Children of Transylvania, 1983

bjc transylvania_edited-2

Poor children in Communist Romania were crazy for Bazooka Joe. Who knew?

“Children of Transylvania, 1983” is one of the richest stories in this book. So many strange and beautiful images had to be excised to fit the format, and so much of the plot. Admittedly, when I first read this story, I was kind of impatient with the protagonist’s unfortunate decision-making skills, but taking the piece apart to do this comic, I fell in love with her journey on a more complex level.

But I had to leave so much out! All the details about her encounters with the various Romanians she meets. The part where all the girls ask her for birth control. The food, the water, the milk. Every reference to Count Dracula. Still, it came out much better than I thought it would.

You know what’s hard to find? A source image for a Communist era statue of Nicolae Ceausescu. Right away, I realized why: unlike the rest of the Communist revolutions that happened in 1989, Romania’s was violent and bloody. People died, they gave Ceausescu a 1-hour trial in a kangaroo court, and then they took him out back and shot him. And then they went and smashed the ever loving essence out of all the Communist statues. Both tourism and cameras were limited in Romania at the time, ergo: people have not made a priority of uploading photos of Ceausescu statues to the internet. Almost every picture is of his statue planted face first on the ground, after the people toppled it over.

That’s a pretty cool skull and crossbones spray painted over a sports bra bursting with ripe plums in panel 5, I must say.

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