In 1990, the world was introduced to Captain Planet — a superhero who saved the earth from pollutants and mutants created by eco-hazards. Aiding him on his quest were his young Planeteers — Kwame (Earth), Wheeler (fire), Lika (wind), Gi (water) and Ma-Ti (heart). Captain Planet taught a whole generation of youngsters that it was, in fact, cool to be green.
Almost twenty years later, Indian kids get ready to welcome their very own legion of green heroes — Cosmo, Masamba, Al, Jal, and Kenji — in the form of a comic book series titled Soldiers of the Earth. Created by Teri Press with conceptual inputs by none other than action star Akshay Kumar, these comics are part of an Environmental Educational program.
Currently a four-part series, the protagonists of the comics are four children and one dodo. These kids, living in different parts of the world, have a super power each and communicate with each other with the elements of environment.
The aim of the project, say the organisers, is to “create a boy scout-like movement, consisting of battalions of young soldiers” who are environmentally sensitised and will work towards saving the world, a small effort at a time.
Though there only few green heroes per se, the world of comics has often picked up environmental causes. Comic book fan Arun Pandey, 28, recalls, “At the end of the He-Man cartoon there was always an eco-friendly message or a moral of the story, I learnt a lot from them.”
Rohan Sharma, 26, thinks Swat Cats are eco-warriors too as they’re always fighting villains who threaten to release toxic waste into the environment. Pop-cult comic books like Archie often had green editions, where the characters spoke about ways to save the earth. DC Comics’ Swamp Thing was another character who fought to save his home, a swamp, and the environment.
Conceptualised by Akshay Kumar, the first book in the series is called Tronomega to Earth. All books are made from recycled paper. Price: Rs 75
And here are some other green warriors:
A humanoid mass of vegetable matter, he fights against threats to the environment and humanity
A chemical reaction in a swamp transforms biochemist Dr Sallis into a vaguely humanoid creature
This supervillain has the power of radioactivity and threatens to destroy the earth using it