‟Zeszyty Komiksowe”
Issue 19, May 2015:
Surrealism in Comics / Non-Fiction Comics

Zeszyty Komiksowe #19

Table of contents

Dear Readers,

We stepped proudly into the new year – ‟Zeszyty”’s 10-year-anniversary exhibition (extended edition) was displayed for a month at the Poznań University Library. There were no signs at the time that this would be a year of change – and yet this is what happened. The current issue is the first one in over five years not published by Centrala whose place has been taken by the Popular Culture Institute Foundation (Fundacja Instytut Kultury Popularnej). The importance of the past five years to our magazine cannot be overstated – and Centrala played a pivotal role there – but we are certain that we are entering a period full of even more important moments – and of very interesting projects.

The issue that you are holding in your hands brings two very different subjects. Surrealism with its oniric character, subconscience, psychoanalysis, and occultism is located at the other edge of the spectrum from non-fiction comics which are greatly preoccupied with rendering the objective reality with as much likeliness as possible. At the same time, it is a clash between two important traditions of representing the world in comics. On one hand we have Max Ernst, Moebius and Grant Morrison – and on the other, Joe Sacco, the creators of The Photographer and Guy Delisle.

The table of contents of this issue is made complete by two interesting interviews as well as by a number of articles not related to the two main subjects – and of course by many short comics and illustrations. They make it clear that Polish comic book artists feel much more at home in the realm of unrestrained imagination.

The section concerning surealism was prepared by Przemysław Kołodziej – thank you!

Please enjoy this issue of ‟Zeszyty Komiksowe”,

Michał Błażejczyk and Michał Traczyk

Table of Contents

Design: Dennis Wojda
Cover art: Przemysław Truściński

Non-Fiction Comics

Illustration: Joanna Karpowicz
Reportage Comics Krzysztof Lichtblau The author introduces reportage as a general genre, and then discusses comics reportage in relation to both other forms of this genre and to fiction comics. The roles of the author and the narrator are discussed through several examples. Finally, the material aspect of reportage comics is presented as an important component in making them more “realistic”.
Joe Sacco – War Junkie, or Comic Book Reporter Extraordinaire (part 1) Jakub Jankowski Sacco can be seen as the comic book reporter who brought comic book journalism to another level, unreachable for the others; in other words, he is one of a kind. His approach to journalism are strongly inspired by the new journalism movement, but there is more to it. Yes, he is a character in the books he creates, a very ironic and selfish one for that matter which can be explained as an attempt to portray himself in a way to make the readers not like him because journalistic work demands reactions that are too inhuman and cold. Sacco’s sincerity makes his readers appreciate his honesty, though, which they think the official media lack. Sacco’s books read like novels but he never forgets to stick to the facts and to take the side of underdogs. He tries to give a voice to those who pass below the radar of official media coverage. Finally, Sacco’s work goes beyond the new journalism on ethnographic and anthropological levels.
A Photographer’s Battleground Łukasz Słoński The Photographer is a graphic novel about the photojournalist Didier Lefèvre and one of his trips. In 1986 – during the Soviet war in Afghanistan – he went to that country with members of Doctors Without Borders. This article analyzes the relationship between photos and comic art in The Photographer, focusing particularly on depictions of human suffering and the exploitation of animals.
Comics: Kemper Written by Łukasz Muniowski, art by Mariusz Hołod
Guy Delisle, or a Lack of Engagement Tomasz Pstrągowski Canadian comic book artist Guy Delisle is the author of several „travelogues” – illustrated diaries of his trips to interesting places abroad (e.g. North Korea, Birma, and Israel). According to the author of this article his approach is very shallow, lacking almost any explanation of the witnessed social and political phenomena. He also never genuinely engages with the local populations. His preferred strategy for adding authenticity to his graphic novels is using visual citations.
Reportage by Przemysław Truściński, Tomasz Kwaśniewski, Alex Kłoś The challenge came from Alex Kłoś. I think it was in 2004. His assignement was to create a cycle of non-fiction reportage comics for “Gazeta Stołeczna”. The idea came from the then editor-in-chief, Andrzej Stefański. Initially, the ideas for those stories circled around “interventions”. [...]
Comics: Ojcodziad Written by Tomasz Kwaśniewski and Alex Kłoś, art by Przemysław Truściński
Comics: [:homo erectus] Written by Tomasz Kwaśniewski and Alex Kłoś, art by Przemysław Truściński
Comics: A Regular Woman Written by Tomasz Kwaśniewski and Alex Kłoś, art by Przemysław Truściński
“Symbolia”. News Comics Conquer Tablets Paweł Panic The author presents the interactive news magazine “Symbolia” in some detail, tracing its history and its approach to multimedia. The 8th issue (entitled End of the Line) is analyzed at length and is found, somewhat disappointingly, to lack major use of dynamic elements – but at the same it pushes the limits of what comics is quite far and in very creative ways.
A Story About Love and What Came Out of It. Lauren Redniss: Radioactive. Marie & Pierre Curie. A Tale of Love and Fallout Magdalena Sikorska Lauren Redniss in Radioactive (2011) portrays the complex life, love, and work of Maria Skłodowska-Curie in an artistically and cognitively advanced way, encoding all the possible nuances of the life story on the pages of the visual biography. She offers a visually rich and emotionally challenging story which, on the one hand, stems from the main character’s fascination with people, life and science, and on the other, her moral insights and social dilemmas. The review discusses the complex word and image relation in Radioactive as well as Redniss’ use of artistic technique, time and narrative perspective.
Reinhard Kleist, The Biographer Magdalena Sikorska The text briefly discusses the form of visual biography as such and Reinhard Kleist’s artistic employment of the genre in Johnny Cash. I See a Darkness (2006) and Der Boxer (2012). Both comics prove a fascinating and challenging reading, due not only to an interesting interplay between the verbal and the visual, but also complex characterisation of the protagonists which shows their actions, dreams, and thoughts from multiple perspectives and in multiple circumstances.
André the Giant: Life and Legend – A Fiction Most True Radosław Pisula André the Giant was the iconic wrestler who mythologized this specific form of entertainment. Suffering from gigantism, the strongman lived under the rules of kayfabe – he was an actor and his life was an action movie. But what kind of man was the real André? Box Brown, a comics writer and a great fan of wrestling, decided to break the rules of the greatest show on Earth and present the strange life and times of this incomprehensible giant in the comic book form. Using a modest approach to storytelling and minimalistic art, Brown has created in André the Giant: Life and Legend the first complex biography of one of the twentieth century’s most beloved heroes.
Comics Before the Facts Maciej Jasiński “Relax” magazine used comics to present a variety of topics: history, propaganda, humour, and science fiction. Among them were a few that focused on important current events. What’s particular, two of them followed such conventions of non-fiction literature as great attention to detail, but they actually portrayed events that were only about to occur, e.g. the first space flight of a Pole.

