Sunday, October 24, 2010


Proabably the rarest piece in my collection of war-era Turkish comics is this issue of the bi-weekly 1001 Macera magazine which features a Turkish-made Phantom comics. Simply titled as 'Kızıl Maske [The Red Mask]' (the Phantom had come to be known under this name in Turkey), it is credited to "Ş. Ayhan E.", the joint pseudonym for penciller Şahap Ayhan and inker Ayhan Erer, for its "story and illustrations."
The story begins with a prologue stating that Diana, the Phantom's lover, had been captivated by white slavers:
The vessel of the white slavers encounter a patrol ship which they manage to evade. However the signal from the patrolmen reach mainland and eventually the Phantom. Meanwhile, the slavers have also boarded Africa:

Diana sends a message in a bottle, informing of the location they are being held. This message also eventually reaches the Phantom who storms the slavers' hideout:

In the ensuing fight, the Phantom falls into a river, from which he finds out an underwater opening to the cave where Diana and other captives are being held:

After delivering the dames in distress to safety, he blows up the slavers' hideout:
If anyone recognizes any of the images as originating from a foreign (ie. non-Turkish) source, please let us know.
In addition to this 8-pages long comics, the publication also carries 16 pages of text. The number of this issue is printed as "14-1". I cannot see any date in the tattered copy I have, but it carries ads for other publications known to be published in 1944. It has been published by Kemal Özcan Kitabevi [Kemal Özcan Bookhouse] "established by" Kemal Özcan and directed by Melih Yener. Kemal Özcan may be the same person as Kemal Uzcan who published a long-running comics magazine titled 1001 Özel in the 1950s as the adresses for the offices of 1001 Macera and 1001 Özel are same.
The collaborative works of Şahap Ayhan (1926-2005) and Ayhan Erer (1929-1998) would begin to appear in the children's weekly magazine Çocuk Haftası in 1946 with the highly-acclaimed historical epic comics 'Gültekin'. The duo would work together for a few more comics in the coming years and then part ways with only Ayhan pursuing a career in comics.
ADDENDA ON OCT. 31ST: A post-war Turkish-made Phantom comics is the 8-pages long 'Arizona Soyguncuları [The Robbers of Arizona]' by Ferdi Sayışman published in no. 134 (dated March, 1955) of 1001 Özel weekly comics magazine. It tells the story of Phantom in the wild west where he has traveled to help Diana's sister against robbers.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Radio Fun was a British weekly magazine featuring comics based on popular radio shows and/or radio personalities. It was published between 1938-61 by Amalgated Press. Above scan is of the cover of no. 291 (dated May 6th, 1944). The "Big-Hearted Arthur" of the comics on the cover is Arthur Askey, a popular British radio comedian (who also had a subsequent film career). On the other hand, I couldn't find out what this interesting comics on the back cover was derived from:
Note the text beneath the first row of panels where the black character abases himself by saying "No fish will understand Coon Language." This comics is the work of leading British comics artist Roy Wilson (1900-1965), best remembered for the 'Chimpo's Circus' published on the covers of the short-lived Happy Days comics weekly from 1938-39:
note: above image of no.1 of Happy Days is scanned from Denis Gifford's The Complete Catalogue of British Comics (1985).

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Above scan from no. 303 (dated Sept. 6th, 1940) of Turkish children's magazine Çocuk Sesi Afacan is an ad for the upcoming Sept. 12 release of Mandrake the Magician (1939) film serial in Istanbul's Alkazar cinema. The ad includes the tagline "30 parts altogether", indicating that the whole serial will be shown with each screening, a common practice for serial screenings in Turkey.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


