About Karagoz & Hacivat
Karagoz & Hacivat are the two main characters featured in traditional Turkish shadow puppet theater. The perfect odd-couple, Hacivat is an educated man while Karagoz is more of a wild but simple kind of guy. The pair are neighbors and life-long friends who suffer frequent misunderstandings. Hacivat is always trying to tame Karagoz's more adventurous (and sometimes lewd) tendencies and Karagoz is always getting himself into some kind of mischief.
The character of Karagoz dates back to the early 16th century in the Ottoman Empire but his traditional name was not finalized until the 17th century.
Changes to Webcomic Karagoz
Webcomic Karagoz draws very heavily from traditional sets, characters, and stories. I wanted to keep that historic flavor going. Otherwise, why do it at all? Karagoz and Hacivat are also going to go out and have all new adventures and they're going to make some new friends too--because the world is a big place and there's lots to do and see.
Some old characters that were once described by archetype will actually get proper names--such as Karagoz's wife and Hacivat's daughter. Most of the women characters in the old theatrical tradition were never given names so that is something I will be adding in. Webcomic Karagoz will also reframe some of the more negative characters. While I don't want to sensor the clothing and drug use of some of the older characters, I draw the line at harmful stereotypes. So, Webcomic Karagoz is getting with the times.
Webcomic Karagoz is also in English, at least for now. A lot of the humor of a good Karagoz script is in how puns and pronunciations get misconstrued. The diversity of the character backgrounds and the fact that everybody is speaking their own variation of the language is really the cornerstone of Karagoz as a comedy platform. Gags that work in English probably won't work in Turkish and vice versa.
There is an extremely diverse cast of characters in the Karagoz universe, representing the many people of the old Ottoman world. Some have names while others are identified by an archetype. Here are just some of the traditional named characters:
Celebi--The young dandy who is good with the ladies but is also genuinely kind.
Tiryaki--The local opium addict who often gives Karagoz a hard time.
Bebe Ruhi--A local dwarf who takes odd jobs and often works with Karagoz.
Matiz--A drunk who always tries to pick a fight with Karagoz.
Baba Himmet--A tall Anatolian woodcutter.
Laz--A boatman from the Black Sea who has mysterious ways.
Muhacir--A mountain "Greek" who tells everyone he is a wrestler.
Acem--A wealthy merchant from Azerbaijan who is a little too fancy.
Arnavut--The homicidal gardener.
Frank--The two-fisted European coward who makes jokes that are not funny.
Yahudi--The extremely ticklish Jewish merchant.
All of these were developed for shadow puppet theater. The puppets were crafted from vellum with movable joints that allowed them to be made to dance and engage with each other. The puppets were made to be held on long rods placed up against the inside of a plain white backdrop while being lit from behind. This allowed for color to shine through as well. The puppeteers performed music, sang, and adopted special voices and accents for the different characters.