The last programme arch of the European Capital of Culture, Other? Europe, will turn Novi Sad into a Comic Book City and reactivate a unique cultural centre in Liman – the District. From 21 to 30 October, thanks to the ninth art, Novi Sad will stand side by side with European trends in comics and gather the most important comic book artists in one place. We are expecting exhibitions, workshops and a conference dedicated to the culture of comics in this area.
A History of Comics
We invite you to spend the weekend ahead of us in the District in Liman, which was transformed from a run-down industrial complex, better known as Chinatown, into the centre of Novi Sad’s contemporary creativity. On this occasion, it will be transformed into a neighbourhood that will tell a new story through comic illustration, and the Comic Book City will open its gates with a large multimedia exhibition called From Neven to Batman that will present Serbian comics in the context of European and world comics for the first time. Let us dive into the rich and dynamic history of Serbian comics, from the roots of visual storytelling in Serbian culture to its modern form.
In the Balkans, the tradition of visual storytelling is very long, and significant traces exist from the time when Christianity was accepted as the leading religion, about which little is known. The exhibition will lead visitors from the earliest ancestors of comics, such as narration through frescoes and iconostases, through important magazines where the first cartoons appear, such as those in the famous Neven magazine, which was edited and printed in Novi Sad and Zagreb in 1880, under the editorship of one of the most interesting children’s poets, Jovan Jovanović Zmaj, all the way to the first Serbian comic book, Mika Miš, and Politikin Zabavnik, which is still the first step in the development of the comics audience.
How Come Batman Appears in the Exhibition Title?
Today, a large number of Serbian comic book artists draw for large publishing houses such as DC Comics, so the character of Batman of this publishing house today is created from the pen of local authors. The exhibition will try to show how the Serbian art scene was often connected with comics and storytelling in pictures, as a way of expression and communication.
The exhibition, set in a unique neighbourhood of an old industrial building, opens in Radionica on 21 October at 8:22 p.m., and as it is intended for all ages, we recommend that you spend a family weekend ahead of us in the renovated District. Let us combine alternative art with the same space and learn more about the history of Serbian comics, the development and diversity of the comic scene, in the European Capital of Culture only.
What Else Does the Comic Book City Bring to Us?
Connecting comic book authors and weavers for the first time, a unique institution in this region that nurtures artistic tapestry, Atelje 61, will present itself to the public with the Everyday Heroes exhibition. Artists who exclusively work in comics now have a unique opportunity to implement their comic ideas in a completely different medium. The exhibition itself includes nine works of larger dimensions, adapted to tapestry standards. Artists from Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia will be presented at the exhibition, which opens in Radionica in the District on 21 October at 7 p.m. and lasts until 21 November. Among other things, the audience will enjoy the May the Children on the Street Play with Your Eyes!’ installation in the public space, which will be set in the District in the period from 28 October to 28 November. In addition to this, our recommendation is also the Exhibition of Comic Panels by Stevan Subić, which you can see in Skladište from 22 October. Take the youngest to the Comic playground in front of CS Liman, where they will be able to play with the installations and objects placed in front of the cultural station.
The Comic Book City includes another significant project created in cooperation with the Youth Theatre and ‘Novi Sad – European Capital of Culture’ Foundation. It is a theatre performance about the famous heroine, Cat Claw, written by Bane Kerac, directed by the fantastic Dutch director Michael Helmerhorst. The premiere of the theatre adaptation in digital scenography is scheduled for22 October at 7:30 p.m. Reruns of the play will take place on 23 and 24 October. Tickets for the play can be purchased at the Youth Theatre box office.
As part of the international project Remix Comix – Comics for Heritage, financed by Creative Europe, the most significant comics conference in the region Comics, Heritage and Contemporary Art, will be held in the Novi Sad District from 28 to 30 October. At the conference, we will hear through a series of lectures, workshops, seminars and talks, how comics can contribute to the inclusion of European heritage in different contexts. You will have the opportunity to meet the famous Austrian comic book author Uli Lust, as well as other world authors such as Akinori Oishi from Japan, who has visited Novi Sad, Aleksandar Zograf from Serbia, Janan Marasligil from of Turkey, Boris Stanić from Serbia, Kuš! Collective from Latvia and many more. Participation in the conference is free, with mandatory prior registration at www.remix-comix.com until 23 October.
Visit the Film Front festival, which affirms the author short film and provides support to the new generation of filmmakers, in the District from 27 to 30 October. As part of the festival, the first Novi Sad Zombie Walk will be held. It will be guided by a team led by the master of special film effects, Miroslav Lakobrija. Furthermore, visit the festival with children aged 6 to 10 and take them to the Little Film Front in CS Liman, where they can watch some of the short animated films from around the world.
On the first weekend of the Comic Book City, the youngest visitors will enjoy the Baš Čelikchildren’s opera, a musical-stage work based on the famous fairy tale in the Liman Cultural Station (on 22 and 23 October). Once again we recommend to visit the District with the little ones.
#Comic Book Fairs
The traditional Novi Sad Comics Weekend will be held in the renovated space of SCCNS Fabrika on 28 and 29 October as part of the Other? Europe programme arch, and will include the comic book fairs which, we are sure, will gather many true fans of the ninth art.
The Comic Book City brings a rich music programme of current alternative bands from Serbia and the region to the Novi Sad District, so we are expecting performances by Straight Mickey and the Boyz, Činčila, Lufthanza, Consecration and many others. You can find the detailed programme, performers and schedule on the link. Admission to all concerts is free.
Photo: Vladimir Veličković, Lea Bodor, Promo