« Home | Earliest versions of Mickey & Minnie Mouse will be... » | 411Mania's awkward takes on Dark Knight Returns, a... » | USA Today admits the Marvel movie craze is over, b... » | Polygon sees politicized titles as "best" of the year » | If superhero fare is escapist, the Good Men Projec... » | Tim Sale was reportedly colorblind » | Joe Sacco's anti-Israel GN is going back to press » | Disney reaches settlement with Ditko estate over r... » | Tintin in the Congo appears to have undergone PC c... » | Specialty store manager attacked by pseudo-pros be... » 

Monday, December 18, 2023 

New Czech comic pays tribute to Soviet-era superheroine, but has fishy direction

Radio Prague International interviewed the writers of a comic about Octobriana, a superheroine originally created in the Cold War era, and is now seeing new takes on the creation:
Octobriana is the name of a Soviet-era comic superheroine, who originated from a major literary hoax spread by Czech artist Petr Sadecký. Sadecký, who emigrated from Czechoslovakia in the early 1970s, claimed it was the work of Soviet dissidents. In fact, he commissioned the work from two Czech artists Bohumil Konečný and Zdeněk Burian, who never got full credit for their work. The superheroine, sporting a red star on her forehead, gained unexpected popularity, appearing in various comic adaptations all over the world.
And what's interesting about how she was characterized:
As you said, Sadecký was the mastermind behind the story, but he actually commissioned two well-known Czech artists, Bohumil Konečný and Zdeněk Burian, to do the work. What kind of character did they create? And what did she have in common with her western counterparts, such as the Wonder Woman?

O.K.: “I would say the most important thing was that this character, this so to say Barbarian queen, was very different from the Western canon of beauty. She had many Asian and African traits in her face, so she was a very unlikely female hero compared to the beauty standards of that time.

“On the other hand, we can clearly see the influence of the sexual liberation movement, so this savage beauty also functioned as a sex symbol.”

M.B.: “She was also something like a female vamp, a vampirella. So in her case, the standards of beauty were much darker and animistic than in the West.

“She had these large eyebrows like Leonid Brezhnev. There is some kind of masculinity in her face. So that’s a big difference between her and say, Barbarella or Wonder Woman.”
Well there are some women with thicker eyebrows than others. Apart from that, the character does otherwise look feminine. To be sure, this is a concept that wouldn't play out well with the woke crowd today in the USA, based on Octobriana being a sex symbol. A funny thing about the creation is that it was conceived as a form of hoax, as noted earlier:
So basically, after realising that he wouldn’t be able to succeed with Amazona, he decided to turn her into Octobriana, adding a red star on her forehead and portraying her in a completely different way…And most importantly, he also changed the whole background story, claiming that the character was conceived by Soviet dissidents…

“Exactly. It was, I would say, a very impressive work of imagination. He invented a secret underground movement, purely fictional as we know, called Progressive Political Pornography and based in Kyiv and Moscow and other big Soviet cities.

“What Sadecký was claiming at that time was that they were in fact the anonymous authors of Octobriana, inventing her as a way of fighting the oppressive Soviet regime. He even provided some texts and photographs as a proof.

“So he invented this huge hoax, and it was so successful that he was able to get a publisher. In in 1971, only a few years after he emigrated, the book with Octobriana was released.”

Would you say that the fact the publishers didn’t see through the hoax shows that people in the West were perhaps a bit naïve about what was happening behind the Iron Curtain?

M.B.: “Definitely. I think this was Sadecký’s greatest joke, to come up with this idea that you can fight against communism by drawing comics. It sounds almost propagandistic, that you could defeat Stalinism using comic books!”

And even though the hoax was eventually revealed, it didn't really harm the popularity of the comics…

O.K.: “Exactly. Today, we can clearly see that many people in the West fell for the trap of this kind of romantic perspective of what was happening in the Eastern bloc. It was a sort of exoticism that Sadecký himself applied when creating the character.

“For me, it explains why he was so successful. I think that the story of a secret underground society was exactly what the western society was looking for.”
At that time, yes. But viewed in certain context, it's regrettable there's not many in certain parts of the west today who're looking for the kind of sex sybolism this eastern European comic could represent. Come to think of it, it's also a shame comics like these are unlikely to be employed in defeating Islamism as much as Stalinism. And then, the interviewees go on to say:
Can you mention at least one of the scenes from the original comics that you decided to keep in your book?

M.B.: “There is the opening scene in the frozen sea with the fight between Octobriana and a huge walrus, and it’s a fragment of the original comics. It’s an Easter egg from the fragment of the original comics.

“But what I would like to say is that the three men, Sadecký, Konečný, and Burian created the body, and Sadecký gave her a cool name. What we wanted to give her was a soul and a personality that I was somehow missing in the original concept. It was just the body as an object.

“In our story the Soviet generals and Nazi scientists want to use this body as a weapon, so it's part of the story. And actually, I think that Petr Sadecký was the true villain in real life.

“Our story is about defence against the creators and adoptive fathers and real parents. It is also about the defiance against the bonds of toxic relationships and toxic families.”

So although she may look like a sex symbol, she is also sort of an empowering feminist

O.K.: “Exactly. She looks like one of the sex symbols, but what she actually tries to do throughout the whole story is to fight with this status. She tries to revolt against it and to find her real self. She tries to find her true self and her true vocation in the world.

“We can say it is a story of a revolt against the oppressive world of fathers, against the oppressive world of two political regimes and against some sort of patriarchy still present, at least in our story.”
This is not encouraging, if they're alluding to the kind of PC viewpoint espoused in western countries like the USA and Canada today. Why, it sounds almost like the kind of absurd mindset the overrated Barbie movie built upon. And considering the National Socialists/Communists had a sex-negative viewpoint, it's ludicrous if they're implying otherwise. If anything was wrong with "patriarchy" in the Soviet bloc, it would've been the oppressive view of women's independence, still a very prevalent problem in the Islamic world. Why must the cartoonists producing this new take on an old 1970s European creation pander to what could otherwise be a sex-negative view that's only held women back in their independence?

And the part about toxic relations and families isn't clear either, and the part about real parents sounds fishy too. What a shame that something based on what may have been a hoax in its day sounds like it'll be a sham on its own part.

Labels: , , ,

About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
My profile



  • avigreen2002@yahoo.com
  • Fansites I Created

  • Hawkfan
  • The Greatest Thing on Earth!
  • The Outer Observatory
  • Earth's Mightiest Heroines
  • The Co-Stars Primer
  • Realtime Website Traffic

    Comic book websites (open menu)

    Comic book weblogs (open menu)

    Writers and Artists (open menu)

    Video commentators (open menu)

    Miscellanous links (open menu)

  • W3 Counter stats
  • Bio Link page
  • blog directory Bloggeries Blog Directory View My Stats Blog Directory & Search engine eXTReMe Tracker Locations of visitors to this page  
    Flag Counter

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

    make money online blogger templates

Older Posts Newer Posts

The Four Color Media Monitor is powered by Blogspot and Gecko & Fly.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.
Join the Google Adsense program and learn how to make money online.