16TH INTERNATIONAL COMICS FESTIVAL
SEP. 27TH - 30TH 2018
STUDENTS CULTURAL CENTER BELGRADE / HAPPY GALLERY
GUESTS OF THE FESTIVAL 2018:
TONI FEJZULA (ES)
For several years, Toni Fejzula works for Dark Horse Comics on series written by John Arcudi and Greg Rucka. Before that, he worked on many comics and other illustration projects on the European market, particularly in the field of animation. He created backgrounds for a number of Spanish animated series and movies such as El Cid The Legend (2003). He was the creator of the science-fiction album Central Zéro (Soleil Productions, 2003, texts by Alex Nikolavitch), and co-creator of the series Nephilim (Delcourt, 2004, written by Miroslav Dragan).
He made covers for the Cthulhu series (2010), and worked on the comics series Veil (Dark Horse, 2015, written by Greg Rucka). In 2015 he also worked on a one-shot Lobster Johnson story (The Glass Mantis, with Mike Mignola and John Arcudi). He worked on a crime series Dead Inside with John Arcudi: its Vol.1 came out in August 2016. He is currently working on a graphic novel, comics adaptation of Patria, the bestselling book by Fernando Aramburu, for Planeta
He frequently creates variant covers for Rumble series, by John Arcudi, David Rubín and Dave Stewart and published by Image. Recently, he also collaborated on a short story with Brian Azzarello for the Shock anthology published by Aftershock.
He was born in Serbia and currently lives in Barcelona.
MIKICA IVANOVIĆ (RS)
Miodrag Ivanović Mikica was born in 1959 in Srpski Miletić, where he finished elementary school. He finished secondary construction school in Novi Sad.
He was interested in comics since the earliest youth. He made his first comics when he was 15, while in 1976, he made several tables, mostly Westerns. Four years later, upon returning from the army, he submitted an application for the position of comics artist in Novi Sad based Forum. There, he met many artists popular back then, among them Duda Vukojev, with whom he is still a great friend.
Some of Mikica’s short stories were bought at the very beginning, but they were never published. Then he met Branislav Kerac and began to work on covers of Dnevnik editions of Il Grande Black and Zagor, followed by other Bonelli heroes, such as Mister No and Kit Teller. In 1981, he joined a team of domestic artists that worked on a licensed edition of Il Grande Black. His first published episode was The False Count (Lunov Magnus Strip 741). He did twelve episodes for the series: eight were published in Lunov Magnus Strip, one in Almanac no. 8, while the three have never been printed. He illustrated approximately 120 covers for Zlatna Serija and Lunov Magnus Strip editions, some of them together with his brother Peka, also a comics artist.
He also made ten episodes of comics Johnny Dancer, scripted by Duda Vukojev, but they remained unpublished. Then, his collaboration with Dečje Novine took place, and during that time he did some 40 episodes of the comics Ninjas. He also drew several episodes of Yu Tarzan.
Unfortunately, the war in the Balkans moved Mikica away from the world of arts. Most of our artists went abroad, while he had to commit himself to the construction work. However, he did not forget painting and occasionally he worked on large murals and wall advertisements, also peculiar pieces of art. Due to the speed at which he painted the walls, he got the nickname Serbian Michelangelo.
After the war years, Mikica gradually returned to the ninth art. He won awards at several comics contests and invitations for various comics festivals came: Makarska, Niš, Sombor and Belgrade. This year, on the grand jubilee of Zlatna Serija, we should not forget Mikica, whose name is inseparable with this edition.
