Sunday, November 29, 2009


In this post, I will cover two orientalist adventure comics serialized in Britain's Mickey Mouse Weekly. 'Gordon Gale - Air Rover' by British artist Stephan Chapman began in no. 43, dated Nov. 28th, 1936. It tells the story of the title hero, a pilot-mechanic who has invented a special type of plane called Hydro-Gyro. In its first full-fledged test flight, he is accompanied by a young woman who is desperate to deliver some papers to her uncle in Africa. First half of the story takes place in Morocco where the protagonists are assaulted by Arabs:

Morocco was under French occupation at the time, and several textual references to the Arabs as "rebels" testify to the colonialist stand of the comics. Furthermore, in one instance, the Arabs are also humiliated for lacking the know-how of the westerners:

The second half of the story takes place in tropical Africa, with appropriate jungle perils:

The comics ends with the protagonists getting hold of a treasure and becoming wealthy, ie. by looting Africa...

Right after 'Gordon Gale - Air Rover' ended, another orientalist comics, titled 'Green Eyes', started in its place in no. 53, dated Feb. 6th, 1937:
'Green Eyes', by an unknown author and whose plot is apparently inspired from the Hollywood film The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932), tells the story of the title villain's attempt to get hold of four scarabs (all in London, but apparently brought to the UK from the Orient, ie. stolen in the first place!) which will somehow give him authority over certain "tribes" in Egypt (under British occupation at the time). Admittedly, this comics features several visuals with delicious imagery:

Even routine action scenes are well staged:

In the end, Green Eyes manages to get the scarabs back to Egypt, but secret service agents trail him:

It all ends happily -for the westerners, of course, and not for the Egyptians..
If anyone knows the artist of 'Green Eyes', please let us know.
Both 'Gordon Gale - Air Rover' and 'Green Eyes' were also serialized in the Turkish children's magazine Çocuk Sesi. The former was re-titled as 'Havalar Kahramanı Bay Metin', with the protagonist given the Turkish name Bay Metin! It started in no. 366, dated Dec. 28, 1936, only one month after its original debut in MMW.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


'The Pussycat Princess', created by Grace Drayton (1877-1936), one of the first female comics artists in the world, was serialized in the Turkish children's magazine Çocuk Sesi in 1936 under the title 'Prenses Sarmanın Serüvenleri' [The Adventures of Princess Sarman (a popular Turkish name given to cats)]. The above scan is of the first installement of the series published in no. 335, dated May 25th, 1936. With the next installement in the subsequent issue, the comics began to be reprinted in proper format without the superflous texts beneath the panels:

Drayton would unfortunately die of a heart attack in 1936, a year after she started 'the Pussycat Princess' which would be continued by other artists. The comics serialized in Çocuk Sesi date originally from 1935 and are by Drayton herself.
Drayton's 'Pussycat Princess' was also ran in Italy's I tre porcellini comics magazine in 1935.


An obscure children's adventure comics with fantasy elements was serialized in the Turkish children's magazine Çocuk Sesi between 1935-36. Titled as 'Yamanla Duman' [Yaman and Duman], it told of the adventures of two teenage kids, initially accompanied by their parrot (which seems to have disappeared in the later episodes).
The series began its run in no. 274, dated March 25th, 1935, with a typical orientalist (good whites versus bad Arabs) episode, admittedly with some mystery trappings. A train has simply vanished in the forests of Egypt and the two kids named Yaman and Duman boldly set out to solve the mystery. Below are scans of the first two pages:

Fantasy elements first begin to emerge with the appearance of two giant birds during the interim between the first and the second episodes:

Next, the kids come across a land of midgets whom they befriend:

After which they encounter a colony of ancient Egyptians:

The subsequent adventure kicks off with the kids being captured by what appears to be a giant octopus..

..which turns out to be a mechanical submarine in reality. The boys are taken to an enclave beneath the waters in which they encounter an evil robot!

Further adventures entail a return to the colony of ancient Egyptians where they are mummified to buried alive after the death of the phorah, encounter with giants, with cannibals et al... The run of the strips ends with no. 345, dated Aug. 3rd, 1936.
If anyone knows about the original source of this interesting comics, please let us know..

