Why I do not like Spider-Man India

I am only seven to eight-months new (old?) to the world of comics. In fact, I am still a toddler in this world. However, toddlers also have a right to voice their opinion. Well, they usually do not know the words, but they definitely have the right!

When I first read about the Indian avatar of Spider-Man, I was thrilled. To me, it seemed like coming of age of Indian comics. You know, besides the awfully juvenile (yet entertaining during my early childhood) Diamond comics, the Indian comic book market has never offered me anything else. I could never warm up to the so-called Indian super- hero comics. (And, thank God for that) Staying in remote lands of East, I had zero access to my then favorites like Dennis, Calvin, Garfield, Archies, Mister T, and Scooby Doo. That’s how the interest died. Oh-o, I am digressing.

The excitement of having the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man on our very own streets dimmed after the first press release. While the names, Pavitr Prabhakar, Mira Jain, Bhim, and Maya, saddened me, I was devastated to see Spider-Man’s attire. It all seemed to have turned into a joke. Nevertheless, in my heart, I was still looking forward to the first issue.

Then, my friend, philosopher, and guide in the world of comics sent me a sneak peak to the first few pages of the comic book. On realizing that Pavitr Prabhakar gets his super-powers in the most super-natural way and uses them to fights daemons, I almost gave up on the comic book.

To me, the strength of Peter Parker’s character is that the readers can relate to his problems. He lives in the world we know. He deals with issues just like ours – his school tests, his job, his girlfriend, his family, his finances. And, he dresses up the way any average American does. Right? Now tell me, have you ever met any kid in school/college (even the ones in the smallest towns of India) who dons a dhoti and carries a laathi to school? Mister Jeevan J.Kang, you have lost me here.

Curiosity is my favorite sin (Hold it! It is not one of the seven sins, is it? Uh-ho, I am never going to see John Constantine.) So, it got better of me and I picked the first issue of Spider-Man India this month, which failed to meet my low expectations. As if the substandard characterization and ordinary art were not enough, it has an extremely feeble script. I am unable to put it down in words, (Yeah, I’ll make a worse story-teller than Kang) but the panel where Spider-Man sees a woman being mugged and Uncle Bhim appears out of thin air, put me off – forever.
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Update: For some unfathomable reason I forgot Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha while talking about the comics I read as a kid. Thanks , for reminding me of those gems.

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