Hungarian comics


Hungarian comics

Hungarian comics are comics made in Hungary and by the Hungarian diaspora of the surrounding countries. When dealing with Hungarian comics, one cannot separate comics made by Hungarians from translated foreign matter, since in some eras most of the publications come from the latter group and influence comics fandom and the general picture about comics in the country.

Vocabulary

The Hungarian word for comics is "képregény", a combined word from "kép" (picture) and "regény" (novel). The words "comics" (referring to American comics), "manga" (referring to mainly Japanese comics), "bd / bande dessinée" (referring to Franco-Belgian comics) are sometimes used in Hungarian context, but are not general except for the case of manga.

History

(The history of Hungarian comics is best divided along political eras, because of the great influence politics made on comics.)

From the 19th century until World War I

and "pictorial stories" (képtörténetek, képes történetek), the European predecessor of modern comics. A short story was told in few sequential pictures, and the text (many times in rhyming poetic form) was placed beneath the images. [Sándor Kertész: Comics szocialista álruhában, Kertész Nyomda és Kiadó, 2007. p. 18.-22.] Many similar journals existed besides Üstökös. Hungary had a flourishing caricature culture at the time, and many of the greatest artists also drew these early types of comics.

Most notable artists of the era

*János Jankó
*Károly Mühlbeck, who created a unique form of the comic strip, that headlined newspapers.
*Ákos Garay
*Miltiádesz Mannó
*Antal Gáspár
*Lajos Linek [Sándor Kertész: Szuperhősök Magyarországon, Akvarell Bt., 1991. p. 19., 21.]

Between the two wars

strips and many others marked this period.Not as many Hungarian comics were made in this period, while – for example – Yugoslavia, the southern neighbor, claims this period to be their Golden Age. [ [http://www.rastko.org.yu/strip/zzupan-golden_age.html Zdravko Zupan: The Golden Age of Serbian Comics. Projekat Rastko, Spring-1999] ]

During this period the truncated Hungary was an ally of Germany. In 1937 the Minister of Justice began restricting the great amount of pulp literature and yellow press. In 1938 a decree ordered the whole press under the control of the Government. In the same year the "First Jewish Law" was issued. [A brief summary of the law in English: [http://www.porges.net/JewishHistoryOfHungary.html#1919%20to%201939 Naftali Kraus: Jewish History of Hungary 1919 to 1939. Porges Families Homepage.] ] Among others the goal of these two were to “clean” Hungary’s cultural life, to eliminate pulp literature. As the Újság, a Hungarian extremist newspaper, commented in 1938: "These are not at all capable to nurture Hungarian self-knowledge, Hungarian honesty, Hungarian heroism, consequentially to nurture the Hungarian folk, national and racial self-knowledge." ["Ezek egyáltalán nem alkalmasak a magyar önismeret, a magyar becsület, a magyar hősiesség, tehát a magyar népi, nemzeti és faji öntudat ápolására..."
original quote from Újság 1938. April 22
] Since most of the comics were published in the mostly Jewish owned yellow press, comics vanished after the law took effect. The situation became even worse after the German troops marched in Hungary: all leftist and liberal media was banned. The only comics of the time were antisemitic ones from magazines as the militant Harc ("Combat") or anticommunist ones from newspapers as Egyedül vagyunk ("We are alone"). Sándor Kertész: Comics szocialista álruhában, Kertész Nyomda és Kiadó, 2007] [http://www.kepregeny.net/?page_id=1557 Ferenc Kiss & Zoltán Ádám Szabó: Melyik a többi nyolc? in Beszélő 2005/12 ] ]

Notable artists of the era

*Antal Gáspár
*Károly Mühlbeck
*Kata Benedek
*Jenő Jeney

Main publications of the era

*Áller Képes Családi lapja
*Hári János
*Tündérvásár
*A Kis Lap
*Hasznos Mulattató
*Vasárnap from Pesti Hírlap
*Vasárnap from Friss újság

Communist era

withdrew all the “western cultural trash” from the press.

Furthermore Dr. Frederick Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent attracted some attention on the eastern side of the iron curtain. His anti-comics accusations echoed in Hungarian newspaper articles. Some of these were written by Hungarian journalists, but some were translations of American articles (at least signed by American names). [Sándor Kertész: Comics szocialista álruhában, Kertész Nyomda és Kiadó, 2007 p. 98.-106.] During these years even caricatures ridiculed comics for its aggressive nature and pairing it with western trash. [Tibor, Toncz: Tanulékony gyermek in Ludas Matyi 1953. November 4. Reprinted in Sándor, Kertész: Comics szocialista álruhában, Kertész Nyomda és Kiadó, 2007 p. 99.]

In 1954 "Ernő Zórád", one of Hungary’s all-time greatest comic book artists, dared to bring back comics with his adaptation of Vladimir Obruchev’s Plutonia ("Az Északi-sarkról a Föld belsejébe" – From the North Pole to the Center of the Earth in English). This was published in "Pajtás", a magazine for the Pioneer movement (the communist co-ed equivalent for scouting). 1955 was a milestone in Hungarian comic book history, since this was the year when graphic illustrator "Sándor Gugi" convinced "Tibor Horváth" (Later Tibor Cs. Horváth) to create some comics together. It was also Gugi’s idea to produce comics that adapt classic literature. No one could call adaptations of famous and recognized literary works “decadent western trash”, so comics received a green light at the time. Gugi presumably got the idea of adaptational comics from Classics Illustrated. [Sándor, Kertész: Comics szocialista álruhában, Kertész Nyomda és Kiadó, 2007 p. 109.] Adaptational comics, what started out as a trick, became dominant for decades. Sándor Gugi left the field relatively early, but Tibor Cs. Horváth produced a vast of comics scripts for some very talented artists such as "Imre Sebők", "Pál Korcsmáros" and "Ernő Zórád". These three had their own easily recognizable style and are considered the greatest comic artists of Hungary. [Sándor Kertész: Szuperhősök Magyarországon, Akvarell Bt., 1991]

At the time comics were not published in separate comic books, but sequentially in newspapers (e.g. Népszava), magazines (e.g. Képes Újság, Pajtás), and the crossword puzzle magazine Füles. Füles later became the flagship of Hungarian comic publishing. In December 1956, a few weeks after the soviet tanks ended the Revolution of 1956, György Gál and some journalists started conceiving a new, entertaining weekly magazine based on previous magazines such as Pesti Izé and Füles Bagoly. The magazine based on crossword puzzles, articles and comics became a large success. Some say the magazine had a role in healing the wounds. [Dr. Ervin Erős: Rejtvényregény, a Füles 50 éve, Sanoma Budapest Rt., 2007 ISBN 9789639710061] Some attempts were made to create pure comic magazines. One of these was Tábortűz (1957-1965), another magazine for Pioneers, based on the French Camera 34 and full of fresh ideas. Although it did not meet the Pioneer Association's concept and ordered the editorial to drastically reduce the number of comic pages in the magazine. [Sándor, Kertész: Comics szocialista álruhában, Kertész Nyomda és Kiadó, 2007 p. 125.-128.]

Adaptational comics still are a basis of controversies and debates. Although in most cases the art was beautiful, the panels were heavily packed with narrative texts – a trademark of Tibor Cs. Horváth. By the early sixties this comics type fell into a complex trap from which it couldn’t escape until recent times. On one hand intellectuals criticized these works for the lack of originality, novelty and artistry [Garami László: A mûveltség minõségéért in Élet és Irodalom, 1961. july 22.] , while another major accusation was that comics in general brake reading habits [József Novák: A képregények és az olvasóvá nevelés in Népmûvelés, 1962 April] . But adaptational comics provided a safe relationship with the cultural-political leadership, and were still popular, comic book import was close to zero, so nothing forced comic artists to move on further.

