This comic book tells the story of four soon-to-be-married country girls. According to a recipe from an old book, eating hare rennet on one’s wedding night guarantees the conception of a boy. All the girls dream of that. That’s why they go into the woods to hunt a hare. The journey will have consequences… Fertility is the comic debut of Gosia Herba (artwork) and Mikołaj Pasiński (story).
Rennet or renin is a digestive enzyme produced in the stomachs of certain mammals. Today this enzyme is used to produce cheese, for instance. For centuries it was believed that if a woman ate hare rennet she would conceive a boy. You can read about it in Pliny’s Natural History or in Sylwan: A Collection of Forest and Hunting Teachings and Laws / Sylwan. Zbiór Nauk i Urządzeń Leśnych i Łowieckich – explains Gosia Herba. She adds that: This is only a starting point for a story for grown-ups about a clash of two worlds which are governed by different laws. The girls, who want to meet the cultural expectations of their world, disrupt the hare order and suffer horrible consequences. The title "fertility" is at first the cause of the characters’ actions; fertility later turns out to be a punishment.
The comic book was created using a mixed technique: Herba did the pencilling using ink and then added the colours digitally using a computer. The cover features a fragment of her painting In a Forest Dark and Deep (gouache on canvas). The album is 36 pages long and costs £13. It will be published in Great Britain in the beginning of December 2014. In Poland Fertility will be available only in selected stores.
This is a very universal story. It’s beautiful, brutal and beautifully drawn. We decided to publish this comic book in England because we were sure this album would draw reader attention – says Michał Słomka, director of the publishing house Centrala.
Herba is an art historian by education. She works as an illustrator. Her works have been published by the Washington Post, amongst others. She prepared the typography for Krzysztof Skonieczny’s movie Hardkor Disco. Herba also designs album covers.
Pasiński is an expert on culture. He deals with graphic design. Pasiński and Herba are currently working together on a children’s book.