2002. intro: a word or two about komikaze ~ ivana armanini

_______________________ on the jedinstvo (=”unity”) websiteyou can find original comics / i.e: comix, photocomics, haiku cmx, drawings &comiclike pictures , , ,topics: dada, anticonsumerism, anarchism etc… ane-gallery of characters: a weird depot of absolute zer(0)es, grotesque +unusually stupid figures drawn on bills,little-pieces-of-cardboard-that-you-put-under-a-beer-glass-but-dont-know-the-english-word-for-them;unbelievably imbecile names & stories; a variety of products of very ill minds…/._ in short, these comicxs are provocative, sick, dark, dirty, or subversive,deformed, evil, confused, nightmarish, sexuallyfrustrated, retarded, absurd,brutal, black- and otherways-humored,here are morbidities, cynicisms, madnessessss, unconscious/subconscious andother traumas, flashbacks, traumatic visions, bad_trips, paranoias! and otherdeviations and zaums.the website collects anything close to personality in all of its sickextremities – close to the schoolworks of a 4d from a Bjelovar highschoolhttp://www.geocities.com/onlajn_4d/zadacn.htm (in croatian only sorry)things socially rejected +defined by a FAIL!website is updated as new materials arrivethe rhythm is not regular or strictly definedthe old issue goes to the archive, the new issue goes on the index page. it canhappen daily, mothly, bimonthly, depends on the authors. the profile of thewebsite is defined the number of contributors is open.new contributors contact us or we contact them.all materials should be materialized on paper or CD one day. but they dont haveto. all Downloading, CD_burning and reburning, printing and pfotocopying iswelcome and encouraged.editor in (mis)chief: ivana armanini. additors: goran cvek, eugen vukovic, sven cvek. here’s no design, materials are prettymuch raw, just scanned, naked, onreasonable resolutions.no hi-fi designer sublimities and jerkoffsin time, the madness will spread and our website will grow

“KOMIKAZE” is a gang of crooks which disturb and provoke the public with their appearance. They question the worlds built on the false convictions, shaking the foundations of the so-called sensible, orderly and pretty constructions and revealing them in their helplessness. Actions of “KOMIKAZE” are a part of the plan to destroy the capitalist centers of power and authority which manipulate people. Our beliefs are based on the old Indian legend which says:” A desert land is worthier than money and lies and on it grows a deep sense of the self in freedom!”. This form of a subtle anarchy is directed at questioning of some ways of viewing. Our wish is to pluck out the glass eyes of the habit and by our own example show how everybody can see well with thir own eyes. Since our aims are brutal and bizarre, we have directed or knife points towards the field of artistic expression in order to save the innocent. We think that the strip is not a cheap street-walker paid to entertain boys in puberty. Our wish is to regain dignity and respect to the medium in its century old existence as a verbo-visual form. It, as such, certainly has a lot to say, and is equal to other forms. “KOMIKAZE ” group is trying in this very way to give the comic the affirmation, as a multimedial form of an artistic content in popular and unpopular techniques. Our actions are various. The act of exhibiting itself is not crucial for the medium in which the reproduction is equal to the original. Photography, a good photocopy, digital copy and print, today speak equally strongly as the original. The static collector mind has made up the Museum of Arts religion, and the jumbo-poster on the highway has taken the role of transmitting important messages. The point of the story is that everyone is the currier of an important message if they follow their inner – wild eye. By this I want to say that the stress is on the process of viewing, not the exhibited objects. The comic seems to be neglected but it is only biding its time. It is waiting until the computers and print have developed a little: the quality of the multi-original, the speed of transmitting of the pictorial information, the purity of print, and – to knock down the prices of all the technical appliances, which is inevitable. My vision of the future is a constant circulation of the comics on the Internet, and they will be printed and pasted inside or outside, according to the needs. In the woods, too, if desired. These will be the real culture factories, the old idea in a new package. It is a question of time when everyone will realize that to spill the ink on the paper is an act of freedom tailored by different kinds of measuring. The comics don’t eat up money like film does, it is accessible and open to creative exploration and its priorities are not influenced by the material, dimensions, technique, space, staff or the time of execution, but it is focused exclusively on the inner seeing. It is economic, ecologic and functional. Every housewife would die to have one at hand.


In Croatia comics do not have the status of an art form and are merely surviving on the market. Employment of the comic-form as a means of manipulation or even open propaganda has degraded it in its hundred years long existence and gave it an image of a superficial literature, kitsch, a forgotten and outgrown mass medium. Although it has kept its uniform style since its very beginnings, we think that its verbo-visual form holds many an unexplored possibility of communication and expression of the universal human values, just as other art forms have. It is exactly in this way that our project is trying to give the comics its position of an art form.

