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Do you like comics?

January 18, 2009

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When I was a kid, I could hardly wait for two weeks till new Alan Ford, the cult comic book of my Yugoslav youth would hit the stands. I shared this passion and old issues with my older sister and we both still have our humble stashes of these comics in our homes, and a small batch of them at the no man’s land (my mother’s house). I guess one thing about comics is that they are not made for solitary reading. The passion for them should be shared. Issues too. And then talk about them or cleverly interweave lines into your dialogue.

I haven’t been reading any comics till this year a dear friend – a man of words who had recently rediscovered his passion for books of drawings – slipped me two hardbound volumes of Zoran Smiljanić’s Meksikanarji. And a reading suggestion. I followed his advice, Took some time of one Friday morning and sat in a local cafe, reading the first volume. By the end of the first book, I was so into the story that I ordered another cup of coffee and took out the second volume. Now I’m in the waiting period, which will take more than two weeks. A month later I learned that it will take around a year or so before part three comes out, and probably two more before the story is finished. It’s going to be a long wait.

The story of Meksikanarji (The Mexicans) is about a few hundred Slovene volunteers who in 1864 joined the Habsburg emperor Maximilian I (Franz Joseph’s younger brother) in his short-lived Mexican adventure. Very cinematic, rich with details as well as historical facts, the story complements Maximilian’s adventures with that of Slovene volunteers. I really like Smiljanić’s attention to details – the butcher sign in the pic above can be found hanging above (now closed) butcher shops in Kamnik’s old town. Speaking about attention to visual details, click here to see how the prize decorators in the neighbouring building rearanged their lights.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 19, 2009 8:34 am

    “a few hundred Slovene volunteers who in 1864 joined the Habsburg emperor”

    Wow!

    That sounds so impossibly exotic to my Aussie mind. If I come to Slovenia this year (it’s my plan) could you show it to me?

    • January 19, 2009 8:22 pm

      Yes, it is as exotic as it sounds. Even a tiny place like Slovenia has its secret colonial past. If I’m not mistaken, there was about five hundred of them, all volunteers. They went for the prospect of getting their share of land in the new Habsburg empire on the other side of the Atlantic. Don’t know which part is crazier, the land or the empire. About half of them made it back after Maximilian’s defeat, the other half stayed in Mexico, some dead, some alive. I think it would make a great film.

  2. January 21, 2009 2:19 am

    I am a long time devotee of the graphic novel. To mistake them for “comix” is a huge error. When I was young, getting me to read was a feat. Try as they might, I just didn’t take to books. Mostly, I think, because so much of what was out there for kids was idiotic. That, and for what ever reason, I have never really taken to novels… unless they are in graphic format. I don’t know why.

    So, my book shelves are full of historical non-fiction that puts most folks to sleep in minutes, yet I find riveting, AND a ton of great graphic novels.

    I’d love to see Meksikanarji! Naturally, I wouldn’t be able to read it, but I’m betting the pictures would speak volumes!

    When you’re done with that, if you need a new read, I highly suggest Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai. Feudal Japan, ronin, clans, shoguns and all done by rabbits, cats, rinos, and other critters. Believe it or not, it works beautifully!

    -Turkish Prawn

  3. January 21, 2009 3:40 pm

    I also miss all those old time comics from Yugoslavia. BTW, I saw recently in LJ AF republished comics.

    A propos Meksikajnarji: there’s already the 2nd book in shops (Laibach). smiljanic’s style is not my favourite, but I’m buying them anyway. I prefer Lavric (Rdeci alarm, Europe, …)

    And BTW nice decoration indeed, well it’s something special, you must admit :D — Bakovnik?

    -sv3

  4. February 6, 2009 11:05 pm

    TP – you are right – some of them really should be called graphic novels. And if I get a chance, I’ll go for your recomendation – I guess my little stash here could use some new fellas…
    sv3 – jup.

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