Tuesday, 10 June 2014


Above scan is of the cover of the no. 14 (dated Sept. 12th, 1936) of Turkish weekly children's magazine Gelincik. The cover illustration signed by Orhan Tolon (1912-2011), Turkey's pioneer comics artist, is among the earliest ever cover illustrations around the world (incl. the US) featuring Donald Duck as the main character. In the speech balloon, Donald rejoices that he is the winner of the race. The runner-up of the race may be, or is modeled on, Max the Hare from the Disney cartoon short The Tortoise and the Hare (1935) in which Donald does not appear.
Gelincik is one of the rarest of Turkish children's magazines from the 1930's. I have only two very tattered issues in my collection and haven't seen any other sample anywhere else. It was apparently a short-lived publication, which is rather surprising given that other publications from its publisher spanned over a decade. Gelincik was published by Mehmet Gürtunca's Ülkü Basımevi (Ülkü Publishing House), Turkey's leading publisher of children's magazines in the 1930s. Ülkü's other children's weeklies had frequently carried Disney comics, of both American and British origin; actually, Disney comics had first been introduced to Turkey in 1932 in the first issue of Ülkü's Afacan weekly. 
It was also in Afacan where Tolon first started doing comics work. Throughout the 1930's, he was the sole Turkish artist making comics. In the mid-1920s, one or two earlier anonymous Turkish artists appear to have tried their hand in comics, but Tolon is the first-ever Turkish citizen to sign his name in this medium.

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