The few people that almost intuitively work on different kinds of comics are not in touch with the world trends. The contemporary international comic scene is completely unknown to us. Comics-exhibitions are few, fanzines have low circulation, and only an occasional table is published in the newspaper. Despite of the large number of authors, the comic seems to be neglected. The Croatian comic-scene has the symptoms of a disease called prolonged adolescence. The occupation of the super-heroes and similar of the news-stands. What is considered to be successful here is a comic which is good at imitating a Hollywood movie; a realistic drawing and an entertaining story. The American market generously rewards the hard-workers who made it their mission to advertise and announce big movie spectacles. The comic is becoming a testing site for screenplays.

In Croatia one can find European comics (by ordering them from the only such agent, the comic book-shop More Comics) in French or some even stranger language and thus is only accessible to the educated group, whilst in other countries many authors are translated and printed (legally or not). Here we face a great problem of a basic required reading on which different sensibilities would be raised. Luckily, an exotic comic specimen from Slovenia, Serbia, Macedonia will sometimes fall into the hands of an adamant searcher, a fanzine in an intelligible language, which will maybe take us in a different direction. Maybe the most grateful reading is the Slovenian “Stripburger” which has been stubbornly, for the past 10 years, building the international comics authorial scene, organizing exhibitions, visiting festivals, publishing reviews and addresses of comic-magazines, fanzines and other interesting material from the world of comics and their makers. This year “Stripburger” got an award for the best fanzine at the world comic festival in Angouleme, France. In Croatia, More Comics shop gets only 10 copies of “Stripburger”, which says it all. Scott Mc Cloud, the greatest living renowned comics theoretician, has neither been translated nor are his books available anywhere in Croatia.

“In the context of the group action for organizing an (unarmed) resistance against the progressive globalization of taste and the growth of the institutionalized art and media production, the multimedia artists-comic-film-animation-netart-sculpture-graphics-painting etc. are bound together, with different approaches and methods. The main characteristic of this course is the emphasis on the experiment, play, humor and exploration, very radical and in an almost manifesto-like opposition to the academism, the craftsmenship, mannerism and any other pathetic social role of the artist.

The aim of the project is to relativize the value-scale of the field and the technical categories artificially created by the art historians (for the purpose of their easier movement within the free creative flux, thus bureaucratizing the scene and marginalizing the new media in which they have not been academically trained) and an attempt at making a diversion on the prevailing attitude towards the comic as a narrative form in a realistic mode of expression.


Who is, really, the real author of the strip/film: the writer of the “script” or the “director”? To understand a text and also the “script” is an intuitive act, and is a part of the school education. The direction is not a part of it and thus the strip/film analysis is reduced to the mere re-telling of the plot, i.e. script. From the moment the text is chosen, the “director” ruins it or does the right thing with the strip/film. He rounds up the work and signs it (not to mention the camera person or the editor; in case of the comics it is all one person with different functions). Up to a century ago, literature has been the basic art of the narrative character. The strip and the film (of course, theatre, too – but more of that some other time), which came meanwhile, have been analysed through the prism of literature, which is not very logical, but goes well with the human inertia. Literature has changed a lot, too. The rhythm of the literary form is inseparable from the speed of the lifestyle, which results in shorter and more dynamic forms (unlike the long novels, popular in the previous centuries). And, just as inertia of taste gives us huge, slow novels as models and measures of worth, we remain unaccustomed to the fact that the rhythm, freed of extra idling, blind spots and similar road-blocks, can be one of the values and not only a superficial effect. Thus we are not used to recognizing the visual side of the film, as well as its values – deeming it, unfortunately, only a vehicle helping represent the text in a more plausible way. The comics and the film share the same problem – the complex work is being “read” only through its narrative side, which is important, but not more than the other – the visual. The well known and recognized thesis is that there are as many interpretations as there are people which consume the work. It is also assumed that the consumer has the basis cultural foundation in the field in which s/he is ready to make judgments. Since there is nothing similar to film or strip in the required school reading – self-education, as always when something is important and interesting, is the only option we are left with. If not that, the wave of whims and amateurism, superficial conclusions and similar miscommunications will break into pieces the fragile beginnings.

