PHANTOM COMICS IN TURKEY
Phantom debutted in no. 502 of Ülkü Yayınevi's children's magazine Çocuk Sesi on 3.8.1939 under the odd title of 'Dev Adam' (Giant Man). In 1939, shortly before the outbreak of the 2nd World War, Tahsin Demiray's Türkiye Yayınevi launched 1001 Roman which devoted the majority of its pages, as well as its covers, to comics. Phantom soon took its place in the pages of this highly popular publication, named as 'Kızılmaske' (Red Mask), which indicates that the source material might have come from Italy as Phantom is known under a similar name there. The Phantom would also be published in two short-lived children's magazines: as 'Fantoma' in Asrın Çocuğu between 1939-40 and as 'Kızıl Gölge' (Red Shadow) in Yeni Macera Dünyası and its successor Çocuk Dünyası in 1940. In addition to the large formated weekly periodical which serialized several, different comics, Türkiye Yayınları also published medium-sized monthly special issues featuring a single hero in each issue; several of these were devoted to Phantom.
Left:  Special Issue no. 39 (March 1943) of 1001 Roman, featuring part of Phantom's first-ever adventure.
Far left: A censored panel from this special issue compared to its original.
1001 Roman survived throughout the war years, but ironically suffered from interruptions in the ensuing years and finally folded in 1952. Afterwards, Demiray launched a weekly comics periodical simply titled as Haftalık Albüm [Weekly Album] along the line of 1001 Roman's 'special issues', which again frequently featured  Phantom. The covers of these weekly 'albums' were llustrated by a Turkish artist whose signature is difficult to decipher.
In the same decade,
Kemal Uzcan, an apparently pirate publisher also launched a weekly comics magazine titled as 1001 Özel (1001 Special), obviously to cash in on the popularity of the famous magazine. This magazine, which actually presented poorly traced comics packaged under generally attractive covers, also included Phantom in its roster. Traced Phantom comics would also be used for filler purpose among the pages of Red Kit, the Turkish edition of Lucky Luke, in 1965. Phantom comics used as filler space in Red Kit were reprinted in a Kızılmaske comics in 1968. It should also be noted that in late 1960s, Turkish filmmakers made  three Phantom movies!
The high time of Phantom comics in Turkey would be 1970s when Tay Yayınları, Turkey's leading comics publisher of the decade, would pick it up with license from Opera Mundi. Tay's Kızılmaske would begin its weekly run in 1973. It began with strips from a few years back, but as the magazines naturally caught up with the American run of the strip quickly, the backlog of strips stretching back to the previous decades were also used. Part of the credit for the success enjoyed by Tay's publications must be given to covers by Turkish artists, most notably Aslan who illustrated most -if not all- of Kızılmaske covers. In 1970s, when the Turkish market was flooded with comics of Italian origin (such as Zagor, Tex, Mister No and the like), Phantom, as well as Mandrake, were arguably the only American-origin comics that managed to take a foothold; it is interesting to note that Superman was used as filler space among the pages of Kızılmaske! Kızılmaske lasted until 1979 in the weekly format.  Old issues were repackaged and sold as 'albums' and later, after the weekly run of the magazine ceased, the albums continued their run with reprints and occasional brand new adventures for several additional years. The weekly format would also be revived briefly in the coming years. Tay would close its shop in the 1990s. A few years ago, Milliyet daily gave away one Kızılmaske comic. Recent color Phantom strips appeared in the Çizgi Film children's magazine whose 1st issue came on 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.
Images presented for non-commercial purposes of historical research, with KFS's copyright of the original source acknowledged.
Any usage of the scans of the Turkish editions is expected to carry proper reference to this site.
Recommended Phantom links:
* An informative
site on the Phantom

See also this site on
Mandrake comics in Turkey, this site on Disney comics in Turkey and this page on Smurfs in Turkey and this site on Comics Publishers of Turkey
Last updated on Aug. 22nd, 2005
Site set up on 24.10.2003
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