VELJKO KRULČIĆ (HR)
Veljko Krulčić (Pula, 1962) is a professional journalist, publisher and historian of comics. He published his first comics during his high school days in 1979. Since then, he is intensively involved in the popularization of comics. He writes, organizes thematic and solo exhibitions in Croatia and abroad, produces and writes scripts for documentaries about comics artists. He also participates in comics festivals, round tables, panels and symposiums. He was a curator of great retrospective exhibitions such as The Croatian Comics 1867 – 1985 (Museum space, Zagreb 1985) and Yugoslav Comics 1866-1986 (Paris, 1986). He founded an award Best Yugoslav Comics of the Year, awarded by Zagreb based weekly Polet between 1984 and 1988. He initiated a lifetime achievement award in the domain of Croatian comics, named after Andrija Maurović and annually awarded by Art 9 Society since 2009. He edited thematic volume of the Istra magazine (no. 6/7, 1986), wholy dedicated to the domestic comics scene. He is the author of several monographs about comics. Among them are Hrvatski posleratni strip (Croatian Afterwar Comics”), Maurović and Put u obećanu zemlju (“Road to the Promised Lands”). He is the first winner of Fra-Ma-Fu professional award (1986) for his contribution to the promotion of the Yugoslav comics. He launched and edited several comics editions: Maurović, Bolja prošlost (“Better Past”), Klasici hrvatskog stripa (“Classics of Croatian Comics”), Fra-Ma-Fu and Strip i stripologija (“Comics and Comixology”). As an editor, he prepared numerous albums and books about comics, dedicated to Andrija Maurović, Walter Neugebauer, Žarko Beker, Bordo Dovniković, Frano Gotovac, Albert Kinert, Nedeljko Dragić, Željko Lordanić and others. A friend and colleague of Zdravko Zupan (1950-2015), one of the most eminent authorities in the domain of comics, Krulčić also edited a monograph titled MAUROVIĆ – LOBAČEV – JULES – SULIĆ. It appeared in his edition Strip i stripologija; the publisher was Art 9 Society from Zagreb. The monograph is a collection of essays, studies, critics, reviews and historical and bibliographic texts about comics, its creators and heroes from the former Yugoslavia about whom Zdravko wrote in the period between the early eighties of the past century and his death. The book also features a comprehensive photo-memorabilia, a unique photographic ‘album’, a real long-lasting chronicle of the comics events.
EXCERPTS FROM THE PROGRAM OF THE FESTIVAL:
SPECIAL AWARD FOR GENERAL CONTRIBUTION TO SERBIAN COMIC STRIP
Winner: ALEKSA GAJIĆ (1974), Belgrade, Serbia
Aleksa Gajić (Belgrade, 1974) is a Serbian comics artist, well-known abroad. He is mostly present on the Franco-Belgian scene. He is the author of animated films, illustrator and caricaturist. He graduated in 1998 from the Faculty of the Applied Arts in Belgrade in the class of Prof. Rastko Ćirić. His graduation work in the form of comics was the first of its kind in Serbia. That colored graphic novel, titled Technotise, was scripted by Darko Grkinić. Since 1996, Gajić is a regular collaborator of Politikin Zabavnik weekly, while in 2000, after his exhibition in the comics festival in Angouleme, he began to work for French publishing house Soleil. He became the artist on a series Le Fléau des Dieux (The Scourge of God), scripted by Valérie Mangin, for which he created six colored albums. They reached great popularity both in France and Serbia, and they were published in the USA and six other countries.
In Serbia, Gajić also published reworked album Technotise that served as a basis of the first Serbian featured animated film Technotise: Edit & I. He was also an author of several short animated films, the most prominent being the Rise and Fall of Art, while the most popular was a music video Moldy Bread, for the namesake song of the Serbian band S.A.R.S. He authored several other music and advertising videos. He also published several intimate collections of short, inventive comics (Within Screws, Scrapbook, Flat Comics), while in Serbian galleries he exhibited some forty unique comics-objects so far (Marvelous Comics, Rewind), less known abroad. As a part of the group project and comics series The Frontlines, he created several covers and original short comics about the Serbian army in the Great War (1914-1918). He illustrated various books and magazines, and collaborated with many publishers and design studios. He achieved important results in the domain of graphic design as well (pamphlets, invitations, advertisements, calendars, posters).
He had many group and solo exhibitions in Serbia. He was awarded numerous times, also for his comics innovations, and including this festival: Rocky Comics in 2011. and Rewind (also a Grand Prix of the festival) in 2012. He is considered one of the most important artists in general, and particularly in the sphere of the Ninth Art. As a result of his renewed collaboration with Mangin two issues in the new series Drakko were recently published (Drakko: La Treizieme Horde & La Nebuleuse des Serpents). In the end of 2017, Serbian publisher System Comics issued them united in a single impressive volume. In collaboration with Christoph Bec, Gajić also created the monumental Carthago. He lives and works in Zemun, a municipality of Belgrade.
