Tag Archives: Russian comics

Allies and Disability Representation in Contemporary Russian Comics

José Alaniz

University of Washington, Seattle

Note: all translations are the author’s own.


Corrections Class (Klass korrektsii, d. Ivan Tverdovsky, 2015) is a hard-hitting film about disability in Russia. In one scene, a mother, Svetlana Viktorovna (Natalya Pavlenkova), struggles to push her paraplegic teen daughter Lena (Maria Poyezhayeva) in her wheelchair up a two-track cement ramp outside her high school. But the ramp, which we had seen in the process of construction earlier in the movie, has a fatal flaw: a gap of several inches between it and the sidewalk – too wide for a wheelchair to overcome. Worse than useless, the ramp is a spit in the face, a bureaucratic nod to inclusivity with no actual follow-through. It drives Svetlana Viktorovna, who has more than enough troubles in her life, to hiss with rage: “Thank you very much, my dears. Great job.”[1] Equal parts maudlin melodrama, documentary exposé and black farce, the scene is not exactly fiction (though the film is). It had a real-life basis.

In the fall of 2012, a popular series of memes emerged on the Runet (Russian internet): pictures of the many inaccessible spaces for wheelchair-users in Russian cities, turned into absurdist set decoration by ramps built impossibly steep; ramps with trees and other objects blocking the way; broken ramps with wide cracks; and ramps leading to/from nowhere (e.g., into walls). “The inaccessible-ramps meme gained popularity not as [a] representation of the problem of disability inclusion in Russia,” wrote anthropologist Cassandra Hartblay, “but as a joke about the country’s infrastructure, ironic evidence of dysfunction in Russian daily life” (“Good”: 3).[2] Hartblay goes on to call the ramps “an overdetermined symbol, or a red herring for access” in postsocialism (“Good”: 4).

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Introducing Russian Comic Artists by Maria Evdokimova

This is the final instalment of a three-part series on Russian comics by Maria Evdokimova. See here for part 1, “The History of Russian Comics: An Interview with Misha Zaslavskiy” and here for part 2 “What comics are published and read in Russia?”

From “pictured stories” to comics

Plenty of contemporary Russian comic authors – particularly those who are in their mid-30s and whose childhood was spent in the USSR – consider Soviet illustrators and authors of “pictured stories” (the Soviet term for comics) their teachers. Soviet artists like Egeniy Migunov, Gennadiy Kalinovskiy, Genrich Valk, and Gennadiy Novozhilov created caricatures, illustrations, and animated cartoons that have become classics. The new generation of artists has grown up under the influence of their works.

At the same time, the influence of foreign artists was considerable. The French comic magazine Pif was very popular in the USSR. This magazine used to be sold in foreign literature aisles of book stores, and certain stories were issued in the magazine Nauka I zhizn (Science and Life). Another source of inspiration was Hergé’s Tintin. As a child, artist Roman Surzhenko used to be fond of the popular stories about Petya the Red-Head by Ivan Semyonov, and he assumes that those stories were influenced by the Tintin comics.

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Posted by on 2015/12/30 in Guest Writers


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What Comics are Published and Read in Russia? by Maria Evdokimova

This is part 2 of a three-part series on Russian comics by Maria Evdokimova. See here for part 1, “The History of Russian Comics: An Interview with Misha Zaslavskiy”. Part 3, “Introducing Russian Comic Artists”, will follow soon.

Five participants in the contemporary Russian comics scene,

Ivan Chernyavskiy, the co-owner of the comic book store “Chuk I Geek”,

Vitaliy Terletskiy, the creative director of Komilfo Publishing House;

Vladimir Morozov, the art-director of Zangavar Publishing House;

Anatoly Dunaev, the director of Alt Graph Publishing House;

Ilya Obukhov, the co-owner of the creative association “Live Bubbles”,

have told us about how matters stand today.

“Russian reader is stuck in 2008”

There are several dozen comics publishing houses in Russia. Comic shops’ bestsellers are the comics by American publishing companies Marvel, DC, Image, and others. The top 10 of bestselling comic books of 2014 in one of Russia’s largest comic books store, “Chuk I Geek”, mostly includes works from three American publishers: DC, Image, and Dark Horse. Ivan Chernyavskiy, the co-owner of Chuk I Geek, comments on these ratings: “The Russian audience is a model of the world’s audience and superheroes are very popular all over the world. However, the truth is that here in Russia the circulation of comic books is 100-200 times lower, and “the freshest” issues come out two or three years behind schedule – but on the whole the situation corresponds to the one in the world. My partner, Vasily Shevchenko, has suggested a theory that the Russian reader is stuck in 2008. It’s seldom that our readers ask us to order anything that appeared later. I have an explanation for this; at roughly the same time the popular website worked out the rating of “the 100 Most Recommended Comics”.[1] There’s a joke that Russian publishers still use this list when buying the rights to foreign comics. Of course, many publishers release both alternative and underground comics, but to afford this, they also publish some blockbuster comics, which serve as “a commercial locomotive”.

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Posted by on 2015/12/17 in Guest Writers


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The History of Russian Comics: An Interview with Misha Zaslavskiy by Maria Evdokimova

This is part 1 of a three-part series on Russian comics by Maria Evdokimova. Part 2, “What comics are published and read in Russia?” and part 3, “Introducing Russian comic artists”, will follow soon.

This is an interview about comics in Russia with Misha Zaslavskiy: a script writer, editor, and the head of a comics studio. Misha is also interested in the history and theory of comics. Some of his main projects are the children’s magazine Nu Pogodi! (“Just You Wait!” – here and elsewhere – translator’s note), that ran from 2003-2010, and a comic series inspired by the animation film Masha I Medved (Masha and the Bear), which is created in collaboration with the comic author Askold Akishin.

Misha can be contacted at

His studio works can be found here.

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