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Saturday, 4 February 2017

Centrala: Adventures on a Desert Island

I published this review, along with ones for other books by Centrala in 2014. They still tend to show up in the post ratings so it's good to think people out there are interested -and buying?

But nothing from Centrala since.  Pity, but whether they went out of business or simple do not care about Old Terry (I'm crying here -see??) these were still interesting books and if you ever see a copy of this one -buy it!

Adventures on a Desert Island

 Maciej Sieńczyk
Translation: Ewa Lipińska
Format: 270 x 297mm
148 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9929082-2-5 

Adventures on a Desert Island is the first comic book to be nominated and shortlisted for the NIKE Literary Award, the most important and recognised literary award in Poland.

Woken up from a catastrophic dream, a man finds a diary behind his front door and starts to read it. He follows a story of a man who embarked on a cruise to Africa. The ship was sunk by a tsunami but he survived and found himself on a mysterious desert island. The plot is composed of strange stories whose peculiar character is highlighted by the author’s stylized language.

A journey into the unknown provides an opportunity to show the true face of modern man whose life remains unchanged even after a disaster. There is an inherent fallibility to Sieńczyk’s characters, as well as inability and unwillingness to change. Stranded on a desert island, they don’t take any action – they simply recount incredible stories and wait to be carried along by the tides of fate.

Maciej Sieńczyk (born in 1972) – Polish graphic artist, illustrator, comic book creator. He has worked for major literary and cultural magazines (Lampa,Exklusiv) and is the author of illustrations for several key novels by writers of the young generation (Dorota Masłowska, Michał Witkowski, Adam Widemann).

In 2005, he published his own book, Hydriola, followed by Wrzątkun in 2009 and The Adventures on a Desert Island in 2012. In 2013, he became the first comic book artist to be nominated and shortlisted for the NIKE Literary Award for his album The Adventures on a Desert Island.

Sieńczyk’s work is genuinely multidimensional, pushing the boundaries of traditional comics. His distinctive drawing style along with unusual storytelling create a unique combination of comics and illustration.

Now, you have to ask yourself "What is a graphic novel?" these days.  Firstly, we exclude the various parts of a series collected into a Trade.  That is just a collection.  A graphic novel is a book designed to be published as a one-off, 100+ pages but even then you have to realise that a graphic novel does not have to be made up of conventional panels anymore.

Centrala has proven this point with their new books.

The art style, as soon as I opened the booked screamed out its origins. I've seen a number of comics and books from what people like to call "Central Europe" since the 1980s and to be honest I've seen some try to copy the style but it never quite works.  Do you buy a book written and drawn by a Polish creator or a book written and drawn "in the style of" a Polish creator.  If you say the latter please walk away from the computer....NOW!

A note book arrives and tells a story. A story/stories that at times could be called quite surrealistic and the way the author tells the story is interesting.  At times the art can look a little simplistic -human figures in some sections- but it all works.  The last page was...emotional.

I'm hoping that in 2015 Centrala can get to a few of the UK comic events because books such as this need to be seen more.  Cinebook The 9th Art has brought us the Franco-Belgian experience and we are over-flowing with American comics.  I think we need to see far more, become far more receptive to the other styles of creators out there in Europe.



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