Muthu Comics was an Indian comic book series launched by the publisher of MUTHU FINE ART PUBLICATION, Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu, india, M.Soundrapandian in January of 1972.
Muthu Comics (முத்து காமிக்ஸ்), Thigil Comics (திகில் காமிக்ஸ்), Mini-Lion (மினி லயன்) and Junior-Lion (ஜூனியர் லயன்) are some of the other publications from the same concern. Comics Classics is the latest addition with re-printed run of more famous titles published in the past, during the so-called Golden Age of Tamil comics.
The first issue of Muthu comics was published in 1971 as a monthly (128 pages, INR 0.90). It featured The Steel Claw (இரும்புக்கை மாயாவி in Tamil). Although there had been a few comics publishers in Tamil from the early 60s, the entry of Muthu Comics marks the beginning of the Golden Age of Tamil Comics. Muthu comics enjoyed a warm welcome from the Tamil audience and with M.Soundrapandian, continued to grow steadily over the years.
The first among the Comic House's expansion ventures - a weekly (முத்து காமிக்ஸ் வாரமலர) - was started in the early eighties, which was subsequently withdrawn after a few years. In 1984, after a brief lull, when there was no comics publications in the market, came Lion Comics (லயன் காமிக்ஸ). Lion Comics was a creation of Mr.Soundrapandian's son Vijayan. Vijayan became the Chief-editor of Lion comics when he was seventeen.
Expansion continued with the launch of the Junior-Lion (ஜூனியர் லயன்), Mini-Lion (மினி லயன்) and Thigil comics (திகில் காமிக்ஸ்), all of which were published in parallel, on a monthly basis. Festivals like Diwali, Pongal and summer holidays promised special Digest Issues, which were bigger and costlier than the regular comic. These were the Golden years in Tamil Comics history.
1984 is also the year in which the Other major player in Tamil Comics - Rani Comics - was started by the ThinaThanthi (தினத்தந்தி in Tamil) group of Publishers. Rani comics would grow over to become the dominant market player for the next ten years or so.
Mid-eighties - The launch of private Television Channels and Satellite / Cable TV Public-access television, marked the beginning of the spiraling decline in the readership in the State, and Comics readership was no different. Children and youth were increasingly drawn into the new world introduced through Television media.
During the worst periods of hardship, readers were plagued with problems such as shortage of quality story/art work, non-availability in local stores and frequent delays in releasing scheduled titles. From 2012, there has been a revival of sorts, with regular monthly issues, with negligible timeline misses.
One by one, most of the local comic publishers perished, in this changed market place. Rani Comics bowed out with its 500th issue; Mini, Junior and Thigil comics were also eventually stopped, and later their comic characters or series were brought under the two "last men standing" brands, Lion and Muthu comics.
2000 to 2011: The Dog Years As of 2008, the Official Lioncomics.com website is no longer owned by Prakash Publishers. The site was up for renewal, and the publishers didn't show interest in keeping their presence on the Web, even though they continue to release Lion Comics and Muthu, often at prolonged gaps in between each issues.
There have been a brief revival in the comics interests with the publication of 'Comics Classics' - reprinted popular stories of yesteryear. Lion Comics continues to penetrate beyond its niche audience, but always is pulled down, by its irregular publishing schedule.
The current issue of Lion Comics, is their biggest venture yet. A Jumbo Edition carrying one of their lead characters, XIII. It was originally scheduled for 2009, then was pushed to various dates in 2010, and has finally been released in October 2010. The issue is priced at INR 200, marking the costliest edition ever released by the comic publishing house. They have already attained quite an amount of success with their three specials, which were each priced INR 100, in past years. This issue is undoubtedly one of the fattest comic book releases ever in India, and probably the world over (in terms of a complete series in one volume). Sadly, that issue also marked a long period of absence from Tamil Comics publishers, all through the year, with an exception one INR 10 issue which immediately followed the Jumbo Special.
2012 onwards: The Renaissance 2012 has really been a comeback year for the southern comic franchise, with regular monthly editions, and appearance in major book fairs in the city. They were also seen in India's own Comic Con, in September 2012, in Bengaluru.
The publishers have also started selling their books (available prints) through eBay India.
In January 2013, Mr. S.Vijayan released mega special issue "MUTHU NEVER BEFORE SPECIAL" with 456 pages (400 pages in color) @ Rs. 400 to celebrate the 40th year of Muthu Comics. In 2015, Lion comics also published Captain Tiger's (Mike Blueberry) "MINNUM MARANAM complete saga" [Blueberry -(complete 11 Editions from Chihuahua Pearl(13th book) to Arizona Love(23rd book)] with 596 pages @ Rs. 1000 in April Chennai Book fair, where "MINNUM MARANAM complete saga" becomes landmark book in Tamil comics history and holds the record of Costliest book in Tamil Comics History.
During August 2015 Muthu comics celebrated its 350th book by releasing Classic Cartoon Collection(CCC), The Smurfs was introduced as part of CCC to mark Muthu comics 350. The book was released in Erode book fair(EBF).
Long-awaited (Mister Blueberry/OK Corral series) was released during the 2016 Chennai Book fair. Tamil version of என் பெயர் டைகர்(Mister Blueberry/OK Corral series) released as single album whole series (from Dargaud Blueberry series book #24 to #28). As first ever try, Muthu comics released this book in both B/W and color version at same time.
Tamil version of Blueberry-Fort navajo (single album of 5parts) was released during the Erode book fair 2017, its first-ever color reprint of same by Lionmuthu comics. The book seems splendid hit as people approached book fair stalls (erode, CBE, etc..) during 2017 returning empty-handed due to sold-out boards for இரத்தக் கோட்டை.