MRR Comics & Art Issue Artist Q&A with Åukasz Kowalczuk
This month’s MRR magazine is the Comics & Art Issue! Throughout March we are highlighting some of the participating artists right here on MRR.com. Today we hear from Åukasz Kowalczuk from Rumia, Poland.
What are the main things you’ve published, including comics, record covers, band shirts, anthologies, etc.?
Since June 2011 I have been self-publishing my comics (earlier I did a few shorts and two 24hr comics). So far—five issues of NienawidzÄ™ Ludzi zine (I Hate People), Harkonnen Fucking Fat Flying Bastard zine, Szlamu KrÁ³l zine (King of the Slime), Same (this one was released by Hard to Forget tattoo shop) and four issues of Vreckless Vrestlers. 100% DIY, without crowd-funding or sponsors. I wrote a mediocre book about American comics in Poland and did guest appearances in Polish zines.
Who are some of your influences as far as art and comics?
Kirby and Crumb, Polish artists like Janusz Christa and Tadeusz Baranowski. Love obscure American mini-series from the ’80s/’90s: The Hammer, Outcasts, Slash Maraud. TMNT, their cousins and bastards from publishers like Blackthorne, 2000 AD stuff, comics based on cartoons or toys… John Ryan’s Prison Pit, Jeffrey Brown’s Incredible Change-Bots, Tom Scioli. Many titles from smaller publishers (which are big anyway), like Image, IDW, Boom, Top Shelf… OK, I’ll stop, I can write about it for hours :)
Hate Marvel/DC overdone superhero soap operas. If you think that “something will never be the same again,” you know that, actually, it will be the same boring shit as always.
I grew up on “traditional” punk (I mean ’77 stuff, Oi! music, etc.), old school hardcore and ska. Blitz’s Voice of Generation is the best album ever, period. It still has a big impact on everything I do, but more and more I like various stuff. John Carpenter and video games soundtracks, some metal genres (which aren’t so far away from punk), jazz… Specifically, the fact of listening to jazz is horrifying for me, but it’s good for focus. Also, I like to understand the lyrics. So, for example, I don’t like grind because I don’t understand a thing, and I hate RAC because I understand the “message.”
How would you describe your style of drawings?
I am not an artist, I am a punk rock craftsman.
What other punk projects are you involved with (bands, venues, record labels, etc.)?
I used to sing in two bands: Bilety Do Kontroli and Collina. Both are dead but we made our point. You can watch Collina’s last gig here.
I did a lot of poster, T-shirt and album cover designs. I am not happy about the quality of, at least, half of this stuff :) Ucho club, No One Likes Us booking, Castet band, Bad Look Records, to name a few friends I did something for. I was involved in Summer Riot Open Air — we managed to organise the Cock Sparrer show in Poland without any victims or seriously injured.
Not too much into the punk scene nowadays, because I am bored, irritated and cozy. I made a lot of mistakes and it’s really annoying when you see that people are doing the same stupid shit again and again.
What’s in the future for you as a cartoonist/artist?
I am finishing the last issue of Vreckless Vrestlers. The trade paper back will be out in Poland and France next year, so I will probably help publishers to promote it. There is also a chance for an American trade paperback edition.
My last self-published comic will be ready in January: Violent Skate Bulldogs and a flip book with my story and Maciek Misiewicz’s art. I love self-publishing but it takes a lot of time and I would like to focus on writing and drawing. Szlamu KrÁ³l is a demo of a project I will work on in 2015.
Konkweror will be a thrash-metal comic book opera set in a post-apocalyptic world. Tester Gier will do the music (covers of thrash classics with lyrics from the comic book), and I’ll do the rest. Probably I will do the same mistake, as always — I’ll try to do too much and there won’t be time for everything. So, the future looks nice.
Check out more from Åukasz at lukaszkowalczuk.tumblr.com.