I visited Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia in the summer of 2009. I have relatives all over the region and, like the geek I am, I talked comics wherever I went (often while pounding back moonshine brandy made from plums). It quickly became clear the comic loving people in these countries were not much into superhero North American comics. Almost every house I went to had some comics (the smaller digest sized ones are preferred over there) and certain titles kept popping up.
When I got back home I started talking to my cousins and uncles that grew up over there and asked what comics they read. The titles they named matched the titles I saw in people home when I was over there. Asterix and Obelix and Tintin were very popular but it was the other titles that I found more intriguing.
To my surprise 5 of the most popular titles all had Italian origins.
Here is a list of 5 Italian comics still very popular in countries that made up the former Yugoslavia.
For a majority of the peolple I met and talked to Alan Ford was by far the most popular title.
Alan Ford was created by Max Bunker (Luciano Secchi) and Magnus (Roberto Raviola) in 1969. Set in New York City the stories revolve around secret agent Alan Ford and the rest of the Group TNT. These bumbling agents always seem to pull it together when they realize there is personal gain in the mission. It’s heavy in satire and black humor poking fun at society’s silliness whenever it could.
Alan Ford is still being published today in Serbia, Croatia and Italy. No plans for English translations! Cool link.
Zagor is another immensely popular Italian comic book. Partick Wilding is Zagor, a warrior fighting to protect the Indian tribes of America’s colonial north east.
Countries like Serbia and Croatia simply love this stuff. Turks love them some Zagor too. There were 3 Zogor movies made in Turkey in the 1970s.
Zagor was created by writer Sergio Bonelli and artist Gallieno Ferri and was first published back in 1961. Cool link.
The Dylan Dog film was just released and it bombed miserably, it took in something like $800,000 on its opening weekend. I think the mistake here was not aiming this film at the Europeans who read the comic religiously.
Dylan Dog is a horror comic about a paranormal investigator. Created by Tiziano Sclavi and originally published in Italy. Dark Horse publishes an English version of Dylan Dog. The title is immensely popular in Serbia, Croatia and Turkey. Cool link.
Europeans love the romanticism on the old American Wild West. Tex is an Italian comic book series created by writer Gian Luigi Bonelli and artist Aurelio Galleppini and first published back in 1948.
The Tex Willer character is very popular in Italy, Brazil, Serbia and Croatia.
The cool thing about Tex Willer is that the Italian perspective looks at the positive and negative aspects of both the Native American tribes and the American settlers. This is a refreshing departure from American literature’s views on the old west.
Joe Kubert has actually drawn some Tex Willer stories. Cool link.
People are absolutely crazy about Corto Maltese back in the old country! Corto Maltese is a sailor-adventurer fighting smugglers and pirates in the South Pacific in the World War I era. Corto Maltese was created by Italian comic book legend Hugo Pratt in and was first published in 1967. Cool link.