Issue 18, October 2014:
Komiks dla dzieci
Table of contents
Comics are not for children, but at the same time – they are. Everybody knows this even if the knowledge of
most of the society on the subject of comics is limited to the adventures of Donald Duck. In this issue we
remind you that children’s comics have been studied for many years, and that research conclusions arrived at
many years ago still hold (Birek). We also show that opinions regarding this branch of comics are far from
This issue does not contain well-known stories of well-known artists of the bygone era. We hope that new
perspectives regarding their works will be produced by future generations of researchers, thanks to
new editions of the classics that are being published these days. In contrast, this issue covers what is
happening in Polish children’s comics today. We write about new authors who are gaining prominence
(how similar are the life stories of Tomasz Samojlik and Pau!); about readers who enjoy a steadily broadening
selection of children’s comics (if should be mentioned that those readers are not necessarily children
themselves); and also about school that is slowly but surely getting more comfortable with the art of comics.
We are also coming back, once again, to the 90’s – a period that played a fundamental role in the development
of modern comic book market in Poland.
We would like to thank Maciej Gierszewski for his help in persuading many young artists to contribute their
comics and illustrations to this issue, and to apologize to Luo RongRong for publishing her article with such
a long delay.
Please enjoy this issue of ‟Zeszyty Komiksowe”,
Michał Błażejczyk and Michał Traczyk
Table of Contents
Design: Dennis Wojda
Cover art: Tomasz Samojlik
‟Zeszyty Komiksowe” 2004-2014: 10 Years with Comics, 10 Years About Comics
In this article the editor-in-chief of the magazine revisits its first ten years of existence,
from a one-man-army show it was at the very beginning to the semi-professional publication
with a greatly improved layout, distribution, financing, and community support it
has become. And English version of this article will (eventually) be published on
‟Zeszyty”’s web site.
The Ordinary Toil of a Supervillain
Tomasz Samojlik is a raising star of Polish comics for children. The captivating stories
featuring anthropomorphic animals such as shrews, otters and cuckoos manage to teach
young (and not so young) readers many facts about nature while being entertaining
and drawn in a very accessible and expressive classic style. In this interview he
talks about his early experiences as a comic artist, about how he became popular, and
about the secret of combining married life and research work with creating comics.
Comics for Children in Poland (an excerpt)
This article, originally written for teachers as the target audience, is a fragment of
a longer piece from 2008, soon to be published in book form along other texts by the
author who is one of the most prominent Polish researchers focused on the art of comics.
It describes in detail several classic Polish comic books for children, focusing on the
way reality is depicted inside them.
The Three Pigs and Other Comics of David Wiesner
David Wiesner’s Wikipedia entry doesn’t mention comics at all, and yet many of his
children’s books clearly fall within the realm of sequential art. Jerzy Szyłak analyzes
in detail several of them (The Three Pigs, Tuesday,
Free Fall, and Flotsam) in order to
convincingly show that there are no reasons why they should not be considered comics.
The Birth of Czech Children Comics
This article is a summary of the first ever research project to study the history of Czech
children’s comics, completely forgotten until now. Pre-comics forms evolved during the
second half of the 19th century from short illustrated stories created for educational
purposes to standard entertainment genres of that time. Authors such as Karel Ladislav
Thuma had significant impact on future developments of the Czech cultural scene.
Comics in the Curriculum
Comics has a lot of (unfortunately – underutilized) potential as a curriculum element in
schools. The author discusses in detail three of them: the introduction into visual storytelling
by adding comics masterpieces onto the reading list; the use of historical comics
in class; and pupils’ participation in comics competitions for children and teenagers.
The Gang Of Short-Haired Poets
I Like It when Comics Is More Than Entertainment
Pau, the author of the Saga of Atlas & Axis, talks about
his early career in Spain, the international breakthrough of his comic series, his linguistic
inspirations, his current and future projects, and the realities of the Spanish comic book market.
A Few Words about Atlas & Axis
The Saga of Atlas & Axis is the most important project of the
Spanish comic book artist Pau. The adventures of two anthropomorphic dogs in prehistoric times
are a mix of good entertainment and mild educational purpose, all of it very expertly drawn.
