Signals from the Unknown: Czech Comics 1922-2012 by Pavel Korinek and Tomas Prokupek / ISBN 9788074670138 / 350-page paperback, about 9.75 x 12 inches, from Arbor Vitae (Czechia)
As Czech comic culture gains momentum in the new millennium, artists and fans are starting to excavate the country’s rich comics heritage. This richly illustrated volume presents the first survey of Czech comics, from the early twentieth century to the present. The story begins with Koule, the first comics magazine in Czechoslovakia, which ran from 1926 to 1928, and which included Antonin Burka’s fashionably dressed dandy character Skulifinda, Otto Messmer’s Kocour Felix (an adaptation of Felix the Cat) and, most famously, Adolf, Ladislav Vlodek’s tales of the adventures of a young boy, which was partly inspired by early American comics. Koule was succeeded by Punt’a (1935–42), but after the war there followed a fallow period, which was brought to a halt by the arrival of Ctyrlistek in 1969--Czechoslovakia’s longest-running comics magazine. Following the liberalization of social conditions in the mid-1980s, Kometa published adventurous works by Jan Patrik Krásny, Marko Cermák, Vladimir Tucapsky and Jan Stepánek, as well as earlier work by Kája Saudek. Starting in the mid-1990s, a slew of magazines began to add critical mass to this burgeoning culture, among them Crew, Aargh! and, mostly recently, the alternative comic magazine Kix!. The detailed essays throughout the book are in English, while the comics, reproduced in the original, remain in Czech.