Jim Rugg reinvents a classic – if little known – comic book character, with a fluorescent 1970s vibe.
Octobriana is a Russian superhero, created in 1971 by Petr Sadecký and then passed off as the mid-Sixties work of Rusian dissidents artists. Said to embody the spirit of the Russian Revolution and battle corruption in both east and West, Octobriana is a mythical figure who has popped up throughout history, and her adventures were first featured in the book Octobriana and the Russian Underground, by Sadecký and Czech artists Bohumil Konečný and Zdeněk Burian. The story goes that Sadecký then fled to the West, taking the book with him and cutting the artists out of the deal – how very Western and corrupt of him. But Octobriana was created as what we might call an ‘open source’ superhero – deliberately not copyrighted, but given to the people to do with as they wished. Over the years, the character has appeared in several stories, as lead or support character, though sadly the planned 1974 movie, to star Amanda Lear and be produced by David Bowie remained unmade. Imagine how extraordinary that might have been!
Octobriana is now back, in the hands of Eisner Award-winning artist Jim Rugg, who has translated her adventures to the world’s first fluorescent blacklight comic book – and it looks genuinely spectacular. Set in the 1970s, where everything including comic books was that little bit more day-glo and blacklight art was at its peak, the idea is that underground American cartoonists made their own Octobriana comic book after reading Sadecky’s book, in order to show solidarity with their Russian cartoonist comrades. It sees Octobriana the Devil-Woman battling Robot Stalin – yes, you read that right! – and features the secret orgies of the (sadly fictional) Progressive Political Pornography dissident group in what has been described as “a cross between 70s psychedelia and Soviet constructivism”.
Looking extraordinarily spectacular and sounding suitably outrageous, Mtsyry: Octobriana 1976 is currently fund-raising on Kickstarter. And there’s no need to worry about the project not reaching its goal – with two weeks left to go, it’s already raised over ten times the $5000 goal. But by backing it now, you obviously have the chance to get impressive and exclusive packages: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jimrugg/fluorescent-blacklight-outlaw-comic-book