Dara is a comic strip character created by Mahabali Comics in Delhi, India in the 1970s. Dara was created in the likeness of the Phantom by Mahabali Comics, to compete against the popular Phantom comic book series being published by Indrajal Comics in India at the time.
Similar to the Phantom, Dara wears a skin tight costume with a mask (without the eyes showing), a belt with gun holsters and his trunks are on the outside. Different to the Phantom however, Dara has his hair showing, wears a cape and wears gloves over his hands.
The Phantom Connection
Whilst fighting crime, Dara is washed up on the Bengali shore, where he crosses path with the Phantom in the Jungle (who is referred to as ‘Betal’, ‘Vetal’ and/or ‘Veraal’ in the comic story, the Phantoms name in Hindi). At the time, the Phantom is riding through the Jungle on Hero, with Dara also riding through the Jungle on his horse named ‘Chetak’.
A lengthy fight ensues between the Phantom and Dara (with even the 2 horses clashing), as Dara believes that the Phantom is a Pakistani Agent. They eventually both fall unconscious due to the fight. When they regain their senses, they immediately become friends and both part ways on their respective horses, with the story ending on a happy note.
Mahabali Comic #3
The above comic story if found in edition number 3, titled ‘Mahabali Dara Betal Se Takkar’ which translated from Hindi to ‘Battel With Betal’, published by Mahabali Comics in India in September, 1971. The comic book contains 36 pages, a mix of color and black and white. The comic strip containing the Phantom is published over 16 pages.
Below we see Mahabali Comics edition number 3 featuring the Phantom, with an image of the Phantom and Dara seen on the front cover. A preview of edition number 4 is seen on the back cover.
The story is written by Dayashankar Mishra and illustrated by Suman, with the editor noted as Pradeep Priyadarshi. The 16 page comic strip featuring the Phantom and Dara can be seen below in Hindi text.