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Friday, 11 February 2011

Classic British Comics Abroad: Yugoslavia

STRIP Magazine publisher Ivo Milicevic read our recent feature on Classic British Comics Collected and kindly sent us some scans of some classic strips that were syndicated into former Yugoslavia, where comic fans were also once enthralled by Dan Dare, Trigan Empire, the Steel Claw and more.

It was strips like this that shaped his love of British comics, culminating in his plans for a UK imprint.

Most of the scans featured here are taken from a comic called Panorama, which launched in 1965 and ran until 1971,  with total of 318 issues. "It was old Yugoslavian title, but publisher Forum was from Novi Sad-Serbia," Ivo tells us.

"It was weekly when it started and had 24 pages, half of them in colour. Later, it expanded to 32 pages.

"It was cleverly edited, with a mix of both British and a few popular French and Belgian comic strips.

"The UK strips included Trigan Empire, Steel Claw, Jet Ace Logan, Black Archer, King Kong [actually the British strip Mytek the Mighty], Dan Dare, Saber King of Jungle, Johnny Coguar, Karl the Viking, Olac the Gladiator, Jailbird Commandos (there were too many World War 2 stories to mention!), Zip Nolan and more.

"It also featured newspaper strips such as Wes Slade, Modesty Blaise (as 'Modesti Blez'), and James Bond."

"Panorma was my favourite comic that I use to read as kid (along with Plavi Vjesnik, which I now own)," Ivo enthuses, "and I have full collection now."

As Richard Sheaf noted in a feature in Titan Books recent Dan Dare collection Safari in Space, Dan Dare had a longer run in Plavi Vjesnik, a comic from publisher Vjesnik (based in Zagreb, in modern day Croatia) that ran from 1954 to 1973 and has been revived sporadically since the early 1990’s, most recently by Ivo (see our 2010 news story).  

Plavi Vjesnik was the first Yugoslavian comic to contain Dan Dare reprints (or Den Deri as he was known), although he did appear in other titles as well as Panorama, such as EKS Almanah  and ZOV.

"Strangely, they re-coloured Dan Dare for the comic, then ran it later in black and white," he notes. "Plavi Vjesnik was the first Yugoslavian comic to bring us Dan Dare in his original glorious colour."

In addition to reprints in Panorama and Plavi Vjesnik, characters such as The Spider and the Steel Claw were also re-published in separate pocket library editions, just as they were in the UK.

It's always fascinating to learn more about just how widely syndicated British comics once were - and how enduring their popularity is beyond our shores.


Dan Dare - Safari in Space features an article by Richard Sheaf on Dan Dare's reprints beyond the UK

More about Dan Dare in Croatia here on the Dan Dare Info site 

More about the original Plavi on Comics Croatia (in Croatian)


More about the modern Plavi on stripmagazin.com (in Croatian)


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