Although this compromise made the production of comics possible. In many other countries of the Ex-Eastern Bloc (e.g. Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union, Romania) the situation was even worse with almost absolutely no comics of their own. However it should be noted that some other Eastern Bloc counties at that time had substantial comic book culture: Yugoslavia, Poland. (Yugoslavia was not influenced directly by the Soviet Union.) For further readings on Ex-Eastern bloc comics culture: Serbian comics, Polish comics, Czech comics

Ernő Zórád ended his professional relationship with Tibor Cs. Horváth and wrote his own comic scripts. Luckily Zórád was not just a great artist, but also a talented storyteller: these comics came much closer to the medium’s own language. He also made experimental collage comics in the early seventies attracting international attention. He was invited to the Salone Internazionale del Comics festival in 1970 but his portfolio – due to Hungarian bureaucracy – has arrived late. Furthermore the works has been stolen from the festival. By the late seventies the classic three of Hungarian comics disappeared: Korcsmáros died in 1975, Sebők died in 1980 and Zórád retired temporarily. Since young talents were not introduced during the preceding three decades (except for Attila Fazekas), many mark these years the end of Hungarian comics’ golden age. [http://www.kepregeny.net/?page_id=1298 Ferenc Kiss: A képregény születése és halála Magyarországon in Beszélő 2005/1] ]

At the time very few foreign comics were allowed to be published for the Hungarian market. The exceptions were mainly comics from the Eastern bloc or comics with socialist/communist background. The exceptions:

*Mozaik: The East German Mosaik was first published in 1971 and ran as a monthly comic book series from 1973 until 1990. Outside East-Germany Mosaik was the most popular in Hungary, and still has many hardcore fans. The issues were edited in Hungary, published and printed in GDR together with the original German version, than distributed by the Hungarian Postal Service. [Sándor, Kertész: Comics szocialista álruhában, Kertész Nyomda és Kiadó, 2007 p. 178.-187.] The title returned to the newsstands in 2001 and is still published alongside of many special issues for collectors.

*Pif and Vailant: These were imported from France and sold at newspaper stands. This was allowed because the biweekly magazine belonged to the communist L'Humanité newspaper group. [Sándor, Kertész: Comics szocialista álruhában, Kertész Nyomda és Kiadó, 2007 p. 62.-70.]
* In the seventies some French (mainly from Vaillant) and Italian (mainly western from Bonelli) comics were published in Füles, Pajtás, etc. [http://wiki.kepregeny.net/index.php/F%C3%BCles Bibliograpgy of Füles on wiki.kepregeny.net] ]
*Danish and Finnish editions of American superhero comics were printed in Hungary’s Kossuth nyomda. A large number of these forbidden fruits were sold/traded on flee markets. [Sándor, Kertész: Comics szocialista álruhában, Kertész Nyomda és Kiadó, 2007 p. 226.-233.]

In an environment much more liberal, the Hungarian minorities of Yugoslavia published many comics. The most important publisher of the time was Forum Marketprint, which presented "Buksi" magazine in the sixties. This was the Hungarian language print of the Serbo-Croatian Kekec magazine, also published by Forum-Marketprint.

Notable artists of the era

*Sándor Gugi [ [http://wiki.kepregeny.net/index.php/Gugi_S%C3%A1ndor Comics bibliography of Sándor Gugi on wiki.kepregeny.net] ]
*Ernő Zórád [http://wiki.kepregeny.net/index.php/Z%C3%B3r%C3%A1d_Ern%C5%91 Comics bibliography of Ernő Zórád on wiki.kepregeny.net] ]
*Pál Korcsmáros
*Imre Sebők [ [http://wiki.kepregeny.net/index.php/Seb%C5%91k_Imre Comics bibliography of Imre Sebők on wiki.kepregeny.net] ]
*Attila Dargay
*György Szitás
*Róbert Szenes
*Marcell Jankovics
*István Endrődi

Main publications of the era

*Füles
*Népszava
*Buksi (Yugoslavia)
*Pajtás [http://wiki.kepregeny.net/index.php/Pajt%C3%A1s Comics bibliography of Pajtás on wiki.kepregeny.net] ]

