Rajko Milošević Gera, also known as r.m. Guéra, is a Serbian comic book author and illustrator. He was born in 1959 in Belgrade, and since 1991 he lives in Barcelona.
His talent was instantly recognized as he debuted in the Yugoslav comics industry in 1982 with the series Elmer Jones, a Leonesque western scripted by Dragan Savić. They afterwards collaborated on Texas Riders, which in ’86. brought him Comics of The Year award, as well as Golden Pen of Belgrade.
He is known worldwide for his art in the DC Comics (Vertigo/Warner Bros.) bestseller series Scalped, with writer Jason Aaron. This graphic novel brought him two Eisner nominations, and nomination for best noir series at Angouleme 2014. Prior to the success of the series, Guera worked as complete author on pirate genre album Howard Blake; and together with Patrick Cothias on Le Lievre de Mars, both for French publisher Glénat.
Before, and after critical and commercial acclaim of Scalped, Guéra is known as a prolific and versatile artist, who published his works both in Europe as well as in the USA. He also worked on 22 animation TV films as a storyboard artist (A-Film, BRB, Magma), and also, as a movie poster artist, for Magnolia Pictures.
Besides great variety of covers, he also worked with Quentin Tarantino on short version of Inglourious Basterds for Playboy, as well as on a complete graphic novel Django Unchained. He annually appears in the USA mainstreams such as Marvel (Thor), Dark Horse (Grindhouse), DC Comics (Batman, Unfollow) and in the editions of the UK based 2000AD (Judge Dredd). His latest works are an album version of Tex Willer for Sergio Bonelli Editore, Jour J - Empire des Steppes for Delcourt, and before the end of 2019 he is about to finalize Conan the Barbarian album, for Glénat.
Among other projects, most notable being expanded edition of Texas Riders for Spanish as well as Serbian market, he is currently working again with Jason Aaron on their new series The Goddamned, for the USA based Image Comics. Two books, published so far, were accepted worldwide, both by critics and commercially.
Back in his high school days Geto (Boban Savić) published his comics in local magazines Niški list mladih Grafit and Narodne novine, finding inspiration in everyday adventures, which he relocated to the mystical world of surreal events. During the studies at the Faculty of Arts in Belgrade (department of painting) in 1993, he began to publish his illustrations in Politikin Zabavnik magazine. In the following year, he illustrated a novel Knežević i Severni vetar (‘A Little Prince and the North wind’), written by Ljiljana Praizović. Sensing the prevalence of narratives in fine arts, he completed his M.A. studies in 2000, in the class of Rastko Ćirić, and defended the thesis On Illustration, which became standard literature for future students and researchers of this artistic discipline.
Comics art has a special place in Geto's work. At the contest organized by the Cultural Center in Niš (1997), attended by many top artists, he won First Prize for the comics Nasmejani pokojnici (‘Smiling Deceased ones’). He continued to publish his comics in magazines Throne, Strip Mania and Bager. His work on the graphic novel L'ordre du chaos: Jérôme Bosch, published by Delcourt, earned him a prominent place among comics artists worldwide. In 2018, as a sign of support, he created the logo of the International comics festival: a stylized sculpture of the knight from the façade of the Student Cultural Center, equipped with artistic tools pen and brush
He greatly contributed to Serbian filmography through his innovations in the field of fantasy genre. As an art director of some feature films (including Charleston for Ognjenka) and a concept-artist of animated music videos and short films (such as E-Pigs), he implemented interdisciplinary knowledge of visual culture, thereby setting new artistic standards on par with those present at the contemporary international film scene.
He earned domestic and international recognition primarily due to his masterly illustrations and analytic drawings. His exhibition activities, encouraged by positive reactions, began in 1997 at the Student City Cultural Center in Belgrade, immediately after he finished his B.A. studies, and gained momentum over time. He participated in numerous collective exhibitions, among them October Salon, the Golden pen of Belgrade, The May Exhibition, Sixty years of comics in Serbia 1935–1995 and Illustrators of Politikin Zabavnik.
Over time, Geto has built a complex and nuanced creative opus. Thanks to his education, artistic and philosophical perspective, and by using visual language, he created a peculiar world of symbols, emblems and fantasies.
His artistic biography suggests that his talent has always been ahead of time. As a consequence, he gained quite a reputation, followed by respect of his colleagues and professional public. While shaping his authorial expression and artistic world, Boban Savić rightly uses the artistic name Geto; namely, for him art is modus vivendi rather than competition. Among his fellow artists, his thought that “artists are not competitors, but comrades in a joint struggle for beauty“, which he emphasized as a member of various juries (Golden pen of Belgrade 2013, Balkanima 2015, International Comics Festival 2015–2018), was wholehartedly welcomed.
