Kajko i Kokosz

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Cover of The golden chalice Part 3
From left to right: Mirmił, Lubawa, Kajko, Kokosz

Kajko i Kokosz (Kajko and Kokosz) is a notable comic book series by Janusz Christa, published in Poland between the 1970s and 1980s. It is centred on a story of two Slavic warriors named Kajko and Kokosz, loosely resembling both Asterix and Obelix, as well as two personalities from Christa's earlier series on Kajtek i Koko (set in contemporary and science-fiction background). The series consists of 20 volumes, as well as a number of shorter stories published in various magazines. In 2006 a short animated 3D movie was made.

The series was largely popular in Poland and has been re-edited several times. It was also the basis of several computer games. Recently, several volumes were translated into other languages including Kashubian and Silesian, as well as a dialect used by highlanders from Podhale.

Main characters in the series include castellan Mirmił, hypochondriac ruler of the village of Mirmiłowo, where Kajko and Kokosz serve as warriors; Lubawa, dominating wife of Mirmił; small dragon Miluś; benevolent witch Jaga; her husband, the good bandit Łamignat (Bonebreaker), and the antagonists of the series: military knight order of Zbójcerze (Banditknights), based on the Teutonic Knights, led by Hegemon, with his second in command, Hitler-like Kapral (Corporal) and Schweik-like Oferma (Loser).

The stories are written in tongue-in-cheek manner and contain light satirical elements, usually puns concerning reality of living in Communist-ruled Poland with characters sometimes mentioning labour unions, bureaucracy, commodity shortages and similar themes.

Albums in the series[edit]

  • Złoty puchar ("The Golden Chalice") (3 parts) - also known as Złote prosię ("The Golden Pig")
  • Szranki i konkury (3 parts) ("The Tournaments")
  • Woje Mirmiła (3 parts) ("Mirmił's Warriors")
    • continued in Rozprawa z Dajmiechem ("The Battle with Dajmiech")
  • Szkoła latania ("The Flight School")
    • Szkoła furganio (Silesian edition)
  • Wielki turniej ("The Great Tournament")
    • Ogromniasto gońba (highlander dialect edition)
  • Na wczasach ("On Holidays")
    • Na latowisku (Cassubian edition)
  • Zamach na Milusia ("The Attempt on Miluś")
  • Skarby Mirmiła ("The Treasures of Mirmił)
  • Cudowny lek ("The Miraculous Cure")
  • Festiwal czarownic ("The Witch Festival")
  • Dzień Śmiechały ("The Day of Laughter")
  • W krainie borostworów ("The Land of Forestlings")
  • Mirmił w opałach ("Mirmił in Trouble")
  • Urodziny Milusia ("The Birthday of Miluś") - this book is a set of short stories some set before events in "Cudowny lek".

The characters[edit]

  • Kajko – A small but clever, brave and very resourceful warrior. He has a kind nature and always stands for justice. He lives with his best friend Kokosz.
  • Kokosz – Best friend of Kajko. Almost the complete opposite of Kajko, he is large, fat and bald, and usually is shown to represent the worst habits – he always goes with his gut, appears to be self-centered and sometimes either aggressive or cowardly. He is however incredibly strong. In the first book, Kokosz is shown to believe that he is as strong as his shadow is long (depending on the time at that moment).
  • Mirmił – The prince of Mirmiłowo, the village where Kajko and Kokosz live. He is a small man with a large red moustache. While good hearted, he occasionally appears to be pompous and melancholic – as a running gag, Mirmił often openly considers committing suicide whenever a problem appears to be unsolvable.
  • Lubawa – Mirmił's large and somehow more assertive wife. She often appears to be in control of her husband.
  • Zielacha (first book only) – a witch and Kokosz's (great-?) aunt, an ugly old hag, who, unlike her successor Jaga, hasn't been seen using actual magic
  • Jaga — a good witch and also Kokosz's aunt, much more pleasant and younger looking lady than Zielacha. Her name is a reference to Baba Jaga a witch from Polish fairy tales and folklore. She has a talking pet raven named "Gdaś".
  • Łamignat (Bonebreaker) – Jaga's husband. As a good natured and softhearted bandit who robs the rich and gives to the poor, some may believe this is a reference to Robin Hood, whereas Łamignat is in fact a parody of Robin Hood's Polish counterpart named Juraj Jánošík. He is incredibly strong, much stronger than Kokosz, and has a gigantic club which only he can lift. Łamignat's strength sometimes drives Kokosz furious with envy, yet they are still friends. Due to Łamignat's shy nature, Jaga encourages him by giving him a flute and telling him it will make Łamignat stronger whenever he plays it (the flute is in fact normal but gives a placebo effect to Łamignat, making him more confident). Łamignat's catch-phrase is "Lelum Polelum".
  • Miluś – A dragon that Kajko and Kokosz found (at first as an egg) and adopted in the book "Zamach na Milusia". Miluś appears to be afraid of small animals (mice for example) and only eats vegetables. In his second appearance in "Skarby Mirmiła" Miluś grew bigger and developed wings – he however could only fly if he could start and land on water – and in "Cudowny lek" Miluś met a female dragon and left Kajko and Kokosz to live in the land of dragons (which was actually a good thing, as there were many dragon hunters attempting to hunt him down). After that, Miluś appeared in some short stories (all collected in a special comic book "Urodziny Milusia") – all set before the events in "Cudowny lek".
  • Woj Wit (Wit the warrior) – Kajko and Kokosz first meet Wit on their adventures in the second book "Szranki I konkury" and during their adventures in "Na wczasach". After the second one, however, Wit ends up living in Mirmiłowo (apart from some background cameo appearances) and did not get to play an important part until the very last book "Mirmił w Opałach". In the first book Wit is a romantic, adventure-seeking knight who only spoke in rhyme (he however lost the tendency to do so in the middle of the story as he got broken hearted). In his second appearance in "Na wczasach" Wit is shown as more of a Don Quixote figure, always looking for a challenge to a duel and often singing romantic songs (unlike his first appearance). In his third main appearance Wit was back to talking in rhyme and had become interested in science which led him to inventing exploding powder causing much more mayhem in the village. In his first two appearances Wit has a clever horse who was always trying to keep his master out of trouble.
  • Zbójcerze (The Banditknights) – a group of evil knights wanting to take over Mirmiłowo loosely based on the Teutonic Knights. They are led by a powerful warrior Hegemon who is the main villain of the series. His right hand man, a Hitler-like Kapral (Corporal) often appears to attempt to rebel. One more notable "Zbójcerz" is Oferma (Loser) who appears to be based on Schweik and while being the "idiot of the group" is often chosen for special missions.

Asterix controversy[edit]

For years fans accused the series of plagiarism, referencing its similarities to the series Asterix. The titles share a similar art style, character designs, and even employ similar jokes. While the related series Kajtek and Koko had debuted years before Asterix's first publication, the characters' incarnations as Slavic warriors Kajko and Kokosz post-dated Asterix's success. For years Christa maintained that the similarities where a coincidence, but in interviews decades later cited Asterix as one of his inspirations. Some have described as significant the fact that the last "Kajko and Kokosz" book was published the same year as the first Polish translation of an Asterix book appeared.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1