"You have to be open-minded": In Conversation with 'War and Peas' creator Jonathan Kunz at Comic Con Bangalore 

In conversation with Jonathan Kunz of War and Peas (image via warandpeas.com and Comic Con India)
In conversation with Jonathan Kunz of War and Peas (image via warandpeas.com and Comic Con India)

Comic Con is one of the biggest celebrations of comics and pop culture. This year, India sees three weekends of this convention in three different cities, which kicked off in Bangalore.

Bangalore's Comic Con took place on November 19 and 20, 2022, at KTPO Trace Center in Whitefield. The Comic Con venue featured an 80,000sq ft Gaming Arena in partnership with The Esports Club, giving fans unparalleled access to games, publishers, and brands with a whole host of activities and experiences.

Comic Con 2022 in Bangalore, India. (image via Instagram/comicconindia)
Comic Con 2022 in Bangalore, India. (image via Instagram/comicconindia)

SK POP attended the event and had the privilege of meeting and chatting with German cartoonist, Jonathan Kunz of War and Peas.

Kunz is the co-creator of the famous webcomic line War and Peas. He runs the page with Elizabeth Pich and produces comics every Sunday. He has been entertaining fans and followers since 2011, amassing over 1 million followers on Instagram.

Born in Ulm, Germany, the 34-year-old artist has previously headlined Comic Con India in 2019 in Hyderabad, along with Nathan Pyle.

Jonathan and Elizabeth (L) with their brainchild (R) (image via War and Peas)
Jonathan and Elizabeth (L) with their brainchild (R) (image via War and Peas)

Jonathan and Elizabeth's satirical War and Peas presents bizarre everyday stories and grotesque phantasms with surprising, black-humored punchlines. Their first book, War and Pea: Funny Comics for Dirty Lovers, was published by Andrews McMeel Publishing in 2020 in the English language. The same was published in German and Spanish a few months later.

From finding no need to compare two art mediums to appreciating India: In conversation with world-renowned webcomic artist Jonathan Kunz at Comic Con Bangalore

This is your first visit to Bangalore, India. Thoughts?

India has its own style... in pretty much everything. It's so nice and the food is way better. It's great and the people are so nice. It is my second time in India. The first time was in Hyderabad. Comic Con here is really close to international level Comic Cons. The 'star level' is a little lower, but it's an aspiring market.

What made you zero in on the comic strip format as your ideal medium of storytelling?

We didn't plan on going the comic book route. We were telling stories, creating work, and then deciding on a medium. When Elizabeth and I first started making comics as a duo, it was a completely unique thing on the internet.

Now it is so big and even has a meme factor. We have so many people reading it. The abundance of fresh, up-and-coming talent makes this a rewarding medium to explore.

What is your take on the current crop of comic strips and do you have any personal favorites?

There are many I like, and there are several new channels that crop up every day. What I think is really remarkable in India is Brown PaperBag Comics. He's a real star and people are going crazy over him and I get it because he is so, so talented.

Of course, there are always going to be fresh faces in the industry, but since so many of them fail to make a lasting impact, it's tough to single out a single newcomer as a game-changer. It takes a while, but there are a few that I think could really alter the landscape.

How would you classify the underlying theme of War and Peas as and what was the primary ideology behind creating the same?

Oh! It's a sad, funny, terrific, and terrifying webcomic with a twist of melancholy and... I don't know, death! There's a lot of death. Death's the genre. Let's just combine thriller, comedy, drama, romance, and everything.

According to you, what is the one defining aspect/ advantage which separates the comic strip from other forms of literature?

I think of comics as a medium and I find problems when someone compares it to other things because it is so unique. There are some stories that you cannot tell otherwise. You have to tell those stories in a comic.

Sometimes we help ourselves by using words from a film or using a painting or an artwork, you know from the fine arts, but it is still a comic. It's unique and it is a medium on its own. It's hard to compare it [to others] for me.

Any message for budding cartoonists and comic strip enthusiasts across the world?

I would say, you should be very, very open-minded about where you are going, because you might think you want to be a webcomic artist, and yet, I don't know, you might end up becoming a sculptural artist.

A final quick question: Garfield or Calvin and Hobbes?

Oh Calvin and Hobbes, definitely. I am with the same publisher as well.

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Edited by Vinay Agrawal
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