ASTANA – Young Kazakh comic book author Ilyas Yusupzhanov presented his first comic book about the founders of the Kazakh Khanate, Kerey and Zhanibek sultans, in Almaty on Jan. 27, reported Zakon.kz news outlet.
Yusupzhanov’s interest in comic books sprang from his dedication to promoting Kazakh history by creating worthy heroes to look up to through comic book characters.
According to him, the success and prosperity of any state depend on the knowledge of history. In turn, the knowledge shapes national identity and contributes to the strengthening of civic responsibility.
“I believe these points are important to learn from the past and to consciously participate in society in the present,” said Yusupzhanov to Zakon.kz news outlet.
Yet, Yusupzhanov is modest about his influence on promoting history as he acknowledges that comics were created from his struggles in history classes.
“The idea of creating a comic book came to me when I was studying at school and I could not get good scores on the UNT (Unified National Testing) on the history of Kazakhstan. Then I realized that it was more convenient for me, as a writer, to present historical facts in an artistic format, so it is easier to remember,” said Yusupzhanov.
Yusupzhanov hopes his artwork and the depth of its storylines will help to indulge the youth in the world of Kazakh history.
“With this comic book I want to increase knowledge of our history among young people. By visualizing information with the help of artistic colors, I think that the process of learning history will be many times more interesting,” he said.
He is succeeding already. Aidana, an 11th-grade student at the Akhmet Zhubanov music school, said that comics are “a cool way to tell a story to school kids.”
“Because right now, not everyone reads large texts. It is boring. But I think this format will definitely appeal to many people. I intend to read it too,” she added.
Another reason to present a story in a comic book form is to help popularize the comic book industry in Kazakhstan and help other aspiring artists pave their way in the industry.
“Today, young illustrators and designers produce their works at their own expense. And therefore, it is important to popularize their works so that Kazakhs could appreciate the domestic product at its merits,” he said.
According to the author, the illustrations and scripts were made quickly, but it took almost four months to discuss the historical material with experts.
“We consulted with so many specialists: historians, philologists. But most of all, I was worried about the dialogues. They were between characters who lived a few centuries ago. We had to get them right without making any mistakes,” said Yusupzhanov.
The comic book is available in Kazakh and Russian languages starting Feb. 1. In 80 pages, it describes the 15th-century Kazakh lands, starting from the birth of the Kerey and Zhanibek Khans to their descendants Burunduk and Kasym Khan.