Bon appetit and please take your seats!
Here we go again. Welcome to the fifth issue of our ongoing magazine Unkraut Comics, est. 1997. After one year in the making we finally delivered the baby!
This time we present an english version because of the international artists featured in Unkraut 5.1. We splitted the whole project of „Food Comics“ into three parts: the first, 5.1, with the following artists: Aleksandar Zograf („Food Comics“), Stöger/Raffetseder („Palacinky“) & Vuk Palibrk („It’s Cooking Time“). In the next months we will publish the second, 5.2, mostly featuring cartoonists from Austria. The final issue, 5.3, with artists from Croatia, Serbia and the Netherlands should be completed and published around Christmas 2010, together with a Card Box holding all issues together neatly.
We chose the topic of “Food” because it seemed quite self-explanatory since we have been doing so-called “Kitchen Drawings” and other projects dealing with food topics for the better part of three years, but more on this later. This “Kitchen Collection” can be seen as part of the process Unkraut went through the last years.
So you may ask yourself: Is this the ultimate bandwagon jumping? They are doing mini comics, like everybody is doing nowadays, together with a try on cookbooks – which seem to be the only books that are constantly selling better. And why is it in English? Some answers can be given…
With this issue we brought together artists from Serbia, Croatia, the Netherlands, Japan, Germany and Austria. Most contributions were sent in English, that’s when we considered it would be best to make the whole thing in English – having in mind the benefit that it can be read by more people. A German version would have looked funny if we had inserted German translations to the original versions. Normally, it’s the other way round, so we skipped that. Almost everybody seems to speak English in German-speaking countries anyway. But the highest aim would have been to make wordless comics, so that they can actually be read by everyone.
The „Packing Of“ …
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Well, the next thing we would like to do is a classic cooking book in comic style: One page with an illustration of the finished recipe and the other page with a how-to-do-guide illustrated in comic style, explained step by step. This would be some wonderful tool, showing everything that is needed for preparing a meal properly, including techniques – a (German) example illustrating this idea can be found on the last page of this editorial. The benefit of this project compared to other representations of recipes (e.g. written or filmed) is that you can choose the speed of (re)reading and you are able to go back to certain details faster. We hope some publishers of cooking books will dig this idea! Comics should be as familiar as in Japan where mangas are shown in hospitals before surgeries.
We always wanted to publish mini comics, which we learned to love over the years. That “in your face “-underground approach still thrills us, the format alone brings back sweet childhood memories, short stories (not only) for kids put in some kind of treasure chest. This reminds us of German “Pixi”-books everybody knows in Austria and Germany – there are 1600 of them up to date! They look smart and there’s lots of love packed into them. Later, in the 70s and 80s, came the American Underground Mini Comic Boom, afterwards L’Association, Stripburger, Reprodukt, Kabinett-Hefte/Wien, tonto comics (Graz), s! (Latvia) and countless other mini anthologies or series and loads of one shots, especially like Zograf’s mini comic series.
This leads to the “Kitchen Connection”: In 2008 six people of Unkraut were invited to Pancevo, Serbia, where we met with some artists of Kuhinja workshop. We are very proud of having Aleksandar Zograf’s story in our “Kitchen Collection”. “In 1998, I established a comics workshop (Kuhinja) in the kitchen of the flat where Gordana and I were living, and every Saturday cartoonists and comics enthusiasts would gather and try to create drawings or discuss comics together”, says Zograf. So, years later we did the same thing in Linz, of course, without knowing what that group did in Serbia. “At some point in 2008, I was pretty much surprised to be contacted by a group of cartoonists from Linz, who established their own Kitchen workshop. We agreed that two groups should meet and try to create a comic story together”, he quotes in the appendix of “Twilight Jamming”, a Serbian comic book where this story (“Cascading Comets”) can be found. We met again during the “Next Comic Festival 2009”, where a Kitchen Drawing was done three days long – we even drew on kitchen furniture with all artists involved in the festival (Mahler, Dorgathen, Gerhard Haderer, etc.)! Pictures can be seen on our Homepage. For more information about the Kuhinja, please see below. We also did some “Comic Battles”, three up to date, in corporation with KAPU (a cultural center in Linz, and together with “quitch” something like our platform). People had to draw (up to) 3 pages of comics to a given topic in three hours. Two food-related stories created at those Battles can be found on the gimmick cards of this issue.
Of course, some stories connected with food themes were done at our own “Kitchen Drawing” sessions over the years (see also: gimmick cards), where we still meet irregularly depending on whether someone finds time and a good purpose to do a special kitchen drawing at his home or elsewhere. We try to figure out new stories or styles at these sessions.
All those circumstances led to the conclusion of doing a whole issue with this manic “Kitchen Habit”. Voilà, we proudly present the Unkraut Food Issue fresh from the “Kitchen Collection”! Throughout this first issue we hid some sneak previews, so you can get a taste of the upcoming stories. Again, check this homepage for upcoming events & release dates!
The stories in this first collection deal with a contemporary version of a dog eat dog routine, done as a classic slapstick story. During Serbian Orthodox Lent and Advent, meat and dairy are strictly prohibited. For cabbage lovers, these vegetable sarma or posna sarma, which you can find in Zografs “Food Comics” (where “posna” means Lenten or fasting) allow one to indulge in a favorite food while still following the church’s strictures. Or a cat that will end up on your plate sooner or later. Stöger/Raffetseder include superiorly drawn black & white scenery allowing you to almost smell the muddy, rural upper Austrian countryside between the panels; or a boy living in a pot for 20 years who is about to discover what’s really important in life. These tales are all connected with the accompanying recipe in some way or another. You have to find out yourself and don’t forget to do something really healthy for your body: try to cook more often!
Thanks a million to all the involved artists who made our mouths water, and especially to all the readers and supporters of Unkraut. Are you getting hungry reading the stories? To get the clue of this issue you have to cook the meals! Comics + Food = satisfied Brain & Stomach. I also considered spilling some soup or strawberries on the comics so that you can eat them in times of hunger. I was stopped by co-editor Sombrero and told to test the recipes instead. They all tasted extremely delicious – I can say that as a passionate cook – except that cat, of course…
Keep your hands off ducks
(from: Editorial Unkraut 5.1)
You can order the next two issues
(5.2 & 5.3) in advance at a pre-
ferential price, which should be
available till the end of 2010.
Reserve your copy now!
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