‟Zeszyty Komiksowe”
Issue 17, May 2014:
Picturebooks / Poemix

Zeszyty Komiksowe #17

Table of contents

Dear Readers,

Comics is still surrounded by opinions that do not reflect reality and repeat stereotypes and banalities, requiring corrections and explanations, not only outside of the comic book community, but within it as well. On one hand we have hurtful, sometimes plain stupid, statements that are based on a lack of knowledge, on the other hand - the realization that the word "comics" encompasses forms of art that can be so different that, when put side by side, they force the reader to question how they can possibly seen as related. The latter may lead to the belief in the unique and autonomous character of comics.

It is intuition that largely is the source of such opinions. It causes us to feel that we stay within a certain tradition - or transgress it, going off the beaten path. It also pushes us to see (or not) the relatedness of different genres and artistic activities. Conscious of it all, and also of the multitude of possible types of relations of image and text, we decided to go beyond the strict frames of comics.

Picture books, illustrated text, iconotext - such terms are often repeated on the pages of this issue. They build an old / new context and remind us that comics belongs to the vast universe of visual arts and is but a small element of it. This realization forces us to discuss the place of comics in the field of visual communication. We hoping that going beyond the narrow and arbitrary definitions, often imposed by clearly prejudiced individuals, will open new perspectives for the field of comics research - and for the art of comics in general.

We are also drawing our readers’ attention to poemics and abstract comics, i.e. art forms that constantly inspire us to asking questions about the boundaries, relationships and differences between genres. The increasing popularity of such works and their growing recognition as comics must also pose questions about the direction of future development of sequential art.

We would like to thank Prof. Jerzy Szyłak whose contribution to the creation of this issue of our magazine and to the quality of the published content was fundamental.

Please enjoy this issue of ‟Zeszyty Komiksowe”,

Michał Błażejczyk and Michał Traczyk

Table of Contents

Design: Dennis Wojda
Cover art: Maciej Sieńczyk

Picture Books / Poemics

Comics: Duo Written by Grzegorz Janusz, art by Tomasz Niewiadomski
Notes About Picture Books Jerzy Szyłak When analyzing definitions and reviews of picture books it becomes clear that to a large degree they overlap with definitions of comics, and also that the authors of those definitions and reviews make an effort not to notice this fact. Comics cannot be completely separated from picture books. What connects them is the fact that they are both iconotexts and that they form stories in which the more important (sometimes - main, occasionally - unique) medium of creating meaning is the image. The basis of their differentiation can be only the fact that comics are a special form of picture books: rules that govern them are more codified than in other picture books. It means that every comics is a picture book, but not all picture books are comics. However, the boundaries between these two notions are fluid and there is a constant exchange of artistic experiences.
[Read full text in Polish - PDF, 1.1 MB]
Picturebooks and Comics Magdalena Sikorska Picturebooks and comic books seem to share both differences and similarities. Rather than delineating clear and rigid boundaries between these two genres, this article views the differences as secondary and rather superficial while similarities as primary and vital. It is the author’s belief that such a perspective bridges the gap between comics and picturebooks studies and furthers research in visual literature.
Comics: Harrow By Lin Tarczynski
What Has Doctor Syntax Found? Rowlandson, Töpffer and The Beginnings of ‟Littérature en Estampes Paweł Sitkiewicz This article concerns two pioneers of comics from the nineteenth century: Thomas Rowlandson and Rodolphe Töpffer. It shows how the illustrated poem entitled Tour of Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque influenced the development of the so-called littérature en estampes, an early form of graphic novel, thereby stimulating further development of comics. This article also points out the great diversity of comics genres in past centuries.
Randolph Caldecott’s The Milkmaid Jerzy Szyłak The author presents in great detail the short illustrated book by Randolph Caldecott entitled The Milkmaid, first published in 1878. He then compares it to Agnes-Margrethe Bjorvand’s picture book version of Astrid Lindgren’s short story Mirabelle in order to point out and analyze the distrust that many writers feel towards adding illustrations to their work, especially strong after the end of the 19th century when purist tendencies started to dominate over creative mixing of art forms.
Comics: Abstrakt Adventure By Tomáš Prokůpek
Grignotin et Mentalo - A Comics? Maciej Gierszewski The Polish publisher of Grignotin et Mentalo by Delphine Bournay does all in its power to hide the fact that this children’s picture book is in fact a comics. The author of this article believes that it should be viewed as a comic book instead.
Where Is The Cake? Jerzy Szyłak Thé Tjong-Khing’s picture book The Birthday Cake Mystery can be seen as an introduction into storytelling for the youngest. Telling several stories with pictures, in parallel, is a technique that lends itself into verbalization only with difficulty - but it can be understood naturally even by very young children, without any prior knowledge of the presented events.
Comics: Pegosphere By Mike Getsiv
Comics: Ribbonto By Mike Getsiv
An Answer to Prof. Szyłak’s Provocation Małgorzata Cackowska Małgorzata Cackowska, PhD, whose academic career has been largely devoted to studying picture books, rejects the main premise of Prof. Szyłak’s article by advancing the opinion that comic books and picture books, though they share numerous similarities, exhibit substantial differences.
[Read full text in Polish - PDF, 320 KB]
Note Number 8, Or The Answer to Dr Cackowska’s Article Jerzy Szyłak This article is Prof. Szyłak’s response to Dr. Cackowska’s article. The author believes, that their debate is centered primarily around nomenclature and as such it could be easily transformed into an enriching conversation ‟about books and how the truth, the beauty and the good manifest in them”. In fact, the two researchers have since decided to join forces and write a book about picture books together.
[Read full text in Polish - PDF, 215 KB]
Comics: Lines By Mike Getsiv
A Short Guide to Picture Books Published in Poland Between 2010 and 2013 Maciej Gierszewski The author provides insightful synopsis and analyses of all picture books published in Poland in the period mentioned in the title.
Comics: Lets By Rosaire Appel
In Which Direction Does Maszin Move? Przemysław Zawrotny The author analyzes the works of the Polish group of comics creators called Maszin and points out that calling them avant-garde - as many critics have done - does not make sense in the post-modern reality we live in. Instead, what should be analyzed are their individual creations, ways in which they employ avant-gardist techniques and ideas, as well as their weaknesses.
Comics Is Just a Convenient Term Maciej Sieńczyk interviewed by Artur Wabik This is an interview with Maciej Sieńczyk, a popular Polish artist whose creations fall somewhere between comics, picture books, illustration, and literature. Some of his absurd, ironic and melancholic stories, drawn in a very particular, modern style, will soon be published in English.
Anthologies of Poemics Piotr Szreniawski This article presents several anthologies of poemics. This publishing form served in this case not only as a stimulation for authors but also as a tool to promote the art of poemics. Some see poemics as a genre within comics, others as a separate art form, and others yet as a type of visual poetry. The anthologies, even though somewhat uneven in quality of the presented works, showcased poemics very successfully but at the same time demonstrated its low popularity.
Comics: Jęzor [The Tongue] Written by Piotr Szreniawski, art by Mateusz Suchecki
Comics: Muchy [Flies] Written by Piotr Szreniawski, art by Mateusz Suchecki
Comics: Mur [The Wall] Written by Piotr Szreniawski, art by Mateusz Suchecki
Abstract Comics from a Few Different Angles Tim Gaze (translated by Ewa Lipińska) The author offers a wide-angled, even if brief, introduction to the history and the most important achievements in various subgenres of sequential art related to abstract comics, e.g. visual poetry and poemics, graphic novels without text, asemic writing rebus puzzles etc.
Comics from Beyond Comics Michał Błażejczyk This article is a review of Tim Gaze’s abstract graphic novel entitled 100 Scenes - a graphic novel like no other.
Comics: By Billy Mavreas


