Hopeless Comic Book The world is a very big place and it's filled with a number of diverse cultures, personalities, animals, creatures, bugs, plants, perceptions, ailments, remedies, stories, journeys, ideologies, religions, people, technology, and comic books. Yes. That's correct. I said comic books. Want to see an alternate one? Then check out the following interview I did with Oytun Yılmaz about his comic named, 'Hopeless'.

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1) What are your own origins, Oytun?   I have lived in Istanbul all my life and am of Turkish origin, with some alleged Georgian genes here and there. Diogenes of Sinope is also an old fellow townsman of mine, which could explain my cynical tendencies.

2) What inspired you to create, ‘Hopeless’?   I always wanted to create a story which would both examine the dangers of indifference and play with codes that have become the base of modern societies. I was initially inspired by dogs, stray dogs to be more precise, as I've always loved the way they've adapted to city life, plus their intelligence, their skills, their community-based lives, and their freedom, despite the increasing lack of shelter and food sources in the stifling atmosphere of the city. Besides, they would be a great fit for a story about a man who has lost his soul, all because dogs are considered less of a being in my culture. Not only do many people consider them dirty, but on top of that, they also believe that dogs repel angels wherever they go: Keep one at home and the Angel of Death will never visit you, but for some reason it has never become a trend (for more information, see the chapter "I am a Dog" in the Orhan Pamuk book, "My Name Is Red").

Hopeless Comic BookSo the mock-Virgil of my semi-Dantean story would thus become a dog.

'Hopeless' then unrolled into an animal-driven narrative instead of an anthropocentic one. Accordingly, we needed a setting of fantasy where we could explore our characters' pyschological make up, develop allegorical / symbolic subtopics, and create a folkloric atmosphere. For that reason, and that reason alone, we studied the William S. Burroughs book, 'Interzone', more specifically the chapter named 'Carroll's Wonderland', and the result was Mother's Land, which is where the majority of our story takes place.

3) In your own words how would you describe this story?   If I were to choose one single word to describe this story, that word would have to be "strange". So please be prepared to move beyond narrative, language, and aesthetic conventions, and try to embrace a hyperbolic carnival full of non-human creatures surrounding the protagonist's mock-quest to find his soul. Essentially the story follows a non-linear structure in a non-representational setting, without trying to resolve the questions it attempts to raise. It is not a didactic tale, and we do not claim to hold the secret key to all the enigmas in the story; as I'm sure many readers will figure it out a lot better than we can.

All soul-less and multi-spirited outsiders, occasionally embroidered with weak superpowers, are in one place, intricately ordered as the protagonist proceeds, losing the last bits of his identity and coalesces into the setting itself. It is a funny, sarcastic, and self-reflective journey which doesn't stop subverting its own roots.

Also, keep in mind that this is supposed to be a series, and what we are offering is the first issue which contains two episodes in 88 color pages. There will be much more to come!

4) What song would you say best represents this comic and why?   Despite a myriad of differences between the two of us, I'd like to choose the Marilyn Manson song,  "mOBSCENE", because the story includes a number of "mob scenes" influenced by the glamour of the 1930s.

Hopeless Comic Book
Another connection has to do with a special story that goes right back to the creation process: 'Hopeless' features a character named Blatta, a burlesque performer and an occasional rock singer, who's the only female character of the first issue and the only character with a proper name. Initially she was going to be more of an insignificant character just to get the story going, but the co-writer of the story, Onur Böle, insisted she had to be our Dita Von Teese. "She won't be particularly obscene, but she will be heard", he said, and so we loosely based this character on Ms Teese, which prompted me to re-sketch certain parts, and create new frames in accordance with her elaborate tirade. It made the story longer, more interesting, even more non-linear than it originally would be, and if you don't already know, Dita Von Teese is featured in the 'mOBSCENE' music video.

5) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your wares, who would you choose, and why would you want to choose this particular person?   This is a tough question to answer, because a few names immediately spring to mind which are not celebrities, like Eminem or Michael Jackson, but instead, artists who wouldn't prefer to be celebrities, yet are too good to go unnoticed. And no, I won't pick Alan Moore, a terrific storyteller and a revolutionist that I admire. I think I will go with Björk, simply because she doesn't usually promote comic books, and if she did, it would mean she really loved our work. Besides, the majority of her fanbase knows the good stuff when they see it, and I am confident they would appreciate our project even though they might not be comic fans.

6) What have you learnt about yourself through this endeavour?   Probably the greatest thing I have learnt about myself is that I am no better than the character I set out to satirize in this project. The experience was, and still is, a great chance to face my own contradictions, judgments, and even secrets that I had suppressed. Although I had initially wanted to create an alternative world to find a shelter and some thought-provoking ideas, I found myself in it instead.

Hopeless Comic Book
7) During your time in this field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   That would be the opportunity this field has offered me outside of reality, but still affects reality nonetheless. It has been a great experience and I have always wanted to achieve this with my long-time friend, Onur, forming a collaboration which in itself creates a sense of community. We are now really turning into a community: Two other amazing artists who have loved our work recently created fan art to show their support. These are Şerif Karasu and Mustafa Karasu, whom I'd like to thank. I have a lot more friends to thank, but the list will be too long.

8) If ‘Hopeless’ had a motto, what would it be?   "Perhaps misguided moral passion is better than confused indifference" - Iris Murdoch (Not that we entirely agree with the motto of the story).

And on that note, I'd like to thank Oytun and Onur for telling us about their comic book, Hopeless, before directing you towards their instagram, facebook, and kickstarter pages. 

HOPELESS - THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH HOPELESS - THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH Reviewed by David Andrews on January 31, 2018 Rating: 5

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