Avni, by Oguz Aral

Oğuz Aral was a grandmaster of Turkish comics and cartoons. He was the driving force behind cartoon magazines like Girgir, Avni and Digil, and was a tutor to almost an entire generation of Turkish comic artists. Aral was born in the town of Silivri in 1936. He studied at the State Academy of Art, but dropped out in the third year to pursue a career as a professional cartoonist.

As a young cartoonist, Oğuz Aral continued in the tradition of pioneering Turkish cartoonist Cemal Nadır Güler. He began to draw in a style that was close and understandable to the people. He developed a comic and funny, but at the same time criticizing, cartoon style, and it was loved by the Turkish people. The characters he created were published in the newspapers he worked for and the public used to look forward to them expectantly. 'Hafiyesi Mahmut', 'Hayk Mammer', 'Utanmaz Adam' and 'Avanak Avni' are some of the characters brought to life by Oğuz Aral.

Utanmaz Adam, by Oguz Aral
Utanmaz Adam

From 1972 Oğuz Aral's characters and comic stories were published in Aral's well-known - yellow/black coloured - weekly Gırgır paper. Gırgır soon became more popular than the already existing Akbaba and other comic papers of the time. Oğuz Aral was chief editor of Gırgır until 1989. Later on he left the paper and together with friends started the comic papers Avni and Digil. Together with his brother Tekin Aral he had also published comic papers like Fırt and Laklak.

Avni, by Oguz Aral

The Gırgır paper was, through all layers of society at a certain period in time, the best sold comic paper after the Soviet Russian Krokodil comic. In the 1980s this weekly publication achieved a circulation of 600,000 issues. Of course the actual amount of readers was much more. Besides its artistic accomplishments the paper was also a breeding ground for young cartoonists, many of whom are now acknowledged worldwide for their skill and fame. Oğuz Aral's cartoons still ran in the newspaper Hürriyet until his death in Bodrum on 26 July 2004.

Hafiyesi Mahmut by Oguz AralGirgir cover by Oguz Aral
Legendary cartoon character Hafiyesi Mahmut, and a cover of the Girgir paper when it was very popular

Aral is a much appreciated and loved cartoonist, not only for the characters he created, but also for his cover artwork and other drawings. Cartoons and comic papers play a role in the democratization in Turkey. It shows how the Turkish society questions ongoing issues, and it adapts people to criticism and black humor. Nowadays, the students of Oğuz Aral carry on the tradition of cartoons and comic stories in Turkey.

Oguz Aral and team
Oğuz Aral looking at cartoons together with youngsters of comic paper Girgir in 1977

Entry by Yakup Karahan
Laatste update: 2014-03-19

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