In uteroКнижковий Арсенал

In utero

The Special Program of Vertigo

In ancient Egypt, when writing the biographies of pharaohs on the parchments, court artists hardly understood that they were creating a new medium. When engraving the stories about gods on rocks, the Incas did not realize that they were inventing comics. The same goes for the weavers who made tapestries in the Middle Ages. Even the authors of the first caricature stories published in New York newspapers did not know anything about the future path of the newborn industry. In fact, they have created the ninth art combining both literature and graphic media.

Graphic stories have developed in a random way across the world, creating the modern mythologies that helped readers to travel to distant worlds, introducing new ideals of society, and just entertaining. The potential and complexity of this medium were seen by very few: beginning with Will Eisner and ending with Moebius, Art Spiegelman, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and Grant Morrison, who at different times not only told the readers about the epic or funny adventures of their favorite characters but expanded and changed the rules of the game. For example, they used comics to tell about the tragedy of the Holocaust, created their own multiverses with hundreds of planets, and put the Dream rather than a person in the center of the narrative.

Maintained in a Soviet bubble, the Ukrainian culture partially missed this path. While Tintin was admired in France, and Superman was idolized in the USA, the readers in our part of the world could just look through Murzilka, Funny Cartoon Pictures, and Perets. When the Communist Empire collapsed, the comics industry had already experienced many ups and downs, outlining its own path and finding its place among cultural media.

Therefore, today we can confidently say that the home industry of graphic stories is now in utero, that is at its very source. The published books have just started to search for their readers, authors launch crowdfunding campaigns to create samizdats, and readers are gradually discovering the possibilities of graphic stories.

That’s why, in the In Utero program, we are talking about the new and the promising. These are not only new translations of Western comics but also the use of the medium as a tool of social criticism that speaks with the audience at different levels. The criticism of unhealthy relationships and the feminist discourse on the pages of graphic stories are common things for the rest of the world, while it’s only the first step for us. It’s time to get rid of the grunge wrappers, so we suggest talking about how to found your own publishing house and what new publications should be read first. And at the same time, we will discuss the need to highlight the issues of feminism and domestic violence in comics. What else could I say?