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Super Commando Dhruva

Super Commando Dhruv: The Movie Trailer (fanmade)

Thumbs up’ if u want the SCD movie to be made a reality. Im not associated with Raj Comics in any other way than being a fan of the SCD series.I believe he is the Indian equivalent of the advanced version of McGuyver.I may have altered his origin story for entertainment’s sake., feel free to comment.

Super Commando Dhruva (सुपर कमांडो ध्रुव in Devanagari script) is a fictional character, an Indian comic book superhero, who appears in comic books published by Raj Comics. The character, created by writer and illustrator Anupam Sinha, first appeared in GENL #74 Pratishodh Ki Jwala published in April 1987 and since then, has appeared regularly in many issues published by Raj Comics. Super Commando Dhruva, whose complete name is Dhruva Mehra, is additionally referred to as Captain Dhruva by the cadets of his Commando Force.

According to his origin story, Dhruva was born to a couple who worked as trapeze artists in Jupiter Circus. He received most of his martial art, acrobatic, and stunt training in the circus itself. At the age of 14, having lost his parents in a conspiracy that arose out of a business rivalry, he swore to fight against crime for the rest of his life. Eventually he was adopted by the then Superintendent of Police Rajan Mehra.

Super Commando Dhruva operates in the fictional Indian city of Rajnagar. He is the founder of a fictional government-approved crime fighter organizationCommando Force. The character’s appearance is distinctive and iconic: a yellow and sky blue costume, brown boots and a utility belt with a star-shaped buckle. The star has almost become a trademark of the character. The most unique thing about Dhruva is that, unlike most other superheroes, he doesn’t have an alter egoand doesn’t hide his identity behind a mask. Another unique thing about him is that he doesn’t possess any superpowers; but he makes up for that with his intellect, detective skills, scientific knowledge, martial art and acrobatic skills, an unparalleled willpower and a determination to eliminate evil from this world.

Dhruva became a very popular character soon after he was introduced. He is one of Raj Comics’ most successful characters. Over the years, Dhruva has acquired an iconic status in the Indian comic book superhero genre.

Publication history – Creation

In the late 1980s, after the initial success of NagrajRaj Comics wanted another superhero for its titles. It was in this period that writer Anupam Sinha came up with the idea of Super Commando Dhruva.

Dhruva’s original design, as created by Sinha back in 1987, was an adolescent boy standing beside his bike wearing a yellow-blue trapeze artist costume, buttoned shirt collar, a black belt with star buckle, shoes (instead of boots), and with no gloves, mask, or cape, holding a helmet in his hand. The background of the image had a big star polygon and behind his left shoulder was a box containing “ध्रुव.”  Sinha wanted Dhruva to wear a helmet, making him a biker hero, but later on many changes were incorporated to the character’s look, including the removal of the helmet.

Sinha wanted to break away from the clichè of superheroes with super-natural powers and alter egos. He wanted to create a superhero out of a normal adult human. Sinha, during the 2012 Indian Comic Con festival, recalled: “Children see the world very differently, and there is a reason for it. Every person seems like a giant to them and people can do something that they cannot. Like taking out a jar of toffees from the cupboard. And the adult is thus a superhero, because they can do something that the child cannot do. Kids see every person as a super hero. They are heavily dependent on other people. Tell me, when do you move out of reading comics? When you are an independent human being. Fantasy does not interest you all that much. The psychology of being dependent, of ‘I must have a person along with me to protect me from any impending danger,’ is essentially a child’s psyche. That’s why I wrote this character Super Commando Dhruva.”

Sinha’s first two characters Space Star and Private Detective Kapil didn’t become very popular, but served as the early drafts for Super Commando Dhruva. The name Dhruva and the star symbol given to the character were inspired by Dhruva Taara (Hindi: ध्रुव तारा meaning Pole Star) which means someone who is determined, firm, and doesn’t sub-come to rough circumstances.

Thus, Super Commando Dhruva was born: a normal adult with no supernatural power but a strong determination and will to fight against the odds much along the lines of Batman of DC Comics. Most fans feel that Dhruva’s character is a mix of Batman and Robin. On one hand, his crime fighting style is very similar to that of Batman’s and, on the other hand, his origin resembles to that of Robin’s. In spite of these similarities, there are a lot of differences as well, most notably being the fact that Dhruva doesn’t have an alter ego.

When questioned about the comparisons between characters of the Raj Comics universe and DC/Marvel universe at the 2012 Indian Comic Con Festival, Sanjay Gupta replied, “We had to devise a character from our own imagination that didn’t have anything to do with them ( Superman and Batman). Because if we had kept in mind how powerful Superman and Batman are.. we would’ve reacted to it and somehow allowed that to play a part in our creative process. Our first goal was to make a total Indian character. We didn’t want to copy. That wasn’t going on in our heads. But we were definitely inspired by them. We are still inspired by them. Even today we don’t copy.. we are inspired by them. After all, everything has an origin.”

