Disney comics seems to have been introduced to Turkey in early 1930s by Ülkü Yayınevi (Ülkü Publishing House). Ülkü was the pioneer publisher of children’s magazines in Turkey, beginning with Çocuk Sesi in 1930 and Afacan in 1932. Afacan began running Mickey Mouse strips from its first issue onwards (a figure of Mickey even appeared in the magazine's title logo design), starting with the first-ever Mickey strip from its original run. However, Afacan's Mickey strips had their speech ballons deleted and were instead suplamented with explanatory texts placed beneath the panels. The strips were also published in a severely abridged manner with several panels omitted. Afacan also ran several single-panel gags featuring Mickey and made by Turkish artists Cemal and Ramiz.
In 1935, Ülkü also began publishing Mickey Mouse comics “albums” as well as illustrated Mickey Mouse story books. The “albums” (which officially had the full title
of Çocuk Sesi’nin Miki Fare Albümü [Çocuk Sesi’s Mickey Mouse Album]) featured Floyd Gottfredson’s daily continuities (click here for details) taken from Italian Nerbini’s albums (click here for details). Afacan began running English-made Disney material (Wilfred Haughton’s ‘Goofy and Tobby the Defectives’ and William A. Ward’s ‘Donald and Mac’ continuities from Britain’s Mickey Mouse Weekly) from 1937 onwards. It should be noted that while speech baloons were preserved in Ülkü's "albums" and in the comics ran in the magazines from mid-1930s onwards, the practice of redundantly featuring explanatory texts beneath the panels continued for a while. Disney strips also occasionally appeared in Ülkü's other children's magazines, Çocuk Sesi and Gelincik, and Donald Duck gags were ran in Türkiye Yayınevi's Yavrutürk from 1938 onwards; meanwhile s special issue of Yavrutürk from Dec. 1938 was devoted to Mickey Mouse. A few Disney gag comics also appeared in the short-lived Asrın Çocuğu magazine in 1939. Meanwhile, another publisher, Muzaffer Kızıltan, also published a comics titled Miki Fare which lasted at least 10 issues in 1937-38.
In 1939, Çocuk Sesi merged with Afacan which itself eventually ceased publication in 1942. There does not seem to have been much Disney comics published in Turkey in the 1940s after Çocuk Sesi-Afacan folded, one of the  exceptions being a traced Pinocchio comics serialized in the children's magazine Şen Çocuk between 1945-46.
Turkish Disney comics made a come-back of-sorts in 1950s with publications most of which were clearly produced by tracing. A case in point is the weekly
Çocuklara Armağan from 1953-54 which ran for 48 issues, Put out by Hamid Şendur, this magazime printed traced material originally published in Walt Disney's Comics & Stories (WDC);  however, since the magazine also occasionaly featured some Italian stories, its source appears to have been Topolino (Earlier, Şendur's children magazines Çocuk Alemi, Armağan and Resimli Tomurcuk had also featured traced Disney strips in the early 1950s). In 1955, the children's magazine put out by Ceylan Yayınları featured Disney comics predominantly. 1959, Şendur began publishing two new Disney comics magazines, Tom ve Miki, featuring long Mickey stories, mostly of Italian origin, from Topolino, and Bop Hop Top, featuring long Ducks stories.  Another apparently pirate publisher who put ot unlicensed, traced Disney material, such as  a Donald Duck comics titled Vak Vak Kardeş which began in 1956, running mostly '10 pagers', including several by Carl Barks, from WDC and Al Talieferro's gags, as well as albums under the same title (perhaps collecting the weekly issues?), is Nihat Özcan. Covers of Özcan's publications were signed by Turkish artist "Yılmaz" who seems to have worked mainly by tracing from foreign covers for Vak Vak Kardeş; however, the covers of Pinokyo feature original art by Yılmaz himself, probably modeled on panels from the comics (click here for full set of covers of Pinokyo). Other Disney titles published by Özcan in 1957 are Miki Maus and Pamuk Prenses (Snow White); in late 1960s, Özcan would re-issue Pinokyo in a smaller format, as well as a one-shot Bambi comics. Finally, it should also be noted regarding this era of comics-by-tracing that traced comics from WDC frequently appeared in the pages Doğan Çocuk, Turkey's most popular children's magazine of the post-2nd World War, throughout the late 1950s. Only a children's magazine titled Şen Çocuk (put out by a different publisher from the 1940s magazine with the same title) from 1956 would run non-traced Mickey strips. On the otherhand, the sunday Pazar magazine would begin running licensed Donald strips from 1956 onwards and the daily Milliyet newspaper would run Scamp strips a year later.