Surrealism in Comics

Illustrations: Joanna Karpowicz
Anti-Realism, Subversion and Superheroes – The Beginnings of Grant Morrison’s Surreal Ways Przemysław Kołodziej The paper analyses early DC Comics work of Scottish scriptwriter Grant Morrison. It shows how Morrison’s Animal Man stood out from other mainstream superhero comics of the 1980s, serving as a blueprint of further experiments with the comic book form that Morrison would undertake in years to come (i.e. meta-narration, breaking the fourth wall), but also as an entry point for its author’s interest in surrealism (both in surreal themes and methods, i.e. subversion) that would become a trademark signature of his increasingly weird and offbeat stories.
Comics: Wild West With a Corrida in The Background By Tomasz Niewiadomski
Komiks: Music By Tomasz Niewiadomski
A Week of Kindness for Comics. Max Ernst’s Une semaine de bonté Jerzy Szyłak In 1934, a leading surrealist and dadaist published a “graphic novel” (as Scott McCloud calls it) entitled Une semaine de bonté. Its central idea was to reprint illustrations from contemporary newspapers with added graphical elements such as strange creatures and often macabre imagery. Jerzy Szyłak postulates that the narrative character of Une semaine de bonté is only illusory, feeding from the deconstructivist attitude of the surrealist movement whose point was to shock the petit bourgeois society. As much as Ernst’s works can prove inspiring, calling it comics is, in Szyłak’s opinion, an exageration.
Comics: Kkkomikkks By Mateusz Skutnik
Comics: Hare By Mateusz Skutnik
Moebius’ Surrealistic Travels on Edena Przemysław Zawrotny This article presents in detail Moebius’ comic series Edena. This complex science fiction story full of references to religion, politics and gender identity turns out to be surrealistic on the narrative level where nothing is what it initially seems.
Comics: By Jan Koza
Joan Cornellà Paweł Kański The article presents the renowned Spanish artist Joan Cornellà. Combining surrealistic imagery and black humour, Cornellà creates unsettling, violent comic strips where protagonists are put in horrifying and often absurd situations. This serves as a form of commentary on the cruelty of everyday life, to which – according to Cornellà – every human being is subjected to.
Comics: 998 By Marek Turek
Comics: By Marek Turek
“For I Do Not Understand What I Do” – about Divine Colonie by Nicolas Presl Maja Starakiewicz The text is an analysis of Divine Colonie by Nicolas Presl, a French artist. The graphic novel is placed within the context of his previous works and Werner Herzog’s movie Aguirre which shares with Divine Colonie certain features of the main character. The story told by Presl in his album is based on the Bildungsroman frame, but developped into a complex structure of numerous layers: suppressed erotic self-awereness, religious obsession, and inability to understand anything that is different. Presl managed to create an ambiguous, lively character and a metaphorical story which contains many references to history and culture.


I Am Too Old for Long Stories Interview with Andreas conducted by Artur Wabik Artur Wabik spoke to Andreas during the latter’s visit in Poland in October 2014 about his career as a comic artist, from the beginnings in late 1970’s until today. First Polish translations of his works were published a long time ago – still under the communist regime – but since then the fans often had to wait for a long time for translations. Nonetheless, the Capricorn and Rork series are quite popular in our country. Andreas also discusses his plans for the future, films based on his comics, books analyzing his works etc.
Comics: King Ubu By Michał Rzecznik
Comics: By Łukasz Kowalczuk
A Librarian Who Draws Interview with Agata Matraś conducted by Rafał Wójcik Agata Matraś is a less known Polish comics author with a unique profile: in her work – mostly published on-line – she portrays many interesting situations she faces in her job as a librarian (and also in her role of a mom). Her inspirations include Peanuts, Garfield and Sandman, and she’s recently launched a startup to create toys and souvenirs related to Warsaw.
Comics: Why Witches Don’t Date Vampires A Troll’s Awakening By Nikola Kucharska
List of Comics Published by Polish Authors Tomasz Kontny
Data utworzenia strony: 13 V 2015
Ostatnia modyfikacja: 3 XII 2018