By: Peggy Sue Wood | @pswediting
The world of comic book creators is a diverse and vibrant community, with artists and writers from all over the world contributing to this art form. Unfortunately, some creators face significant challenges due to censorship in their home countries. One such group is Russian comic creators, who are increasingly finding themselves blacklisted by the international community due to the actions of their government.
Despite these challenges, there are still Russian creators who are producing exceptional work, such as Leena Kilevaya, the creator of My Student Spirit. The series is currently being produced by Phoenix Animation, an Eastern European animation studio creating cartoons, comic books, and short animated features for teenage and adult audiences. While the works produced by the studio are Russian, they are trying to expand into an international market, but with everything going on in the world, particularly with Russia, that is difficult.
As a reader and fan of the series, I will admit that I hesitated to recommend Russian animation because I do not support Russia’s government or their actions. However, I believe that many people and creators under their regime disagree, and they deserve to have their work recognized. I decided to purchase a copy of their English-translated volumes to support this creator and her work, which I think deserves recognition.
Just as I support enjoying art and separating it from its creator, I think we can separate creator from their government, or–at least–appreciate the art for what it is. As such, I highly recommend checking out My Student Spirit and supporting Leena Kilevaya and other Russian comic creators who are producing exceptional work despite facing challenges from their government’s censorship and ongoings.
If you want to check out My Student Spirit, the animation is free to watch on YouTube, which I have linked here. I discovered the series by exploring YouTube for independent animation projects to enjoy and felt it was one of the strongest pieces on their platform. The writing is well-crafted, the characters are funny and personable, and the college setting adds the slice-of-life feel to the intriguing mystery of the story.
I’ll also share this message from their studios: