Friday, August 12, 2011
MANDRAKE IN AFACAN (1942-43)
While Mandrake the Magician was already being serialized in Türkiye Yayınevi's 1001 Roman during the war-time era, it also appeared simultanously for about a year in another comics weekly from a different publisher. The weekly in question was Afacan published by Ömer Lütfi Tarhan in 1942-43. The fact that two different publishers carried Mandrake simultanously indicates that neither of them had officially licensed it. Mandrake, billed here as "Büyücüler Kralı [King of the Wizards]", a slight variation on 1001 Roman's "Sihirbazlar Kralı [King of the Magicians]" tagline, began to be featured on the cover pages of Afacan from its first issue (dated July 30th, 1942) onwards. The adventures reprinted in color in the covers originated from adventures originally serialized in the color Sunday newspapers in the US: 'Altın Şehirde [In the Golden City]', a Sunday adventure originally from 1939, in no.'s 1-21, 'Fuarda', a Sunday gag-continuity from 1938, in no.'s 22-25, and an untitled (whose origin I couldn't yet identify) gag in no. 26.
Beginning with no. 27, Mandrake was shifted onto the b&w interior pages of Afacan. The first adventure to be serialized there was titled as 'Hırsızlar Peşinde [Following the Thieves]', which was the Turkish edition of Mandrake's fourth daily strip adventure in terms of the sequence of the strip's original run in the US newspapers. Ateş, 1001 Roman's precessor from 1937-38, had curiously skipped this adventure from 1935, where Mandrake meets the soon-to-be-recurrent villain Clay Camel for the first time, when it had serialized the earliest strips. Unfortunately, the Turkish edition in Afacan is incomplete as well as censored. Afacan began to serialize it half way through the original continuity (from strip originally dated 9-16 onwards) and left out the final four daily strips as well, hence actually leaving Narda with Clay Camel disguised as Mandrake! In addition, two kissing sequences are completely deleted from the Turkish edition. See below the second instance from an Italian reprint (from 1991) and its Turkish counterpart from Afacan:
Also note that the scantily-clad Narda's bare belly has been painted over to make her appear dressed more modestly..
After 'Hırsızlar Peşinde' ended rather prematurely, an untitled Mandrake adventure began on no. 33. This was the 'werewolf' adventure, the 5th daily strip continuity which had previously been serialized in Ateş in 1938. By this time, the dire economic situation of the war-time era was apparently taking its toll on Afacan as paper and printing quality began to detoriate. Mandrake would be missing in no. 37 and when it resumed in the next issue, the image quality was at an all-time low. With no. 39, Afacan began to print Mandrake in a traced form. And that would not last long either as the werewolf adventure was left incomplete on no. 40 (*). Afacan, without Mandrake, survived for two more issues only.
(*) Actually, I am not sure if the werewolf adventure had been carried to its conclusion in Ateş either as the last few issues of that publication are missing in my collection.