March 1, 2021

My name is Koval, Funky Koval

Weronika Daniluk

 

The title character of the comic "Funky Koval" is a character alike James Bond. A space cowboy, a Universs Agency detective, a womanizer, masculine and fearless, the first one to defend the world. Heroic, but not without flaws.


The hero's sensational fate, descibed in three albums, first published in episodes by "Nowa Fantastyka", was created in the western style from the very beginning. They won the hearts of Polish readers. The first volume was also published in Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

The figure of a tall man with a broad Hollywood smile and a strongly outlined jaw was created by Bogusław Polch - a person to whom Polish comic book fans need no introduction. Illustrator of "Kapitan Żbik" and "Expedition", author of the first comic adaptation of "The Witcher" and, of course, the aforementioned "Funky Koval".

 

The idea for adventures about a space hero, which, according to the first concept, was to be called Punky Rock, was born in 1982 by the editor of foreign prose Jacek Rodek and the writer for Fantastyka, Wiktor Żwikiewicz.

 

From the extended interview with Bogusław Polch:

"Then I met the scriptwriters. Jacek [Rodek] pulled out such a mongrel notebook. Then I found out that it was because he showed it to anyone he could, and after looking through a few pages, everyone threw it at him, or anywhere else. And Jacek was terrible. There was an idea inside, which Jacek developed together with Wiktor Żwikiewicz. A series of stories in various styles and climates, where the only link was the character of the protagonist. The episodes had three sides, so I protested immediately. because it needed four like they do it in the West. I checked, then there is a place and time to introduce, develop and finish. He agreed and said: "But let it be one episode stories and we can experiment with different genres." I agreed. I read this notebook. it was called "Punky Rock". I protested and changed the name. I thought that it shouldn't be so foreign, if it could be more homely, Polish, ours. "

(B. Polch, K. Śmiałkowski, Kontrakt rysownika czyli komiksowy żywot Bogusława Polcha, Łódź 2018)

The cover of Nowa Fantastyka, Issue 6 (105), June 1991, photo: Archives of Nowa Fantastyka

 

The comic book is ultimately the work of three artists. Jacek Rodek and Maciej Parowski worked on the screenwriting side, and the illustrations for the adventures were created by Bogusław Polch. Intended for the adult reader who was able to read the game with convention and multi-level allusions. It contained many references to the political situation at the time - for example, it featured the iconic press spokesman George Fanner - in fact a parody of Jerzy Urban. In the 1980s, Funky fought with policemen on the pages of a comic book, which gave way to social tensions related to martial law. "Funky Koval" contained bold nudity scenes - one of the first in Polish comics, as well as many jokes. The car plate of corrupt policemen bore the registration numbers of the car of the editor-in-chief of "Fantastyka", Adam Hollank. Lill Rye - Miss Universum, the inspirational Marilyn Monroe, and Brenda Lear - an employee of the "Universs" agency, fought for Funky's favor. Lill Rye is murdered in the third part and Brenda becomes Funky's partner. It is not surprising, since the appearance was inspired by the illustrator's wife - Dana Polch ...

 

The project presented at our auction is the cover of Fantastyka from 1991, in which subsequent parts of the third album of adventures about the Polish superhero, entitled "Against Yourself" were published, during which Funky obtains the rank of commander. He has already lost his sleek look he had at the beginning of the series. He is depicted wearing glasses belonging to the drolls - an alien race which he fights at first but then allies with

Bogusław Polch created a finite world with an unmistakable style of his hypertechnical lines and attention to detail. An attentive reader from the details in the background will find out when Funky Koval was born, what his blood type is and that he is reading ... "Nowa Fantastyka". According to an anecdote, when Janusz Christa saw a detailed sketch of Bogusław Polch's coin, Janusz Christa asked if there was any point in carving it, since no one would see it. Polch replied: "But I know what is there."