Responsibility for a Billion Lines Marek Starosta Przemysław Truściński was the greatest comics revelation of the 1990’s in Poland. A master of the short form and illustration, but never interested in albums, he has been active in many fields of art ever since. This article is a review of the biggest exposition of Truściński’s works, organized by four modern art galleries in Poland in 2013 and 2014.
From the Depths of Comics History: Inhabited Island Przemysław Mazur In the Soviet Union comics were a rare phenomenon. Inhabited Island was a comics based on the novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, also known as Prisoners of Power. In Poland it was published in the ‟Młodość” (‟Youth”) magazine. The story follows the adventures of a young cosmonaut who is forced to land on an unexplored planet and to adapt to an authoritarian political regime there. The extraordinary resilience of the protagonist made him a person of interest of the regime but also of the small opposition movement.
Comics: Zabiję Cię [I Will Kill You] By Wojciech Stefaniec
Ladislav Lodek: Czech Comics Pioneer with Polish Roots Tomáš Prokůpek and Renáta Skřebská (translated by Ewa Lipińska) Ladislav Vlodek and the magazine ‟Koule” have a special position in the Czech comics history. In the 1920s, they offered a very progressive form of the medium to the Czechoslovak readers but unfortunately they came before their time and were ultimately rejected by the public. Early in his life Vlodek spent several years in America where he was exposed to comics which greatly helped him develop a very mature drawing and storytelling style.
Signals From the Czech Republic Adam Rusek This article is a review of Signals From the Unknown. Czech Comics 1922-2012, edited by Tomáš Prokůpek and Pavel Kořinek and published in 2012.
In Search of Wojciech Wolak, or a short treatise between Zaruba, Gałczyńska, Arno, and Janczyk - A Research Thriller Adam Rusek The author recounts his unsuccessful attempt to find a pre-war comic strip attributed to Konstanty Ildefons Gałczyński, a famous Polish poet, at the same time demonstrating how ‟literary myths” are created. The article ends with a passionate plea for the exercise of caution when arriving to research conclusions based on memoirs - and for the intellectual honesty of researchers studying the history of comics.
Comics: By Miron Tee
Quite Well Magdalena Rucińska Review of the album Tak, super by Beata Sosnowska, Marta Zabłocka, An Fau, Aga Gójska and Agata Chełstowska
Utilitarian Drawings Emilia Walczak Review of the album Julian Antonisz. Opowieści graficzne by Julian Józef Antoniszczak
Comics to the Rescue Przemysław Zawrotny Review of the album Likwidator w Hiszpanii 1937 by Ryszard Dąbrowski
List of Comics Published by Polish Authors Tomasz Kontny
Data utworzenia strony: 14 V 2014
Ostatnia modyfikacja: 3 XII 2018