The opening page of "Rusalka Rises" from The Sorrowful Putto of Prague project. Art by Lenka Šimečková

Creating Comics: British web comic “The Putto” gets print publication – in Czech!

The opening page of "Rusalka Rises" from The Sorrowful Putto of Prague project
The opening page of “Rusalka Rises” from The Sorrowful Putto of Prague project

Given the unfortunate lack of outlets when it comes to original comics on the news stand here in the UK, it’s hardly surprising to hear that many comic creators are enjoying publishing success outside this country.

Creators such as Pat Mills are well-known for their work in Europe, but so are top independent talents such as writer Ian Sharman, who is strangely better known among French and Spanish comic fans, despite his impressive track record on some great books such as Alpha Gods and Hero: 9 to 5 working for companies in  the UK.

The latest British creator to cross the Channel in pursuit of a comics career is James Stafford, creator and writer of The Sorrowful Putto of Prague web comic, featuring art by AJ BernardoRaluca MoldovanJosel Nicholas and Lenka Šimečková.

The comic (and its associated web site, which has plenty of associated goodies to savour, including music) detail the rather peculiar adventures of Xavier of the House of the Sorrowful Snows, a five centuries(ish) old putto (or cherub) who dwells in the city on the Vltava whose glory reaches to the stars (or Prague as it is more commonly known).

A page from "The Gratitude of My City"
A page from “The Gratitude of My City”

This November, The Sorrowful Putto of Prague will be collected in print for the first time, but unusually for a British writer, it isn’t to be published in English, but in Czech!

“The comic will be published in the Czech Republic by Argo – the country’s leading literary publishers,” James tells us, “and is also due to be published by an indie publishing house in Poland in 2017.

“The comic is a truly international collaboration,” he expands. “I’m the writer and creator and the artists, AJ Bernardo is from the Philippines, as is Josel, Lenka Is from the Czech Republic and Raluca Is from Romania.

“I recently met Lenka (after I had already started working with her), but otherwise I have not met the other artists. Thanks to the internet, email and social media, we’ve put this collection together and managed to get published.”

A page from "A page from "The Famous Golem Speaks (Briefly)"
A page from “The Famous Golem Speaks (Briefly)”

The comic has already gained national exposure in the Czech Republic on television, radio and in a leading national newspaper. Last year James was also invited to Prague to present on the main stage of the Czech Komiksfest literary event.

As an added bonus, thanks in part to its web and electronic origins rather than traditional print, there’s even an online soundtrack for the comic on the web site, including a piece from Roger O’Donnell of The Cure.

The Putto is a lovely looking strip, many of the strips created in using a design motif that gives the impression of pages pulled from pages of an old, faded and well read larger tome. Throughout, the mix of stories exude both charm, great characters and have a beguiling and haunting charm and it’s well worth your time to have a read.

The Czech collection will include a specially commissioned tale, “Russlka Rises” previewed on the web site, beautifully realised by Lenka. Let’s hope a British publisher such as Myriad, NoBrow or SelfMadeHero spots the work and publishes it here in the UK, too.

Check out The Sorrowful Putto of Prague here in English online

• Follow James Stafford on Twitter @jpstafford

Published by

Avatar

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

Let us know what you think about this story

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.