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It's "Bosman' to the rescue

Published Oct. 7, 2005

It took 30 months of war before he sprang into action, but comic book superhero Bosman has at last joined the side of besieged Sarajevans.

And the Superman look-alike is ready to take on the Serbs single-handedly.

With bulging biceps, a blond girlfriend and a high-powered motorcycle, Bosman seemed to have things going his way as his story opens on the eve of war in 1992.

But on a jog through the mountain woods, he stumbles onto a camouflaged tank and overhears Bosnian Serb nationalists plotting the bombardment of Sarajevo.

Destiny has called, and Bosman decides to become a solitary crusader defending his city and newly independent country.

Jusuf Hasanbegovic, a former lawyer, conceived the idea for Bosman last year while in a hospital after losing a leg in the war.

His brother, Sabit, former proprietor of a billiard parlor, assembled a small team of writers and artists, scraped together about $4,000 for printing costs and produced the first issue of Bosman in September.

Initial plans called for 2,000 copies, but 5,000 were printed so the comic could be distributed for free to soldiers and war orphans, said Sabit Hasanbegovic. At newsstands, the issue costs two German marks, or about $1.20.

The Bosman team would like to produce new issues of the comic every two weeks, although technical and financial problems loom.

"If we heeded the letters from the children, we should make it a weekly," said Alma Dzuber, an assistant editor. "For the first time in a long time, they have a hero."

One letter was addressed to Bosman himself, from a 12-year-old boy whose Muslim family was expelled early in the war from the Serb-held town of Vogosca.

"Dear Bosman," wrote Denis Kasumovic, "I wish you could come to Vogosca and kill all the enemies."

The comic, with a color cover and black-and-white drawings inside, starts out with Bosman gradually sensing that war is imminent.

"He wasn't aware that destiny had chosen him to be warrior for justice and against evil," reads the narration.

"He doesn't have any superpowers. He can't fly or anything," said Hasanbegovic.

"He represents the Bosnians, who had help only from God and themselves, no one else."