Turkey's first Kurdish-language comic book will hit the shelves soon as an online fundraiser has collected the means needed to support the initiative, cartoonist İmam Cici said in an interview with the Platform Against Censorship and Self-Censorship.
“I've been working on things for children for 25 years. I write and illustrate children's books. I've been drawing for the [children's humor magazine] Süper Penguen for quite some time. Now, when the pressure on Kurds across the country increases, I thought about how to embark on more of a long-term initiative and focused on this project,” Cici said.
Cici had previously published the Kurdish-language humor magazine Pine, which came out in 1999 and released 30 issues until 2001.
“When that ended, I thought that there was something missing. We are trying to bestow upon Kurdish a 'drawn narration' that did not exist before. There was a Kurdish humor magazine but there was no tradition of drawn narration. I thought that we needed to start with children to accomplish this,” Cici said.
The new magazine will be called Gog, which comes from the name of a game meaning 'nine stones' that is played by Kurdish children. It is slated to be published in the Kurdish dialect of Kurmanci which is the most commonly-spoken Kurdish dialect in Turkey.
The Fongogo campaign Gog launched has currently exceeded its goal of 35,000 TL, and Cici said that is enough for eight issues. If he is able to continue the project, Cici hopes that it will inspire Kurdish translators to bring iconic European comic books to the Kurdish language.
“If a Kurdish comic book culture starts to take shape, someone will be able to come up and say, 'ok I can do it, let's print Tintin in Kurdish.' There are many respected and popular comics in Europe, why not present them to children?” Cici said.