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February 21, 2011

Ivica Bednjanec, 1934-2011

imageIvica Bednjanec, a prolific Croatian cartoonist active for almost 50 years whose most valued work was done for young audience, died on February 15. By one count provided in regional media upon his passing, Bednjanec made over 2000 individual pages of comics and contributed to nearly 1000 comics stories.

He was born in 1934. By the time he finished his higher education in 1962 he had been publishing for 10 years, even winning a prize in 1957.

According to cartoonist Darko Macan, Bednjanec had a successful and prolific career making comics for young people. "He was best known for his two series that ran for more than 30 years -- and are still being reprinted today -- in the Modra lasta magazine for tweens and early teens: Genije (Genius), about a kid with penchant for strange inventions with hilarious consequences, and Osmoskolci, a teenage drama staring two girls, a level-headed Jasna and trouble-prone Nina," Macan wrote CR. "Bednjanec's other beloved and enduring characters were Njezni (Gentle), a bumbling crook used to satirize the current events and aimed at the adult audience, and Durica (Pouty), a gag-strip about a temperamental kindergarten kid."

Macan mentioned that early in his career Bednjanec also drew series of historical adventures set in the Croatian history, WWII and the Mexican revolution. The Croatian history comics were comprised of 30 books completed in the mid-1960s.

He won two awards in 1984 at festivals: the "Pulcinella" in Naples, and the "Andrija" in Ljubljana. In 1988 he received the grand prize at Vinkovci. At Vinkovici nine years later Bednajec took home a lifetime achievement award; he received a similar award in 2006. Bednjanec was also awarded the Order Of Croatian Danica, one of a series of valuable national awards given to a variety of distinguished citizens. A recent career retrospective exhibition in Zagreb threw the spotlight on Bednajec's idiosyncratic approach to art, said to be shorn of influences usually prevalent in the work of working cartoonists and clear of any similarities that might shoehorn him into a specific generation of artists. According to interview excerpted in regional-media obituaries, he considered himself an artist working from a folk tradition.

Bednjanec was also an illustrator, designer and poet. He was a longtime professor at a graphic arts school in Zagreb.

A funeral was held last Friday, and a public commemoration was scheduled for earlier today. Ivica Bednjanec was 77 years old.

initial draft provided by Darko Macan; any mistakes mine. thanks, Darko
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink

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