Issue 21, May 2016:
Comics Behind the Scenes
Table of contents
It would seem that there can be nothing simpler that comics, but giving readers the opportunity
to enjoy every new album requires coordinated efforts of a small army of people. And the number
of albums published in Poland grows every year. The aforementioned small army sometimes consists
of a single person (please read Paweł Panic’s interview with Rafał Szłapa to get a better idea
of how that works) but typically someone other than the artists is responsible for editing the
final work and yet another group handles publishing, printing, and marketing. The role of those
people in the process of producing a comic book cannot be underestimated even if their contributions
are becoming visible only if they make a mistake.
In this issue of ‟Zeszyty Komiksowe” we are proposing a collection of articles and interviews
that clearly shows how difficult yet satisfying is the job of an artist or writer, of the person
responsible of placing text in balloons, of the font designer, printhouse manager, publisher,
and even - comic store owner. Our goal is to peek behind the curtain and to show our readers
a world that is usually hidden from them - but one that makes comics possible.
As usually, the issue is completed by articles unrelated to the main subject matter, focusing
on analyses of interesting comics and portraits of long-forgotten artists, as well as by comics
It is also worth mentioning that our magazine has been formally recognized as a peer-reviewed
scientific journal by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
Finally, we won’t hide the fact that Tomasz Żaglewski helped greatly with putting this issue
together. Thank you!
Please enjoy this issue of ‟Zeszyty Komiksowe”,
Michał Błażejczyk and Michał Traczyk
Radio Afera / Prosto z Kadru
Table of Contents
Design: Dennis Wojda
Cover art: Rafał Szłapa
Comics Behind the Scenes
Comics: Instruction Manual
To Be a Comic Book Writer in Poland
Daniel Gizicki, a comic book writer himself, sheds some light on this occupation and
provides a number of useful hints and tips.
How to begin? How detailed should a script be? How to work with artists and publishers?
How to promote the comics once it was published? How to react to criticism?
Getting Comics Ready for Print: A Practical Guide
The author goes over recommendations and
best practices related to preparing comics
for print. It covers topics such as layout,
margins and bleed, scanning, resolutions
and quality, color separations, placement of
text in balloons, and finally – hints and tips
with regards to working with print houses.
This article talks about text. It’s one of the
structural elements of comics – often seen
as trivial but in reality quite the opposite:
responsible for binding the entire story
together. Particular points discussed include
the placement of speech balloons on a page,
their form and visual aspects, onomatopoeia,
and finally the choice of font. The
author goes over common caveats related to
typography in comics – and even describes
in detail how to make your own font!
Five Hundred Shoelaces
The author spent over a decade running a
print house specializing in comics. In this
article he tells his story from beginning (his
dad also operated a print company) to end
(printing comics made him stop reading
them) through a series of anecdotes. How to
choose paper with the right absorption parameters?
How to deliver special orders, e.g.
comics inside boxes that look like shoes? Etc.
Scenario Is Key
Rafał Szłapa, a well-known Polish comic
book artist, has been auto-publishing his
Bler series (5 volumes published so far) for
a couple of years now. In this interview
he talks about the origins of the series and
explains his reasons for choosing auto-publishing
and challenges that come with it.
Locating the Author
Leszek Kaczanowski runs a small but dynamic
publishing house specializing in reprints
of older Polish comics. Here he talks about
various practical issues related to his occupation:
the question of licenses and locating
authors (which is sometimes impossible
and often quite hard), publishing strategies,
preparing comics for print, etc.
The Last Niche
Yumegari is a relatively new independent
publishing house in Poland, specializing in
manga – more specifically in Korean and
Chinese comics. They were also the first
publisher in our country to propose hentai
comics to their readers – with success. The
interview circles around subjects such as
licenses, collaboration with Japanese publishers,
operating a small publishing outfit in
Poland, contacts with fans, , controversies
around publishing hentai in Poland, etc.
There Were No Spectacular Failures
Szymon Holcman is one of the owners of
kultura gniewu, one of the oldest Polish
independent comics publishers. In this
interview he talks about the past, present
and future of his outfit, about licensing and
distributing comics, and about changes on
the market over the years.
