New tome maps history of comics in Czechoslovakia
Fans of Czech comic books or series have a fascinating new tome to pore over, the just released Encyklopedie komiksu (The Comics Encyclopaedia). The book covers series and strips published in Czechoslovakia between the years 1945 to 1989. Under the Communists, the art form was largely frowned upon as a Western one, but continuing series were regularly published on the back page of ABC, a long-running science magazine aimed at young readers, still published today.
“We got the idea to put the book together after coming across an article suggesting that comics under the Communists were practically non-existent. So we began cataloguing past series and at first we put together one-hundred-and-fifty, and when we got to a thousand we decided ‘Ok, that’s strange, this work deserves to be properly mapped’. Some of the comics that we searched for were very hard to find, especially one called Copernicus and Jeroným which had appeared in ABC. It was originally published by the Poles and even with things like the internet finding it wasn’t easy.”
“In my view, it would be great if people who pick up our book are inspired to try something like drawing a comic book or series themselves. Readers will also see how hard it was produce a comic back then. So in that sense, the encyclopaedia is not only for former fans but for new ones as well.”
In his view, readers will also appreciate the difference between comic books then and today. Robert Pavelka again:
Anyone interested in picking up a copy of Encyklopedie komiksu can now do so at most bookstores throughout the country; the new volume is however only available in Czech.