Saga’s author sprinkles interesting linguistic games into his creations
making them more intriguing for adult audiences.
Legenda o Królu Popielu
Meet the Fearless Guards
Dave Peterson’s Mouse Guard series is set in a world of sentient
mice who live in a medieval era and is based on the same period in human history. Several
volumes will soon be published in Polish and make for a great read for the younger audience -
and not only.
A Feast at Rutu Modan’s
Rutu Modan is mostly known in Poland for her serious graphic novels such as Exit Wounds.
However, in Israel Modan is mostly known as an illustrator of children’s books.
Her Maya Makes a Mess, recently published in Poland,
is a much lighter and funnier comic book aimed at a younger audience.
Comics Are NOT for Kids
The thesis that comics are for children causes this entire genre to be seen as
infantile and lacking artistic value. The author shows that the definition, name,
history, and canon of comics all point in a completely different direction.
Comics MUST Be for Kids
In contradiction to the previous article, the author suggests that the discussion
around the issue of comics being for children should be more nuanced. In particular,
it is the strong performance of comics as an art form destined primarily for children
and teenagers that led to a gradual evolution of the genre into other subject matters
and audiences. A strong children’s comics market seems to be essential to a healthy
comics market in general.
Polish Comics in the 90’s
Łódź Was an Eldorado of Comics
Wojciech Birek is not only one of the most prominent Polish scholars of comics, but also
a publicist, a translator, and a creator - he’s drawn and written several short and long
comic stories. In this interview he revisits the turbulent times of the 1990s, so full
of promise and disillusionment, success and disappointment.
I Started as Editor in Chief of ‟Donald Duck”
Egmont Polska is the biggest publisher of comics in Poland. Tomasz Kołodziejczak
has worked there since 1995 and is now the Publishing Manager of Comics there. He
has been responsible of the phenomenal growth of the comics offering of Egmont
who has published many masterpieces of world comics as well as reprinted many
beloved Polish classics over the years. In this interview, he revisits his history with
Egmont as well as his involvement with the Polish science fiction scene (he is
a published and award-winning author).
After the First Issue It Was a Piece of Pie
Łukasz Zandecki was the co-founder of ‟AQQ”, the most important
comics magazine in Poland in the nineties. Here he talks about the origins of his interest
in this art form, about the beginnings of ‟AQQ”, and about his
decision to stop being involved in the comic book scene.
The Dark Age of Comic Books
The Dark Age of Comic Books, beginning in the late 80s and lasting for decade,
was the grittiest and gloomiest era of comic books, born out of fascination with dark,
deconstructive works, like Alan Moore’s The Watchmen or Frank
Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Characterised by abundant
crises, crossovers and apocalyptic storylines, pointless anti-heroes, over-the-top
machismo and lazy execution, it was also particularly immature. In this article,
the authors explore some of the Dark Age’s absurdities, introduce one of its most
prominent authors, discuss the Great Comics Crash of 1996, and try to understand
how it all influenced the comic book industry.
I Am Not a Hardcore Fan
Adam Rusek, the chief historian of Polish comics, is actually a librarian by profession
(he works at the National Library in Warsaw). As he explains in this interview, his first
research articles devoted to the subject of comics revolved around readership. He also
discusses the difficult relationship between libraries and comics, be it at the level of maintaining
a coherent and rich offer of comics, or in relation to cataloguing practices which
are often of very poor quality. Rusek’s interviewer, Rafał Wójcik, is himself a librarian
making this text a very insightful exchange.
The author describes the comics collection of the university library of Poznań
that he is the curator of.
The Interdysciplinary NarrAkcje Meeting
The text is a brief introduction and invitation to NarrAkcje - a scientific conference
devoted to the narrative techniques in comics.
Short History of Breaking the Rules
Alternative Comics in a Country Without Mainstream - Independent Manhua in the Era of Globalization
The author, herself an independent Chinese comic artist, gives an overview of
the comic book scene in the PRC in early XXI century. Her focus is on „independent
manhua”, i.e. groups who do not bow to commercial pressures and create works
that are often similar in style to alternative Western comics but profoundly interested
in the social realities of China.
List of Comics Published by Polish Authors