Baranin revives the national liberation struggle and the golden age of comics

Cartoonist and illustrator Andrija Vujošević fell in love with the ninth art as a boy, and today, in addition to creating illustrated stories, he tries to help younger authors through his publishing house.

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Photo: Andrija Vujošević
Photo: Andrija Vujošević
Ažurirano: 06.12.2023. 20:01h

The fascinating world of illustrations, dialogues and characters has become an unavoidable point of interest for both art lovers and the wider audience. Over the years, comics have evolved from simple drawings into an expressive medium that conveys stories, emotions and social messages. From the time they appeared in the humor supplements of newspapers, to today when we have genres as diverse as superheroes, adventure, science fiction and social criticism, comics have managed to satisfy different tastes of readers. They are even often the inspiration for movies that earn millions at the box office.

This, as it is often called, the ninth art, also interested Baranin Andrija Vujošević who is now a prominent Montenegrin comic creator.

"Since I can remember, I have drawn comics and illustrations, both my own characters and heroes from cartoons, movies and of course other comics. I decided to pursue it when I read the comic book 'Hellboy' by the author Mike Mignola. That comic covered stylistically and thematically everything that attracts me from the world of visual arts", Vujošević reveals in an interview with Vijesti that he himself became interested in this type of art.

The love of comics is a family trait of the Vujošević family, and Andrija, like the older members, collected and read comics.

Andrija Vujosevic
Andrija Vujosevicphoto: Milica Vujošević

"My parents passed on to my brother and me the love of comic books and of course collecting them. When it comes to favorite comics, in addition to Hellboy, I would mention Torpedo, a comic that left a strong impression on me in my childhood, and there are also Sin City from Frank Miller and the New Frontier of Darwin Hook", lists Vujošević, who is recognizable by his retro "golden age" propaganda style, and explains what it actually means:

"The comics I draw are national liberation themes set in the Second World War. That period is considered the golden age of comics. My fascination with propaganda posters from that period is clearly visible in my works, be it the color palette or the illustration concept".

Although when he creates he finds inspiration in liberation themes, when he reads he tries to make the content diverse.

"I like to read various types of comics and manga, in addition to the subject I draw, I also like science fiction, gothic, horror, and crime comics," reveals Vujošević.

Creating a comic is a complex process. The author must choose a theme, but also come up with characters, a plot, he must take care of the dialogues of the actors of the story, and many other things, and Vujošević reveals what the process of creating comics looks like, from the idea to the final edition, and how long it takes him to complete one like this. the story:

"It all depends on how many pages the project has and who it is for. When the script is finished, which can be written for months, even years, it's time to draw. Approximately two to three pages are drawn per week. The comics I draw for myself, for which I don't have a deadline, I draw very slowly, about four pages a month.

Being your own writer, cartoonist and editor is a double-edged sword, you have absolute freedom for creativity, but with that comes a large number of changes and revisions until 'perfection,'" admits the interlocutor of Vijesti.

The golden age of comics brought numerous superheroes into the lives of lovers of the ninth art, among which are still popular today Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Flash. Today, superheroes have just been mentioned, but many others have also become heroes of film series. And Vujošević's comics could easily be "translated" to the big screen, and he reveals which of his heroes could end up in a movie:

Excellent for the screen - Iron Proletarians
Excellent for the screen - Iron Proletariansphoto: Andrija Vujošević

"Iron Proletarians is a comic that could very easily be translated into a film, as it is a combination of our 'red wave' films in a classic superhero manner. Sablarka would also be great for adaptation on the big screen or as an animated series because of its episodic adventures," he is sure.

Andrija exhibited his graphics professionally for the first time in the "Velimir A. Leković" gallery in Bar as part of the "Artitude" exhibition in 2018. Since then, he exhibited comics and illustrations and became a permanent guest of the Hercegnov Comic Festival. Some of his works include titles such as "Secret Writings of Pope Dukljanin", as well as the aforementioned "Sabljarka" and Iron Proletarians. He is the founder of the festival "Strip Art Bar" (SAB).

Today, there are more and more events and festivals dedicated to the ninth art, and recently it had its stand at the first Montenegro Future festival, which was held in Bar in mid-October. To the joy of not only Vujošević, but also of many other comic artists, this type of art is slowly returning to where it normally belongs, because it was neglected for a while.

"I think comics are experiencing a renaissance in our regions. The audience's interest has returned and every day we can see new authors on social networks and new comics editions at festivals," says Vujošević proudly, who started the first publishing house that publishes comics in Montenegro with several authors. About what their goal was when they started it and how they determine what you will publish under your label and what you won't, he says:

Andrija Vujošević's comic strip
Andrija Vujošević's comic stripphoto: Andrija Vujošević

"Vintart is the first Montenegrin publishing house that exclusively deals with comic book publishing.

The goal of this publishing house is to promote Montenegrin authors and present their work both to the local audience and to the audience from the region and beyond.

We are currently publishing authors who have already drawn several original comics that could be serialized. Soon we are planning to create a magazine in which we will present authors who do not have enough pages for a solo edition", says Vujošević about Vintart's plans.

They care about creating a new comics scene through publishing by supporting new talents, so he and other colleagues are always in the mood for any kind of support for those who are just starting to deal with this branch of art.

"All comic authors from Montenegro are full of support and advice for new comic artists, which I personally felt and am trying to pass on to new generations. I hold a comic book drawing workshop at the National Library and the "Ivo Vučković" reading room in Bar, where I meet a large number of talents whose works you will soon be able to read in future editions of Vintart," promises Vujošević.

He admits that it is not easy to run a publishing house today, and that they constantly face challenges in the comics industry.

"The challenges are great, because the market is very small. We are a new publishing house that has been on the scene for less than a year. The project was co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and Media through the "Creative Montenegro" project. We managed to publish original comics by four Montenegrin comic authors and one comic magazine and present them at festivals in Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia. This is just the beginning, next year the audience can expect a much larger number of comic creators from Montenegro and a magazine that will be published quarterly, as well as the online purchase of comics, posters and other advertising materials", reveals the plans of Vujošević, who in addition to drawing comics is also involved in music. He says that these two creativity encourage each other.

"Most of the comic artists and illustrators I've worked with are also involved in some kind of music. I think that creativity is rarely expressed in only one form of art. The process of creating a 'universe', characters and stories is necessary for comics, but it is also very useful in creating songs. When dealing with music, it's crucial to build a sense of rhythm and timing, which is necessary to create a natural flow in a comic. "The comic has no sound or music, but if you place the panels in the right order, it will have a melody," concludes Vujošević.

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