Actus Comics, also credited as Actus or Actus Tragicus, is an Israeli comics collective founded by Rutu Modan and Yirmi Pinkus in 1995. Modan and Pinkus attended Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem together and later they both worked on the Hebrew edition of Mad.Their time with Mad only lasted a year and a half, however their brief stint inspired them to pursue creating alternative comics.Other members of the collective include Mira Friedman, Batia Kolton, and Itzik Rennert. Aside from Batia Kolton, who attended at Vital – Tel Aviv Center for Design Studies, the members of Actus Comics studied at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. Each member maintained their professional careers as illustrators, writers or educators while actively participating in the group. The collective has also collaborated with or had contributions from notable comic writers and artists such as Art Spiegalman of Maus fame, David Polonksy artist of Waltz with Bashir, and the prolific artist Stéphane Blanquet. In the United States, most of their work has been published through Top Shelf Productions.

The collective has published numerous English language comics and are known for pioneering the alternative comic scene of Israel.Members of Actus have stated that they started the collective with goal of artistic freedom in mind. Their desire to create what they wanted has led to many outlandish, fantastic, and often sorrowful tales. The work produced by Actus Comics deals with a wide variety of themes and topics that range from family and identity, to how we measure success and love.  Members of Actus Comics decided to publish their comics in English to reach a wider audience overseas.

In the collective’s formative years they attended the Angoulême International Comics Festival in France in another attempt to build more of their audience.The collective has also attended other international festivals in Holland, Greece, and the United States throughout the years. Though not strictly limited to their region, their works often examine Israeli society or use Israel as a backdrop for their stories.Despite their use of Israel in their works, they have been criticized for not focusing more on Israel both from sources in Israel and abroad. Some of the works published by Actus Comics include How to Love: Graphic Novellas by Actus Comics, Jetlag, and Happy End. In 2000 Jetlag was nominated for Eisner Awards under the categories of both Best Anthology and Best U.S. Edition of Foreign Material.

Christian Mata

Further Reading

  • Lewy, Daphna. “Actus Makes Perfect.” Haaretz. Haaertz Newspaper, 5 June 2002. Web. 22 April 2015.
  • Sobel, Marc. “The Rutu Modan Interview.” The Comics Journal. Fantagraphics Books Inc, 29 May 2013. Web. 22 April 2015.