The last decade of communist Hungary

The less harsh tone of the eighties (i.e. Glasnost) brought some changes in the field of comics. Some foreign comics were allowed to be published in Hungarian, not just comics from the Eastern Bloc (e.g. Mozaik) or communist French comics (Vaillant, Pif Gadget), but some politically “harmless” series as Asterix and Lucky Luke (as Wilám Will) in Alfa [ [http://wiki.kepregeny.net/index.php/Alfa Comics bibliography of Alfa on wiki.kepregeny.net] ] , Tom and Jerry (as Tom és Jerry since 1987) [ [http://db.kepregeny.net/index.php?p=thumbview&hid=1772&lid=1 Data of Tom és Jerry (Vol. 1.) on db.kepregeny.net (Hugnarian comic book database)] ] , Mickey Mouse (as Miki egér from 1988) [ [http://db.kepregeny.net/index.php?p=thumbview&hid=24&lid=1 Data of Miki egér on db.kepregeny.net (Hungarian comic book database)] ] and Swedish "Bobo" and "Góliát" (both from 1986) [ [http://db.kepregeny.net/index.php?p=thumbview&hid=41&lid=1 Data of Bobo on db.kepregeny.net (Hungarian Comic book database)] ] [ [http://db.kepregeny.net/index.php?p=thumbview&hid=50&lid=1 Data of Góliát on db.kepregeny.net (Hungarian Comic book database)] ] , "Tumak", "Pink Panther, Nils Holgerson", etc. One of the most important magazines of the era was Kockás, that selected stories from Pif and its predecessor Vaillant. [http://db.kepregeny.net/index.php?p=thumbview&hid=7&lid=1 Data of Kockás on db.kepregeny.net] ]

Again, comics published for the Hungarian minorities in Yugoslavia ranged on a much larger scale: Hagar, larger selection of Asterix and Lucky Luke, Prince Valiant, Biblical comics etc. These were popular on both sides of the border, imported both legally and illegally to Hungary. [Sándor, Kertész: Comics szocialista álruhában, Kertész Nyomda és Kiadó, 2007 p. 260.-264.] [Hungarian language comics published in Yugoslavia has not been researched in depth yet, or at least publications are rare in the topic. Although Képregény Kedvelők Klubja (Hungarian Comics Fans’ Club) has discussed the topic (lectures and discussions with guests) on one of its events dedicated to Yugoslavian comics. A blog entry can be read about the event on [http://csapgeza.blog.hu/2006/09/06/jugoszlav_kepregenyek_a_karton_galeriaba Csaáp Géza] ] .

Most importantly this was the period when the individual comic book and European album formats came into use. This was the case for both Hungarian creations and translations. The two basic formats of the time:
*Small (cca. 15 x 21.5 cm), cheap, black and white comic books. These were usually reissues of stories that ran in 4 page installments in Füles. Even the size was the same. Later Attila Fazekas made comics that were published originally in this format. Most notable of these reissues was the Rejtő sorozat sequel, that collected then already classic adaptations of Jenő Rejtő’s novels. Despite the fact that these were drastically reedited by Tibor Cs. Horváth they were very popular, bringing these stories close to another young generation. Among the comics most loved were Pál Korcsmáros’ art, that captured Rejtő’s absurd and grotesque humor.
*Large colored albums. These were mainly Ernő Zórád’s comics. In some cases they were also reissues, but redesigned, colored by the artist himself. They were published in two unanimous series.

Other important, but short comics were published in the sci-fi anthology, Galaktika. Some of today’s artists made their first works here ("Marabu, Mihály Vass, István Fujkin"). The anthology also published foreign comics as [Conan] , The Adventures of Funky Koval (Funky Koval kalandjai by polish Maciej Parowski, J. Rodek, B. Polch), Rail tracks leading to darkness (Sötétbe vezető sínpár by polish Kája Saudek). [http://wiki.kepregeny.net/index.php/Galaktika Comics bibliography of Galaktika on wiki.kepregeny.net] ] [Sándor Kertész: Comics szocialista álruhában, Kertész Nyomda és Kiadó, 2007 p. 267.]