“SREĆKO JOVANOVIĆ” – AWARD OF DEČJE NOVINE DOSITEJ PUBLISHING HOUSE AND GORNJI MILANOVAC MUNICIPALITY
Winner (POSTHUMUOUSLY): DESIMIR ŽIŽOVIĆ BUIN (1920–1996)
Desimir Žižović Buin was a Serbian comics artist and illustrator. He was also a painter, label maker, industrial designer and sculptor.
He was a friend with a painter and professor Božidar Prodanović. Before the Second World War, he frequently visited art studios of Toma Rosandić, Milo Milunović and Mihailo Petrov, who was later his mentor when he applied to the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade.
During the war, Buin was in the headquarters of the Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland, led by general Dragoljub Mihailović, where he was employed as an illustrator and graphic designer for the army paper Ravnogorski Borac. When in 1944 King Petar II Karađorđević issued an order to the members of the army of Mihailović to accept the command of Josip Broz, Buin joined the Partisans. There he worked in the propaganda crew, so-called Art Cooperative, led by Đorđe Andrejević Kun, who eventually tried to send him to the Syrmian Front. After surviving the horrors of the civil war and colonization in Banat in 1947, four years later Buin applied to enroll at the Academy of Applied Arts in Belgrade. He was accepted, but soon he left the studies and returned to his homeland.
He was present in Dečje novine (Children’s Newspaper) since its foundation at the end of 1956, first as an illustrator, author of enigmatic tasks, but also comics. His early comics were frequently inspired by Serbian history, epic songs and tales: Prince Marko and Musa the Highwayman, The Dragon and the Emperor’s Son, Silent Tongue, Flathead, Ladybird, The Last Avenger, Magellan, The Rudnik Offensive, Pete the Ruster and Pickaxel, Young Vlada and his Cousin from town... However, the Yugoslav People’s Army accused existing comics for the “anti-patriotic” stance and publicly, via its papers, called the publishers to work on new comics, inspired by “National Liberation Struggle”. It was in fact an order, which will result, by chance, but also due to Buin’s talent, into an unsurpassed publishing enterprise undertaken by Dečje novine. It was a comics series Mirko and Slavko, the most popular comics in the Socialist Yugoslavia, with a circulation of almost 300,000 copies per issue. It would serve as an inspiration for a namesake feature film, created in 1973.
The comics about kid Mirko, the baker’s apprentice, who will be later, after his companion Boško was „killed“, joined by Slavko, appeared in 1958, in the 23rd issue of Dečje novine and as a first episode od the comics titled Nikad Robom (Never Surrender). It was published in Dečje Novine until 1960. Buin’s son Dragomir served as an inspiration for Mirko, while Slavko was based on Slobodan Santrač, who later became a famous Serbian footballer.
In 1963, Mirko & Slavko moved from Dečje Novine to a newly established edition Nikad Robom in 1963. Six years later, and starting from issue no. 195, the whole edition was dedicated solely to this comics, and it remained as such until it ceased to exist a year later. Besides Buin, other most important Serbian comics artists worked on the series about Mirko and Slavko. Eventually, in 1979, due to the hyperproduction and quality decline, the series was discontinued. Buin later remade several older episodes and created the definitely last one, titled Chase, and published in the Tic-Tac magazine.
Buin was the first artist of Dečje Novine. Although he received many attractive offers, he remained faithful to his beloved publishing house. He died in 1996 in Belgrade and was buried in his native village Gornji Branetići.
ANDRIJANA RUŽIĆ: ANIMATED FILMS OF MICHAEL DUDOK DE WIT (NL),
LECTURE / SCREENING
ELEGANT AND TIMELESS ANIMATED FILMS BY MICHAEL DUDOK DE WIT
Michael Dudok de Wit (1953, Abcoude, Holland) is a London-based director, animator and illustrator. He has directed four short animated films: Tom Sweep in 1992 and The Monk and the Fish in 1994. The vivacious animated story about a monk who obsessively goes after the fish, desperate in his desire to catch it, brought him a world-wide popularity and numerous awards. Between each independent film he did a lot of commercials for television, learning about visual efficiency and constantly pushing his limits.
