By Marko Stojanović and Snežana Andrić (through Snowy)


This work which dedicated to examining stereotypes in 87 year long history of Serbian historical comics does so by clearly staring its purpose, scope and methodology. By virtue of the number of pages of Serbian historical comics, which is numbered not in thousands rather in tens of thousands of pages, this work by necessity narrows its scope to some representative examples of the Serbian historical comics. It is worth pointing out that almost every examined comic contains more than one, and on many occasions even all of the established stereotypes. The work itself has three main parts.

First part deals with what a stereotype in comics is. It approaches the subject by stating that the word derives its origin from the printing process, in which a type is a kind of easily reproducible sample of a page which allows it to be replicated in as many copies as needed.  From then on it develops into the examination of the instances in which printing stereotypes are mentioned in the books about (historical) comics and their influence on the development of comics in Serbia. It covers such mentions before and after the WW2, and makes a substantiated effort to show that printing stereotypes did shape comics in Serbia. After that statement, the work points out that those who examined in Serbian comics in the past dealt much more with literal meaning of stereotypes in Serbian comics, than with the examination of stereotypes in social-cultural meaning of the word  – which this works sets out to rectify.

The second part of the work examines four prevailing stereotypes: the treatment of a female as a damsel in distress, the treatment of a foreigner as an enemy, the treatment of betrayal and the treatment of the self sacrifice. It also deals with the fifth stereotype, which is the treatment of a domestic protagonist as flawless hero, but this time it does so while examining the four previous mentioned clichés. The work shows how the female character developed very slowly from a passive role to a more active one, but also how it in Serbian historical comics it literally meant that the female did so by assuming a man`s appearance and role. It also shows that the Turks, Germans and other nations which are represented as enemies of the Serbs, share certain stereotypical characterization which makes them largely mutually interchangeable in their role as the principle villains. The work shows that the betrayal appeared as a sort of an excuse set to explain how the flawless Serbian protagonist could ever lose against the villainous foreigner. It also shows how the self-sacrifice is a sort of signpost to achieving preferable behavior by the domestic reader, a way to achieving a desired flawless hero ready to defend his country from the villainous foreigner at the cost of his own life.

The third part deals with the practical appliance of these examinations and their implications in historical comics. It examines a comic about WW1 called “Do pakla i nazad” written by one this work`s authors.  It shows how all five already explained and examined stereotypes have been handled with care, in non stereotypical way, especially in relation to their connection to their basis in the actual historical facts. In this way it bit only provides diagnosis of the problem, but it also points to some possible ways of overcoming damaging stereotypes in future Serbian historically themed comics.

Study on cultural and social clichés and stereotypes