Thursday, August 11, 2011


Several low-budget publishers who emerged in the post-war era of comics publishing in Turkey began a trend of printing comics from traced material, that is from transparet sheets onto which 'copyists' they employed had traced the comics from printed material. The material to be exploited in this manner were often foreign comics albums purchased from specialized bookshops in Istanbul or sometimes even older Turkish editions from previous years! Mandrake the Magician comics were not left untouched from this trend either, so several pre-war Mandrake adventures which had earlier saw Turkish editions in 1001 Roman, either in its regular weekly series or in the monthly "special issue" series, were reprinted over and over in traced editions in the first two decades of the pre-war era.
One of the pioneers of this fad was Hamid Şendur (1920-?*), who is best known in Turkish comics history for putting out the first Turkish comics headlining Tintin in 1958 and whose first incursion into publication business seems to have been with the children's weekly Çocuk Alemi [Children's World] early in 1947. My collection of Çocuk Alemi is sparse and the earliest issues from this weekly with traced Mandrake comics in my collection are from 1950; the above scan, featuring a pre-war adventure earlier serialized in 1001 Roman, is from vol. 4 no. 55, dated April 15th, 1950. Meanwhile, Mandrake was also featured in Şendur's shorter lived all-comics weekly Kara Maske (1947-48) from no. 10 onwards, with again material earlier published in 1oo1 Roman. The children's weekly Ateş put out by Şendur in 1953 also serialized a traced reprint edition of a pre-war Mandrake adventure.
A very long-lived weekly comics printing traced material was 1001 Özel [1001 Special], published by Kemal Uzcan throughout the 1950s, titled as such in apparent attempt to cash-in on the popularity of the special issues of 1001 Roman from the previous decade. Actually, no. 67 (undated, but from estimated as late 1953) is a traced reprint of 1001 Roman monthly "special issue" no. 66 (Sept. 1945), with a few additional filler-space comics, but with the same cover illustration, this time signed by elusive Yılmaz, a signature frequently seen on the covers of traced comics from the same decade:

The no.'s 204-205 (undated, but estimated as mid-1956) of 1001 Özel featured a traced reprint of Mandrake's first-ever adventure, below scan is of no. 205:
Another traced reprint of a pre-war Mandrake adventure, which like all of the above-mentioned adventures had earlier been published in 1001 Roman, was also serialized in the first 16 issues of Küçük Afacan published by Erdoğan Egeli (1925-83) in 1955. This was Egeli's first publication, and unlike Şendur and Uzcan before him, he would soon upgrade to 'proper' publication techniques and become Turkey's leading comics publisher for the next two decades, introducing (licensed editions of) Italian western comics to Turkey.
(*) Şendur was arrested in 1966 on charges of espionage for the Soviet Union and sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment. In 1969, he mysteriously escaped from prison and was unheard of since then.


Smurfswacker said...

Do you know why the Turkish publishers bothered to hire trace artists rather than simply shooting film from the printed comics?

Today you couldn't get away with it, of course, given the Internet and the big publishers' copyright-protection frenzy. But in 1950 I doubt King Features knew much about what was happening in Turkish comic books. The Turkish publisher could have saved the price of his artists' salaries.

Kaya Özkaracalar said...

I have a few ideas on the ratioanale of the tracing boom: 1) The price of film must have been more expensive than the price of transparent sheets; and the tracers were also utilized for caligraphy (Turkish-language lettering of speech balloons, etc) in any case. 2) the format of the original printed source materials might not suit the format to be printed in Turkey and re-formating thru tracing is easier and less-time consuming.