With his most famous film Father and Daughter (2000) he won all Grand Prix in every possible festival at which it was shown in competition. Certainly not without a reason animation historian Giannalberto Bendazzi defined it as “the ultimate auteur film.” Painted with tea and in the rhythm of one of the “Concerti grossi” by Arcangelo Corelli, Dudok de Wit's abstract film The Aroma of Tea (2006) appears to be a sort of a formal and conceptual preparatory metaphor for his first feature film The Red Turtle (2016). The film, produced by the Ghibli Studio, Prima Linea and Wild Bunch, expresses once again the elaboration of Dudok de Wit's recurrent themes: those of a longing, an ultimate desire, an ultimate question.
Dudok de Wit is proud of every single frame he has drawn so far whether it was intended for his independent film or for a TV commercial. In his system of values and approach to work there is no difference between a high and a low art work. All his films have an artistic and artisan imprint of Renaissance-like quality: every single phase of animation is meditated over the storyboards for a long time. His films are immediately recognizable and distinguished by the particular timing, the faded color palette, the treatment of shadows, the dialogue absence, the right soundtrack, the sense of prospective, the extended melancholic landscapes and their dynamic lines and the spiritual, meditative contents. Each film is a cinematographic perfection of a kind: nothing to add, nothing to take away. Michael also writes and illustrates books for children and teaches animation at art academies in England and internationally.
Screening: The Monk and the Fish, 1994 (6' 22''); Father and Daughter, 2000 (8' 30'')
ALEKSANDAR ZOGRAF, ĐORĐE MARKOVIĆ (RS): “THE FINAL ADVENTURES OF KAKTUS KID", feature documentary-animated film about comics artist VELJKO KOCKAR
The Final Adventures of Kactus Kid was a film in which I participated both as a narrator and a researcher. It all began when Đorđe Marković, who eventually became the director of the film, came into possession of a book Veljko Kockar – comics, life and death, written by Zdravko Zupan (1950-2015), the highest authority in the domain of history of Serbian comics. Considering that I was the editor of the book, and author of a text accompanied by the one written by Zupan, Marković offered me to work on a documentary that should continue the search about the destiny of Veljko Kockar, who was shot when he was 24, immediately after the liberation of Belgrade in 1944. Kockar was a rising star of the interwar comics, who, similarly to many other artists, continued to publish during the occupation. However, unlike his colleagues such as Konstantin Kuznetsov, who offered his services to the occupation forces, and who created Nazi propaganda illustrations, Kockar worked solely on adventure comics and gags with half-naked girls. The most impressive comics created by him were made in benign Disney-like style, with naïve and good-willed Kactus Kid as a main hero. The documentary reveals that the execution of the young artist was based on unconfirmed rumors, while in the documentary appear Zdravko Zupan, Zoran Đukanović, Mirko Ilić, Charles Alverson, Robert Crumb and many others.
Saša Rakezić alias Aleksandar Zograf
Directed by: ĐORĐE MARKOVIĆ; Producers: IVANA ANTIĆ, ĐORĐE MARKOVIĆ; Co-producer: SINIŠA JURIŠIĆ; Written by: VLADIMIR SIMIĆ; Director of fotography: KOSTA GLUŠICA; Editor: DAVOR BOSANKIĆ; Music by: NENAD MARIĆ a.k.a. KRALJ ČAČKA, MARKO MARIĆ; Costume Designer: BILJANA GRGUR, SNEŽANA VELJKOVIĆ; Production Designer: DUŠAN RADOJIČIĆ; Line Producer: UROŠ STANKOVIĆ; Sound Designer: ALEKSANDAR PROTIĆ; VFX Supervisor: NEBOJŠA ROGIĆ; Production:Tuna Fish Studio, 2018; Co-production: Nukleus Film, 2018.