Marija Ristić, art historian
Born in France in 1972, Olivier Dobremel (a.k.a. Dobbs) studied sociology and started writing scripts for RPG, video games and comic books.
Back then, when he was a cinematography teacher, he signed his first comics contracts (2009): about biographies of serial killers and thrillers. After that, he was given an opportunity by Soleil to write mini-series in the Fantasy & Horror/Adventure genres (Loki, Allan Quatermain, Alamo, Mr Hyde vs. Frankenstein and Scotland Yard). Most of them were translated into Italian, Spanish, Dutch, German and English.
Later, he wrote a one-shot story in the universe of the famous video game Dofus, for Ankama Publishing, and agreed to participate in the large collection of adaptations of the works of Sci-Fi author Stefan Wul.
After collaboration with Serbian artist Darko Perović on Alamo, he joined many other authors in the frame of the collective Serbian-French Frontlines series, published by System Comics and Institut Français in Belgrade.
In 2017, he began the creation of a complete collection for Glénat Publishing, adapting the most famous novels of the Sci-Fi author H. G. Wells: The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man and The Island of Doctor Moreau.
Since the beginning of 2019, he also wrote an essay on villains in movies, and new comics: Francis I of France, Nicolas Le Floch and The Beast within (Zola’s adaptation)
Nedeljko Dragić was born in 1936 in the village of Paklenica, near the town of Novska. A year later, his family moved to Slavonski Brod and from there, Nedeljko enrolled at the Law faculty in Zagreb in 1955.
During his high school days, he published his first caricature in Kerempuh magazine. At the same time, in 1954/55, his first comics Miša Sos in Hollywood, was published in humorist paper Čičak from Sarajevo. Since then, Dragić draws and creates caricatures, illustrations, comics, logos, advertisements, commercial graphics, theater scenography, animated movies and scripts.
He is one of the greatest living authors of the Golden Age of Zagreb School of animation, a cineaste who was at a stone’s throw to win the most important professional recognition in the world – the statue of Oscar.
Nedeljko is also an ingenious comics artist (Tupko. Brbljanje o geometriji); the creator of Zagi mascot of 1987 Summer Universiade in Zagreb; author of Lexicon for Illiterates; one of the artists that worked on the visual motives of 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo; brilliant cartoonist and illustrator, as well as exceptional graphics designer.
Since his first creative contact with animated movies in the spring of 1956, when he joined a crew of Dušan Vukotić that worked on an anime Nestašni robot (‘A Playful Robot’), through his first film Elegy in 1965 (for which he was a writer, artist and director), and until 1989 when his film Slike iz Sećanja (’Pictures from the Memories’) premiered, under Dragić's hand, and thanks to his imagination, emerged one of the most brilliant and most original animation opus the second half of the 20th century.
His most famous movies are Krotitelj divljih konja (‘Tamer of wild Horses’), Možda Diogen (’Perhaps Diogenes), Idu dani (‘Days are passing by’), Tup-Tup, Dnevnik (’The Diary’), Dan kad sam prestao pušiti (The day I stopped Smoking’). In 1972, his Tup-Tup was nominated for Oscar in the category of best animated short film, and in the next year Dragić became a member of the Motion Picture Academy.
His films won awards at various prestigious festivals of animation: Oberhausen, London, Belgrade, Zagreb, Chicago, San Francisco.
In 1995, he won the lifetime achievement award in Lucca for his work on animated films, comics and caricatures.
In 2002 he won Croatian lifetime achievement award, named after Krešo Golik, for his work on film. Seven years later he was awarded at Motovun film festival. In 2013, he received lifetime achievement award, bearing the name of Andria Maurović, for his contribution to Croatian comics scene, as well as the most important national award, named after Vladimir Nazor. In the same year in Trogir he received regional media award that bears the name of Ranko Munitić.
Since 1991, Nedeljko Dragić lives in Munich.
Veljko Krulčić, Author of the project
It may be freely said that Ljubomir - Ljuba Kljakić (1951), besides his social, administrative and political work that is considered, with good reasons, as more important than dealings with comics „only“, as an editor in the magazines Student (since 1975) and Vidici (since 1977), and as a chairman of the Council or as a director of Student Cultural Center (1977-1984), during approximately a decade (1975-1985) changed Serbian comics paradigm. He finished elementary and high school in Kosovska Mitrovica. Since 1970 he studied in Belgrade. He graduated in 1975 from the Faculty of Political Sciences, and until 1978 he attended post-graduate studies.
