Funky Koval is a 4-part Polish science fiction/detective story/political fiction genre comic book published in People's Republic of Poland in the 1980s. It gained a cult following and is still recognized as one of the best Polish comics.
The scenario for the comic was created by Maciej Parowski and Jacek Rodek; the drawings were done by Bogusław Polch. It was first published in November 1982 on four black and white pages in the second issue of Fantastyka, a Polish sci-fi magazine. The first episodes were more of the 'comic short story' format, and have generated both much praise and critique among the readers. Later, the comic moved from short story format to more lengthy, novel-like plots. Plot-wise the series has never ended.
With the release of the 'Komiks-Fantastyka' series in 1987 comics were moved rereleased in this comic spin-off, and Koval was soon released in 3 albums ("Bez oddechu" (Without rest), "Sam przeciw wszystkim" (Alone against everyone), "Wbrew sobie" (Against oneself)). The first album, Bez oddechu, contained collected stories published earlier (1982-1983), reprinted in Fantastyka, colored and with some additional panels to allow more seamingless transition between various stories. The second collected the 1985 more novel-like story; the third - the 1991-1992 story. All comics debuted in 'Fantastyka' and were later released as color albums.
In 2002 it was reprinted again in a mega-album "Klasyka Polskiego Komiksu - Funky Koval", it also contained the beginning of the fourth series - "Bez litosci" (Without mercy).
Gossip and semi-official promises about that new parts of the comics have been circulating for many years, but no official announcement have been made until 2010, when it started to be serialised in the SF monthly Nowa Fantastyka. The fourth part is eventually titled "Wrogie przejęcie" (Hostile takeover).
A notable feature of the comic is the art of Bogusław Polch, known for his unique style and minute attention to details. He was known to put much more details into his drawings than could be actually printed in the comics; many of his panels are rich with tiny details - for example, in one panel showing Koval's room the reader can see names of the books and magazines on his bookshelf (they include works by Philip K. Dick, Stanislaw Lem and the 'Fantastyka' magazine). Many gadgets have logos of known companies (such as Sharp and Sony), and their characteristics shapes - of videophones, guns, spaceships or flying cars - are also one of the trademarks of that comic book.
The art in the third series is different from that in the first two: in the third series Polch experimented with more simple style, sometimes bordering on caricatures. This change proved to be a disappointment to some fans used to his earlier, more detailed and realistic style.
The plot resolves around the figure of former military pilot and now space detective, Funky Koval, who with his friends and colleagues forms a private detective agency "Universs" and solves various cases in the futuristic world of 2080s. His investigations range from corruption in the police and government, through fighting cultists and terrorists, investigating missing spaceships and illegal slave camps, to the mystery of the Drolls aliens, who seem to have a much more advanced technology than the humans, and whose plans for the humanity - if any - remain a mystery.
This comic book gained a cult following in Poland, partially due to the high quality of drawings and plot, and partially due to many subtle connections with the real world of the 1980s Poland (martial law in Poland, Jerzy Urban, Polish Round Table Agreement). Although some of those elements are no longer easily read by modern audience, the comic is still seen as one of the best Polish sci-fi works, and has influenced several more recent works.
At 2010 Lodz International Festival of Comics Polch told the press than an American producer that has bought the rights to the trilogy. The movie is based on Bez Oddechu. A movie is currently being produced by Josi W. Konski and Roland von Ciel with a $37 million budget.
- Poland's cult scifi/detective comic Funky Koval getting adapted. IMDb. 5 October 2009
- (Polish) Karol Wiśniewski Funky Koval powróci we wrześniu Aleja Komiksu 2010-06-23
- "Screen adaptation of cult comic waiting" (in Polish). pb.pl. 13 March 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
- (Polish) "Klasyka polskiego komiksu: Funky Koval" - review
- (Polish) Kosmiczny Detektyw - review
- (Polish) "Funky Koval" - review
- (Polish) FUNKY KOVAL ŻYJE! - article from "Świat Komiksu" 29, wrzesień 2002
- (Polish) Mam mnóstwo własnych pomysłów - Interview with Polch
- (Polish) "Official Fansite"
- "Funky Koval" Movie website
- "IMDB "