Friday, November 27, 2009


The Swedish gag-strip 'Adamson', featuring a cigar-smoking middle-aged man and created by Oscar Jacobson (1889-1945), was ran in the Turkish children's magazine Çocuk Sesi between 1934-36. The Turkish edition was initially titled as 'Bican Efendi', probably in an allusion to the Turkish short comedy film series from 1921 with the same name. However, the title was soon changed into 'Bican Aktüre' with the hero given a 'proper' a surname, in keeping with the government's modernization reforms which entailed introduction of surnames in Turkey!
As seen in the above scan (from no. 252, dated Oct. 22nd, 1934), the strip was accompanied with extensive extra-panel texts in the Turkish editions.
Adamson was reportedly syndicated in several other countries the throughout world.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Mandrake the Magician's Turkish debut came in 1935, less than a year after the strip's debut in the US. A weekly actuality magazine titled Büyük Gazete began to serialize Mandrake in its back covers beginning with its no. 30 on 13.5.1935. This makes Mandrake's Turkish debut one of the earliest known appearance of this hero outside newspapers anywhere in the world.
Below are scans of the beginning of Mandrake's first-ever adventure from its Turkish edition in Büyük Gazete, featuring the first-ever appearances of not only Mandrake and Lothar, but also of their arch-nemesis Cobra.

Note that the last two rows (dailies) feature the signature of artist Phil Davis; it has widely been reported that creator-writer Lee Falk was largely responsible for drawing the first few dailies before Davis took over drawing.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I've just realized that the 'Bobby & Chip' gag-a-week strip from Britain's Mickey Mouse Weekly (actually a British re-titling of Otto Messner's 'Bobby Dazzler') was also ran in the Turkish children's magazine Afacan in 1939. Re-titled as 'Hop ile Top', it debutted in the bottom third of the reverse side of the front cover of no. 221, dated Feb. 9th, 1939 (above scan). It turned into monochrome from no. 235 onwards and lasted till no. 249. Afacan had also ran some British-made Disney comics from MMW as well.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


As noted in an earlier post in this blog on Oct. 31st, the gag strip 'Bobby & Chip' (actually a British re-titling of Otto Messner's 'Bobby Dazzler') which had been running in Britain's Mickey Mouse Weekly since its inception was discontinued after no. 27, but resumed early in 1937. Its resumption was first heralded in no. 51's editorial page with the announcement that in the magazine's anniversary issue two weeks from then, "two old friends are coming on a visit to pages 6 and 7, laden with laughter." This news was made more explicit in the editorial of no. 52 with the 'two old friends' disclosed as Bobby and Chip, accompanied with the above illustration, whose artist is unknown. 'Bobby & Chip' would indeed resume in no. 53.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I've recently realized that the 'Bobby & Chip' gag comics, featured in Britain's Mickey Mouse Weekly for several years since its inception in 1936, had also been published in some US comics, including Mickey Mouse Magazine. The above scan is from vol. 4 no. 1 (Oct. 1938) of MMM, reprinting a 'Boby & Chip' gag from no. 15 (May 16th, 1936) of MMW (note that the above American reprint edition is missing the second panel of the original UK edition):
In the same year, 'Bobby & Chip' was also reportedly published in the no. 1 of a US publication titled Nickel Comics from Dell Publishing.
UPDATE FROM JUNE 18TH, 2011: As blog reader fortunato has noted in his comment appended to this post on May 4th, 2010, 'Bobby & Chip' is indeed a British re-titling of Otto Messner's 'Bobby Dazzler', the topper of Messner's Felix. I've recently even come across (in the original source of the 'Bobby & Chip' strips referred to in this post, the 'Bobby Dazzler' strip from Apr. 12, 1936:

Monday, November 2, 2009


Apart from gag comics, the non-Disneyic material in Britain's Mickey Mouse Magazine also included serious adventure comics. These consisted, on one had, of reprints of American Sunday newspaper comics in the color central pages, and, on the other, black&white comics by mostly British artists. Pioneer British newspaper comics artist Hugh Stanley White (1904-84) was responsible for most of the latter material in the early issues. The first issue of MMW, dated Feb. 8th, 1936, featured two comics by White: the full-page 'Ian on Mu' and the three-row 'Ginger Nick the Whaler'.
'Ian on Mu' is referred to as Britain's first science-fiction comics by online comics encyclopedia Lambiek. As can be seen in the above scan from its first installement at no.1, it tells the story of an expedition to a mysterious planet. Nevertheless, apart from the appearance of some robots, full-fledged sci-fi elements do not really bloom in its 15-issues run. The expedion discovers a Chinese (!) colony on this planet and sets out to rescue its imprisoned princess from rouge elements.
'Ginger Nick the Whaler', on the other hand, is more mundane and lasted for only 11 issues.

