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Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Comics From the Ukraine Up-dated

I have searched for almost a year but had no success in finding comics from the Ukraine. However, I have found some covers -I think from Pinterest(?) as I got them before the computer broke down losing any links so apologies if you posted these there!

They deal with Cossack history in the Ukraine but I have no idea without seeing them!  I'll post the images after the original posting.

I think that it is important to understand that comics are supposed to be cheap entertainment. They are something to take the mind of a child or adult away from everyday stress. I do not care what nationality you are, comics should entertain and inspire you.  Perhaps even get you into creating comics of your own?

Scraps of paper (I started drawing as a kid on old blank invoice books), pencil, pen or ink and brush -doesn't matter: you have those then draw -even if only for yourself. And if you have internet access start posting or blogging about comics you like, create or that are from your country.

Now, the original post.

Bearing in mind the current situation in part of the Ukraine, I thought that this article by Daria Zadorozhnaya on Kyiv Post Lifestyle - was rather sad.  It was posted in November 2012 and though I have tried I have had no response from the author.

How do young comic creators -a silly thing to write since no comic creator should be excluded due to age (or I'd be gone!)- get some recognition outside of the Ukraine?

First the article.

 Many talented comics artists work in Ukraine, but say they have never gotten widespread recognition.

From cave paintings to murals and tableau, the art form of comics has a long, rich history.

And although comics filled their share of magazine pages in the Soviet days, they never gained cult status or international fame like Batman and Spider Man did in the U.S.

Still, Ukrainians love to watch Hollywood movies about superheroes. Yet many don’t know that their plots are based on comics or graphic novels. Comics in the U.S. evolved from short strips placed in early 20th century newspapers to entire stories with graphic images. Today, comics are an integral part of America. Japan’s manga comics are also a part of everyday life.

Homegrown comics in Ukraine have their own niche but aren’t mainstream. The field’s authors are trying to change that.

Recently authors of comics gathered at an international festival of graphic stories, which took place at Kyiv’s ArtPrichal gallery on Nov. 10-25.

“We decided to organize the festival to make more people familiar with this art and to meet old friends from Ukraine and abroad,” said Andriy Humeniuk, the festival’s organizer and manager of the Black and White association of artists.

Works of artists from Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Poland and the Czech Republic were also presented at the festival.

Local artists are gaining in prominence too. In October, experts embraced the nation’s first top notch product: a graphic novel about the fantastic adventures of Ukrainian Cossacks titled Daogopak by Maxim Prasolov, Oleksiy Chebikin and Oleg Kolov.

Moreover, Ukrainian creations are moving beyond the country’s borders. At the comic festival Comissiya in Moscow, Ukrainian artists took top honors, including Igor Baranko for his Maksim Osa (also about Cossacks), as did Yevgeniy Pronin for his work Well. Both were published by Eugenios, practically the only publishing house that prints comics in Ukraine, located in Odesa.

Unfortunately there are still no periodicals in Ukraine, but change may be around the corner. Fans of comic books still remember the once popular K9 magazine, which was published monthly until 2009, and widely available. Now the first issue of Ukrainian manga stories Hakken Seimei was published, but only 300 copies were printed with the authors funds.

Some people believe that paying for pictures is silly, even though the work is hard.

Arkadiy Medvedev, who owns an anime goods store and is the owner of Anime Line group, said: “Many magazines, with the transition to Internet space, are free to read so why pay when you can read for free. But a magazine is hard work, a classic, you can hold it, smell the ink.”

Medvedev laments that the average person isn’t interested in comics. Stores do not want to take alternative magazines, especially homegrown ones. They buy foreign goods, some of which are of worse quality, and thus do not give opportunity to authors and publishers to make money. Authors often do the drawings themselves at their own expense, and incur losses.

Unlike in America and Japan, there is no place to learn how to draw comics in Ukraine. Octane, the comic book author of Elven Magic said he first started drawing comics in grade school. After five years of drawing, he visited the site, where Ukrainian comic artists gather.

“A piece here and a piece there, and I made ​​a list of rules of how I should or should not draw,” said Octane.

For Aleph, the artist of the Mystery comic book, drawing “is still more of an art, (and) not commerce.”
There’s no shortage of Ukrainian talented artists and there are fans of comics in Ukraine despite distribution problems and building an understanding within a wide audience. Perhaps its’ possible to have a Ukrainian comic superhero depicted on T-shirts. And that day may come sooner than later.


I think the easiest way these days is to look for Small Press publications that take contributions.  No, they do not pay but then they are mostly not intended or expected to even make money back.  In the 1970s-1980s, artists and writers wanting to get in to comics took a standard route. 

Firstly, you had to show a publisher or editor that you could draw a comic strip.  Believe me, when I was a comic creators representative -or "agent" as we preferred to be called- in the 1980s -1990s I could expect to see at least ten out of twenty packages of samples artists sent me to be just illustrations.  Now this is, as I pointed out to the artists concerned, of no use. 

Single page illustrations were cover material -in which case they had to be high quality- or to illustrate a text feature.  A single illustration may look brilliant but if you want to get into comics you need to be able to submit comic strip samples.   When asked to produce comic strips 9 out of the 10 were really so bad they could not be submitted to a company.  I suggested concentrating on illustration work.  I've neither heard nor seen work published from those people.

Artists tended to submit strips to Small Press publications or contribute to them if published by their friends.  Most of the big names in US comics from the 1960s on did so.  In the UK people like Warren Ellis, Paul Neary, Matt (D'Israeli) Brooker, Shane Oakley, Art Wetherell, Kev Hopgood, Kev Sutherland and Mark Millar had work in zines before "fame and fortune".

What having your work published in a zine -a Small Press comic- achieves is that, if you are a writer, it shows how good your writing and scripting skills are.  For an artist it shows your skill at sequential art and if you contribute to a number -or just one- publication you start to build up a portfolio that an editor or publisher can look at.

I once knew an artist (we'll not name him to save embarrassment) who told me at one of the old UK Comic Art Conventions: "I'm too good to just work for nothing.  What's the point in that -working for free!"  When I next met him it was four years later.  He was working for Marvel UK and I think he then went on to freelance in the US.  He told a youngster: "Look, you have to build up a portfolio to show editors.  Contribute to zines or publish your own. You'll build up that portfolio" and I stood stunned.  It seems that after not having companies knocking at his door he had decided to work for Small Press mags and got a portfolio of published work together which impressed -I think Paul Neary- the boss at Marvel UK.

So, never be afraid to offer work -most Small Press publishers are contactable via email or websites.

The other option is, with print on demand, put your own comics together.  Send them to publishers or specific editors: "Submissions Editors" are basically there to send out photocopy rejection letters or rejection emails. That is their function.  Try to get to the editor.

If you can try to get to comic events in other parts of Europe.  Show your work around and hand out portfolio samples to publishers.

Certainly comics are becoming more noticeable and I thought this article on the Global action Plan International website was interesting

Comics program in the Ukraine

Drawing for Life (Comics for Sustainable Lifestyle ) is a program developed by the international NGO network Global Action Plan International with the support of the Swedish Institute, and in cooperation with several organizations in Belarus. From Belarus the program has already (2012) spread to Kosovo and India.

The program is currently conducted in Ukraine together with a local Ukrainian NGO: Teachers for Democracy and Partnership.

An early Belarusian attempt to use comic books in environmental education was launched on International Water Day in 2002, with a comics contest among school children learning French.

Lydia Pshenitsyna drew ‘water’ stories told by two young environmentalists, and invited students to come up with the end of the story. This contest aroused great interest and participants drew their own stories, in French, about water protection. However, the competition was a short-term phenomenon, and there was no follow-up.

In 2007 Global Action Plan, in the course of a project meeting in Belarus, asked about interest in exploring comics as a tool for education for sustainable development. Subsequently a first workshop was held in Minsk in 2008 for professionals and students. Esbjörn Jorsäter, Swedish comics teacher, and Marilyn Mehlmann, Global Action Plan International, designed the workshop, which was supported by the Swedish Institute, especially program officer Judith Black.

In 2012 GAP  International invited Ukraine to take part in the Belarusian project. TDP organized a seminar for Ukrainian teachers and trainers on possibilities of using comics as a tool for teaching different subjects. After the seminar, participants conducted workshops in their regions for local teachers. The  teachers expressed great interest in this methodology and requested more seminars to further explore and understand the methodology.

After the initial workshop, the initiative has come from teachers who are members of TDP. GAP's major commitment is to develop a networking environment where knowledge and experiences can be shared. The project therefore builds on the successful collaborative effort in the ESDA project.The results of the ESDA project and the 'Drawing for Sustainable Lifestyle' seminar inspires the teachers to continue participating in initiatives that are introduced by GAP and TDP.

This article covered 2013-2014 and trying to find out how it has developed hasn't been easy though I'm not giving up as anything to do with getting younger -or older- people involved in creating comics or art should be encouraged.

I thought to check Comics Vine (another site where I'm listed, though, again, I'll blush if I state that) and, yes, there is an entry under Ukraine for comics:

Location » Ukraine appears in 49 issues.

Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe.


Not quite what I was expecting.  Comic books in which Ukraine is mentioned in some way.  Disappointing to say the least.

There is even less on Ukraine comics than on Bulgarian  comics.  Again, please, if someone has links to publishers or websites please let me know.

I really would like to see what is going on there in 2015!

And here are those covers I found!

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