The serialization of Tarzan comics in b&w in Ülkü's children's weekly magazine Afacan, where comics of E.R.Burrough's jungle hero had made their Turkish debut in 1935, had ceased in 1939. Meanwhile, rival publisher Tahsin Demiray's Türkiye Yayınevi had began to publish the weekly 1001 Roman which allocated the majority of its pages to comics. With no. 78 (dated Dec. 30th, 1940), 'Tarzan' began to be serialized in color on the covers of this magazine, marking the color debut of Tarzan comics in Turkey. 1001 Roman started its run of Tarzan with an adventure where Tarzan encounters a Chinese colony which had been serialized as a Sunday newspaper continuity by Burne Hogarth in 1938-39 in the US. In addition, one issue of the monthly 'special issue' series of 1001 Roman also featured a Tarzan comics credited to the Turkish artist Ekrem Dülek (covered in the below post in this blog from Sept. 26). 'Tarzan' continued to be serialized on the covers of the weekly edition of 1001Roman without any breaks until the magazine folded in 1946.
Post-script - Brief overview of Tarzan comics in Turkey after the war:
In the post-war era, poorly traced Tarzan comics appeared in several Turkish magazines, an early example being 'Tarzan' serialized in Çocuk Alemi in 1948. The proper reprints of US Tarzan Sunday newspaper comics were ran in the supplement of Vatan newspaper in 1951.
The first Turkish comics magazine headlining Burrough's jungle hero would be the short-lived Tarzan published by Nihat Özcan in 1951. However, the longer-running Tarzan comics magazine from the late 1960s as well as its follow-up Süper Tarzan from the 1970s and 1980s would actually feature the Italian Tarzan-clone comics Akim! In similar vein, the 'Tarzan' photo-strip serialized in Yeni 1001 Roman in the late 1960s is actually Italian Tarzan clone photo-strip Antar. Meanwhile, the 'real' Tarzan comics would be serialized in children's magazines Doğan Kardeş with occasional breaks between 1967-77 and in Milliyet Çocuk in the 1980s.
It should also be noted that two parody-comics of Tarzan would be made in Turkey as well: 'Tarzan Eski Dünyalarda' [Tarzan In Ancient Worlds] scripted by Bülent Oran and illustrated by Suat Yalaz, serialized in satire/humour magazine Dolmuş in 1957 and the hugely popular 'Tarzan', later retitled as 'Tarzan ve Arap Kadri' [Tarzan and Kadri the Arab], serialized in Fırt from 1976 onwards.


While the US daily newspaper strip continuity 'Tarzan and Leopard Men' was being serialized in the Turkish weekly children's magazine Afacan in 1939 as 'Pars Adamlar', the same publisher, Ülkü, put out a series of illustrated story books featuring Tarzan in August of the same year. The first of these pocket-sized, 32-pages long Tarzan books was titled simply as Tarzan and came out on Aug. 2nd. It is actually no. 7 of Ülkü's Çocuk Romanları [Children's Novels] series, most of the earlier titles in the series being Turkish editions of Whitman's Snow White & Seven Dwarfs books.
Tarzan is an illustrated text story version of a Sunday newspaper comics continuity by Hal Foster which had started in late 1934 in the US where Tarzan faces Dester Molu, an evil and fake White God of the natives. The illustrations in the book are select panels from the comics. Three more Tarzan titles followed in quick succession: #8: Tarzan ile Uçakçı Kız [Tarzan and the Aviatrix Girl], #9: Tarzan Yine Galip [Tarzan Triumphs Again] and #10: Tarzan Yeni Maceralarda [Tarzan In New Adventures]. I don't have these three books , but the title of #8 suggests that it must have been indeed derived from the next Sunday continuity where Tarzan meets a female aviatrix prior to encountering a Viking colony after the Dester Molu episode. These form the bulk of the Sunday continuities which the editors of Afacan had skipped while running 'Tarzan' in that magazine in the earlier years.
#11 of Ülkü's 'Children's Novels' series was a Dopey (of The Seven Dwarfs) title and its back cover announced the next in the series to be yet another Tarzan book, but I couldn't find out what the precise title of that book turned out be.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Tarzan comics, which were being serialized in the US newspapers since 1929, made their Turkish debut in b&w in the children's weekly magazine Afacan in 1935. Tarzan was first announced in the editor's page of no.9 as their upcoming new "sinema romanı" [cinema novel], a term frequently used in the era to denote comics which hadn't yet a fixed term to describe this new medium, and kicked off with no. 13 (dated Feb. 14th, 1935). Afacan alloted two full pages to Tarzan, the largest space given to any single comics in Turkey at the time (for instance, Jungle Jim, also being serialized there, had one full page). The first one-and-a-half pages of the first installement provided a quick summary background for Tarzan and then an adventure about elephants' graveyard began. This adventure is from US Sunday newspaper comics from 1932, at a time when Hal Foster had taken over the Sundays. However, the source material for the Turkish edition seems to be of French origin as Tarzan's friend in distress is named as "Jan Kursiye", rather than Erich von Harben as in the original US edition. It should also be noted that the b&w art is very 'clean', making one think that either b&w originals or b&w redrawings were used. Nevertheless, the Turkish serialization followed the US run, featuring the subsequent 'Egyptian saga' following the elephants' graveyard adventure, covering the whole run of Sundays from mid-1932 to early 1934.
After the Egyptian saga ended, a new adventure started at no. 80., unfortunately with decreased, somewhat muddy-looking print quality as if b&w reproduction was struck directly from a color source. This new adventure is originally from US Sundays starting in early 1936, the last Tarzan adventure Foster had a hand in. In other words, the editors of Afacan had skipped (or had to skip, depending on material they had access to at the time) approximately two-years run of Sundays (the bulk of those adventures would later be presented to Turkish readers in a different format, as will be covered later in this blog).
No further Tarzan comics would be published in Afacan until 1939. In the meantime, a sparsely illustrated text story titled 'Tarzan Kaçıyor [Tarzan Flees]' was serialized between no.'s 151-185. This was a Turkish translation of E.R.Burroughs novel Tarzan and the Lost Empire (1928). The illustrations are not from the daily strip adaptation serialized in US newspapers in 1930, but from a source I cannot identify.
Tarzan comics returned to Afacan at no. 222 (dated Feb 16th, 1939) with the start of the serialization of 'Pars Adamlar [Leopard Men]' which ended at no. 257 (dated Oct. 20, 1939). This is indeed the daily strip adventure with the same title by Rex Maxon which had started in the US newspapers at the tail end of 1935. This would be the last Tarzan comics published in Afacan, which, despite already merging with the same publisher's Çocuk Sesi magazine at no. 251 and hence being retitled as Çocuk Sesi Afacan, would cease publication in 1940.
Coming soon in this blog: Tarzan In Turkey In The Pre-war Era - Part II: Illustrated Tarzan story books based on comics