Black&white adventure comics by British artists continued to be serialized in MMW until 1939 when their pages were taken over by 'Lone Ranger':
title MMW issues year artist
The Road to Rome 16-25 1936 Reg Perrott
Gordon Gale - Air Rover 43-52 1936-37 Stephan Chapman
Green Eyes 53-60 1937 ?
The City of Jewels 61-72 1937 John McCail
The Lost Colony of Atlantis 73-87 1937 ?
Hawkeye 88-99 1937 ?
Wings of Fortune 100-109 1938 Reg Perrott
Phantom City 110-121 1938 Hugh S. White
Flashing Through 122-135 1938 Hugh S. White
Oil and Claw 136-147 1938 Hugh S. White
Conquest of the Gulf Stream 148-165 1938-39 ?

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Britain's Mickey Mouse Weekly is notable for many reasons. As frequently cited, it is Britain's first comics magazine to be published with photogravure printing which allowed high-quality color reproductions, a factor which undoubtedly contributed to its circulation of more than half a million. It featured, naturally, Disney comics and stories, some of them reprints of US newspaper comics and some of them original British products, but its contents also included non-Disneyic material as well. The non-Disney comics ran in MMW can be grouped into two categories: the humourous, gag-a-week comics and serious, adventure comics with narratives continuing into subsequent weeks. This post will cover the gag comics ran in the early issues of the magazine.
The first issue of MMW, which came out on Feb. 8th, 1936, featured four non-Disneyic gag comics. The most prominent of them was the full-page 'Adventures of Skit and Skat'. However, since it frequently experimented with continous narratives, it needs to be covered separately. The longest running of the strictly gag-a-week comics from the first issue would be 'Bobby & Chip' (see the image at the top of this post for its debut in no.1). It lasted for 27 issues only to be replaced by another gag comics, 'Heavenly Twins'. However, early in 1937, it would re-emerge in a new format as a single-row strip covering the bottom portions of the central color pages and would continue there for several years. Another gag-a-week comics of no.1 was 'Troubles of Father', but it would last for only the first 16 issues.

Rounding up the gag-a-week comics of the first issue of MMW was 'The Adventures of Bobby Bear'. This last comics was also being run in the British newspaper Daily Mail since 1919.

The second issue of MMW saw the debut of 'Percy Go-Bang' ...

... which would be replaced from no. 18 onwards with 'Little Lulu':

'Percy Go-Bang' would briefly be revived in some issues later in 1936, but would't survive into 1937. A similar fate befell 'Bob the Bugler' which had debutted in no.7:

'Sea Shanties', which had debutted on no.12, differed from the other gag comics of MMW with its elaborate, if not labourous, artwork:

From no. 19 onwards, it would be reformatted in a more creative layout:

From no.33 onwards, 'Sea Shanties' would be replaced by 'Circus Capers' which would contiue till no. 44.
The writers/artists behind these gag comics (other than 'Skit and Skat', which is known to be the work of Basil Reynolds) are unknown to me and any help in that regard would be welcome.
UPDATE: From, I've recently learned that the artist of 'Troubles of Father', 'Bob the Bugler', 'Sea Shanties' and 'Circus Capers' was Reg Carter; see post dated July 30, 2008 from that blog for info on Carter.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Türkiye Yayınevi's (Türkiye Publishing House) 1001 Roman weekly is a legendary title in the history of comics publications in Turkey. It was highly popular, very influential and is still fondly remembered by older generations. For instance, in a recent poll on living Turkish authors, many cited it among the top of their childhood favorites. And for the new generation of comics fans, it radiates a magnetism so powerful as to make them nostalgic for an era they have missed.
Türkiye Yayınevi's founder and owner Tahsin Demiray was actually a quite shadowy figure. Self-confessed to working for the secret intelligence service spying on Communists in Turkey in the early 1920s, he would be involved with right-wing politics in his later life (*). He is said to have built his fortunes by receiving the monopoly of publishing alphabet material from the government in the late 1920s, quite a big business in Turkey in those years as the Arabic script was banned and the Latin script made obligatory as part of westernization reforms.
In 1936, Demiray's Türkiye Yayınevi (whose locomotive publication would be the popular cinema magazine Yıldız) began publishing two children's magazines, Yavrutürk and Ateş, both of which featured some comics among their pages alongside stories, etc. While Yavrutürk, which appealed to a more juvenile readership, ran 'Kara Kedi' (Felix the Cat) continuities as well as 'Vakvak Kardeş' (Donald Duck) gags, Ateş's 1st series (1936-37) serialized Mandrake's first-ever adventure as well as some obscure comics; its 2nd series (1937-38) only featured Mandrake as comics material. On the other hand, 1001 Roman which began on 10.7.1939, less than two months prior to the outbreak of the 2nd World War!, devoted the majority of its pages, even including its front page, to comics. The stable of comics featured in 1001 Roman over the years includes 'Brik Bradford', 'Alptekin' (Buck Rogers), 'Sevim Gazeteci' (Connie), Mandrake, 'Kartal İzciler' (Eagle Scout Roy Powers), 'Maskeli Süvari' (Lone Ranger), 'Gizli Polis X-9', 'Yıldırım Polis' (King of the Royal Mounted), 'İki İzci' (Tim Tyler's Luck), 'Kızılmaske' (Phantom) and Tarzan. Beginning with 1940, Türkiye Yayınevi also began to publish monthly 'special issues' of 1001 Roman, each issue of which was devoted to a single character.
1001 Roman survived throughout the war years thanks to high sales, which was said to be in "tens of thousands", even though paper scarcity eventually necessitated a cutback in the number of pages. However, continuing economic hardships even after the war caused a cessation of 1001 Roman's publication in its original format after no. 350 in 1946, as well as the cancellation of the special issues after no.75 at the same time, with the promise of going back to more comics when possible. 1001 Roman's 2nd series included only neglible amount of comics. As promised, the 3rd series (1948-52) emerged in the original format. A novelty of the 3rd series was the introduction of romance comics, but another highlight was 'Nat Pinkerton' (Rip Kirby). The production techniques in 1001 Roman were various. It is not known if any of the comics were licensed or not; the magazine carried no copyright claims, so it can assumed that they were unlicensed. However, unlike the unlicensed comics of the 1950s and onwards, most were printed from originals, and not from traced copies even though some were, and increasingly more so over the years.The 3rd series ended in 1952 after no. 213. That year, Türkiye Yayınevi began to publish Haftalık Albüm (Weekly Album) similar to the format of 1001 Roman's monthly special issues from the war years. It lasted for about a year, after which Türkiye Yayınevi pulled back from comics publishing for several years.
(*) In 1952, Demiray took part in the foundation of Türkiye Köylü Partisi (Peasants' Party of Turkey) and became its secretary general. Upon the death of the party's chairman in a plane crash in 1954, Demiray became the party leader. However, the Peasants' Party couldn't gain a significant foothold in the Turkish politics and Demiray led the party into merger with another small party in 1958. In 1961, he took part in the foundation of Adalet Partisi (Justice Party) and was elected to the parliament on the party's ticket where he served a full term till 1965; he seems to have withdraw from politics after his term ended.


Above: The first panels, announcing impending disaster of a star approaching the Earth. Right: Introduction of Baytekin & Miss Yıldız (Later they embark on a mission to an alien planet which is the source of the threat against the Earth). Below: First vision of the planet.

Below: First perils on the planet

Above: They are taken to the ruler of the planet. Below: The emperor's daughter objects to his father's death ruling on Baytekin and both flee.

Above: The emperor's warcrafts go on a rampage. Below: Difficult times for Yıldız who had remained at the hands of the emperor.