In the 1970s and ‘80s some famous cartoonists (Attila Dargay, Marcell Jankovics) made ventures in the comics medium. Both of them were talented comic book creators, but both of them rather considered cartoons as their main field. Jankovics even went as far as publicly despising comics. [One example: [http://www.kepregeny.net/?page_id=1470 Vince Zalán: Miért játszik velünk - Interview with Marcel Jankovics in Filmvilág 1992. september] ]

During this era comics also infiltrated the underground scene (concert posters, fanzines, samizdat press), a field publicly still unrevealed.

Notable artists of the era

*Ernő Zórád
*Attila Dargay
*Attila Fazekas [ [http://fazekas.kepregeny.net/muvek.html Assorted bibliography on Attila Fazekas' official homepage] ]
*Lívia Rusz [ [http://wiki.kepregeny.net/index.php/Rusz_L%C3%ADvia Comics bibliography of Lívia Rusz on wiki.kepregeny.net] ]

Main publications of the era

Important periodicals publishing comics:
* Füles
* Jó Pajtás (Yugoslavia)
* Pajtás
* Galaktika

Important comic books or comic series:
* Kockás
* Rejtő sorozat
* AZ sorozat - Asterix and Lucky Luke (Yugoslavia)
* Nem minden arany ami fénylik; Miskati közbelép
* Csillagok háborúja
* Bucó Szeti Tacsi

The childhood of democratic Hungary (1989-2003)

) vanished. Besides the inexperience of the small publishing companies, the comics-reading audience might not have been ready for these type of comics. In many cases their true value was only discovered in recent years.

This was not the case for superhero comics. In the last days of the People’s Republic of Hungary American superhero comics finally were allowed. The first superhero story was published in 1989, in a special issue of Alfa magazine. This was the Revenge of the Living Monolith (A monolit bosszúja), a Marvel team-up story. Also in 1989, after a few years of publishing foreign children comics (Bobo, Góliát, Pink Panther, Tumak, Pejkó, etc.) Interprint plunged into superhero comics. First The Phantom, than Spider-Man. (In 1991 Interprint joined the Swedish Semic group, which resulted in Semic-Interprint.) The company started Batman in January 1990 and Superman same year later. DC comics were not as popular as Marvel superheroes, so the titles merged and were made bimonthly in 1992 as "Superman és Batman". X-men started in June 1992 and Marvel Extra (a compilation of all sorts of Marvel superhero stories) in February 1993.

Hungarian comic book artists found themselves in a very new and alien situation: while comics were living their heyday, young readers’ interest drifted from Hungarian comics to the much more modern and spectacular superhero comics. Attila Fazekas, whose "Star Wars" adaptations sold around 200 thousand a decade earlier, now tries every way to remain on the surface. He produced and published his own magazine, "Botond". These comic books comprised all kinds of stories, from historical to action. Every issue had a story of Botond, a character based on Hungarian legends and Asterix. He also tried out erotic (or rather porno) comics – with surprisingly small success.

With no major outlet, Hungarian comics started to fade. To this day many directly accuse Semic Interprint and its monthly dump of superhero comics for this phenomenon. As the country’s leading comic book publisher, Semic Interprint never published a Hungarian comic book in these fragile years (cf. after WWII France - and many other West European countries - had an anti-American self-protective law, a foundation of their flourishing comics culture). Others protect it on the basis of free market. [The controversy has not been dealt with in writing, although it is a regular topic on internet forums, comic club meetings. Sándor Kertész is planning to publish a book dealing with the comics history of Hungary since 1989. In this book he also plans to deal with this issue.]

In March 1994 Semic Interprint launched the bimonthly Kretén (Cretin). This absurd and satirical humor magazine is somewhat like Mad or Fluide Glacial. In this magazine many talented artists introduced themselves to a larger audience (Zsolt H. Garisa, Zoltán “Zerge” Varga, Imre “Feki” Fekete, Csete, Gergely Göndöcs, etc.). It can be considered the most important and prestigious outlet for Hungarian comics at the time.

Füles and new crossword puzzle magazines are still popular in Hungary, but comics readers' attention has drifted away from these, leaving the collecting of the comics published in these to hardcore, and mostly veteran fans.

