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Issue 52 - November 2008

Monday 24 November 2008

Kick-off of COMIXCULTURE project more successful than expected

(JPG) “These are perhaps the most talented students that I ever had”, says John McCrea, one of the two trainers at the 4-days comix creation workshop that took place in Sofia in mid November. He is referring to the 21 participants who came at the workshop to get better in creating a comix story, in arranging it in panels, choosing a drawing technique and at the same time remaining faithful to his or her personal drawing style. In a country with less than a handful of comix publishers, a poor market for this genre and no visibility (other than in virtual space) of locally produced original content, the workshop offered a unique opportunity for getting acquainted with global trends in comixes, for acquiring new skills and networking with like-minded colleagues. Most of the works that workshop participants started working on during the 4 days are not being finalized yet but soon they will be available on the new blog created by one of the artists.

(JPG) Many of the workshop lectures and practical exercises were focused on ways by which comix art has been targeting current social and political issues. Examples included bestselling works such as Joe Sacco’s stories on Palestine and Marijane Satrapi’s personal narrative on Iran but also ones by the trainers themselves that have published a comic book written from the perspective of young homeless people.

Participants feedback as shared in our feedback forms is so overwhelmingly positive that anybody who hasn’t been a life witness of their enthusiasm during the workshop may even get suspicious.

The workshop was the first public event of the Next Page’s comiXculture initative that is aiming at bringing into play the art genres of comix and graphic novels as a means for tackling social-political issues, and those related to cultural and ethnic diversity in particular. Other forthcoming events of comiXculture include the publication of the Bulgarian translation of a multiple choice novel on the life of a young Roma as well as a collection of original Bulgarian comixes on the issue of diversity.

The workshop was supported by the British Council – Sofia as part of the comiXculture project of Next Page Foundation developed in the framework of the National House Project and the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue