The sad story of comic-book aficionados

No, no, am not going to lament on the recent Superman movie. This story is about how those glossy Asterix or other comics are not affordable at all. You see, Mumbaikars can gloat over the fact that their city does have a street dedicated to books; they can gloat over the fact that shiny, brand new comic books that cost anywhere between Rs.300 to Rs.400 in glass panelled book stores can be bought for a third of that price in those shops on the pavement. (If I am not much mistaken, I guess it’s in the proximity of CST in Mumbai) Do we have such places down here in Chennai?

Being a comic book fan is a costly affair. Any comic book. Aside the fact that your contemporaries will jeer at you for being down-right childish and reading that “picture book stuff”, you will somehow find it a bit hard to spend a lot of money on a single book frequently. And heck, the authors never stop at creating those strong men with proper dentures and make them perform herculean tasks as well. So when you have pocketed enough money and decide to spend on the newest ‘Asterix and the Falling Sky’, another Mad magazine edition will be sitting right on top, and mocking at your penury. That and those men in the bookshops out there in green uniforms “to assist you” are a deadly combination. When combined, they will, any day, give the .44 Magnum a run for its money.

The temporary solution is to resort to the illegitimate children, i.e. electronic versions. But call me finicky, lying on your back and giggling at gauls is the best way to enjoy comic books. Staring at a computer screen and reading gives an impression of reading a seminal dissertation on Economic crises of the Third World. Grim.

Plan – B: Libraries. But if you, like this hopeless author, who finds solace in the middle of the night amidst snoring and a lot of mosquitos, get a sudden rush to find out whether Bugsy Siegel makes an appearance in Tin Tin in America, or you’d been imagining it, this is a no-go idea.

Plan – C: Thievery. ‘Nuff said. And if caught red-handed, you can always say, “borrowed without permission, with every intention of returning” stuff and get away with it.

Solutions exist, but the bottom-line is, getting cheap Comic books in Chennai is a grail quest although I’ll be glad to be proved wrong on this occasion.

6 Comments so far

  1. Anand (unregistered) on July 10th, 2006 @ 7:44 pm

    Wait a minute.. did I read wrong, your lamentation is that Madras does not have a street that sells pirated comics?

  2. Nandhu (unregistered) on July 10th, 2006 @ 7:44 pm

    once upon a time all comics were expensive. but recently, about two years ago, we started getting comics for rs 30 and on the pavement for as little as rs 5. that in itself was a boon. soon we will be getting ALL comics cheap.

  3. Krithiga (unregistered) on July 10th, 2006 @ 9:20 pm

    Anand: Wrong is right. I was talking about perfectly legitimate copies of comic books for a cheap price. Tin Tin for 100 bucks is affordable. Tin Tin for 300 bucks is not.

    Nandhu: We get Indrajaal and stuff for cheap, yes, if only the others were affordable too.

  4. Keerthivasan (unregistered) on July 10th, 2006 @ 10:17 pm

    Have you tried Moore Market ? Its supposed to be cheap.

  5. Elizabeth Bennett (unregistered) on July 10th, 2006 @ 10:21 pm

    As far as I know there isn’t any place in Chennai where you can buy Asterix or Tin Tin at cheap rates. Once I bought Asterix in the Big Fight and Asterix in Switzerland at a pavement shop for Rs. 120 (Rs. 60 each). But it seldom happens. Pavement shopkeepers certainly know their worth.

    There are many lending libraries that have Asterix and Tin Tin. If you offer a good price, they might sell you the worn out ones.

    Everytime I visit the two Landmark shops in Chennai, I make a resolutin to buy the awfully expensive Spiderman and Superman comics. The originals, I mean, not the computer-aided crap they’re selling these days.

  6. Krithiga (unregistered) on July 11th, 2006 @ 8:19 pm

    Keerthi: No luck. Only tampered old ones. Not decent condition books. X(

    Liz Bennett: “The originals, I mean, not the computer-aided crap they’re selling these days.”

    Aye, I meant something of the sort. Worn-out, am not sure, because they make decent money from these comics.

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