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DARA

 
Full Name: Rana Bikram Bir Singn
Codename: Dara
Nationality: Indian
Organization: Indian Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Kamini Uppal, Pradeep Sathe
Time Span: 1988 - 1990

ABOUT THE SERIES

Dara is an agent with the Indian Intelligence Wing.

Rana Bikram Bir Singh, also known as Raja Saheb, is an ex-prince with an estate in the Himalayas, including a posh resort which provides a good and reliable source of income. He is considered a man of leisure but also with a considerable number of other interests and hobbies which take him away at a moment's notice. Considering his secret line of work, this is a very good thing.

It is a desire to help the land he loves that Raja Saheb offers his talents to "Intelligence Wing" (no definite article), the lead security organization in India, now run by a mature and experienced spymaster known as Mr. Rao. Rao is one of the few men who know who the dynamic agent known as Dara really is.

When he is in his Raja Saheb personna at home, he favors slicked back hair, tinted glasses and the clothing now known as Nehru jackets. In the field as Dara, he wears his hair loose, no eyewear, and tee-shirts with a sports jacket giving him a relaxed, debonair appearance. At his villa he is sedate and serene, except behind closed doors where he trains with his man-servant Gudung or with experts brought in to help keep him sharp. On a mission he is most definitely a man of action and not a little daring.

Dara is a moderately tall, handsome man with a strong jaw and slightly cleft chin. He is highly confident and self-assured, not quite reaching cocky, and his ease of manner and pretense makes him very much attractive to the opposite sex, a feeling he definitely returns.

Known as health freak, Dara, when not on a mission, spends several hours in heavy exercise each day, eats sparingly, and forgoes heavy spirits in favor of his preference - orange juice.

COMIC BOOKS, GRAPHIC NOVELS, AND MANGA

Number of Stories:8
First Appearance:1988
Last Appearance:1990

       In 1964, the publisher of The Times of India decided to try its hand at comic books. It started with The Phantom by Lee Falk for the first couple years before branching out into other characters also syndicated by King Features, well-known fictional people like Mandrake the Magician, Flash Gordon, Kerry Drake, among others, as well as the secret agent Phil Corrigan.
       Instead of various magazines, Indrajal Comics had one title which really had no title at all except for the name of that issue. And once it opened the floodgates for stories other than about The Phantom, there was no way to know what would be coming next.
       Each issue was numbered so readers could at least know if they had missed one. A total of 803 comics were produced in the 27 years of the comics' existence, though two planned issues never made it to the public due, apparently, to a strike. As a result, the last one released was #805. It was the last of the Dara stories.

       Check out the terrific, and I really mean that, site devoted to the Indrajal Comics, indrajalcomicsblog. The work there is worth a lot of time browsing and it is one source for the Dara comics themselves.
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MY COMMENTS

I took a fancy for the Dara comics, at least the concept of them. Hearkening back to the days of Secret Agent X or K or whatever where no one knows the real identity of the legendary agent, except for his boss in Dara's case, the operative has a life outside the world of action and enjoys the serenity of that life. He also enjoys the excitement and thrill of putting his life in danger to do good.

I also liked the idea that India had its own secret agent. It is likely that the huge country had far more fictional agents but this is the first published in the English language that I learned about.

The stories are standard fare with no special gadgets or gimmicks. Dara is quite appreciative of the female side of the species but remains chaste and aloof nevertheless so action is all we really have.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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