Adventure Comics and Youth Cultures in India

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Taylor & Francis, Oct 11, 2018 - Social Science - 226 pages

This pioneering book presents a history and ethnography of adventure comic books for young people in India with a particular focus on vernacular superheroism. It chronicles popular and youth culture in the subcontinent from the mid-twentieth century to the contemporary era dominated by creative audio-video-digital outlets.

The authors highlight early precedents in adventures set by the avuncular detective Chacha Chaudhary with his ‘faster than a computer brain’, the forays of the film veteran Amitabh Bachchan’s superheroic alter ego called Supremo, the Protectors of Earth and Mankind (P.O.E.M.), along with the exploits of key comic book characters, such as Nagraj, Super Commando Dhruv, Parmanu, Doga, Shakti and Chandika. The book considers how pulp literature, western comics, television programmes, technological developments and major space ventures sparked a thirst for extraterrestrial action and how these laid the grounds for vernacular ventures in the Indian superhero comics genre. It contains descriptions, textual and contextual analyses, excerpts of interviews with comic book creators, producers, retailers and distributers, together with the views, dreams and fantasies of young readers of adventure comics. These narratives touch upon special powers, super-intelligence, phenomenal technologies, justice, vengeance, geopolitics, romance, sex and the amazing potentials of masked identities enabled by navigation of the internet.

With its lucid style and rich illustrations, this book will be essential reading for scholars and researchers of popular and visual cultures, comics studies, literature, media and cultural studies, social anthropology and sociology, and South Asian studies.


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List of figures List of plates Acknowledgements
Action India
The making of modern mythologies
The golden age of the Indian superhero
Gendering graphics
A haven of super creativity
The fantastic familiar
The state of the nation
A forensics of evil
Readers worlds
In one of my dreams I defeated America

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About the author (2018)

Raminder Kaur is Professor of Anthropology and Cultural Studies in the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex, UK. She is the author of Atomic Mumbai: Living with the Radiance of a Thousand Suns (2013) and Performative Politics and the Cultures of Hinduism (2003/5). She is also co-author of Diaspora and Hybridity and co-editor of Arts and Aesthetics in a Globalizing World, Mapping Changing Identities: New Directions in Uncertain Times, Censorship in South Asia: Cultural Regulation from Sedition to Seduction, Bollyworld: Popular Indian Cinema through a Transnational Lens and Travel Worlds: Journeys in Contemporary Cultural Politics. She has also written several scripts for theatre at

Saif Eqbal is a doctoral candidate at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. He graduated in Political Science from B.R.A. Bihar University, and Politics, and completed his master’s degree (with a specialisation in International Relations) and MPhil from the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance at Jawaharlal Nehru University. He is the co-author (with Raminder Kaur) of ‘Gendering graphics in Indian superhero comic books and some notes for provincializing cultural studies’ in Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies (2015).

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