Octobriana: Filling in the Blanks – Redux #1 preview
Octobriana, the Russian devil-woman who embodies the true spirit of the Communist Revolution and who fights against Soviet authoritarianism, made her debut 50 years ago. Octobriana was first introduced to the world in Octobriana and the Russian Underground by Petr Sadecký, published in the UK by Tom Stacey Ltd, 1971. Octobriana is a character with highly unusual origins.
In the mid 20th Century various dissident groups rose up within the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Among these were “reform Communists” who thought it possible to steer the Soviet Union into a better direction. One of these reform groups, supposedly, was the Progressive Political Pornographic Party, which formed in the 1960s. Apparently inspired by American underground comix, the PPPP created the character of Octobriana, a sexy super-human warrior woman who represented the pure, untarnished principles of the Communism.
Evidence would later crop up that the PPPP may not have actually existed, and that Sadecky actually stole artwork created by Czech cartoonists Bohumil Konečný and Zdeněk Burian. Nevertheless, despite the dubious nature of Sadecky’s claims, and the probable theft he engaged in, Octobriana gradually took root in the underground comix community throughout the 1970s.
By virtue of the fact that Octobriana was supposedly created by a group of dissident Communists, and by Sadecky disappearing from public view following the publication of his book (reportedly passing away in 1991), the character instantly became part of the public domain. That meant that anyone who wanted to use her in their own comic books could do just that.
To celebrate fifty years of Octobriana, writer Stu Taylor, who wrote the character in the 1990s, is assembling Octobriana With Love, which he describes as “an all-new anthology that celebrates her 50th anniversary and features exciting takes on the character by some of the biggest names in comics today.” Among the creators who will be contributing to the anthology are Simon Fraser, Marc Laming, Stephanie Phillips and Marguerite Sauvage, with more to be announced.
Taylor will be launching a Kickstarter campaign in the Spring to fund Octobriana With Love. As a lead-in, Taylor is presenting Octobriana: Filling in the Blanks – Redux, a five-part “remaster” of the miniseries he wrote, with artwork by Dave Roberts, now with coloring by Sofie Dodgson and with new material.
I enjoyed the original black & white miniseries published by Artful Salamander in 1997. The first issue of the “remaster” looks great, and I’m looking forward to the next four issues, and to the publication of Octobriana With Love.