Anniversaries of Serbian comics:
Six Decades Since the Appearance of Strip,
THE ILLUSTRATED ENTERTAINMENT MAGAZINE
First comic strips and editions dedicated to comics in Yugoslavia after the WW2 have appeared in the second half of 1945, but due to the negative reactions of the political powers-that-be and interventions of the judicial authorities they’ve disappeared overnight, so to speak; not only from the papers but from the newsstands too.
Gradual release of the ideological and political stranglehold after the conflict with USSR in 1948 and the Informbureau Resolution, along with the market economy principles introduced in newspaper publishing strategy, have reflected favourably on the comics medium, too. That has resulted with the return of comics to the pages of papers and magazines along with the emergence of first specialized comics publications. That’s how Borivoje B. Popović has started on 1st of July 1951 in Belgrade the first issue of a publication simply entitled Strip. Branko M. Kostić has been credited as Editor-in-Chief. In the first issue publishers have informed their readership of their intention “to fill-in the gap in the publishing area” and “to motivate our writers and artists to become more active so they can create good home-made modern comics”. According to that intention writers and illustrators were invited to contribute, even including critics. With justified fear of any criticism and potential attacks, they have distanced themselves from the contents of their comic: “These, along with majority of the following novels are mostly the figments of imagination and have no connections whatsoever with reality”.
With its design, size and also the content Strip resembled the pre-war Mika Miš magazine from which it has taken over the following comics: Burne Hogarth’s “Tarzan”, Sergei Solovyev’s “Buffalo Bill”, Falk’s and Davies’ “Mandrake the Magician” and Konstantin Kuznyetsov’s “Countesse Margot” which was published simply as “Margot”. In the fourth issue from August 15th 1951 “Ming Foo” by Nicholas Afonsky was included after its first appearance before WW2 in Politika and Politikin Zabavnik under the very elaborate long title “Adventures of little Johnny, Tom Trout the Sailorman and Shang Lin the Chinese”. Only two weeks later, on September the 1st, the fifth – and soon it has turned out, the last – issue of Strip was printed. That issue remains as the genuine rarity and is sought after very vervently by collectors since it has never reached the newsstands due to seizing in the printing plant. In it the premiere comics work by Radoica Ilić and Božidar Veselinović was to be launched. That was to be the adaptation of the renown August Šenoa novel “Beware the Hand of Senj”. Strip used to have 16 pages sized 21×29.5 centimetres, it was published twice a month and was priced at 20 dinars. The offices were in 24 Knez Mihailova St. The magazine was black and white, except for the cover and the middle section that was printed in two colours (red and black) at the “Rad” printers in 33 Skadarska Street.