Tuesday, December 25, 2007


'Winnie Winkle', chronicling the deeds of a young woman who was the sole "breadwinner" in her household, was one of the longest-running American strips. Toonopedia says that it "wasn't the first newspaper strip with a "working girl" theme. [...] But it's the first to attract a lot of attention. [...] Thus, it was Winnie who paved the way for all the strips about working women to come". 'Winnie Winkle the Breadwinner', as it was originally titled, was started in 1920 by Martin Branner for the Chicago Tribune Syndicate. A few years into the strip, Winnie adopted a street kid named Perry, who became the star of the new Sunday page which entailed his mischiefs along with his gang of friends known as "the Rinkeydinks". ' Winnie Winkler' was adapted into cinema in the form of a series of comedy shorts between 1926-28 and two 'Perry Winkle and the Rinkeydinks' big little books were published between 1937-38, but none had their own comics books titles in the pre-war and the wartime era.

In Europe, the Winnie strip does not appear to have taken hold, but the Perry and the Rinkeydinks comics became quite popular. In France, where Perry was renamed as "Bicot" (and Winnie as "Suzan"), Hachette published 14 comics albums featuring him between 1926-39; after the war, French artists themselves would make even further Bicot comics.
In Turkey, Perry and the Rinkeydinks were renamed as 'Cin ve Arkadaşları [Cin and Friends]' and serialized in the weekly children's magazine Mektepli in 1934. It is Winnie who appears at the end of the second page in the below samples; I wonder if her somewhat odd-looking skirt shows sign of censorship of revealing legs or was it that way in the original version:

Mektepli, published by A.Sami, had started in 1932 and is known to have lasted until at least 1935, but I have only issues from 1934 in my collection. 'Felix the Cat' also made a very sparodic appearance in the magazine, but he was billled as 'Miki Fare [Mickey Mouse]'!!.. Besides 'Cin ve Arkadaşları', two longer running comics in Mektepli in 1934 were a humourous comics with Laurel & Hardy look-alikes titled as 'Bodurla Gagaburunun Maceraları' and a light adventure comics titled as 'Pire ile Çekirge'; none of whose original sources I could identify:

It is worth noting that while running very light comics clearly aimed at a juvenile readership profile, Mektepli frequently published quite disturbing illustrations, referring to (non-comics) text stories published inside, on its covers:

Saturday, December 22, 2007


The above comics began to be serialized in Afacan's first series (1932-34) and continued for several years in the subsequent second series as well. It tells the story of a mischievous kid, named "Pire Nuri" in this Turkish edition, who eventually embarks on an adventure in Africa, befriending a black native kid who from that point on in the serial accompanies him thereafter in subsequent adventures as well. Some of the caligraphy inside the pictures (such as the one on the window in last panel in the above scan) are in French, but a signature as "D.Camus" is visible in some panels; I couldn't find any reference anywhere to an artist with this name.


Comics featuring comedy actors/characters from early cinema were a staple of pre-war comics. Comics of Charlie Chaplin, the biggest comedy star of the era, were naturally the most prominent examples of this genre. 'Charlie Chaplin's Comic Capers' began in a Chicago newspaper in 1915, only one year after Chaplin's film career had started, but lasted for only two years. During its relatively brief run, more than one artist worked on it in succession but the last was E.C. Segar, who would later gain fame as the creator of 'Popeye'.

Chaplin comics would be far more durable in France where this star is called as "Charlot". In 1921, 'Les Aventures Acrobatiques de Charlot' by Raoul Thomen started in the weekly children's magazine Cri-Cri published by S.P.E. Between 1926-35, these comics were reprinted in 13 albums. Cri-Cri ceased publication in 1937 and the last two Les Aventures Acrobatiques de Charlot albums of the pre-war era were published in 1938. After the war, all of these albums by would be reprinted in an abridged form and in the 1950s, a new series titled simply as Charlot would begin with new artists, among them Jean-Claude Forrest who would later create 'Barbarella'.

The Charlie Chaplin comics published in Turkey in the weekly children's magazine Afacan are black & white Turkish editions of 'Les Aventures Acrobatiques de Charlot' which were originally printed in color in France; for example, the sample above is from the Turkish edition of the 'Charlot est bon enfant' episode (thanks to S.P.E. expert François for this identification). Charlot (Turkish spelling: Şarlo) comics appeared only sparodically in Afacan's first series (1932-34), alternating with other comics pages featuring other comedy actors, but were regularly serialized in its 2nd series which began in 1934. The most frequent cinema comics appearing in Afacan's first series was a Laurel & Hardy page:

The French Cri-Cri magazine, which had ran 'Les Aventures Acrobatiques de Charlot' had also ran a highly popular 'Les mésaventures de Laurel et Hardy' comics by Mat [Marcel Turin], but it had started in 1934, so can not be the source of the above Turkish edition which began appearing in 1932. On the other hand, a Laurel & Hardy comics by George Wakefield was ran in the British magazine Film Fun in the 1930s, but I couldnot find out when it had precisely started.

Another comics published in Afacan's first series featured Harold Lloyd and this one almost certainly appears to originate from Film Fun (and hence make it probable that the above comics might have also originated from that source):



Afacan, whose first issue came out on Oct. 13th, 1932, would be one of the major children's magazines in Turkey in the 1930s. First and foremost, Afacan is notable for introducing 'Mickey Mouse' strips to Turkish readers (a subject which I had covered in an article on pre-war Disney comics in Turkey I wrote to Tomart's Disneyana), but it also included several other comics in its roster.
Afacan, in its first series (1932-34), was a very large-sized periodical in the format of newspapers. The bottom part of its front page featured a humor strip (re-)titled as 'Cabi Efendi' which is the only non-Disneyic foreign strip in Afacan that I can identify definitely: It is the Belgian-French daily strip 'Pietje'/'Pitche' by Alek Stonkus. It had began in Belgium as 'Pietje' in 1930 and was published in France as 'Pitche' until 1950. A rather murkily phrased statement in Lambiek.net indicates it might be the first non-American daily strip in France. Anyway, its Turkish version 'Cabi Efendi' is the first strip published in Turkey which I encountered so far that used speech balloons and did not use text outside the panels. All other strips published in Turkey till then were either published without speech balloons or with both speech balloons and extra-panel texts.
In the early 1930s, 'Cabi Efendi' was also published in Çocuk Sesi, another children's weekly put out by the same publisher as Afacan's.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Between 1940-46, Türkiye Yayınevi, Turkey's leading comics publisher in the war era, published 75 monthly "special issues" of 1001 Roman alongside the weekly comics magazine of the same title. While several different comics titles were simultanously serialized in the weekly magazine, each "special" issue headlined a complete episode of a single comics. While popular titles such as Mandrake the Magician, Phantom, Tim Tyler's Luck and Secret Agent X-9 dominated the series, several issues were devoted to obscure one-shot titles such as no. 17 (May 1941) whose covers is shown above.
The Turkish title translates as "Beyond the Ocean". It is 20 pages long (with 4 rows in each page) and recounts the plight of the Italian migrants in America. The story begins in 1902. Poor Italians sign up to migrate to America to work there. The heroes' names are Bruno, Marco and Cigli (sp?). Hardships begin on the ship voyage. They are taken to Argentina rather than the USA and begin a very hard life there as farmers. In the story's end, years have passed and the young and healthy new generation sign up to return home as volunteers when the news of "great war" break out.
If anyone knows any info, such as the original title, creators, etc, about the original source of this historical curiosity, please let us know.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


The title of Italian author Umberto Eco's 2004 novel La Misteriosa Fiamma della Regina Loana (The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana) is taken from the title of an Italian pre-war comics album of an episode of the American comic strip 'Tim Tyler's Luck'. The novel concerns the attempts of an ageing and ill Italian man to recover his childhood memories by going over old books and magazines stocked in a country house he had lived as a child. Prominent among the treasures he rediscovers are vintage comics hidden in a chapel in the garden. Since this blog will chronicle discovering, rediscovering and musing on similar material -though fortunately under less dramatic circumstances-, I find it fitting to title it as such. And hence, it is also appropriate to start it with looking at 'Tim Tyler's Luck'.

'Tim Tyler's Luck' was an American comics strip created in 1928 by Lyman Young, whose younger brother Chic would go on to greater fame with 'Blondie' in the ensuing years. Several ghost artists worked on it, including the legendary Alex Raymond. The title hero was an adventerous orphan who, together with a friend named Spud, settled in Africa after the strip's first few year's of more juvenile storylines, joining a colonial jungle police force called the Ivory Patrol. Even though the strip was sufficiently popular in its country of origin to spawn a movie serial in 1937, it seems to have been more popular in Europe, perhaps because Europeans had more at stake in maintaining colonialism in Africa. In any case, American adventure comics strips of all kinds originating in the pre-war era appears in general to have been more popular in Europe than in the US (whereas American super-hero comics have failed to make much of an impression in Europe).

The first time Tim Tyler appeared outside of newspapers was probably an illustrated story book published by the NY & Ohio-based Saalfield Publ. Co. in 1934 (see the cover above). Two Tim Tyler's Luck 'big little books' would also be published in 1937 and 1939; and the reprints of the strips themselves would be serialized in Ace Comics from 1937 onwards. However, there were no comics headlining 'Tim Tyler's Luck' in the US in the pre-war years. The first US-edition Tim Tyler comic book came only in 1942 and even that was a one-shot publication.
Meanwhile in Italy, Tim and Spud re-named as "Cino e Franco" were the main feature of a comics magazine titled Il Giornale di Cino e Franco published by the the Firenze[Florence]-based comics publisher Nerbini between 1935-38. Nerbini also had published 17 adventures of Cino e Franco in a series of comics albums between 1934-38 and a further ten Cino e Franco albums were put out by the same publisher in a new series between 1940-41 (the Nerbini 'albums' are soft-cover comics books in oblong format).
The first French-edition Tim Tyler album was published by Hachette in 1934 as a one-shot titled Fred et Tim en Afrique. In the ensuing years however, Tim and Spud would be re-named as "Raoul et Gaston" in France. 17 issues of the oblong-format Collection Appel de la Jungle, which ran for a total of 26 issues, published by Moderne between 1938-40 were Raoul et Gaston titles.
After the war, the title was picked up by Sage which initially published nine 8-pages long mini-albums of Raoul et Gaston between 1945-46. Then, Sage began publishing the Aventures et Mystére series whose 19 issues between 1947-49 were Raoul et Gaston titles, most of which were reprints of the pre-war Collection Appel de la Jungle series while some were newer adventures. Below are covers of the some of the Raoul et Gaston titles from Aventures et Mystére series:

As for the Turkish editions... 'Tim Tyler's Luck' debutted in the first monthly "special issue" of the weekly comics magazine 1001 Roman on January 1940. This first special issue actually headlined Mandrake the Magician and an 8-pages long 'Tim Tyler's Luck' episode titled 'Kara Kaplan [Black Tiger]' was used as filler space. However, 'Tim Tyler's Luck' soon began to be serialized in the main 1001 Roman beginning with weekly no. 39 under the title 'İki İzci [Two Boyscouts]' where Spud was re-named as Sarp while Tim's name remained unchanged. On the other hand, nine monthly "special issues" over the years would be İki İzci titles. Plot synopsises and reviews of İki İzci episodes will hopefully be presented in this blog in the near future.