When we say Zagreb comic book convention, someone might imagine something like San Diego ComiCon, Angoulême or Lucca comic book festivals. Don’t expect that. Crtani Romani Šou (Comic Strip Show) never had pretensions to be big and flashy, nor did it have the means to be that in a country of 4,5 million people, but it always delivered on the things it promised – tons of comic books, great authors and lots of casual, geeky fun.
Casual is the key word here, one that managed to bring some of the greatest names in comic book history to Zagreb. Milo Manara, Stan Sakai, Enrique Badia Romero, R.M. Guerra, Zoran Janjetov, Gullieno Ferri and David Lloyd are just some of the names that have visited the festival in the last few years. The reason is always the same – word of mouth from the authors that have visited the festival.
Seeing no sense in being an industry convention (Croatia has a long and rich history of comic books, since 1933, a steady flow of some of the best looking editions of comics printed in the world, great artists who draw some of the most popular comic books in the world, and an avid fan base, but a really small market), the festival focused on comic books as an artistic form, a narrative medium and a creative outlet, being more of a three day chill zone where artists and fans can get together for a casual drink and talk comic books, draw, look at exhibitions, get some deals on graphic novels and just enjoy the medium they love.
There are some really good guests this year as well, like the legendary Belgium artist Hermann Huppen, the author of Jeremiah, Giancarlo Alessandrini and Alferedo Castelli, the duo that brought us Martin Mistere, Giovanni Freghieri, a long time editor of Dylan Dog and many others. For non European readers the name Dylan Dog might be familiar due to the bad Hollywood film made from the property that really just used name recognition and nothing else from the comic, and they might recognize Jeremiah as the inspiration for a little franchise called Mad Max.
Each year one local artist is an official guest, but most of them frequent the festival anyway, hanging with fans and drawing for them. This year’s official guest is Goran Sudzuka, currently drawing Daredevil for Marvel, but also known for his works on Wonder Woman, Y the Last Man, Lady Constantine, Wolverine and Ghosted.
(We’ll have a big interview with him tomorrow, so remember to check that out)
Some of the local artist you’ll be able to meet there are Dalibor Talajic (Deadpool, Punisher, X-Men, Avangers), Ive Svorcina (Secret Wars, New Avengers, Thor), Esad Ribic (Thor, X-Men, Avangers, Silver Surfer), Goran Parlov (Black Widow, Outlaw Nation, Y the Last Man, Ken Parker) and many others who have worked on some of the most popular comic books in the world. The number of talent in the local comic book scene in amazing, and most of them will draw for fans for free on Sunday. Actually, the entire festival is completely free, so if you like comic books, there’s really no excuse not to visit it.
19th Comic Strip Show will be held at HDLU gallery, Trg zrtava fasizma, from May 13th until May 15, an will be opened from 10 am until 9 pm.