We Don’t Regret Any Decisions
Paweł Timofiejuk a.k.a. Timof is the owner
of Timof i cisi wspólnicy, a small independent
comics publisher in Poland, specializing
in ambitious comics for adults. In this
interview he presents his work as a publisher
an the evolution of the comic book market in
Poland in more detail.
Entertainment & Enlightenment
‟Esensja” was one of the first full-fledged
on-line magazines about culture (including
comics) in Poland, and Marcin Herman
was one of its pillars for several early years.
In this article he describes the creation of
‟Esensja”, the evolution of its publishing
model, and discussions around its content.
He lists the many important authors and
comics artists who contributed to the magazine,
and mentions the participation of the
editorial board in comic book conventions.
The Created: Prologue
We Sell What We Like
KiK is a small independent comic book
store in Poznań, and Paweł Olejniczak is
its owner. In this interview he talks about
relationships with publishers and fans,
promotional strategies, and ways to grow the
comic book market in Poland.
New Comics Publishers in Poland (After 2013)
The last three years on the Polish comic
book market were very unusual, with the appearance
of several new, small, independent
publishers who are getting into hands of
readers titles that are often very interesting.
I Never Know What I Will Draw
The Electrifying Chair
Review of the exhibition of Polish comic
book artist Krzysztof Gawronkiewicz,
entitled ‟A Chair in Hell” and presented in
several art galleries in South-Western
Poland since last Summer.
Healing Panels. An Essay about Autotherapeutic Comics
The author postulates the existence of
a specific sub-genre of autobiographical
comics: autotherapeutic comics. It started
with Robert Crumb and is quite popular
in the USA; less so in Europe. The
purpose of autotherapeutic comics is to
help their authors deal with traumatic
or difficult events from their lives. This
approach is not far from classic therapy
when it comes to form and outcome.
Comics in the Classroom
The author advances the opinion that comics
will never be treated seriously as an art
in Poland unless it is included in school curriculum
in a serious manner. He then proceeds
to go over recent methodological reflection
of the use of comics and graphic novels
in the classroom – in Poland and abroad.
How Comics Conquered Tractors. The Comics of Andrzej Krajewski
Andrzej Krajewski is completely unknown
in Poland, and yet he was a prolific comics
artist in the post-war era. Aside from his
main job as an illustrator, he drew educational
comics for many years, mostly for the
‟Tractor” magazine. They were not particularly
refined in style or message but they are
examples of early comics for adultsin our
Josef Beránek was a Slovenian illustrator of
Czech descent who was one of key figures
of early comics (or rather, illustrated stories)
in this country. Sadly, his career in this area
fell entirely during the war period, first in
Catholic periodicals, and later in fascist
ones. This choice ultimately cost him his
life, cutting short his promising career.
The Tiny Fox & The Big Boar: Loss
Memory and Matter.
Tu és a mulher da minha vida, ela a mulher dos meus sonhos by Pedro Brito & João Fazenda
How does the process of creating comics
look like? Where does it begin and where
does it end? Can it be documented and
studied, or does it lie outside of the reach of
our cognitive tools? In theory it’s simple:
notes, scenarios, storyboards, character
design – we are well accustomed to these
elements of the ‟making of” of comics. The
authors of Tu és a mulher da minha vida,
ela a mulher dos meus sonhos point our
attention to another, less tangible component
of the creative process – everything
related to inner life of artists, their feelings
and memories. This angle forces us to look
at comics through the lens of Bergson’s
theory of matter and memory as well as
Dewey’s theory of art and experience.
Man in A World of Rain, Fog, and Cold.
Lauren Redniss, Thunder and Lightning...
In her book Thunder and Lightning...
(2015), Lauren Redniss offers her readers
a visual feast and moments of meditation on
the beauty of living in harmony with nature.
The article traces back the artist’s possible
sources of inspiration and reconstructs
her intellectual pursuits to emphasise
the impact they have had on the form,
aesthetics, and the conceptual sophistication
of the book. Redniss’ intellectual
and artistic background has allowed her to
create a visual masterpiece that through
its hybridical form and artistic appeal
not only effortlessly fuses the apparently
disparate worlds of art and science, but also
becomes a powerful ethical statement.
Mangaka’s Life Is Not So Bad If He’s Not Out of Breath
List of Comics Published by Polish Authors
A Sad Drawing Pretending to Be Happy