In 1996 Marvel went bankrupt and drastically raised the royalties collected upon translations, therefore Hungarian Marvel titles were canceled in December 1996 (Marvel Extra) and January 1997 (X-Men). However the most popular title, "Csodálatos Pókember" (Amazing Spider-Man), managed to survive. In the same year Semic Interprint started publishing "Spawn" as a bimonthly with two stories in each issue. In 1999, after its tenth year, 120th issue the company doubled the magazine’s number of pages (from 32 to 76) and price too. Every issue contained three complete Spider-Man stories (The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker Spider-Man, Webspinners Tales of Spider-Man – all starting out from #1). The stories did not fulfill the Hungarian needs and the price seemed to be too high, resulting in the canceling of the title at the end of the year, along with Spawn. The bimonthly, not so popular "Superman és Batman" managed to continue until December 2001, as the only superhero title published in Hungarian.

In 2001 "Csodálatos Pókember" was relaunched, but instead of continuing with Spider-Man continuity, it served a younger audience with the translations of Ultimate Spider-Man. Leaving Kretén and the bimonthly Star Wars out of account, Semic Interprint shifted to the children’s audience with other flagship titles such as "Dragon Ball" (cancelled soon after), Garfield, and "Dörmögő Dömötör". Children's comics were the main profile of major publishers like Egmont (Tom és Jerry, Donald Kacsa magazin) and smaller companies such as Abrafaxe Kft. (Mozaik, later continued by N-Press, than Ratius).

Recent revival of comics (2004-)

By 2003 a generation reached their adolescence with no substantial comic book intake, and the generation that once grew up on superhero comics was left with hardly any comics since the late nineties. Remaining hardcore fans began to organize into web communities on forums and a new scene developed on the basis of scanlations. In English speaking countries scanlations usually refer to manga, but in Hungary fan translations and lettering started with Marvel superhero type comics, and then moved on to other types. Different websites specialized in different genres, types (European, superhero, independent, manga, underground, etc.). The most notable achievement of the Hungarian scanlating scene was that it brought together the fans, forming a base of comics fandom. Kepregeny.net started out as a scanlating and scanning website, and a center for all kinds of comics fans. Its forum provided a platform for fans and professionals (artists, ex editors, retailers etc.) to meet and discuss all kinds of issues. Many projects were eventually launched from there, and to this day it still is a place for fan talk and professional debate. Throughout the years the forum, news section and the later added article section (a database collecting every comics related article published in the press) made the website grow out its original semi legal content and in 2007 it finally became fully legal with pulling off downloadable comics.

2004 can be regarded as the breakthrough year in comics publishing. In February the Complete Maus was released by Ulpius-ház, a larger publishing house. (The first book of Maus has already been published in the early nineties.) Besides the release of the graphic novel, Ulpius organized an exhibition which exposed pages from Maus in Budapest’s subway carts, seen by one million passengers a day. The project became successful, and attracted large media attention. This project was timed for the 50th anniversary commemoration of the German occupation in March 1944, resulting in the deportation of 800,000 Hungarian Jews and other minorities. (This also is revealed in the graphic novel.)

Another milestone of the year was the publication of the Belgian album series, XIII] . This, along with Largo Winch has already been introduced to the Hungarian audience in 1995 as part of the X-07 black and white series in American comic book format.

That year also brought some changes in Hungarian comics:
* Endre Sarlós’ Szigetvár ostroma (a historical album about the Turkish siege of Szigetvár in 1556) was published and sold at newspaper stands. Unfortunately the pages originally composed in landscape format, were reorganized to portrait A4 format and were paired with weak lettering.
* Attila Fazekas’ Botond revived after an 11 year hiatus.
* After a long time the first underground comic book anthology, PTSD antológia appeared.
* A group of graphic artists joined forces as Magyar Képregény Akadémia (Hungarian Comics Academy – a rather self-ironic name).
* Képes Kiadó, the publishing company of Pál Korcsmáros’ son and grandson started into a series in which the original Korcsmáros and Rejtő classic comics were rearranged into European styled colored albums. The texts were rewritten, the drawings supplemented and corrected where needed, and colored by the team of Zsolt H. Garisa and Zoltán “Zerge” Varga. This series has started in 2003, but 2004 brought larger recognition.

