Turkish comic strips need support to return to old days
ISTANBUL – DHA
Turkish comics are waiting for the support of large capital groups and publishing houses in order to reach the number of readers in their former glorious days.
In this sense, the comic book enthusiasts, who came together under the umbrella of an association in 2017, organized an event, titled “original painting exhibition of those surviving comic strips” at the weekend at Istanbul’s Caddebostan Culture Center. In the event, the magazine “Journal of Comic Culture” was also introduced.
Comic Strip Readers Association (ÇRODER) head Önder Çakı said they organized the exhibition to increase the number of comic strip readers in Turkey and bring them together to keep Turkish comic strips alive.
“Here, there is an exhibition, in which we display the original covers and pages of comic strips. We also exhibit the original posters of films adapted from comic strips to cinema. We, as the association, have organized the event. Our purpose is to popularize comics again and to keep the readers, publishers and illustrators together,” he added.
‘We don’t want comics to die’
Aslan Şükür illustrated the cover of almost every comic book in the 1970s.
“I started illustrating comic strips in 1971. It lasted about 25 years. We had nine to 10 comic books. I did the covers of all of them. They were hand drawn then. Now, you know there are computer-illustrated covers. And we had a lot of readers at that time. About 45,000 copies of each book’s fascicle were sold. The number of readers declined every year and it ended in the 90s. The number of readers has fallen. But now we have an effort to reclaim the reader. We do not want comic books to die,” he said.
Şükür said comics contributed to the development of fantasy world in children and encourage them to read them.
“I hope the number of readers increases. Because it develops children’s imagination. We were once prevented and the number of readers fell. But actually, it makes children love to read,” he said.
New generation with western understanding
Artist Ömer Muz made the cover illustrations of many comic series in the 1980s such as Teks, Teksas, Tommiks, Bob Kroket, Süpermen and Conan.
“The development of technology and the start of the Internet era not only changed comic books readers in Turkey but also our social life. Our reading habits, the way we look at life, the interest of the young generation towards new searches has brought the reader to many different platforms. The fact that western comic books reached wide audiences in Turkey is what changed it. Technology has also had a great contribution to this change. Unfortunately, the opportunities of mass media for foreign comics did not exist in our age. Naturally, today young generations have turned to Western heroes. The Hollywood film industry is also making a great contribution to it. Together with this contribution, there is a whole new generation in the comics sector with a completely Western understanding,” he said.
Muz said the only way for Turkish comic books to return to their old days was to receive support.
“Comic book illustrators cannot find support. We are under the influence of American comic books. Therefore, in order to develop, large capital groups and large publishing houses should provide support. However, they also do not provide support because comics do not reach very large masses. Large capital groups should support the comic book, they need sponsors,” he said.