Publication – List of Dhruva comics

Dhruva making his debut in Raj Comics

Super Commando Dhruva made his first appearance in GENL #74 “Pratishodh Ki Jwala”, published in 1987. A general (GENL) issue used to be a 30-32 pages issue. Dhruva’s first issue dealt with the origin of the character.

In the next issue, GENL #79 “Roman Hatyara”, Dhruva founded a government-approved crime fighter organisation Star Commando Force.

GENL #147 “Swarg Ki Tabahi” introduced Chandika, the main supporting character of the Dhruva series. Eventually it was revealed that Chandika was his foster-sister Shweta Mehra. Over the course of next few issues, some key elements were added to Dhruva’s character including star-line, star-blade, a utility belt, ability to communicate with dolphins and ability to breathe underwater.

Sinha was very sure about one thing: minimal violence. He would not have Dhruva kill anyone as he wanted Dhruva to be a role model for young kids, his main audience. In the initial few issues, Dhruva carried a pistol as a measure of last resort, but never used it. Soon after, the pistol was removed from the character.

During the initial few years, Anupam Sinha preferred to work alone on his brain-child Dhruva, both writing as well as illustrating all Dhruva titles on his own while the cover arts for the titles were mostly supplied by Vijay Kadam, an independent freelance artist.

In 1991, when Raj Comics decided to publish its first special (SPCL) issue, they aptly chose to title it, SPCL #1 “Nagraj aur Super Commando Dhruva” which featured Nagraj and Dhruva in prominent roles alongside other Raj Comics superheroes. This issue brought Nagraj and Dhruva together for the first time. In this issue, Dhruva was shown to kill a lot of criminals. This was due to the fact that this issue was written by Sanjay Gupta, the writer of Nagraj, and not by Sinha.

The next special issue was a landmark issue in many ways. SPCL #2 “Grand Master Robo” was the first solo-hero special issue published by Raj Comics and Dhruva’s first solo special issue. It added a lot of new elements to the character’s story. It introduced Swarna Nagri (Golden City), which is located at the base of the ocean and hidden from human eyes. Swarna Nagri is the home of Swarna Manavas (Golden Humans), descendants of Devs (Gods). Dhananjay, a warrior from Swarna Nagri, initially fought Dhruva, but became his friend and gave him the power to breathe inside water.

This issue also introduced Natasha, daughter of Grand Master Robo and Dhruva’s love interest. Natasha went on to become the first and only person to know Chandika’s secret identity. Dhruva’s ability to communicate with animals and birds was well established but this issue explored Dhruva’s ability to communicate with dolphins as well. In 1993, Black Cat (alter ego: Richa) was introduced in a self-titled issue to further complicate Dhruva’s love life.

Initially, Dhruva’s stories were detective-based stories, with science fiction elements as well. With the success of special issues, Raj Comics scrapped the publishing of general issues for its top two heroes Dhruva and Nagraj, although they continued to publish general issues for other superheroes. From 1991-1995, the frequency of Dhruva’s solo general issues kept on decreasing and solo special issues kept on increasing.

GENL #585 “Chandakal Ki Wapasi”, published in 1995, was the character’s last solo general issue. Since then, Dhruva has only been seen in the special issues. With this transition from general issues to special issues, Sinha’s storytelling also changed. Dhruva’s comics now contain more science fiction-based time and space travels.

Instead of fighting thugs, he was now fighting against supervillains, aliens, and even demons. He was not solving cases anymore, but was saving the world from bigger threats. Although a few fans objected to this transformation of the character, most accepted this change. In spite of this flurry of sci-fi/mythical superhero acts, Sinha strived not to lose the basic essence of the character.

In the midst of these superhero acts, Sinha came up with some iconic and critically acclaimed issues exploring Dhruva’s personal life and human side of his character. One such issue was SPCL #64 “Commander Natasha”, published in 1996. This issue dealt with Robo’s and Natasha’s past and brought turmoil in Dhruva’s love life eventually ending with Natasha leaving Dhruva and joining Robo’s crime syndicate once again.

Although Dhruva’s origin was explained very clearly in his first issue itself, not much was known about his family background. SPCL #100 “Khooni Khandaan” published in 1997 was a landmark issue in many ways. Not only was it the hundredth special issue published by Raj Comics, it was also the first of an iconic three part series that dealt with Dhruva’s family background. Dhruva comes to know that his biological father was actually a French citizen on the run, wanted for murder. What ensues was an emotional journey for Dhruva to prove his dead father’s innocence and remove the stigma of being a murderer from his name.

