Comics are a very exotic phenomenon in Latvia. Even though Latvia has a strong tradition of caricature since the 1930s and has also produced high-quality animated films for half a century, nobody here ever seemed to bother to pay serious attention to creating comics. Apart from only 2 releases each of “Tintin” and “Asterix” albums it is impossible to find even translations of international comics in Latvia, and the Latvians themselves have only produced a maximum of 10 comic books over the last 80 years.
In 2007 a magazine named kuš! stepped into this blank space and is trying to promote comics culture for a grown-up audience. So far, kuš! has published over 20 anthologies of alternative comics by Latvian and international artists. Besides publishing, kuš! also frequently holds comics workshops and exhibitions and has been invited to several international festivals to present new Latvian comic art. There are still a few big steps to be made in order to place Latvia properly on the map of comics, but the signs seem to point to a better future and Latvia can already be proud of a bunch of young and very original creators.
David Schilter, kuš!