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David Basler

© Lars von Törne

David Basler

Laudation by Christian Gasser:

It's fitting that David Basler retreated from Edition Moderne without waiting for its 40th anniversary. Instead of retiring in glory on the big stage in 2021, he almost secretly handed over his life's work to his two successors in its 39th year, thus leaving the spotlight of the milestone anniversary to them as well.

David Basler was never the kind of publisher to bask in the limelight. He understood his role as service provider for his publishing house and his authors, and he liked to stand in their shadows. It was always about the comics and not about him. As publisher of Edition Moderne and co-publisher of the magazine STRAPAZIN, he certainly had plenty of reasons to rest on his laurels.

David Basler grew up bilingual, and therefore had access to French comics from a young age. It bothered him that the artistic emergence of Bande Dessinée in the 1970's didn't extend to the German-speaking audience. And so, the book dealer became publisher in 1981. With Muñoz / Sampayo, Loustal, Jacques Tardi, and later Marjane Satrapi, David B., Joe Sacco and many more, he expanded the German comic horizon. As the influence of these comics began to spread onto the German comic scene, he began to publish more and more German authors too, from Tomas Ott, Anke Feuchtenberger and Kati Rickenbach to young talent like Nando von Arb. Numerous Max und Moritz prizes are indicative of his keen sense.

In 1984, when STRAPAZIN became insolvent after its first issue, David Basler brought it from Munich to Zurich, where it has been published by a collective ever since. Of course, David Basler isn't alone, but no one will contest that STRAPAZIN survived all the turbulences of the last decades, thanks for the most part to him. This is largely due to his integrative personality and his ability to involve and foster new and especially young people, while giving them lots of space to develop. Here too, his modesty allows others to enjoy the spotlight. In this way he continually infected new generations with his passion for comics and supported their projects.

There's no doubt that the German comic culture owes David Basler a great deal. And since he doesn't like to celebrate himself, the jury of the Max und Moritz prize celebrates him with its special award; as publisher, networker, untiring activist for comics and as a good soul.