Why, go to a Comics festival! Croatia used to have two, one down south, in the small coastal town of Makarska, on the way from Split to Dubrovnik. It was totally awesome, run by two comics enthusiasts and publishers, with a huge (for Croatia) bugdet and loads of famous guests. This was Mafest and it closed last year, because most of its budget was not from public funding. The other one, CRŠ, is held in Zagreb for the past 15 years and funded from public funds remains. It started yesterday and boasts an impressive list of guests: Vittorio Giardino, R. M. Guera, Stefano Biglia, Roberto Diso, Zoran Djukanovic,, Zoran Janjetov, Didier Pasamonik, Milko Peko, Boris Talijan?i?, and Frano Petruša, whose drawings for kids I simply adore.CRŠ stands for Crtani Romani Šou, which means, literally “Drawn Novels Show”, a title out of which the transfer to English has taken all the fun out if it. And the title is playful, just like the medium it promotes.
We call comics “stripovi” and I am beginning to discover something a friend has told me on quite a few occasions and I do not think I took him seroiusly: not everyone thinks comics are art. To me that is entirely counterintuitive – I cannot draw to save my life and the skill it takes to create a comic has always inspired awe. Of course, I knew Americans did not consider it art, (sometimes it seems there is no American culture just American business) but I was under the impression most Croatians did not doubt it was.