An eighty-year-old man, after a humble but well-regarded career as a poster designer & illustrator in Poland and the United States, decides it’s time to try his hand at cartooning. Over the course of almost two years, between his regular dialysis treatments, he completes a 354 page graphic memoir detailing his experiences as a young artist in Poland — dodging the Communist draft, chasing beautiful women, yearning for a better life in an America that only exists in films, jazz songs, and his dreams.
To save money, he draws it with off-brand SHOUPIE markers that come five-to-a-pack at the dollar store. He gives everything he has to this book. Near the end of his life, he becomes a full-fledged cartoonist. Comics have set his imagination on fire. His book is a singular artistic achievement, a beautifully illustrated story that surges with ardor and kindness and longing, a love letter to the folly of the American dream, a tribute to the music and culture of his adopted home. He calls it SKYLINER. It’s a remembrance. A powerful and unique legacy to leave behind.
Wouldn’t it break your heart if that book never saw print?
I will admit to some bias here: I have a horse in this race. Ed Krayewski, Andre de Krayewski’s son, has been a friend of mine since he was sixteen. I’ve watched Ed grow from a somewhat annoying kid into a wonderful man with a flourishing career and a lovely wife and a majestic head of hair. I was with Ed through the death of his mother, and his father’s worsening illness. And I’ve watched with admiration for the last few years as Ed, whose greatest virtues are staunchness and devotion, has gently urged Andre on to complete the staggering achievement that is SKYLINER. Ed translated the text from Polish to English, and acted as a stringent editor, bringing a lifelong love of comics storytelling to bear on his father’s unique art style and highly personal story. Ed is single-handedly running this Kickstarter campaign. In the waning years of an exceptional artist’s life, his son became his greatest collaborator in a project that as much as it’s a memoir is a tribute to their bond, and to Ed’s desire to see his father’s memory properly stewarded.
And now, with only days left on the Kickstarter that Ed has flogged within an inch of his life, they still have an awfully long way to go. After two tough years, several hundred SHOUPIE markers that stained Andre’s hands black, small-run pressings of the first few issues, and three weeks of a well-run and well-designed crowdfunding campaign, the money’s still not there.
If this campaign were to fail, it would be a sin against comics. This project speaks from an utterly authentic and uncompromising place, and is ultimately proof positive of the overwhelming power of this glorious medium: that an accomplished artist who by all rights should be pursuing not much more than bed rest could be so inspired by his first experiences with cartooning that he decides to create a giant graphic novel — that his imagination is so thoroughly captured that he immediately becomes a full-time cartoonist, and even upon completing his immense memoir project continues cranking out short stories and strips (some of which will be published by Locust Moon), exploring and glorying in the possibilities of sequential storytelling, in the power of the page.
No one is ever going to make a penny off this book — they’re just raising enough money for a very small print run. The goal here is to take a truth that came directly from Andre Krayewski’s heart, press it into ink on paper, and put it in some people’s hands. If you become one of the people who make it happen, you’ll be the proud owner of an beautiful edition rich with story, alive with raw illustration energy, and glowing with love.
Andre and Ed will thank you from the bottom of their hearts. And then, once you receive this remarkable book, you can thank me later.