Many homes in Zagreb conceal valuable collections of old comic-books, as well as newer issues, but few are willing to give their treasures up and show them in public. Fortunately, the passionate comic-book collector Ratko Dragaš of Zagreb has done exactly that by opening a large comic-book store on Radnička Street. He has named it Lastan, after the famous “agony uncle” whose answers to the dilemmas of adolescent life appeared regularly in the once popular Croatian youth magazine Modra Lasta. His character is also featured on the façade of the store, which spreads across 90 square metres and contains around 100,000 comic-books from different periods and from around the world.
Visitors will definitely not be disappointed as the shelves feature classics such as Alan Ford, Dylan Dog and Martin Mystery, but also numerous rarities. Some of the issues date back to the 1930s, such as Oko (Eye) and Veseli vandrokaš (Merry Vagabond), as well as an extremely rare copy of the Zabavnik, number 105. Enthusiasts are allowed to flip through the comic-books and read them, as well as buy some of them if they wish. Prices range between 5 and 300 kuna (1 to 40 Euros). As expected, the valuable collectors’ items can be even more expensive. Apart from the well known comic-books, visitors will have the opportunity to flip through some completely new comics, which premiered at the store’s opening. These are works by two greats of Croatian comic-book art, Ivica Bednjanec and his Osmoškolci (Eighth graders), and Walter Neugebauer, who created several comics such as Čudotvorni mačak i drugi stripovi (Miraculous Cat and Other Comics), Kraljeva miljenica (The King’s Favourite), Jelenko Kamenko, Roy Thorne, Neznanac iz svemira (Stranger from Space)…
In terms of memorabilia of Zagreb and its largest comic-book store, customers can purchase interesting souvenirs such as mugs, t-shirts, posters and other comic-book hero paraphernalia.
In the near future the store will hopefully become the central location for all events tied to the comic-book culture, such as new edition premieres, literary evenings, etc.