CZECH COMICQUE ACADEMIQUE

I don’t know if it’s my fault (or rather the fault of my cluttered subconsciousness), but Czech comics seem to me like this:

All three of them of the stories that will be in the issue irresistibly remind me of Kafka novels. Rough, clumsy and purposely deformed black-and-white drawing is a common quality of all the artwork on which my opinion is based, and just as I was unable to become naturalized in the village under the castle, the world of Czech pens and brushes remains strange and remote. The Czech comics hero lives his own life sorounded by village winebar keepers, Gregor Samsas and bunches of bureaucrats, living his life according to his own (to us incomprehensible) logic. In general, the hero doesn’t let himself be disturbed, neither by a “world eating” camera on the street nor by a “JAJ, KRACH, BENG, BUCH” (= “SCREECH, CRASH, BANG, CRUNCH”) road accident. Those grimaces are there because they must be there, regardless of the hero’s actions: if he’s sleeping or is awake, hungry or satiated, an executioner or a victim, dead or alive. I must add that a great part of my impressions (especially the “I-don’t-understand-nothing-ness”) stems from my inability to read Czech; I wasn’t able to consult the English translations.

The only Czech document that spoke English to me was a letter from professor Jiri which gives a nugget of information about the Czech comics scene. The first comics exhibit - organized by Mlada fronta - took place way back in 1968, and the whole thing was strongly connected to the name of the poet and writer Ivan Jirous. The other important name on the scene is Andrej Nebb, who writes articles and books on the theme of comics.

Jure Meden