#SaturdaySpecial: 10 iconic Indian comic book characters that are unforgettable even in 2021

Comics are an inseparable part of our childhood. While most of us grew up with the likes of Archie, Tintin, Asterix and Obelix; Indian comics also had its share of readership as they humorously portrayed the general issues of the middle class in India.

Remember those days when we believed that a volcano exploded on Jupiter when Sabu got angry or Chacha Chaudhary really lived somewhere in India with his mind working faster than the computer? Not to forget the other characters like Billoo and Pinki, made by the late cartoonist Pran Kumar Sharma, that are still relatable and unforgettable. Tinkle’s characters such as Shikari Shambu and Suppandi are legendary and are remembered for invoking great memories in the kids who belong to the 80s and 90s.

Here’s a list of 10 such Indian comic book characters who became our best buddies, giving us great joy while reading them.

1) Chacha Chaudhary and Sabu

Chacha Chaudhary is the most popular Indian comic character. It debuted in the year 1971 and became an instant favourite, especially among kids. We all love the short, red-turbaned Chacha Chaudhary along with Chachi, Rakka (dog) and Sabu, his tall assistant from Jupiter. Sabu is always faithful to Chacha and the most helpful companion.

Pran Kumar Sharma, the creator of this iconic comic, has made us laugh and celebrate in joy with his work. Often implying that Chacha’s mind worked faster than the computer, this comic book taught us that a strong mind is more powerful than a huge body. Due to the characters popularity and unique concept, Chacha Chaudhary and Sabu got themselves a live-action television series and also an animated series.

2) Suppandi

Making his debut in 1983 in one of the most preferred comic books by kids, Tinkle, Suppandi is a funny young village simpleton with a big head (literally), who works for various people and hilariously screws up situations he would encounter continuously. Suppandi’s simplicity, which is quite different from the kinds of heroes who do action stunts or solve problems, is exactly what makes him stand out – and stay in our hearts for so long. He is still seen in Tinkle’s current issues.

3) Tenali Raman

The very mention of Tenali Raman brings the character to life in our minds. Famous during the regime of Vijayanagara Empire in the 16th century CE, Tenali Raman’s wisdom, cleverness and amazing sense of humour has regaled kids.

Tenali Raman had a solution to every problem that emerged in King Krishnadevaraya’s kingdom. Kids and adults alike loved his remarkable wit, brilliance, and wisdom. One of the primary reasons behind the massive popularity of the character is that the plot often carried fun-filled and yet thought-provoking stories that made the kids think.

The tales of Tenali Raman can be read in the graphic novel Raman of Tenali which is published by Amar Chitra Katha. Along with ACK, various other publications have also portrayed various stories of the witty Tenali.

4) Billoo

Billoo was a character that was created way back in 1973 by Diamond books. He is a teenager similar to Archie from the Archie Comics series. The comic also had few interesting characters like Colonel Three-Not-Three, who dislikes Billoo.

Billoo gives the ideal guy-next-door vibes. He is fun-loving who is also liked by girls, and loves to play cricket with his friends. The character’s simplicity and admirable traits made him loved by all and all the little ones back then wanted to be like him.

5) Bankelal

Bankelal is a Raj Comics production and is considered one of the most famous and funniest Indian comic book characters. Bankelal’s first comic book series was Bankelal ka Kamaal. The series is about Gods and demons who belong to a different world and include hilarious characters. To get rid of his king, Bankelal always had evil plans up his sleeves which never failed. 

The tussles of Bankelal and the king never failed to make people laugh. The dose of mischief, funny twists of events, and unexpected outcomes made the series and the character much-loved.

6) Shikari Shambu

Yet another character from Tinkle, Shikari Shambu (Hunter Shambu) was created by Vasant Halbe and Luis Fernandes for the Tinkle magazine in 1983. He is an avid hunter, who actually does not like hunting. Unlike most brave and adventurous hunters, Shikari Shambu is a coward. But when he lands himself in a tough situation, his wit and intelligence helps him overcome obstacles and embody the spirit of a true hero.

Owing to this goofy hunter’s popularity, during the 434th issue of Tinkle, the childhood version of Shambu also known as Little Shambu appeared. You can also watch Shambu’s antics on ‘Suppandi & Friends’ YouTube channel.

7) Pinki

Pinki is another popular character created by Diamond comics. Unlike other comic book heroes, Pinki is neither super-intelligent nor has any kind of superpower. But what makes her everyone’s favourite is exactly those facts and her relatable attributes. She is a character which seemed to be real and it was exciting to know how she’d react in a given situation.

One cannot forget how the mischievous girl always used to create problems for her neighbours. Her character seemed to be quite similar to the famous Dennis the Menace.

8) Super Commando Dhruva

Despite being a superhero, Dhruva doesn’t have any superpowers. The character is humble, gentle, and mild-mannered with a down-to-earth personality. These qualities made him a favourite with children, with most kids either relating to him or wanting to emulate him.

Another unique aspect that set Super Commando Dhruva apart from other superheroes was that he didn’t wear a mask to hide his identity. He was just a neighbourhood boy raised under discipline and trained well; who was ready to do anything to keep his city safe. Well, he had a good sense of humour too!

The character appears in comic books published by Raj Comics and was created by writer and illustrator Anupam Sinha. He made his first appearance 1987!

9) Doga

Introduced in November 1992, Doga is the first and the only antihero character in Raj Comics. Doga is considered among the most popular comic book lead characters created by Raj Comics due to his huge fan following and one of the main reasons for the immense love is that, instead of being set in an imaginary world of sci-fi, demons or mythical beings, his comics are based on real-life like stories (some even inspired by true events) which made him more relatable to his readers.

10) Parmanu

Parmanu is another superhero which is still loved by many of us. This character was also created by Raj Comics and is one of the few which is running for over two decades now. The suit helps him to launch atomic bolts and protects him from all attacks. It also helps him to change his size. He also has a robot called Probot, which offers him support and assistance.

So basically, Parmanu is what happens when Ant-Man meets Iron Man.

~ Hope you had a nostalgic trip down the memory lane!