BANGALORE: With a collection of over 15,000 rare Indian vintage comics, Arun Prasad, a well known pannapictagraphist (comic archivist and collector), who has showcased his rare collections at Comic Cons and other exhibitions, will now be featured on the History Channel.
The recently launched series titled, 'The Great India Collectors Ride' is being aired every Saturday at 8.30 pm and features two famed bikers travelling through the cities of India, exploring a few extreme collectors' paraphernalia. Bangalore-based Arun Prasad with his extensive vintage comic collection is among the chosen few.
"Collecting vintage comics has not been an easy task. I used to read comics as a child but I only got quite serious about it in the year 2000," says Arun.
The history researcher lost his entire childhood comic collection when he was moving from his home in Kerala to Bangalore. But when a friend gifted him a few Phantom comics some time later, Arun was again motivated to chase down vintage comics.
Arun stresses that the most important part of collecting comics is protecting and preserving them.
"I have converted the ground floor space of my residence to a comic warehouse. Most of my rare comics are placed along with imported acid free boards and then packed in polypropylene bags. I use clean specially made white carton boxes for storing comics. I am lucky in a way as Bangalore's climatic condition is well suited for comics as there's less humidity and the temperature does not fluctuate much," he says.
He hopes that present day collectors will preserve these comics, so that the next generation may also enjoy the pleasure of flicking through the pages that were so lovingly created by some of the greatest comic artists and writers from India.
However, Arun is not a huge fan of present day comics. "There are a few good comics and graphic novels entering the comic scene in India today. But I am not a fan of contemporary comics, though I have a few in my collection. For me, hand drawn art works are more fascinating than the present day computer generated graphic images," says Arun.
He is clearly disturbed that the good superhero with the clear conscience of the yesteryear is fast vanishing in the present day comic scene. The white space left on every page is turning grey and heroes are becoming darker in terms of their character. "In a way, it gives me more energy and drive in collecting and preserving old comics," he adds.
Arun's current collection includes the complete collection of Indrajal comics from No.1 (The Phantom Belt, 1964), first appearance issues of superheroes such as Phantom, Mandrake, Flash, Bahadur, Buz Sawyer, Lt Drake, Mike Nomad, Rip Kirby, Garth, Phill Corrigan, Bruce Lee, Aditya, and some special issues like Robin Hood, Mickey Mouse, Zorro, Tulsidas's Ramcharit Manas, Bahubali, Mahabharata, etc.
He also owns the full collection of first edition prints of Amar Chitra Katha, including the rarest first ten issues. Arun Prasad's vintage comic collection will be telecasted on History Channel on August 30 at 8.30 pm. Repeat telecast on Sunday at 2.30 pm.