|Tomaz Lavric - TBC|
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.
1. In Slovenia:
Newspaper strips: DIAREJA, MILENA, SK8F8, ASTRALOPITEK, GESO
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
FESTIVALS: Angouleme 99 (France); Sierre 99 (Switzerland);
Athens 99 (Grece); Die 99 (France); Bruxelles 99 (Belgium); Angouleme
2000 (France); Caen 2000 (France);
Tomaz Lavric presenation at Glenat home page:
|text Igor Prassel|