SPCL #2245 “Gupt”, dealt with the turmoils and side effects of being a superhero without an alter ego. A new supervillain Alchemist targeted Dhruva’s foster family forcing him to wonder whether it was a mistake to become a crime fighter without a secret identity and jeopardising his family’s security.

Around the year 1995, when Sanjay Gupta got busy with the development of a new superhero Doga, he handed over the job of writing and drawing Nagraj to Anupam Sinha. This paved the way for one of the greatest superhero partnerships in Raj Comics. Dhruva and Nagraj, though popular individually, failed to make a mark when they came together twice before, both issues written by Sanjay Gupta. In 1996, Sinha came up with SPCL #67 “Rajnagar Ki Tabahi”. This mega 90 page issue brought the 2 superheroes together for the third time overall but for the first time under the writing of Anupam Sinha. It was a huge critical and commercial success for Raj Comics. Raj Comics went on to declare the year 1997 as Nagraj Dhruva Double Action Year. This year saw all Raj Comics heroes featuring in two hero crossover issue with each other. Nagraj and Dhruva too featured in two back to back 90 pages two hero issues that year, “Pralay” & “Vinaash”, as part of the celebration of Nagraj Dhruva Double Action Year. Since then both Nagraj and Dhruva have appeared in many two-hero and multi-hero issues all of which have been huge hits. The biggest and most ambitious project of Raj Comics, “Nagayana“, based on Hindu epic Ramayana, was an 8 part futuristic series set in an alternate universe published in a span of 3 years from 2007-2009. This series too was a two hero project featuring Nagraj and Dhruva. Fans have likened the partnership of Nagraj-Dhruva with the SupermanBatman partnership in DC Comics, an invincible superhero and a superhero with no supernatural powers.

Dhruva was one of the few Indian comic book heroes that continued to be published regularly during The Dark Age of Indian Comics between 1997-2003 owing to his dedicated fan base.   While most of the Indian comic book publishing companies were shutting shops, Sinha continued to give timely boosts to Raj Comics through Dhruva-Nagraj crossover partnerships.

In 2000, SPCL #185 “Kohraam” was published which brought almost all superheroes together. Eventually in 2001, SPCL #235 “Jaljalaa” was published in which a superhero team “Brahmand Rakshak”(Protectors of the Universe) was formed, much on the lines of The Avengers and The Justice League. All Raj Comics superheroes including Dhruva became a member of this team.

From 1987 to 2010, Anupam Sinha worked on every single Dhruva solo titles as well as most of the multi-hero titles featuring Dhruva. All these years, various writers worked on Dhruva (most notably Jolly Sinha) but Anupam Sinha was always attached to Dhruva titles in some or the other way, as a writer/co-writer and/or artist. In 2010 though, much to the disappointment of the fans, he declared that he will be taking an indefinite break from Super Commando Dhruva.   He wrote his last solo title for Dhruva in 2010 and ironically, or rather aptly, titled it “Game Over”. Sinha continued to work on Nagraj solo titles as well as multi-hero titles featuring Nagraj and Dhruva but stopped working on solo Dhruva titles. Raj Comics studio handed over the job of Dhruva solo titles to younger writers/artists.

Sinha always maintained a character continuity in his storylines throughout his solo and crossovers storylines. After Sinha left, with multiple writers working on the character simultaneously, it became more and more unclear as to which Dhruva storyline belongs to the original continuity and which does not. New Writers added subtle changes to the character, although keeping the basic essence of the character still intact. They tried to introduce some new facets to the character. Writer Abhishek Sagar tried to break away from the Anupam Sinha style of writing by giving his stories darker undertones. Even the artists showed the tendency to use darker colors in Sagar’s stories unlike Sinha whose artwork used to be brighter and more colorful. Nitin Mishracame up with contemporary storylines like ‘Hum Honge Kamyaab’ in 2010, which was his take on the controversies attached with the Commonwealth Games conducted in India in 2010. In this title Dhruva was shown to be more tech-savvy as compared to his earlier versions. In ‘Samudri Lutere’, Nitin Mishra showed a happier and brighter side of Dhruva. In this title, one of the Toads mentioned that Dhruva is a lover boy and Dhruva even displayed his musical talent as a good flautist. In Mandar Gangele’s ‘Gehri Chaal’, Dhruva shot an ad for ‘Anti-smoking campaign’. This was in contrast to Sinha’s Dhruva who never showed any inclination towards music, acting or solving realistic cases based on contemporary issues.

In October 2012, Raj comics launched Nagraj-Pratishodh Ki Jwala Silver Jubilee Edition at the 2nd Mumbai Films and Comics Convention. It was a deluxe edition that contained the reprints of the debut issues of Nagraj and Dhruva on jumbo (34.6 * 24.8 cm) sized papers to celebrate the completion of 25yrs of the two most popular characters of Raj comics.

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