He has been making the “Nazi Zombi” comic book for six months now. The story is set in 1945 when Germany is losing the war and as his last attempt, Hitler orders Plan Z.
Fourteen-year-old boy Ivan Matanović from Prijedor is a passionate comic book fan and writer and is finishing his first major work – the “Nazi Zombi” trilogy which he believes will find its way to a publisher.
At the age of two, Ivan started making 3D drawings. His father explained the space and he realised very quickly and easily that he was no longer making two-dimensional drawings. At school he was told he was drawing with a bare hand better than the other children who used tools.
Ivan has been attended drawing and painting lessons of the academic painter and head of the Association of Painters of Prijedor Boris Eremić for seven years now.
He started creating comic strips as a little boy when he stayed with his grandparents and his grandfather bought him paper. His family say he can be concentrated and focused for hours when he draws.
Ivan says he has been making the “Nazi Zombi” for six months now and that he created the story inspired by video games, comic books and films which he combined with his own ideas.
The story is set in 1945 when Germany is losing the war and as his last attempt, Hitler orders “Plan Z” which calls the dead to war, but four parts of a relic have to be found and put together first.
“However, the Germans lose control over the zombies and ensues an invasion of the creatures. Americans send a team made up of an American sniper, a Soviet soldier, a German scientist studying ancient relics and a German officer, who then try to stop the zombies,” says Ivan and adds that he cannot reveal any other details until the comic book is published.
He shows a panel and explains that if drawn in pencil it cannot be printed so he will cover it either in drawing ink or a felt-tip pen, and his teacher Boris will help him with the cover and finding a publisher. He goes to the teacher and shows him the outline for the next comic book “Sturmtrupen” which tells the story of the rise, fall and comic situations of a German unit with an Italian member.
“Oh, you have made the drawing simpler. You are going to be a comic book writer, no doubt about it,” Eremić tells him.
Eremić tells Srna that Ivan is a special child – a wunderkind – and that creative children should be given support.
“It is fascinating that a kid his age can have such continuity and create a 100-page comic book, to have the whole story made up, developed characters, themes and atmosphere and that his work has all elements of a comic book,” says Eremić and adds that publishing the comic book will bring huge joy to Ivan.
Ivan’s mother Slavica says he seeks attention, he wants to converse and to listen, that he knows a lot and that he is interested in many things, that it is hard to keep up with him, and that what he is interested in the most turns into his obsession. Besides comic books, Ivan is occupied with World War II.
“A teacher once told him that it seemed that the only thing he did not know yet were the names of the soldiers from World War II. His little sister wants a room of her own, because she can no longer look at all the helmets, uniforms, Tito’s pictures and rifles,” says Slavica.
His father Goran recounts for Srna that when he was younger, Ivan was crazy about trains. They bought him train toys and train models. He constantly wanted to go to the railway station in Prijedor when trains would leave or arrive, they went to Mokra Gora to get a ride on the Šargan Eight train, they slept in the former railway station buildings which were turned into motels so that, when he woke up, the first thing he saw was a train, and he formed a composition with a train driver, an acquaintance of his parents.
“And then, four years ago we gave him the film ‘Walter Defends Sarajevo’ to watch because of the `Ćiro` train on the Višegrad-Sarajevo railway. Ever since he saw the train explode, his interest in World War II has not stopped. He read a three-volume encyclopaedia by a Dutch publisher over the summer break and has been ‘devouring’ everything related to the war ever since, mainly through books, films and comics,” says his father Goran.
Just like he knows the history of railway traffic thoroughly, so he knows World War II. At the beginning, his interest was limited to these areas, but then it spread further and was finally rounded up with the Pacific.
When he was in either third or fourth grade, history teachers invited him to hold lessons to the seventh or eighth graders.
“He asked me to buy him a metal detector so he can go around Mount Kozara to look for helmets. When we saw the movie ‘Dunkirk` he said that waves in the sea was a mistake because there were not any during the actual landing. He has great knowledge of battles, strategies and commanders,” says Goran.
He remembers that at first, Ivan paid more attention to the discipline and spirit of the German army and that he no longer wants to admit that and says that the Soviet Union is his top interest now.
“Because of his Russophilia, he gained an interest in the history of the communist movement. He recently read the Communist Manifesto. He says he will study in Moscow. He speaks English perfectly, but avoids German because he identifies it with Hitler’s ideology. But, he was recently commended by his German teacher for being the only one in class to know who Ana Frank was,” says Ivan’s father.