Postmodernism, the key direction in art of this century is visible all the while on the film as well as in the strip. On the film we have seen: absurd, after Harms*, finally recognized as an important art motif, and recently the popular relativizing of the time, intertwining of the different levels of reality (e.g. protagonists jumping into black holes and space whirlwinds), hyperlinks, recycling of the stereotypes, multimedial editing and all sorts of postmodernist devices – all this depending of the author’s impressions, and in most cases unconscious. Still, it can be said that in the field of film, at least in the artistic part of the production, postmodernism is taking over. Comics haven’t been so lucky. Art Spigellman, the Pullitzer Prize winner for the strip “Maus”, his magazine “Raw” and, as of recently, “Stripburger”, present maybe the most important accomplishments of the 9th art in the second decade of the twentieth century, because they set foundations for the new tendencies which outgrow the attitude that everything presented must be in the realistic domain, maybe even the “fantastic reality”, but in any case the rhetoric reality where the text itself, and behind it the author – writer/cartoonist, stands before the reader as an authority; imperative, real and undisputable. The new approach, by the logic which has already shown its effect in many segments of arts and society, brings certain victory. The producers’ greed, which aims at dulling the audiences, in order to sell them trash that they hyper-produce more easily in the future, loses its ground. Internet has opened many alternative roads on which comics can circulate: the authors have the access to the masses outside of the egotistical publishing institutions; the loaded readers have a great choice in the virtual bookstores; the rest have the sites. Many dogmas of this medium have been shaken, from the relativizing of the importance of the “legal” magazines (by making them equal to the self-published fanzines and e-zines), initiating a network of authors whose basic principle of work is enthusiasm (and not the money), to the erasing of the old strip-centers of power and affirming of the “decentralized scene”. This (in political terminology) democratisation of the comic has enabled the authors, without creating the inferiority complex, to work from the centers as yet uncharted. The comic-scene on the Internet opens a much greater variety for personal choice, putting forward the comic itself, and not the marketing machinery and its manipulation. You will download something you really like – not because someone else has persuaded you to do so. The variety of the available material breaks the given schemes of the comics-shops that count in advance on certain consumer types, tailored statistically and, in most cases, confectionally. What are these schemes? The complaints against the mainstream/commercial comics can be made on the basis of certain stereotypes in different views, and unpretentious sujets – reducing all to action, but this is the problem which is rarely overcome by the cartoonists all over the world. There is also a certain affinity for kitsch but it doesn’t necessarily have to be considered a flaw. This kind of a comic is mostly a kind of a boys’ club. Not only that it is made by boys but also its main themes – adventure, action, heroes – are boyish. The twentieth century has through its arts – film, rock, comics – created the culture of the male puberty, but comics are unique here in that by orienting towards the boys of all ages they have voluntarily given up half of the (literate) population. It is all fine and dandy. But pretty unconvincing and thus ineffectual. Someone is lying here, because this whole made-up construct hangs in thin air. If something gets on my nerves then it is those super-heroes, perfect, flawless, who never lose their nerve and even less often make mistakes. Because, simply, these people don’t exist in real life and are hopelessly dull. Besides, they irritate the reader because they tell him/her how s/he should be, and can’t. And all of this happens in a more “sensible, more beautiful and orderly” world, sickeningly sweet. What is the profile of the reader of such a “commercial” comic? Is it a reader who thinks of the comic exclusively as a category of a mass-medial visual-art (is it mostly cheap?) of the entertainment world, created exclusively for the consumerist purposes and, as such, devoid of any right for a poetic, philosophical, social or metaphysical expression? Is this reader bothered by the spirituality, searcher’s restlessness, philosophical quests, the inner, imaginary world and some kind of resignation which, perhaps, does not belong to the comic medium? Is he bothered by the visual text, the style, the psychology, the translating of the stream of consciousness esthetics into the comic world; does this reader have any time for all these esthetical and psychological categories? People can’t be bothered to read the alternative kinds of comics. If it’s any consolation, they don’t read much of the mainstream either, but still more than the rest. Still, my opinion is that alternative is necessary. It moves forward whilst the mainstream holds still, serving its ways so that it can be accepted by the masses. And whilst in France and Belgium, by the good publishing politics, regular publishing of complete albums, and almost 20 years of governmental financial support, magazines have become almost obliterated, in Croatia there is nowhere for a cartoonist and a writer to publish, nor there are specialized houses which would take care of their distribution (let alone governmental support). Can we then discuss matters of taste at all?


When we prepare workshops, we advocate direct action to avoid consumerist window-shopping and increase the interaction of all attendants. We believe that everyone is familiar with comics and also, that drawing comics does not require any drawing skills or knowledge of comics as genre. Our approach is based on one’s sensitivity for images and the merging of image, language, sound and symbols – which all has a lot do with exploration and little to do with the oh so popular realism and linear narration. Our previous workshops stipulated the importance of experimenting, of playing and having fun as opposed to the mannerism of academic production and »the national importance of art«. We hope to help you see the relative nature of genre divisions in art, all of them institutionalised by historians of arts. And, of course, we expect you to draw comics!

The workshop is free. Please write to komikaze5001@gmail.com to announce your participation