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What hap­pens when …
super­woman Horny Dyke meets the depressed cat Zorka, ill-omened ravens threaten a rub­ber duck, the tramp Mita Kombajn lis­tens spell­bound to Momirka’s par­ti­san sto­ries and super­hero Lavanderman is plagued by night­mares?

That’s the
comiXcon­nec­tion – strip, bandă dese­n­ată, strip, képregény, стрип

The alter­nate names for the medium of comics vary as widely as the forms it takes in Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, Hungary, Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina. The his­tory of its devel­op­ment is directly reflected in these coun­tries‘ polit­i­cal his­to­ries and their soci­eties‘ open­ness to this form of art and com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Thus, the line between main­stream and alter­na­tive also varies from coun­try to coun­try. comiXcon­nec­tion intro­duces inde­pen­dent comics from these six coun­tries in the broad­est sense of the term, high­light­ing the dif­fer­ences and pos­si­ble con­nec­tions between them.

Not only the artists and their cur­rent works are pre­sented here. The mul­ti­fac­eted net­work of rela­tion­ships which they both cre­ate and are sur­rounded by is equally sig­nif­i­cant: many of the artists join together in col­lec­tives, clubs and groups to col­lab­o­rate and jointly pub­lish fanzines and mag­a­zines. In con­tent, form and style their works con­sciously elude any attempt at mass mar­ket­ing to which com­mer­cial main­stream comics often fall prey. These artists design and tell their sto­ries free of profit-ori­ented pres­sures. Their comics speak to a par­tic­u­lar audi­ence which will not be swayed by the usual mar­ket­ing strate­gies.

How, then, do inde­pen­dent comics find their read­ers? This mainly hap­pens through a net­work estab­lished by ener­getic and moti­vated indi­vid­u­als in clubs, pub­lish­ing houses and book­stores. They act on a num­ber of dif­fer­ent lev­els, both nation­ally and inter­na­tion­ally, organ­is­ing fes­ti­vals, exhi­bi­tions and work­shops, and win­ning pub­lish­ers and spon­sors. This guar­an­tees pub­lic per­cep­tion, mutual inter­ac­tion and exchange, and holds together the threads of this colour­ful fab­ric.

Consulting a men­tal map span­ning all of the many indi­vid­ual net­works, one notices the map is stereo­typ­i­cally ori­en­tated ‘with its face to the West and its back to the rest’. Even neigh­bour­ing coun­tries often exclude each other from their line of sight. Exactly here, then, is the focal point of the comiXcon­nec­tion project with its empha­sis on the six coun­tries men­tioned above. Beyond his­tor­i­cal-polit­i­cal, lin­guis­tic and men­tal bound­aries, it exam­ines already exist­ing con­nec­tions as well as pos­si­ble future ones.

Comics rarely stand alone!’ This also includes related art forms such as illus­tra­tion, graphic design, ani­ma­tion, street art, graf­fiti, music and per­for­mance. The diverse shifts in per­spec­tive and broad­en­ing of hori­zons that result from a col­lec­tion such as this are hoped to lead to syn­er­gies in the net­work, stronger aware­ness and finally an increased appre­ci­a­tion for this kind of comics. The immense band­width offered by the medium of comics above all points out paths to realms in which comics can be used as an inno­v­a­tive form of com­mu­ni­ca­tion in the future.