Koraljka, Neven Bobo - Suparnici (Plavi Vjesnik, 1965)
Koraljka, Neven Bobo - Suparnici (Plavi Vjesnik, 1965)

Žarko Beker was a Croatian comic artist, illustrator and graphic designer. Born in Zagreb in 1936, he grew up reading comics by Norbert and Walter Neugebauer, Andrija Maurović and Ferdinand Bis. He developed his interest in drawing through his brother Zvonko, who made drawings of airplanes, engines and cars. At the age of fifteen, he presented his early Disney-inspired work to the editors of the magazine Pionir, who were situated at the Ban Jelačić Square in Zagreb. His first comic story was published in this magazine on 11 January 1952. He subsequently made illustrations for Aeromodelar, a magazine about model airplanes. He went to study architecture, but broke it off and then went to work for Zagreb Film in 1956. He worked on seven films during a period of three years, while also making illustrations for the newspaper Večernji vjesnik.

Koraljka, Neven i Bobo by Zarko Beker
Koraljka, Neven i Bobo (1964)

He began his collaboration with the children's magazine Plavi Vjesnik in 1958. He initially made illustrations, but between 1960 and 1966 returned to drawing comics. He worked in cooperation with writers Zvonimir Furtinger ('Pavel Biri', 'Tajna mini aviona', 'Bint-el-Hadra', 'Zaviša'), Danko Oblak (an adaptation of the Milan Nožinić novel 'Demonja'), Marcel Čukli ('Mak Makić, vitez i četvrt') and Rudi Aljinović ('Koraljka, Neven, Bobo'), but also wrote his own stories ('Špiljko', 'Magirus'). Beker quickly established himself as one of the leading artists of Croatian comics, and worked in both a realistic and a caricatural drawing style on stories in genres varying from historical over adventure to science fiction.

Mak Makic by Zarko Beker
Mak Makić, vitez i četvrt (1964)

He retired from comics in 1966 and became art director for a marketing agency in Zagreb. He held this position for thirty years, and worked on several award-winning campaigns. He returned to comics once more in 2002, when he released the satirical works 'Bože, čuvaj Hrvatsku' and ''Prce i Stameni' through the publishing house Fokus. The scenarios of these two comics were by Ante Gugo. Žarko Beker passed away in Zagreb after a long illness on 29 April 2012, at the age of 76.

Zavisa by Zarko Beker
Zavisa (Plavi Vjesnik, 1961)

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