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Licitus (a graphic novel)

Viktoriya Staykova, Sofia

Viktoriya Staykova was born November 1991 in Sofia, Bulgaria. She graduated with a BA in Books and Printed Graphics from the National Academy of Arts, Sofia, in 2014, receiving an award for best graduation project by Societe Generale. In 2017 she graduated with an MA in Illustration: Authorial practice from Falmouth University, UK. She was honored with the Best Graphic Literature award for her science fiction graphic novel Licitus, from Atlantic Press.

Viktoriya is co-founder of TI-RE, a platform for independent artist books based in Sofia and is also part of the creative collective CHARK. Viktoriya’s main interests lie in the field of book making and design, where most of her current work is focused. Contextualization of illustration and creating a theoretical discourse for this field is a major part of her research and artistic practice. Currently she explores these subjects in the light of the contemporary art in her work as an artist and curator.

Email: viktoriyastaykova@gmail.com


Viktoriya Staykova
Photo: Archive of the artist


(a graphic novel)

The project was conceived as a rigorous research into the science fiction literature and its illustration tradition. It explores the continuum of visual tendencies and methods breaching from literature and illustration to film. This research lead into the reconsideration of the codex book in terms of its qualities as a familiar object, translating the already established science-fiction illustrative norms as means of altering its essence. The graphic novel reverses the ‘outer’ space of the book – the cover, where the illustration is usually featured – to the deeper sites of its ‘inner’ body – the inside pages of the book. This opens space for creating a sequential narrative that uses illustrative characteristics specific to the genre - timeless, vast, stripped down of detail, close to abstraction – establishing a play between reality and fiction.

The story of the graphic novel follows the fall of the main character Arrow through a mysterious formation in space called Sfera. She is thrown into an unfamiliar solar system consisting of a geometrical moon circling a planet. Entering the moon she comes to realize it is actually a spacecraft named Licitus while a distant voice narrates its history. Walking towards the voice, she meets the other main character Locus kept in prison by the morphing animal-like nature of Licitus.