Since 1975, when he became editor-in-chief of Student magazine, the view of the comics as a means of reflection, and to the contemporaries inherent language of expression, was no longer the same. In Serbia, the way of understanding of “ninth art“ has changed, both among the intellectual elite, and among the participants at the comics scene. The approach to creation, placement, consumption and thinking of the achievements of this medium, which has been accepted only as entertainment, leisure, adventure and illustration (biographical, pedagogical, fairy tale, mildly satirical) or just as a visual gag-humor, has changed as well. Until than, alternative, underground, socially and intellectually engaged comics, as well as its other non-commercial forms, did not have a paper in which they could legally and continuously appear. Kljakić opened both newspapper and exhibition space to such comics.
In Student no. 29/1975 he edited the special thematic issue titled Novi strip (“New Comics”) . The texts in the issue, among them Underground strip i šamari građanskom idealu čistoće (“Underground Comics and Slaps to the Civil Ideal of Cleanliness”), Novi strip: prevrat, kritika, nova vizuelizacija, avangarda (“New Comics: Overturn, Criticism, new Visualization, Avant-garde”), Razaranje nevinosti i ušećerenosti stripa (“Destruction of Virginity and Candidness of Comics”) dealt not only with underground comics (Crumb). They also presented us for the first time Moebius’ Arzak, as well as comics of Druillet, Corben, Kurtzman, Gotlib...
The public was confused so much that similar domestic comics were labeled as “intelectual“, „political“, “non-commercial“, “philosophic“ or “engaged“.
In 1977, Kljakić was also an author of the first Serbian comics exhibition, titled Fantastika - strip - društvo (“Fantasy – Comics – Society”, more info about the exhibition can be found on pp. 53-54 in the Catalog of the 16th Festival). He created quite an uproar with his introductory text Treća generacija? (“The Third Generation?”), which was published as a separate issue of Student no. 15, 1978; the text caused revolt and storm of polemics on the “conventional“ scene.
In other papers and with belittlement, its acters labeled the new wave artists and their work as ‘Moebiusness’ or ’Third Generationism’. Namely, simply speaking, according to Kljakić, there were three generations of Serbian comics: interwar artists from 1935 to 1941 were the first, afterwar artists from 1945 to 1973 were the second, while the artists from 1974 and during the eighties were the third generation.
He is preparing a theoretical book with a working title Third generation: essays on comics, figural narration, popular culture, search for freedom, utopia and related themes (1973-1988).
Brana Nikolić was born in 1936 in Aranđelovac, as the eleventh child of his mother Radojka and father Jaćim. He finished elementary school in his hometown. After the sixth grade, as an exceptionally talented artist and the youngest student of the University of Belgrade, he enrolled at the Art academy.
First serious Brana’s achievement was a comics named Fudbalko (‘A Footballer’), published in 1963 in Dečje Novine and Polet magazine from Valjevo. His collaboration with Dečje Novine publishing from Gornji Milanovac continued in the following years, when his new heroes and stories emerged. First to win the hearts of children and pupils was Mija Siledžija (‘Miya the Bully’), and then Bendžo Kosta (‘Banjo Kosta’). Mate Karate, Pastir Hotka, Džungla Đole ('Jungle Joe'), Tarziko and others followed. For over 40 years Brana collaborated with Dečje Novine and he was also editor of its editions Ex Almanach, Eureka and Caravan.
He professionally worked as a journalist and cartoonist in Napred magazine from Valjevo, until his retirement. In the same city he launched and edited Penguin comics magazine.
He spent his teenage days in the park of Bukovička Banja – Risovačko Groblje, in an atmosphere that inspired him to create Miya as a character, and Risovača as a place of many adventures. In such an environment Miya appeared, a wise, brave, and talented boy, shaped imaginatively and skillfully by the author who led him to exciting adventures, written in verses. The nickname of the character was just a rhyme of his name, and not reflection of his personality.
Since his childhood, Brana read Politikin zabavnik, and unsurpassed Disney heroes, featuring on the pages of this magazine. From there, he unintentionally took over lines and shapes of his characters, visible in his early comics. Inspired by Disneyworld, Brana created comics and books for children, from which eventually stemmed in their own form Mija Siledžija, Crni kečevi na Bukulji (‘Black aces on Bukulja Mountain’), Otmica centarfora (‘The hijack of Centerfor’) and many others.
Besides comics, Brana also wrote westerns and ninja novels under various pen names. For Novi Sad based Forum publishing Brana wrote over twenty stories about Doc Holliday, using pen name Frank Laramy. He signed some of the westerns as Ray Colons, Brandon Nick or Valsin Arb, while several of his ninja novels were published under pen name Derek Phinnegan.
During the eighties, together with Slaviša Ćirović, he began collaboration with German publisher Joe Wain on the project Blue eyes Superstar. They completed some eight episodes, in addition to large number of sketches. Today, Brana continues to work on comics, pictured books, illustrations and cartoons, stating that the comics are the most beautiful childhood.