THE BIRTH AND GROWTH OF ABDÜLCANBAZ
Turhan Selçuk, the world-wide known Turkish artist who created Abdülcanbaz, tells the story of the birth and growth of the first original and the most celebrated Turkish cartoon hero:
“It was Aziz [Nesin], a famous Turkish writer and humorist, who had proposed the name Abdülcanbaz. Abdi İpekçi, one of the most important Turkish journalists of all times, was transferred to Milliyet Newspaper in 1953. He wanted me to go with him. At that time, I was drawing caricatures of political nature on the first page. It was 1957. Milliyet had a whole page for foreign comic strip series. Grumbling, Abdi asked, “All strip-cartoons are of foreign origin, I would like to have one that is native, can you draw such?” I answered that I drew caricatures only and didn’t have any experience with strip-comics. But he insisted.
Then , Aziz came to my mind. I thought that he could write and I would draw. And so, together, we created the character Abdülcanbaz. But Aziz was dissident thus his name was not to be mentioned. He wrote and I drew without his name appearing. Probably because of this, after a couple of months, Aziz stopped writing the storyline .
But, Abdi kept on pressing me to continue. I turned to Rıfat Ilgaz, the famous Turkish poet and writer. He started to write; helas his name could not appear in the newspaper neither because as a political opponent he, too, was on the black list. Eventually he stopped writing, as well. So I had to take up where they left off. Five or six months later, I was both writing and drawing the story. As Abdülcanbaz’s name-father was Aziz Nesin, I wouldn’t change the name but I revised the character.”
In an article, Çetin Altan, a Turkish writer and journalist, defines Abdülcanbaz as a masterpiece:
“They had agreed that Aziz Nesin would write the storyline of the strip-cartoon. Thus Aziz Nesin was the name-father of Abdülcanbaz. However, three months later Aziz stopped writing the storyline. Later Turhan carried on with his masterpiece, writing the story, himself, but reshaped the personality and changed the appearance of Abdülcanbaz, and introduced new personalities to the story.
How unpretentious and cool was the way he related his tales.
Caricaturists and cartoonists all over the world , then were expected to deliver the whole and complete story. Neither the newspapers nor the magazines would accept an unfinished serial. However, Turhan was drawing Abdülcanbaz on daily basis...”