Kalimán; from the radio to the collective imagination

08/02/2021

Vigilante by determination, skilled by training and powerful by nature; he is Kalimán, a paladin who travels around the world fighting against evildoers and criminals. 

This equanimous hero is not like any other, in his veins runs divine blood, because according to his story, he is the seventh male descendant of the dynasty of the goddess Kali, considered the Universal Mother of Hinduism and destroyer of evil and demons.

The premise of this fiction, which could well be a kind of myth about the figure of the warlord, caught thousands and thousands of Mexican men and women who welcomed into their homes the adventures of "Kalimán; el hombre increíble", a story created by Héctor González Dueñas (also known as Víctor Fox) and Clemente Uribe, which marked the history of entertainment in our country.

Kalimán is not alone, at his side is his colleague, accomplice, and disciple Solín, a child with an innocent character who admires him and, as the protagonist, not only believes in a just world free from evil, but in his existence, he carries the honor of a high-ranking family, because according to him, he is a descendant of the Egyptian pharaohs.

The first arrival of this story to popular culture was through Radio Cadena Nacional, a radio station that in 1963 began broadcasting this radio soap opera. Soon, the voices of Luis Manuel Pelayo, as Kalimán, Luis de Alba, as Solín and Isidro Olace, in the narration, were well received by the attentive ears of Mexicans eager to listen to the adventures of this mystical and incredibly intelligent superhero.

Vampires, thieves, witches, assassins, monks, big-time criminals and, of course, Araña Negra, his main enemy, are some of the adversaries Kalimán faces with his dagger and a variety of countless supernatural abilities.

From hypnosis, astral travel and change of appearance, to telepathy, telekinesis and levitation are some of the skills that, along with his martial arts training and scientific knowledge, make Kaliman an unrivaled figure and a surefire hero.

The first arrival of Kalimán's story to popular culture was through the radio in 1963. Image: Ministry of Culture
The first arrival of Kalimán's story to popular culture was through the radio in 1963. Image: Ministry of Culture

Two years after his debut on the radio, in 1965 Kalimán invaded another sense of the Mexican audience, this time the paladin dominated the sight of Mexicans, as his adventures were transferred to a comic strip that became a success that spread throughout Central America.

The comic strip remained for several years as one of the best sellers in our country, the adventures of this hero were published for 26 years without interruption and a total of 1,351 consecutive issues were published.

This made Kalimán become a referent of popular culture. Phrases such as "He who dominates the mind dominates everything" and "Serenity and patience... much patience", characteristic expressions of Kalimán, were engraved in the collective imagination and today are remembered with affection, because surely this story marked more than one person and made them fantasize about scenarios where justice and good always triumph.

By Mexicanist