In the broader comic book world Turkish characters are sparse. Perhaps if Hollywood took note then some of our characters would feature among Marvel's panoply of super heroes. However, local comics don't remain idle waiting for Hollywood's attention. Seyfettin Efendi has been in our lives for many years, navigating adventures on the website www.seyfettinefendi.com. An exciting recent development saw Arka Bahce Publishing collect the comics into a book, titled Seyfettin Efendi ve olaganustu maceralari (Seyfettin Efendi and His Extraordinary Adventures). While humanity, technology, and science develop, we still rely on stories that detail the unchanging nature of our deepest fears and desires.
Comic book artist Devrim Kunter is a graduate of Marmara University's Faculty Fine Art, where he specialized in 3D modeling and animation. Once the idea of Seyfettin Efendi came to him, no other art form would do. Seyfettin Efendi's first adventure was titled 'the monster of Yeditepe' and is available online. The story transports readers back to 1924, right to the Turkish Republic's establishment. The tale features a number of mysterious murders in the back streets of Istanbul. When the police force is not up for the task, Seyfettin Efendi arrives on the scene. The plot thickens with a secret government-linked organization, Ifsa-yi Sirr Forces, which is tasked with carrying out the murders.
The rest adventure introduces characters like Doctor Aziz, Mucit Münevver, Pehlivan (a champion oil-wrestler), Ismail, Casus (a spy), Esat, Osman Pasa, Refik Pasa, Bilgin Scognamillo and Rical-i Gayb. These characters are regulars in the Seyfettin Efendi repertoire. In his second adventure, the murders in Istanbul continue but this time Efendi runs into an international organization and finds himself drawn into a web of spies. Although these comic books are set during Turkey's republic period, Kunter confesses, "During my school days, I had no interest in history class. Also, I must say that I didn't really focus in drawing classes." After he decided to create Seyfettin Efendi, he embarked on a journey through history with a special focus on the 1920s.
Kunter made the deliberate choice to shone in on that period. He explains, "In that period there are both huge discoveries and interesting characters. From [Nikola] Tesla to [Pablo] Picasso, [Ernest] Hemingway to [Grigori] Rasputin, it was a time full of historically significant, unique people. Of course, there are also events that carry special historical importance to our country, like the population exchanges and the establishment of the Republic."Kunter is hopeful for Turkey's comic book industry. He says there are many people in Turkey who want to make comics but most of the time their plans don't come to fruition. Kunter explains, "Especially after the book was published, those interested in drawing comics began to reach out to me. I saw there were many writers and illustrators with an interest in production. There is no sector…it doesn't go beyond personal success."Seyfettin Efendi is certainly once such story of personal success.
The comic sat in a dusty folder for a long time until Kunter decided there was no reason to wait any longer; he chose to self-publish the book. He is pleased that he took this adventurous route. Now, Seyfettin Efendi has a legion of fans and Kunter is always happy to run into them. Underlining the relationship between him and his readers, Kunter said, "It is necessary to make clear that comic book readers have a critical eye. They will notice even the tiniest of details. I'm hungry for any bit of criticism and I pay attention to the critiques I receive."The adventures of the republic's rest secret agent will continue.In April of this year, a second book, titled Seyfettin Efendi ve Esrarengiz Hikayleri (Seyfettin Efendi and the Mysterious Stories) will be released. Readers can expect a change in this volume, with contributions from writers and illustrators such as Yalin Alpay, Ilke Keskin, Umit Kirecci, Hakan Duman,Gokhan Gultekin, and Sumeyye Kesgin.