Alfred Jarry, Ciril Horjak

King Ubu (Ubu Roi)

The comic King Ubu or the Poles is part of the international project Classics in The Graphic Novel: A pilot model of new high school culture education through graphic novels, coordinated by the Slovenian Theatre Institute with partners from Poland (Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute, Warsaw) and Slovakia (Theatre Institute, Bratislava) in the period from 2019-2023. The project is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union and Ministry of Culture Slovenia. Drama-graphic novel is available in Slovene, Polish and Slovak language.

The greedy Ubu decides to start a coup d’état, as he wants to become an autocrat himself. To do this, he is prepared to go over dead bodies, in the most disgusting ways. The comic strip King Ubu or the Poles, which is the result of a collaboration between the Slovenian Theatre Institute and two other related institutions from abroad, is therefore a comic strip based on a play by Alfred Jarry. The play about the swallowed Ubu laid the foundations for contemporary theatre and surrealist trends as soon as it was published, despite the fact that the author wrote it at the tender age of fifteen. Ciril Horjak has turned his debut novel into an entertaining comic strip that faithfully follows the original. Most of his own expression is, of course, added through drawing. The title character himself shows his greed through his appearance, which was based on an anthropomorphised frog tadpole. Horjak has written something about this in the accompanying text, which also includes a text by the translator Primož Vitez and a description of the international collaboration that also produced the plays Antigone and Romeo and Juliet.

Making the graphic novel Ubu Roi

Comics are machines for creating meaning through visual verbs, persons and objects. It is the ideal tool for the production of the spaces in which the crazy story of the Polish usurper takes place. The whiteness of the comic pages, defined by a schematic drawing, in which the figures can skip and bounce, and where they can be cut in two without any effort or special effects, is the ideal coordinate system for Jarry’s story. These are the reasons why the new Ubu look. I could also talk about the fact that the metaphor of this king is relevant also to economics, technology, etc. But let’s stop listing the reasons for bringing the image of Ubu up to date. Anyone who has ever drawn him knows: the more Ubu changes, the more he stays the same. And always one step ahead of us.

(Ciril Horjak)

About the author of the graphic novel

Ciril Horjak. Photo: Jan Petek

Ciril Horjak (1975), Slovenian visual artist, in world of comics also known as Dr. Horowitz, by the end of the 1980s already received award at a competition for young comic artists in Novi Sad (Serbia) two times in a row. By the end of the 1990s he started publishing comics in Slovenian most known comic magazine Stripburger. In November 2003 he published his first comic book album called Ride. In 2011 he received an award from Andragogical Centre of Slovenia (ACS) for his work on educational field. He is well-known illustrator and caricaturist for Slovenian newspaper Večer, where he started illustrating in 2007 and in period of more than 10 years, he already created well after 1000 illustrations. For his notable work in journalism, he received an award from Slovene Association of Journalists (DNS). He is a guest lector at many Slovenian schools and faculties where he lectures about comics. He is working with young people with autism and leading variety of workshops, he is desired storyteller on many festivals and events. His illustrations were also noted abroad. His work was published in newspapers such as Guardian and Chicago Tribune.

 

 

Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia

Alfred Jarry, Ciril Horjak: King Ubu

COLOPHON (SI, SK, PL)

31 x 23.5 cm, 134 pages

ISBN 978-961-6860-33-8

COBISS.SI-ID 120037123

Published by the Slovenian Theatre Institute, Mestni trg 17, 1000 Ljubljana (represented by Mojca Kreft)

Year of publication: 2022

The book is published in cooperation with the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute, Warsaw and the Theatre Institute (Divadelný Ústav, Bratislava) within the international project Classics in The Graphic Novel: A pilot model of new high school culture education through graphic novels. The project is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union and Ministry of Culture Slovenia.

You can order the publication here (IN SLOVENIAN LANGUAGE, retail price: 15 EUR), here (IN SLOVAK LANGUAGE, retail price: 10 EUR), here (IN POLISH LANGUAGE, retail price: 60 zł)

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