Since than many smaller publishers, usually based around one or few fans themselves, made ventures in releasing comics. These companies provide a very broad variety of comics, some specializing on smaller territories (manga, American mainstream), others representing a larger scale. In 2005 most of these companies forged into the "Magyar Képregénykiadók Szövetsége" (Hungarian Comic Publishers’ Association), based more on mutual interests and friendship, rather than strict rules and codes. Organizing festivals and fairs can be considered as the organization’s biggest success.

Publishers soon realized that in most cases the newspaper market is far from ideal for comics, however it might be feasible on the book market. This however is a phenomenon seen in many other comic cultures. In the last few years only three companies made efforts on the newspaper market: Panini Comics Italy (four, then 2 Marvel titles) and Képes Kiadó (a black and white budget magazine called "Eduárd fapados képregényújság") both failed at it, however Pesti könyv still sends its Lucky Lukes to the newspaper stands. Bookstores have a constantly growing variety on graphic novels, trade paperbacks, albums, etc. This phenomenon is still new for many Hungarians, since they were used to searching for comics at the newspaper stands/shops, tobacconists, etc.

In a country with a population around 10 million, these “books” are published in 2 to 5000 copies, which is extremely low, causing relatively high prices. Despite the low number of copies, comics and the theme of its revival has been a frequent topic of the media. In spite of this, prejudice concerning comics fades very slowly.

Also during this period, comics’ own offline printed media has been born in the form of semi fanzine-semi professional papers as "Panel", "Buborékhámozó" (Bubble-peeler).

The first significant amount of manga were published in the last quarter of 2006 and by the end of 2007, it flooded the comics market, being the most popular among them. Unlike the second most popular type of comics – superheroes – manga fans have their own fan groups, conventions, and are less interested in other type of comics.

Recent Hungarian creations

The Vicious circle of present day Hungarian comics

*A: Hungarian comics are much less popular than translations of American (superhero) comics and manga. (In a country, where the most popular titles are published in 2-5000 copies.)
*B: Royalties for foreign comics are cheaper, than the sum of writing, penciling, inking, coloring, lettering etc. a new comic book.
*C: Devoted publishers can only afford very short stories from professional artists.
*D: Publishers can only afford cheaper workforce.
*E: Professional artists drift towards advertisement graphics, animation and other territories.
*F: Professional artists do not become professional comics artists.
*G: If artists manage to create comics in their free time, it's either "experimental" or has its faults resulting from lack of experience in the field.
*H: Fans are not fulfilled by short, experimental, mediocre comics, and turn their attention to other directions as Hungarian comics. [ [http://www.kepregeny.net/?page_id=1708 Zoltán Ádám Szabó: Lelkesedés és profizmus in Magyar Hírlap 2007. june 23] ]

However some editors and journalists [ [http://www.kepregeny.net/?page_id=1659&page=9 Mann: Képregényes 10×5. 2007-04-15, Kepregeny.net] ] believe, in Hungary Hungarian comics have the potential of recruiting more comics fans and reaching a cult status. Editor, Antal Bayer speculates in a forum comment: "At the same time, I'm convinced that a really "up-to-date" Hungarian comic could reach the cult status, then maintain massive popularity. We've seen how "Napirajz" moved the people, but we need something more than that for breakthrough. I can hardly wait for the Hungarian comic book, that's received with such enthusiasm as the latest Rejtő/Korcsmáros reissue." [The quote in its original language: "Ugyanakkor meggyőződésem, hogy egy igazán "korszerű" új magyar képregény tudna előbb kultikus, majd tömeges népszerűségre szert tenni. Láthattuk, hogy a Napirajz is mennyire megmozgatta a népeket. De ennél több kell az áttöréshez. Nagyon várom már azt az új magyar képregényt, amelyet olyan lelkesedéssel fogadnak, mint a legújabb Rejtő-Korcsmáros újrakiadást." - [http://forum.kepregeny.net/index.php?s=&showtopic=909&view=findpost&p=224111 Antal Bayer on Kepregeny.net's forum] ]

