Comic strip lovers gather under association roof
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Comic strips such as Zagor, Tex, Mr. No, Tommiks (Captain Miki), Tarkan, Kara Murat and Karaoğlan have reached a wide range of readers since the 1950s. Now their fans have formed an association, to pass on the torch to future generations.
Established at the end of 2017 in Istanbul’s Küçükçekmece neighborhood, the Comic Strip Readers Association offices has shelves full of old comic strips.
Speaking about their activities, the association head Önder Çakı said that people who enjoy comic strips came together to form the association.
“We all enjoy comic strips; some of us are collectors, some are readers and some are publishers. We formed this association with people from various professional groups. The new generation does not read strips as we did in the past. We want this habit to continue. We want the quality of old comic strips to continue. We also want to establish a museum that exhibits film posters related to comic strips, original drawings and ephemera,” Çakı said.
He said the association included reading-related activities. “We follow comic strips published abroad. We organize events with the participation of Turkish illustrators. We recently came together with Suat Yalaz and Talat Güreli,” he said.
Çakı said there was not a big difference between old comic strips and new ones. “In the past there were not too many comic strips adapted from novels. Today, there are many single-book comic strips. They were published in series in the past; an adventure ended and a new one started. But this does not happen anymore.”
He said children who read comic strips experience a world where good wins. “Comic strips develop a sense of justice, conscience, patience and wonder in children,” he added.
Çakı said comic strips in magazines were not enough but classic novels with strips should contribute more to children’s development.
“In our childhood, children’s magazines were published complete with comic strips. Today, comic strips in magazines do not suffice. We believe it could be useful for children to read classic novels with comic strips. We are currently working on the concept. For example, we have a book project in which we recount the adventures of children’s magazines since 1928,” he said.
Çakı also said social media contributed to the continuation of comic strips. “Right now social media may not boost the circulation of comic strips but it does contribute to their continuation. Many websites and forums support comic strips.”
The famous director and association member Kudret Sabancı highlighted the importance of the comic strip. “Before anything else, I am a filmmaker. But I do like comic strips. Both films and comics have lighting, scripts, frames and dialogues. The difference is to make a film you need money but to make a comic strip you need only your imagination.”
Sabancı said the comic strip was considered the “ninth art” across the world. “We need [comics] to survive among young Turkish people. Comics are as important as theater and cinema.”
Speaking about which comic strip characters he loved, Sabancı singled out “Corto Maltese.” “There is also Ken Parker, whose creator is called the Dostoyevsky of comic strip. There are also classics such as Zagor and Tex. Among American strips, I like Batman and Conan. Federico Fellini and Enki Bilal have brought the gifts of the comic strip to the cinema. Today, the comic strip keeps American cinema alive. Some 80 percent of recent Hollywood films have been comic strip adaptations.”
Sabancı also called on illustrators who felt alone. “The origin of many graphic artists, illustrators and painters today is the comic strip. There are people who cannot reach us. Let them come here. We have very nice people here. Let’s keep the comic strip alive.”