comic art by Kaja Saudek

Kaja Saudek, twin brother of the famous photographer Jan Saudek, was born in the Czech Republic in 1935. When still young, he read a lot of Marvel superhero comics, which inspired him to become a comic artist. He developed his own original style, full of exaggerated backgrounds and little jokes. As one of the first Czech comic artist he started making adult comics during the 1960s. Many of his stories were left unfinished because of censorship, which thought his style was too Western, or "injurious capitalistic kitsch".

Kaja Saudek started 'Muriel a andele' ('Muriel and the angels'), an erotic epic inspired by Forest's 'Barbarella', and written by Milos Macourek. The first two parts of the series, over 250 pages, were finished when the country was taken over by Russia, due to the Warsaw pact. It meant that Saudek had to stop his series. Only a black & white preview appeared in magazine Mlady Svet.

comic art by Kaja Saudek

Saudek tried his luck in foreign magazines; he published his erotic story 'Sylterella' in a German journal, but never received his payment. He did some contributions to Polish and Yugoslavian magazines before making the propagandistic strip 'Major Zeman', adapting a popular TV series. The ironic nature of Saudek's work led to yet another publication ban, and Saudek had to make a living drawing illustrations for children's magazines.

He continued to produce comics for the half-illegal bulletin in the Czech Speleology Society, such as 'Arnal a dva draci zuby' ('Arnal and the Two Dragon's Teeth'), which was eventually translated to Polish, Hungarian, Finnish and Norwegian. After the fall of communism many of Kaja Saudek's older comics were published, in hundred of thousands of copies. Saudek himself however drifted away from comics and focused on making explicit illustrations for erotic magazines. Nonetheless, Kaja Saudek remained one of the most important and influential Czech comic artists, nicknamed "the King of Czech Comics". He passed away in June 2015.

comic art by Kaja Saudek

Article about Czech comics

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