A high point of Disney comics in Turkey came in early 1962 when Pulhan Yayınları began publishing the Miki weekly with license from Walt Disney Productions. Besides being a publication of higher quality than all preceeding as well as then-contemporary comics in Turkey in terms of paper and printing (that is, in its initial issues), it is also significant for introducing original Italian Disney material en masse to Turkey. The source of the majority of the material in Miki seems to be the same pool as that of Almanacco Topolino. Only a small amount of comics in Miki (for instance, most of Ludwig von Drake's first comics) cannot be spotted in Almanacco Topolino; Miki carried Carl Barks' '10-pagers' from Walt Disney's Comics & Stories that were reprinted in Almanacco Topolino alongside a large amount of original Italian Disney comics from that publication. A large number of Miki's covers were also taken from Almanacco Topolino, either as Italian versions of older American cover art or as original Italian art [click here for a selection of Miki covers]. Miki also gave-away as a supplement Walt Disney Klasikleri, a Turkish edition of the first issue of I Classici di Walt Disney (1957), featuring Guido Martino scripted parodies of classics of European literature (interestingly, this supplement carried a directly Mondadori copyright notice whereas Miki itself always carried the Disney copyright notice). It should also be noted that in its first several dozen or so issues, Miki also ran non-Disneyic original Turkish comics, some gags and some continuities, mostly by local artist Mıstık (Mustafa Eremektar).
Unfortunately, the sales of
Miki were not sufficient enough to cover the costs of such a high-quality publication and the publishers soon had to experiment with several cost-cutting means. First, the page count was reduced, then it was switched back at the expense of color pages. Nevertheless, a clean and sharp looking print quality was still maintained throughout the times the comics were published all in black and white. However, the publishers later made an ill-thought further change and brought back color pages at the expense of lower quality printing and hence the comics lost all its allure. Finally, even what appeared to be poorly traced comics began to appear in its pages soon before Miki ceased publication late in 1965.
Miki would be the longest running Disney comics in Turkey for many years to come. In 1966, Arkın Kitabevi took over the Disney license and began publishing Renkli Miki which lasted less than a year (Arkın also published a few illustrated Disney story books). Miki Maus, put out by Ankara-based publisher Hakkı Bigeç in 1970 fared only slightly better. Both publications had followed Miki's line and continued with Italian material (this despite the Germanic title of the latter), not to mention reprinting some from Miki. Similarly, both, especially Miki Maus, followed a similar trend beginning with decent quality prints which eventually degenerated and ended with what looked like poorly traced comics in their last issues; Miki Maus was most notable for its glossy covers [click here for a full run of Miki Maus covers]. It should also be noted that besides these licensed comics, traced Disney material occasionally would pop up for filler purposes in non-Disney comics such as Red Kit (Lucky Luke) and Fatoş (Blondie) from late 1960s to early 1980s; between 1968-70, Donald Duck gags in color had appeared in the back covers of some issues of Bücür (Asterix). In 1979, Tay Yayınları, Turkey's leading comics publisher of the decade, began publishing a bi-weekly Disney comics magazine titled once again as Miki (click here for a full run of Miki covers), running mostly short stories, but that also went down the drain two years later; 1980s would after all be the demise decade for comics publication in general in Turkey. Some of the sparse subsequent Disney comics to be published in Turkey would be a Pamuk Prenses ve 7 Cüceler (Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs) album, reprinting an old Italian story previously published in Pulhan's weekly, and a Peter Pan album, reprinting stories earlier used for filler puposes in Nihat Özcan's Pinokyo.
After several long years with little or no Disney comics on the Turkish market, Ana Yayıncılık began publishing the weekly Disney Dünyası, an all-color, deluxe comics magazine in 1993 which ran French, Danish, Dutch and Brazilian stories. Two years later, Doğan Yayıncılık, Turkey's largest media giant, took over the Disney license, building a partnership with Denmark's Egmont, Disney's major subcontractor in Europe and put out the equally deluxe monthly Donald Amca in place of Disney Dünyası, and accompanied it with a 96 pages-long monthly Mickey Mouse comics, running mostly Italian stories from Topolino. However, based on suggestions drawn from a market research, Donald Amca soon adopted a policy of targetting a far more juvenile readership than has been customary for comics and hence cut back the pages devoted to comics at the expense of non-comics entertainment material and the selection of comics themselves were restricted to those with very short stories; meanwhile, Mickey Mouse was discontinued. Doğan-Egmont published long stories only in the one-shot Mickey 'birthday album' İyi ki Doğdun: Mickey Mouse Doğum Günü Albümü (1998) and a curious Disney Manga album (1999) which was promoted as no.1 of a new series which does not seem to have produced any further issues. Doğan-Egmont has also published several illustrated Disney story books, paint books and the like. Recently, Mickey Mouse strips also appeared in the short-lived children's magazine Çizgi Film whose first (and only?) issue came out in Aug. 2005.
Kaya Özkaracalar
Info on this site can be used on the condition the author and the site is acknowledged and referenced as source.
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site set up on 13.9.2003
last update on 31.7.2009
see also this site on Mandrake and Phantom comics in Turkey
and this
page on Smurfs in Turkey
and this site on
Comics Publishers of Turkey
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