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Starting from no. 133 (dated July 14th, 1945), a comics titled 'Tarzanın Oğlu [Son of Tarzan]' and credited to Turkish artist Mehmet Tekdal was serialized in the Turkish children's weekly magazine Çocuk Haftası for 12 issues. The comics starts with the introductory caption that "Tarzan, with his wife, had gone to America and left his son as protector of his jungles."
The plot kicks off with the appearance of a small and hostile expedition in the jungle:

It turns out that the baddies are intent on stealing "Tarzan's treasure" hidden under a waterfall:

The whites dispose of the their native servant once he brings forward the treasure..

..and then set out to dispose of each other!:

Finally, it is upto Numa the lion to dispose of the surviving baddie:

Like Ekrem Dülek's 'Tarzan ve Numa' (see the post from last month), I suspect Tekdal's 'Tarzanın Oğlu' to be redrawn from some foreign materials. Again, if anyone has a hint, please let us know.
Tekdal, whose birth date is unconfirmed, was probably in his early twenties when his first works appeared on the back covers of a puzzle magazine in 1944 (*). He would turn out to be the most prolific of the young Turkish comics artists working in Çocuk Haftası. Most of his output are historical or mythical epics, including several adaptations of Dede Korkut tales. In 1955, he had a short-lived stint as publisher with Roket, Turkey's first comics magazine in 3-D. His works continued to appear in Turkish children's magazines till the early 1970s. At some point, he migrated to Germany to continue his career abroad and settled there (**).
(*) Hakan Alpin, Çizgiroman Ansiklopedisi (Istanbul: İnkilap, 2006)
(**) Levent Cantek, Çizgili Hayat Kılavuzu (Istanbul:İletişim, 2nd ed. 2002)
Coming soon in this blog: Historical Overview of Tarzan comics in Turkey

Friday, October 1, 2010


While looking through my collection of the war-time issues of Turkish children's magazine Afacan, I've come across this 'how to draw easily' instructions from the 'For Your Free Time' section of no. 284 (dated Apr. 26th, 1940). The instructions note that the sketches were sent by "Ekrem Dülek, our friend from Zeyrek Highschool." This little item is interesting not only because it marks the earliest published 'work' of Dülek, the name behind the two 1940s comics covered in the two below posts in this blog, but also because it gives a hint, however vague it maybe, on the biographical background of this obscure Turkish artist: the reference to the highschool suggests he might have been a teacher, perhaps an art teacher, if not an eager student.
The only other credits of Dülek I've come across are as illustrator of two childre's books from 1944.

UPDATE FROM 2014: Turkish comics researcher Yener Çakmak has said in a facebook correspondance that a historical heroics comics by Dülek titled 'Alpago' had been published in Çocuk; that weekly children's magazine has been published between 1936-47.