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THE CARTOON ADVENTURE IN TURKEY
2001 /MARCH
It is raining outside and I am stretched out on the couch in the sitting-room enjoying the exciting stories of the strip cartoon character Conan. At the end of the last page those three unwelcome words, 'To be continued' bring a pang of disappointment. I will have to wait until next week's magazine comes out. The bookcase in my sitting-room is full of strip cartoon books and magazines, and there are more scattered around everywhere. My love of cartoon stories began as a child and I have never grown out of it. Now I not only read them but draw them myself. I am a cartoonist, a person for whom thinking is to imagine.

It is dark now. I look out at the street. The neon sign of one of the closed shops flashes on and off. Along the cobbled street a girl with dripping wet hair runs through the rain. I look again and there is no one there! 'That's it!' I say to myself, and find myself carried off into another cartoon story.
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THE CARTOON ADVENTURE IN TURKEY
2001 /MARCH
The cartoonist wanders through his imagination, taking his readers with him. Everyone has heard of Tarzan. They asked his creator Hal Foster whether he had ever gone to Africa, and he replied that unfortunately he never had. Similarly the adventures of Tintin take place all over the world - in North America, Africa, Tibet, Russia and England. Yet Herge, like Hal Foster, never went abroad.

The cartoon story is an art form belonging to urban culture. They have developed in different ways in each country, because they are closely bound up with the culture of the society to which they belong. Every kind of change experienced by a society, whether political, economic or cultural, affects the content and appearance of cartoon stories. Depending on the circumstances, these changes may make them more appealing, more aggressive, more realistic, more introverted or more avant garde.

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THE CARTOON ADVENTURE IN TURKEY
2001 /MARCH
The cartoon book lies outside the concept of literature as imposed on pupils by schools. It is something between a picture book and the popular novel. It is a missing link, a crossbreed. Yet its origins are venerable, beginning with cave painting, and continuing with ancient Greek vase paintings, the mediaeval Bayeux Tapestry whose series of pictures along its 70.4 m length illustrate the conquest of England in 1066 by William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, and the Byzantine frescos illustrating biblical scenes in the Church of St. Saviour in Chora in Istanbul. Then there is the Spanish painter Goya, and the popart of the 1960s inspired by the cartoon strip. In Turkey, the first cartoon stories date from the early 1930s, and they enjoyed their golden age between 1950 and 1960.

It is still raining. I get up and glance at the bookcase. Its shelves are filled with strip cartoon magazines, both Turkish and foreign. The earliest Turkish magazine is '1001 Roman' (1001 Novels) priced at 10 kurus.
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THE CARTOON ADVENTURE IN TURKEY
2001 /MARCH
I pull out a copy of Karaoglan, the most popular Turkish cartoon hero, whose stories began in 1970. His creator, Suat Yalaz, whose style is masterful and full of warmth, features today in European encyclopaedias of cartoon art. It is unfortunate that so few cartoon magazines by Turkish artists have been published. Among them are notably Rr, between 1991 and 1992, and Joker, between 1992 and 1993.

Cartoon stories share many aspects with theatre, such as dialogue, stage props, gestures, and time compression; and they anticipated the art of cinema with the use of montage, arresting angles, showing the same scene from different angles, close-up, cuts, frames and so on. But unlike theatre and cinema, the cartoon story is usually the work of a single artist, or in some cases an artist and a writer.

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THE CARTOON ADVENTURE IN TURKEY
2001 /MARCH

Speaking of cinema, I am reminded of film directors who are also cartoonists. Did you know that David Lynch, director of marginal films, has drawn cartoon strips published in American newspapers, and that another American offbeat director, Tim Burton, is also a cartoonist? Or about the contribution of cartoon stories drawn by the renowned Italian director Federico Fellini to his films?

Eight films about the adventures of the American cartoon hero Dick Tracy produced between 1937 and 1947 paved the way for a spate of other films based on cartoon stories. Dick Tracy reappeared again in recent years in a film starring Warren Beatty and Madonna. Tarzan, Batman and Superman have all been adapted to the silver screen, along with Jesuit Joe by the famous Italian cartoonist Hugo Pratt, and the American cartoon Spawn. In Turkey, too, cartoon heroes like Karaoglan and Tarkan have appeared in film versions.

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THE CARTOON ADVENTURE IN TURKEY
2001 /MARCH

The legendary Turkish cartoon magazine Girgir, which appeared in 1972, and for several years was the world's third best selling cartoon magazine after Mad and Krokodil, emerged on a wave of momentum generated by such cartoon characters as Malkocoglu, Kara Murat, Ustura Kemal, Abdulcanbaz, and Utanmaz Adam. It was with Girgir that I began my own career as a cartoonist in 1976.

I wonder where the girl who was running through the rain is now? Well, I have been daydreaming again, and she did not really exist. A cartoonist's work and life are inseparable, because real life is where it all begins. The door bell rings. Who can that be? I walked to the door and open it. Ah! It is the girl I imagined a few moments ago.


Ergun Gunduz is an illustrator.

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