Tomaz Lavric - TBC

Tomaz Lavric - TBC; smokes a lot, doesn't get enough exercise and hates public appearances

Tomaz Lavric, better known as TBC (but sometimes also as Diareja, J. Visarjonovič, Ton Ton, Lovro Matič…) was born in Ljubljana on a stormy autumn night in 1964. He went to study paintings at the Ljubljana Art Academy, but escaped the school in 1987 because he started to work on illustrations job for the weekly Mladina magazine. Ever since he's been making a living by drawing illustrations, comics and political cartoons. The most successful contemporary Slovenian author, Lavrič "the great chameleon... ...a man who draws in a thousand styles", as defined by his Slovene colleague Jakob Klemenčič, links his different drawing stiles with a striking talent for cinematic composition. His drawing style has been reduced to an expressive contrast of black and white.

His comics opus includes numerous short stories and serialised comics and strips, mainly done for Mladina magazine. For Stripburger magazine Lavrič is doing a collection of short stories The Blind Sun (Cloud Hunter, God of Lights, Game of Shadows, Heat, Symphony of Crystals) which will be collected next year in an album. Readers of Mladina magazine are of course familiar with his legendary serial Diareja, a satirical two or three panel strip commentary on current political events, which has been published since 1988! Diareja (Diahorea) is probably the most known Slovenian strip. The impact of this strip, which is drawn in a very basic way, on the political changes at the beginning of the 90's was really important. Besides bringing him troubles with Yugoslav military police in the end of the 80's, Diareja also brought Lavrič two very important Slovene awards.

Along with three Diareja books, Lavrič self-published with Cult Comics three albums: RDEČI ALARM (Red Allert, 1996), RATMAN (1997) and BOSANSKE BASNI (Bosnian Fables, 1997). In Red Allert, along with a story of the same title Lavrič's stories "Črni dnevi" (Black Days) and "White Riot" were published and that gave a nostalgic accounting - "in a style close to that of the French author Baru" - of Ljubljana's punk rock youth alternative scene of the beginning of the first half of the eighties. The story is also serialised in the Spanish comics magazine El Vibora. After this album, which like most other albums created by Slovenian authors was self-published, came the similarly styled Bosnian Fables, a series of stories about the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Each story takes its name from a different animal. Ratman was published at the same time and can be described as a superheroic parody of the actual socio-political events in Slovenia. In this album Lavrič is paying his tribute to numerous comic authors that inspired his work.

In 1998 his comics were discovered by the French comics publisher Glenat talent scout at the Frankfurt Bookfair and one year later he attended the International Comics Festival in Angouleme as the first Slovenian author to live to see his comics album translated into a foreign language - namely his BOSANSKE BASNI published by the prestigious French publishing house Glenat as Fables de Bosnie. The French version, which won him the Grand Prix at the International Comics Festival in the Swiss town Sierre and the Silver Lion award by the Comic Strip centre in Brussels, is different from the original in that it includes a story entitled Mazga (the Donkey), a preface by the publicist Zlatko Dizdarevic (editor of the famous Bosnian war-time magazine Oslobodjenje) and a dedication to the tragically deceased Mladina magazine comics editor and war reporter Ivo Štandeker, who was responsible for Lavrič's interest in comics in the first place. Almost overnight, Lavrič became a favourite of the Francophone public. Most importantly though, TBC (TeBeSe, as the French pronounce his name), gained the confidence of Mr. Glenat who decided to give Lavrič a chance to present his new projects. Soon after The Worm on the Run (Le cavale de Lezard) and New Times (Temps Noveaux) were published. The first brings a black-comedy story about a small criminal which is messing around to the point where he must escape far away and kill a lot of people not to be killed… In New Times we are following a compilation of short stories about life in the new capitalist East Europe, with skinheads threatening a foreigner, a bank robbery in a small town, a kid who is living in the world of superheroes comics, ex state security police torturing an innocent… TBC fourth French album was his first time collaboration with a script writer. The French historian and world traveller Frank Giroud has written ten stories under a common title Le Decalogue in a genre-mix of historical thriller and mystical adventure, each of them drawn by a different author - Lavrič being one of them. He created the drawings for the fourth part of the series entitled The Promise (Le Serment), which takes place in the former Yugoslavia and Italy right after WW 2 and tells a love story tragically ended because of the war. The album was nominated for the Alph Art award at the 2002 Angouleme festival.

