eventhough I doubt to be on the experts list. You guys are Creators, where in I am just an observer. I feel humbled.

    By the welcome back after a long time. I will start reading your other posts in a couple of days and will log back my response. Happy Coloring :)


  25. @Rafiq Raja: Wow! That's a very nice and encouraging comment to read. Thank you so much for finding time and going through these pages.

    And I also wish some day your dream shapes into reality. It would be wonderful to see all golden work being published on paper in colors.

    You definitely deserve to be in the list of experts, anyone can say that after going through any of your posts. And you are very modest.

    I'll go through your mentioned post soon and will register my views.

    Once again thanks.

  26. Friend,
    Of blog in blog, I arrived to yours. I liked a lot! Accept my congratulations!! About comics coloring, I request him, if possible, to color the adventure of the Phantom of Falk and entitled Moore The Return of the Sky Band, of 1941. I already sought, but I didn't find in the internet. It would be, I believe, something, if not unpublished, at least, rare. Excuse me torn English... Cordially, José Pinto de Queiroz Filho