Mayavi is a popular Malayalam cartoon strip that features in the children's magazine Balarama which is published by the Malayala Manorama group. The comic is written by Mohan and drawn by Mohandas. Mayavi, the protagonist in the story, is a good imp, who helps keep the forest safe from villains and black magicians. Most of the stories revolve around how Kutoosan and his cadre of black magicians aim at capturing Mayavi, but fail with drastic consequences.
Mayavi takes place is a secluded forest in Kerala. In the local language Malayalam Mayavi means a magical wizard. It is not exactly known when the story takes place. As the target audience is young, the story takes the liberty to draw a fantasy world, in which magicians, demons and other strange creatures exist. However, despite the simplicity and slapstick comedy, Mayavi became one of the most widely read children's comics in Malayalam.
Mayavi, a good imp, is the main character of the story. However, despite being the protagonist, very little is known about him. The comics picture him to be staying alone in a forest, without any notable family. Mayavi is loathed by the evil creatures and villains of the forest. Robbers who often take refuge in the forest to hide, are brought to light by Mayavi. Apart from the power of invisibility, Mayavi is not known to possess any magical powers, but derives them from his wand. This handicap has been one of the prominent vulnerabilities that are often exploited by the black magicians who try to capture him. Once his wand is lost, his imp characteristics command him to be enslaved in a bottle by the one who holds his wand.
Raju and Radha are teenage friends of Mayavi. The similarity of their names suggest them to be siblings, however it is not verified in any version of the comic. The children are depicted as roaming about alone in the forest. They befriend Mayavi after helping him escape from the witch Dakini, who had enslaved him in a bottle.
The children are often imprisoned by Kutoosan and Daakini in a bid to lure Mayavi and thereby trap him. Another common storyline is one in which the children overhear the planning or execution of some dastardly crime. In such situations the children summon Mayavi using the mantra: "Oam hreem kutichathaa.". Mayavi then appears and saves them and the forest from trouble.
A black magician who lives in a hollow tree trunk in the same forest, Kutoosan is one of the main villains in the comic. The storyline depicts capturing Mayavi as the sole purpose of Kutoosan's life. He often goes out of the way, befriending beasts and other dangerous dark creatures in order to satisfy his aim. However, his clumsiness in handling matters related to magic, eventually leads him into trouble. His stupidity and stubbornness is a frequent source of humour in the comic.
Daakini, a witch, is one of the close aides of Kutoosan. However, despite being a witch, she is often depicted as taking a rather replusive approach to Kutoosan's magic. She is noted as much for her cowardice as for her noodle hair.
Well into her old age, she teams up with Kutoosan with the aim of capturing Mayavi. She and Kutoosan also never leave out a chance to catch Raju and Radha, who they know to be friends of Mayavi.
Luttappi is a short, red devil, bearing an uncanny resemblance to Hot Stuff the Little Devil, who works as an aide of Kutoosan. One of the primary sources of humour in the comic, Luttappi is noted for his cheekiness and cowardice. His stupidity and over excitedness often lands everyone in trouble. Luttappi owns the kuntam, a spear that can be propelled in flight (akin to flying brooms used in witchcraft). Manned by Luttappi, the kuntam serves as a convenient mode of transport for Luttappi's comrades – Daakini and Kutoosan.
Luttappi stays with Kutoosan at his home in the tree trunk. Despite being a very resourceful aide, Luttappi isn't always at good terms with Kutoosan and Dakini, who, on their part, take little effort in hiding their dislike. Luttappi is often portrayed as doing all the housework for Kutoosan. He is also often shown as grumbling and cursing under his breath.
Vikraman and Muthu are two notorious convicts, who are wanted by the local police. The comic pictures them as using the forest as a hideout after breaking out of jail. Vikraman and Muthu are friends of Kutoosan. However, their friendship is strictly limited to the mutual benefits they gain out of it. Vikraman and Muthu are never portrayed as having a grudge against Mayavi. However, they often assist Kutoosan and Daakini in order to capture him.
Vikraman and Muthu's primary aim is to procure as much wealth and power as they can. In most Mayavi comics featuring them, they are seen conspiring on a break in to the bank or jeweller at the local town. However, all their plans are foiled by Mayavi, who is usually alerted by Raju and Radha.
Lottulodukku and Gulgulumalu are two evil scientists who invent new gadgets and ideas to destroy the world.They are afraid of Vikraman and Muthu,who steal their inventions and use these tools for their purposes such as robbing the bank and breaking into people's houses.But Vikraman and Muthu always get into trouble using those gadgets.Their enemies are Raju and Radha, and they are always looking a chance to kill them.
Uncle of Luttappi, unlike Luttappi, he is dark gray in colour.He is much bigger in size than Luttappi.Kuttusan and Dakkini go to Puttalu's den to steal many charms and portions to trap Mayavi, but they get trapped in Puttalu's trap instead.
Everybody is afraid of Puttalu, but Puttalu does not have very significant role in Mayavi.He enjoys sleeping and don't want Luttapi to wander with Kuttusan and Dakkini.