Rychlé šípy returns with new adventures

The classic Czech comic strip celebrates 80 years with a new graphic book

The classic Czech comic strip Rychlé šípy celebrates 80 years, and a hardbound book of new adventures has been published.

Large reproductions of some of the new pages from Rychlé šípy a jejich úžasná nová dobrodružství (Fast Arrows and Their Amazing New Adventures) as well some classic pages from the archives can be seen at Prague's Galerie Lucerna, across from the entrance to kino Lucerna in the passage, until June 28. Some one-of-a-kind notebooks, using old comic strip pages as covers, are also available. Some other items relating to the stories are also part of the exhibition. Entry is free.

It is part of a year of events, running from May 2018 to May 2019. to celebrate the anniversary. The panels and new book are in Czech only, but since they are visual, they should be pretty understandable.

The author of the original stories, Jaroslav Foglar, died in 1999, and court cases about the rights to the characters were only recently settled, which allowed for the new stories to be made.

The new book is authorized by Skautská nadace Jaroslava Foglara, a foundation in the author's name that supports Scouting groups.

“We want not only to celebrate this jubilee, but also to bring the Jaroslav Foglar stories to the present generation of young readers,” Tomáš Šídlo, chairman of the board of trustees of the Skautská nadace Jaroslava Foglara, said.

The comics concerned a group of five boys in a club that translates to Fast Arrows, and their adventures outdoors and in a lower-class neighborhood called Stínadla.

In addition to the new book, a large poster of a map of the neighborhood where the stories took place has also been published.

A new logo of the Year of Rychlé šípy was created to link all of the events. The logo resembles a club banner with the word Rychlé plus five arrows for the main characters and the phrase 80 years in Czech.

While Foglar wrote all of the original stories, there were a number of illustrators over the years. Marko Čermák, the last surviving original illustrator, appeared at the exhibition opening.

For the Amazing New Adventures, dozens of contemporary authors and illustrators from the Czech Republic and Slovakia came up with 50 different visions of how to continue the tales. Some of the authors were even born after the original series ended, and only know it in retrospect, while others lived in the 1960s and even 1950s.

These new adventures range from stories set back in the 1940s with the same basic look and lettering as the original series to very modern takes on the themes, with science fiction, horror or comic aspects and freestyle illustrations reflecting new trends in graphic novels.

The first adventures were published Dec. 17, 1938, in the magazine Mladý hlasatel. They carried on up until 1989 with a few breaks due to censorship in the communist era. There was a TV series in 1969 and a movie in 1993, though, despite the sporadic problems the stories faced.

Scouting was banned both under the occupying Nazis in world War II and the communists until 1989. Foglar had been active in Scouting and in other similar movements after Scouting was banned, and this is what led the stories to get into trouble.

The main characters are Mirek Dušín, Jarka Metelka, Jindra Hojer, Červenáček (Red Cap), Rychlonožka (Speedy) and a dog named Bublina (Bubble). Despite sometimes getting into trouble, they were good kids with a code of honor. Their opponents in many of the adventures was a gang with more criminal intent called the Brotherhood of the Cat's Paw.

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