NYCC 2011 News – Romania Rocks NY Comic Con with “NO SCHOOL: New Romanian Comics,”

Since getting my press passes for New York Comic Con, my little geek blog has been getting some inside information about the event. Check out the press release for the Romanian Comics booth:

The Romanian Cultural Institute in New York is proud to announce their first ever participation as an exhibitor at this year’s New York Comic Con, October 13-16 at the Javits Center in New York.  NO SCHOOL:  New Romanian Comics will be the premiere presentation at Booth #2018 and represents Romania’s largest comics exhibition in the U.S. to date.

NO SCHOOL is the apotheosis of the long and storied history of Romanian comics and is so named because it symbolizes the avant-garde nature of this explosive comics renaissance.  NO SCHOOL doesn’t follow any past or current strand of comics styles.  It is new, fresh and edgy. For a taste, click here.

Although the comics giants like Marvel and DC steal a lot of thunder, there a great deal of effervescence in comics in Romania. That’s right – Romania the country that spawned not just Dracula but some of the greatest comic geniuses of all time including Will Eisner and Stan Lee. So take a quick jaunt through the behemoths’ 3000-square foot booths, but spend some quality time at the 200-square foot Romanian Cultural Institute’s booth for a fascinating glimpse of what’s happening beyond the U.S. comics world.   

Three top comics artists who hail from Romania, Sandu Florea, Matei Branea, Alexandru Ciubotariu, along with Milos Jovanovic, the publisher of the cutting edge magazine, Hardcomics, selected the best of the best of Romanian funnies since 1891 to 2011. The artists and publisher will be on hand to present NO SCHOOL as well as to sign their own books.

The comics renaissance in Romania is particularly remarkable because of the struggles of the last fifty years.  The communist regime forbade comics because it considered them a typical capitalist product. The regime “terminated” cartoonists for drawing “incorrect” characters.  Yet, at the same time, the government used comics to indoctrinate children with propaganda.  Still, even under censorship, the genre found its niches and developed. The fall of the regime triggered an immediate revival and comics began to thrive and diversify. 

Today, artists and publishers such as Florea, Branea, Ciubortariu and Jovanovic are pushing the envelope with comics that are provocative, political, sexy, funny, satirical, dirty, and everything in between. Come explore Romania’s fascinating dark and (sometimes) funny past, its current vibrancy, and its brilliant future at booth #2018

Events: Guest artists in focus

Booth #2018

FRI, October 14, 1-3 pm: Alexandru Ciubotariu (Pisica P?trat?)

SAT, October 15, 1-3 pm: Sandu Florea (Spider-Man, Batman, etc., and his own Garda)

SUN, October 16, 1-3 pm: Matei Branea (OMULAN comics & animation)

About the Artists:

Romanian comics and street artist Alexandru Ciubotariu is the author of the first street-art album in Romania (Pisica p?trat?, Vellant, Bucharest, 2009) – featuring his character of national fame, discretely present (and recognizable) in cities all over the country – as well as of six comic books. Ciubotariu’s work has been published in newspapers and magazines in various countries, and he has participated in numerous international exhibitions and shows. He was awarded over 30 national and international prizes, most of them for comics. He co-edited The History of the Romanian Comics 1891-2010 (Vellant 2010) and is involved in organizing the International Comics Festival in Romania. Ciubotariu’s name is linked also to the first urban-toys and the first website dedicated to comics in Romania.

Sandu Florea is a veteran Romanian and American comic book artist living in New York. In 1980 he received the Eurocon award for his original comics work in În lumea lui Harap Alb. For the past 20 years Florea has developed diverse collaborations with comics magazines and publishers such as Marvel, DC Comics and Dark Horse, created storyboards and other graphics for the motion picture producers Full Moon, as well as book illustrations for The Princeton Review. Specializing as an inker, he is most known for his work on Conan the Barbarian, The Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers, Batman, Elektra, Mighty Thor, Captain America, Dr Strange, and X-Men.

Born and based in Bucharest, Matei Branea is a comics and animation artist, the creator of OMULAN, a comics character which became a local hit with the publication of its dedicated Hardcomics issue in 2002, and has enjoyed a robust life in the animated world as well. Branea is a producer of comics, animation and illustration from main stream to underground, from TV shows & advertising to web shorts. He currently teaches animation at the Bucharest Film School (UNATC). Branea is in production phase for a short animated film about Balkan robots and a new OMULAN book.

About Hardcomics:

Hardcomics is a self-financed magazine based in Bucharest. Launched in 2002, it aims to create a market for comics in Romania and to set a standard in content and form. Acknowledging financial failure, but achieving artistic success, just keeps on offering underground Romanian artists a platform for expression and denial. Editor Miloš Jovanovi? will also attend NYCC

Milos Jovanovic made his first money as an eight-year-old kid selling and swapping comics on the Saturday flea market in his hometown – it was 1980s’ Yugoslavia. Thirty years later he is doing pretty much the same thing, but now living in Bucharest. Since 2002, his majesty runs a small but strong publishing house – Hardcomics, boasting over 30 titles in different forms (books, zines, newspapers) and more than 100 authors, mainly from Romania. He is very good at drawing phallic symbols, particularly in color. He also runs a design studio and speaks more than 6 languages. He was into the Alex Raymond/ The Spirit/ DC/ Marvel thing as a kid, but then went into a Dark Horse/ Crumb/ Shelton phase and ended up at Top Shelfs and Fantagraphics (“USA lovers, I salute you”).

About the The Romanian Cultural Institute:

The Romanian Cultural Institute in New York (RCINY) aims to promote Romanian culture throughout the U.S. and internationally, and to build sustainable, creative partnerships among American and Romanian cultural organizations. The Institute acts as a catalyst and proponent of initiatives across artistic fields, striving to foster understanding, cultural diplomacy, and scholarly discourse by enriching public perspectives of contemporary Romanian culture. For the past five years, RCINY has been an active enabler and supporter of the presentation and promotion of contemporary arts, urban culture and emerging Romanian artists in the U.S.

Alexandru Ciubotariu, Sandu Florea, Matei Branea and Milos Javonovic are available for interviews either at the show or prior to it.  To arrange an interview with them, to speak with a RCINY staffer, to secure a press pass, or for further information, please contact Liz Hartman at or 212-580-0868.

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