ZORAN DJUKANOVIĆ, DUŠAN MLADENOVIĆ: 70 YEARS OF TEX WILLER
It was 1948 when scriptwriter Gianluigi Bonelli and artist Aurelio Galleppini created Tex Willer, a character that grew up into a legend. It became the longest living comics, with a circulation that still dominates the Bonelli production in Italy. Even today, Tex is primarily published in black & white, in a way mostly favored by the comics fans. In the beginning of the sixties of the previous century, during the flourishing of the Spaghetti Westerns, it was printed in almost a million copies. His charisma was, however, built on a paradox. Namely, Tex united and reconciled mythical antagonism of the cowboys and the Indians in his character. He is a ranger, an Indian agent, but also a chief of the Navajo people. Although “powerful, loyal, unmistakable shooter and an enemy of prejudice and discrimination”, he is inclined to neglect the rules and to use less acceptable means in order to stop criminals. Historical persons such as Butch Cassidy, Sundance Kid, Buffalo Bill, General Custer, Geronimo and Cochise appear ocassionaly in the episodes. Besides the classic volumes, since 1988 the comics is also published as a Maxi Tex, in a larger paper format and twice as big. Thus, the door was opened to a mild “revisionism“, more complex stories and freer visual narrative, consequently leading to a widening of the Tex universe. The new episodes are under the care of two celebrated scriptwriters Mauro Boselli and Claudio Nizzi, and in the meantime the whole army of artists had their share in the Tex stories, including the most celebrated names worldwide. It is considered a special honor to be invited to participate in this mega project of epic narration.
MIKICA IVANOVIĆ, SLOBODAN IVKOV, DUŠAN MLADENOVIĆ, ILIJA MIROVIĆ:
50 YEARS SINCE THE LAUNCH OF "ZLATNA SERIJA" AND "LUNOV MAGNUS STRIP" EDITIONS
In the beginning of 1968, Dnevnik Publishing from Novi Sad (its primary daily paper bears the same name and is published even today), launched two comics editions. For the next four decades and a half, until Slovenia and Croatia seceded in 1992, and their publication ceased in Serbia in 1993 and 1994, these two editions left an indelible mark on Yugoslav pop-culture. Zlatna Serija (“The Golden Series”) was the first to appear in January 1968, on 128 pages. In this volume the main comics was a pulp western of English Keystone Press Agency, titled Four Duels. Three stories were present; the second of them was Jane Gardner, modern adventure in rainforest with guerilla fighters, while the last one followed Tex Willer, one of the most popular characters up to this day. I do not know why Supermen was on its back cover, which earlier appeared in other Serbian youth magazines, but was never present in Zlatna Serija. The editor was Mitar Milošević, who under the pseudonym Frederick Ashton, was an author of one of the most popular Yugoslav pulp series Lun, the King of Midnight. In the volume 13 of Zlatna Serija another, even more popular character appeared - Zagor! Until its last issue no. 1103 in 1993, with Tex Willer in the episode Under surveillance, the authors and the genres were changing, but the Westerns dominated, primarily those created by Sergio Bonelli Editore from Milano. In March 1968, the first volume of second edition, named Lunov Magnus Strip, appeared (Its name remained sort of a mystery all this time). The format was initially twice as big as in the case of Zlatna Serija, but two and half times more expensive than the former. The title of its first issue was The Secret of the Golden Mine, and it contained several drawn and written stories. This edition was initially published every three months, after no. 8 monthly, and starting from no. 22 biweekly. The price was, however, too high for me, as well as for my father who had to finance my wishes. At that time, its price was five dinars, while Zlatna Serija was two dinars, and The Written Novels and famous Politikin Zabavnik weekly one dinar only. The market and the budget eventually led to a compromise. Since volume no. 5 Lunov Magnus Strip was published in the same format as Zlatna Serija, but on 192 pages, and the price was fixed at three dinars. Due to the small circulation, its issue no. 4, with Zagor in the episode The Treasure of the Red Mountain is much sought-after by the collectors, and its price is exceptionally high. Lunov Magnus Strip was also dominated by the Bonelli comics. It eventually ceased to exist after the volume no. 997, published on July 14, 1994, just a bit before reaching its 1000th issue.