Stripburger: Creative comic magazine

Making a Scene - that's the title of an exhibition giving insights into 30 years of publishing the comic magazine Stripburger. Two of the editors, Katerina Mirović and Tanja Skale fron Ljubljana, report more about their magazine, the exhibition and indepentent comics.

What makes Stripburger special as a comic magazine?

As we wrote in our latest special issue the Dirty Thirty. 30 Years of Making a Scene Stripburger is set as a marathon. After 30 years it still represents a conscious move away from the capitalist mode of production into a world of creativity, freedom and uncompromisingness.

In early age it transformed from an experimental visual and comic zine into a fully international magazine for original alternative and independent comics. Stripburger has been part of the independent international comics scene since its inception. We are one of the pioneers of alternative comics in the Balkans as well as in the broader region. With its appearance on the scene, Stripburger filled the void left in the area of former Yugoslavia after the demise of some other comics magazines, and connected the Balkan comics scene and its authors. Featuring comics from countries behind the Iron Curtain, Stripburger was the first to present them to the Western world. The Stripburek anthology of Eastern European comics paved the way for us and brought us international recognition, which was later only strengthened by the following anthologies dedicated to selected social issues: Handyburger with comics on the theme of handicap, Madburger with comics on madness, Warburger with war-themed comics, the Honey Talks collection of comics based on painted beehive panels, Workburger, which revolves around the theme of work, and others.


The cosmopolitan character of the magazine was shaped and co-created by meetings and connections with artists and collectives from all over the world, as well as by the many international guest appearances and comics festivals that we attended over the years. In addition to our inquisitive spirit, Stripburger has always tried to cultivate multilingualism and thus be accessible to readers from different parts of the world.

Today, Stripburger is still highly passionate about independent and alternative comics that go beyond artisanal and mainstream and kitschy boredom. We swear by comics as an original work and a form of artistic expression that allows diverse narrative possibilities, approaches and experimentation.

We make sure that comics branch out into graphic art and other artistic forms (as you can see on the exhibition at raum404), into installations, sculptures, storytelling events, animated films, and that they are present in galleries, museums, waiting rooms, bus stops, walls, streets and elsewhere.


We love the different detours comics might take, the hybrid interactions between different media and genre formulas, less common practices of visual design, and artists and projects that apply comics to a broader framework of different artistic practices, that walk on a tightrope and explore new possibilities of expression. We have always been interested in how comic art can transcend established approaches and all forms of borders & boundaries.

We swear by comics as an original work and a form of artistic expression that allows diverse narrative possibilities, approaches and experimentation.

Stripburger exhibition Bremen
© Andrej Štular
Opening Stripburger exhibition Bremen
© Andrej Štular

Stripburger started in 1992 – how did the comic scene in Slovenia change in the past 30 years?

Slowly, but enormously. In the beginning there were only mainstream comics magazines in the Balkan region, most of them published in Serbian language and of course comics were treated as a kid stuff, cheap, bathroom reading for half-literate or illiterate people. At best something funny for passing time, killing boredom.
For a long time, comics were not accepted and recognized as ‘true art’ (compared to other forms of literature or visual arts). People in the art grant committees believed it was as bad as street art and another non-academic art. So, with the first issue of Stripburger it took us 2 years to get enough money to pay the printer. We had great support from alternative art scene and media which made us brave and optimistic enough to continue.

Now, comics artist is a profession, artists can get different kinds of grant support from both Ministry of Culture and Slovenian Book Agency. We even got a Best Book of the Year prize for one biographic comic we published few years ago. There are more comics publishers now, some publishing really interesting contemporary comic books, though still with not so many titles. There’s a Tinta Comics Festival Ljubljana in which we also take active part. Even schools are buying certain comic books, teach comics in their program. Every year over 500 pupils and high school kids make comics that we receive for our youth comics contest. Each year we find young talents among them.

There are some obstacles, like small audience (2 mio. residents of Slovenia), closed groups of readers, and right-wing politicians, that are not only boring, but also very loud, very aggressive and anti-NGO or anti any independent thinking. 

We are looking for meeting interesting creative people, hopefully we will discover hidden jams, comic zines and artists that will blow our mind and will at the same time be interested to take a journey with Stripburger.

Stripburger is made in Ljubljana, which is a UNESCO City of Literature since 2015. In which ways does this title enrich your work?

Ljubljana UNESCO City of Literature team is committed to actively promote literature, reading culture, they also started organizing a new book fair in the city center which is generating new audiences and new readers. And a positive atmosphere, attitude towards literature, books and reading, the title is bringing, is certainly giving us an energy bust to continue if our work is dedicated to the promotion and appreciation of comic art and culture.

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