We all know Amitabh Bachchan as the evergreen, legendary “dishoom dishoom” actor who has been featured in more than 180 films in Bollywood. Throughout his career, he has taken on many roles outside of Bollywood mega stardom such as delving into politics, working as a producer, narrator, television game show host, and doting grandfather.
There is one avatar, however, that many people are not aware of: “Big B” was featured in a comic book as a superhero. Yes, you read correctly, he was in a comic series as a superhero!
The series was published in 1980 by the India Book House, dubbed Supremos. In the comic book, Bachchan was featured as himself the actor in the “real world,” but wears masks to hide his true identity. He fights alongside two sidekicks, Vijay and Antony—together they make up the Supremos allies who fight crime on a beautiful island.
The island is a safe and magical place but once in a while thieves try to take custody of the island. Supremo and his allies have the task of staying vigilant to fight off the thieves and other villains. The basic premise gets even trippier. Sonali is the golden whale that guards the ocean around the island and Shaheen is the swift falcon who surveys the island from the sky and alerts Bachchan of trouble.
To save the day, Bachchan transforms into Supremo and sweeps in to save the island. Unlike other superheroes with superhuman power, he is relatively standard. He uses normal strength and intelligence to fight crime. His sidekicks come in hand since they also run point on different ends to attack the enemy.
In the comic, Bachchan loves peanuts and music just like Popeye loves his spinach. But unlike Popeye who gets super strength from the spinach, the peanuts and music are all typical likes because hey, why not?
The comic book carried messages from Bachchan to his fans since the comic book was a reflection of his life. The creators say the comic was inspired by an incident where three children were playing superheroes. One wanted to be Superman so that he could fly. The second one wanted to be Batman so that he could hide in the night in any building. The third one who inspired the entire concept said he wanted to be Amitabh Bachchan so that he could beat ten men in one shot. The scene was from one of Bachchan’s movies. The creators felt they owed it to the children from that generation, to create a hero they could relate to, in regards to culture and language.
The Supremo comic was published in both English and Hindi under the Star Comics line, a product of the same publishing house. The character was designed by Pratap Mullick and Amar Chitra Katha. The comic book went uninterrupted for almost two years before it was discontinued. Copies of the comic are still available in online bookshops.