Sunday, October 25, 2009
DEBUT OF FLASH GORDON IN TURKEY
While it has been reported that 'Bringing Up Father' was published in a Turkish magazine before the 1930s, it can safely be said that the potential of the comics medium was first realized by Mehmet Gürtunca in 1935. Two children's magazines published by Gürtunca, Çocuk Sesi and Afacan, were giving place to comics among its pages alonside stories, etc. Afacan's 1st series, which started in 1932, capitalized on Mickey Mouse strip continuities. Both Afacan and Çocuk Sesi, which had started in 1930, also published humorous juvenile comics continuities by Orhan Tolon, regarded as the first Turkish comics artist. Afacan's 2nd series, which started in 1934, began running 'Avcı Baytekin' (Jungle Jim) and Tarzan. Then, 'Baytekin' (Flash Gordon) began in color in the center pages of Çocuk Sesi with no. 281 (13.5.1935) and caused a big sensation.
Above: cover of Çocuk Sesi no. 381, announcing the start of the amazing adventures of Baytekin. Below: two further covers of Çocuk Sesi from 1935.
On July 6th, Gürtunca's Ülkü Yayınevi (Ülkü Publishing House) published an Avcı Baytekin album, which is apparently the first comics book ever published in Turkey. It was followed in August with six Secret Agent X-9 albums, confusingly titled Baytekin (it should be noted that the Turkish publishers presented all three characters by Alex Raymond as if they were the same character, venturing into the jungles, into the space and working as a secret police from time to time!). In September, seven Mickey Mouse albums and at least three more Baytekin (X-9) albums were published. It was claimed that some of these albums, for instance the Baytekin / X-9 ones, reached a circulation of 50,000.