The facts that Tomaz Lavric smokes a lot, doesn't get enough physical exercise and hates public appearances, go without saying, considering that he is working all the time on few albums contemporary. Besides working on few albums to be published with Mladina strip in Slovenia and illustrating children books (until now Lavrič successfully illustrated three books and graphically designed few internet sites), he finished his first science-fiction serial for Glenat. Lomm is a story about half human half devil creatures living in the deep forest, where Lavrič drawing style is near to the best Richard Corben days… There is not many comic authors that Lavrič is keen on, but the following are on his list: E-Dad by the French duo Beb-Deum, Love & Rockets and everything that Jaime Hernandez does, Joe's Bar and all the Muńoz/Sampayo opus, Batman :The Dark Night and Sin City by Frank Miller, Watchmen by Moore and Gibbons, Maus by Art Spiegelman, the universes of Hermann, Moebius, Pratt and Bilal, the visual world of Nicolas de Crecy, Matotti, Schultheiss, Baru, Rabaté, Hewlett, Mignola, Trondheim… In terms of scriptwriters the first is Alan Moore, he likes a lot Herriman's Krazy Kat, Trudeau's humour, Larson, Boucq, Franquin, Edika and some Mangas, specially Akira… More then comics Lavrič likes to get taken away by books. Here is the list of his favourites: The Breakfast of the champions by Vonnegut, The Illusions by R. Bach, The Enigma of Boris Davidovich by Danilo Kish, Sidharta by Hesse, Money by M. Amish, Moskva-Petushki by Jerofejev, L'Ecume des jours by Boris Vian, The King David Repport by S. Heym, Science fiction stories by W. Gibson, brothers Strugacky, Philipp K. Dick, criminal stories by Martin Cruz Smith, James Lee Burke, Le Carre, new books by P. Roth, V. Nabokov… And of course, he likes to see some good films, specially the hard thriller genre from the 70's.

Lavrič is a master of both drawing and storytelling. Through his years creating short stories and comics serials for Mladina, he has grown and become a world renowned comics author. His achievements prove that persistence and self-confidence are worthwhile, and that you can create comics that are appreciated by different cultures even in a country with a small comics tradition like Slovenia.

To end this first time presentation of a Slovenian comic master in the Czech Republic, we are bringing to you a selection of Tomaz Lavric answers from two interviews


1. In Slovenia:


Short stories: BOŽIČNI STRIP (Christmas Comic), POTOPIS (Itinerary), MIRJANA

Collections of short stories: EKSTREMNI ŠPORTI (Extreme sports), SLOVENSKI KLASIKI (Slovenian Classics), SVETOVNI KLASIKI (World Classics), SLEPO SONCE (Blind Sun)

Serialised short stories: OPERATION RAMPART, MAGDA, MEGARAN (together with Gorazd Vahen), AZZARDO D'AMORE

Albums: DIAREJA 1, 2, 3, RDEČI ALARM (Red Allert), RATMAN, BOSANSKE BASNI (Bosnian Fables), EKSTREMNI ŠPORTI (Extreme sports), DIAREJA 1988-2002


FABLES DE BOSNIE France/ Editions Glenat /1999/78 pgs. b&w
RACCONTI DI BOSNIA Italy/Edizioni Magic Press/2000/78 pgs. b&w
LA CAVALE DE LEZZARD France/ Editions Glenat /1999/72 pgs. b&w
LA FUGA DI LUCERTOLA Italy/ Edizioni Magic Press/2003/72 pgs. b&w
DECALOGUE 4.- LE SERMENT (script by Frank Giroud) France/ Editions Glenat/ 2001/54 pgs. col.
TEMPS NOUVEAUX France/ Editions Glenat/2001/70 pgs. b&w
TEMPI NUOVI Italy/ Edizioni Magic Press/2000/70 pgs. b&w
LOMM - L'Arbre des Volants France/ Editions Glenat/2002/70 pgs. col.
EVROPA - Arrivees France/ Editions Glenat/2003/70 pgs. col.
DEPORTES EXTREMOS Spain/Ediciones La Cupula/2003/58pgs. b&w

EXHIBITIONS: Cankarjev dom, KUD France Prešeren (Ljubljana, Slovenia); Modern Art Galery (Rijeka, Croatia); Athens 99 (Grece), Angouleme 2000 - 1h59' collective of ex-yugoslav comics authors (France); BIG Torino festival 2000 (Italy); Sarajevo 2000 (BiH)

FESTIVALS: Angouleme 99 (France); Sierre 99 (Switzerland); Athens 99 (Grece); Die 99 (France); Bruxelles 99 (Belgium); Angouleme 2000 (France); Caen 2000 (France);
Torino 2000 (Italy); Sarajevo 2000 (BiH); Grenoble 2000 (France); Barcelona 2003 (Spain)

for DIAREJA: Zlata ptica (Golden Bird), Art of the Month (Cankarjev dom)
for FABLES DE BOSNIE: Grand prix Sierre '99 (Switzerland), Silver Lion - Prix de Lyon '99 (Belgium)

for DIAREJA: Short student film by Varja Močnik; theatre play from selected sketches
for RDEČI ALARM: A part of the text from the story was used by the neo-punk band Racija and published in 1998 on the CD with the same name
for TEMPS NOUVEAUX: Short student film by Janeza Trontlja after the story SOSED (Neighbour)
General: Two documentary films about Tomaz Lavric by TV Slovenija; Mladina magazine on-line interactive DIAREJA strip (

Tomaz Lavric presenation at Glenat home page:

text Igor Prassel