List of Hungarian comics with alternative distribution

Because of Hungarian comics being not as popular as translations, many of these books are printed in 300-1000 copies and have marginal distribution, outside the chains of newsstands and bookstores. Some of the following would fit into the term minicomic, although not all, despite the similarity in the number of copies.
* Pinkhell
* PTSD antológia
* Botond
* Sushi-Strip
* Panel különszám
* Fáraó Háreme
* Tinglitangó

"Note: most Hungarian comics are published in anthologies, magazines, etc. not in individual comic books or graphic novels."

List of Hungarian comics distributed in bookstores

* Kalyber Joe kalandjai
* Rév
* Gróf Balázs képregények
* Szigetvár ostroma
* Rejtő/Korcsmáros classic comics remakes
* Tűzvihar
* Hé, Dodó
* Napirajz
* Keresők
* Gemini jelentés

"Note: most Hungarian comics are published in anthologies, magazines, etc. not in individual comic books or graphic novels."

Current scene

Regular events

*Magyar Képregény Fesztivál - Hungarian Comics Festival. Annual event every spring, organized by the Hungarian Comic Publishers' Association. The event's main focus is on the programs (debates, meeting artists, presentations, movies, etc).

*Képregény Börze – Comics Exchange Market. (In some European countries they're translated to ComiCons, although US Cons are somewhat different) Twice a year (spring and fall). The first was held in 2001. The most fan oriented event.

*Hungarocomix. A fair showcasing the publishers’ yearly work. Usually a few weeks before Christmas. The most publisher oriented event.

*Képregény Kedvelők Klubja (KKK in short) – Comics Fans’ Club. Every last Thursday of the month. They are usually held in kArton galéria or on the terrace of Kultiplex. Every month a theme is discussed with guests. The "club" is open to all people, but usually most of the audience consists of veteran fans and professionals.

hops

Comics are likely to be found in book stores. There's a large variety of children comics in newspaper shops. Comic book stores are rare, but some exist in the capitol. Hungarian creations are usually printed in small numbers and sold in a loose alternative network.
*Trillian (Specializing in current American and Manga titles)
*Comicsinvest (Webshop specializing in American and Manga back issues)
*Eduárd (Specializing in Hungarian titles and back issues)
*King Comics (closed in 2007)

Organizations

*MKSz - Magyar Képregénykiadók Szövetsége / Hungarian Comics Publishers' Association [http://www.kepregeny.info | official website]
*MKA - Magyar Képregény Akadémia / Hungarian Comics Academy [http://kepregenyakademia.hu/ | official website]
*kArton galéria / kArton Galery [http://www.karton.hu | official website]

Famous or important comic book artists, publishers, editors with Hungarian roots

"Note: the following list contains people, who have/had Hungarian heritage, although were not involved directly in the Hungarian comics scene. This list is to be regarded as trivia."
* Joseph Pulitzer Hungarian immigrant, born in Makó.
* Alex Toth Son of Hungarian immigrants. Many interviews and colleague's memoirs reflect, that he remained intact with his (parent's) cultural background. [ [http://www.tothfans.com/adisplay.php?a=375 tothfans.com Alex Toth's Biography. The Official Alex Toth Website] ] [ [http://www.tothfans.com/adisplay.php?a=365 tothfans.com Remembering Alex Toth. The Official Alex Toth Website] ] ["Burbank was a renovated and renewed city, and in Belmont Village he found other Hungarians, heard the folk songs and stories he hadn't heard and longed for through decades" - http://www.tothfans.com/adisplay.php?a=359]
* Paul Gulacy
* Paul Winkler Born in Budapest. He was the first to establish Disney comics in France, which happened to be the start of French comic books. [ [http://legends.disney.go.com/legends/detail?key=Paul+Winkler Disney Legends - Paul Winkler] ]
* Marcel Gotlib
* Miriam Katin Born in Budapest, emigrated in 1957.
* Rick Magyar American Comic Book artist.

References



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