Bulgarian Comics Revival
The most fruitful period for Bulgarian comics started in the late 1970s and lasted throughout the 1980s. During that time, Bulgarian readers enjoyed two periodical, all-comic publications - Duga ("Rainbow") and Chuden Sviat, and also sporadic inserts in the newspaper Septemvriiche, the tribune of the Bulgarian Communist Youth Organization. One of the main authors in Duga magazine was the most successful Bulgarian comics artist Rumen Petkov, creator of the heroes 'Choko and Boko' and author of the first Bulgarian full-length animated movie 'The Treasure Planet'. Later Rumen Petkov built a successful career in the West and became one of the creators of such famous Cartoon Network features like 'Johnny Bravo' and 'Dexter's Laboratory'. Some of the other artists were Evgeni Yordanov, Hristo Kardjilov and Petar Stanimirov. Contributors to the new Chuden Sviat were Ivan Stoilov, Boris Krumov and Dimitar Chaushov.
During its twelve years of existence, Duga magazine provided a lot of opportunities for many talented Bulgarian artists like: Venelin Varbanov (creator of series 'Hari' and 'Velikite geografski otkritia'), Evgeni Yordanov ('Dobromir', 'Tomek'), Valentin Angelov ('Parvobitni nebivalici') and Nikolaj Kirov ('V sveta na jivotnite'). The art director and godfather of Duga was Georgi Gadelev.
When the democratic changes in Bulgaria began in the early 1990s, Bulgarian comics disappeared from the bookshops and disapperared into the underground. The lack of translated publications during the Iron Curtain years and the fact that the Bulgarian audience was totally unfamiliar with the world's comic classics caused an overwhelming supply of translated comics like those featuring Mickey Mouse and Asterix. What remains unexplained is why the Bulgarian comics disappeared so quickly and whether there are any chances for their revival, otherwise the new generation of artists will inevitably be forced to seek opportunities in Western countries. For the last few years only a handful of artists published their works in Bulgaria - mainly in lifestyle magazines like Egoist, Metropolis and Kamikadze. Among the new names are: Koko Sarkisian, Yordan Brankovski and Titis.
Diaskop is the only magazine in Bulgaria to publish articles on the history and analysis of comics. It also publishes comic stories, among others by Georgi Chepilev.
In November 2003, comics magazine Daga was relaunched, providing a platform for a whole new generation of Bulgarian comic artists.
(Overview courtesy of Vladimir Nedialkov, with additions by Stiliana Thepileva)