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Stockholm International Comics Festival 2014 - Day One Convention Report

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Stockholm International Comics Festival 2014 - Day One Convention Report (Part Two)

[ is coughing up blood, so I’ll resume my notes in a separate post. (Too many pictures!)]

The ‘Kulturhuset' is buzzing with comics folks of all persuasions. Overseas comics? Yep. Manga? Yep. Svensk Spandex? Panel on Uruguay comics? (Below) They’ve got it all. 


 I’m intrigued by the phone-book sized volumes of Mattias Elftorp, who’s not only created two tomes of “Piracy Is Liberation”; he’s actually *torrented* them to walk his talk. We talk on corporatization, brain jacks, cyberpunk nostalgia and hype around the ‘Pirate Party’.   

(I’m reminded of the quote I’d seen walking downstairs in the Kulturhuset: Reading rebels against the managed world of information & the chaotic world of data. Reading is meaning. Jeanette Weinterson, 2011. It doesn’t matter if you’re a programmer, a punk or a librarian, there are tools available for you to avoid being steered into someone else’s narrative.)

For a taste, check out Mattias’ collection of stories, ‘A Subtle Fuck You’. 

Hey, there’s a table full of Finns! (I’m part Finn though you’d never know it.) They’ve got all kinds of goodies to share, including a children’s anthology. I really enjoy seeing alternative and counterculture folks look to strengthen the next generation. (What, you’re  going to leave it to Disney?) 

Shout Outs:

Souvenirs of Kashmir (dramatic parable by Henrik Soderstrom) and Moony Lena (surreal excursions by Marlena Lampinen). 

Ellen Greider's heartfelt 'Konversationer' and 'flyttfaglar'. 

Fanzine Mot Rasism: heck yeah. 

Den Hudlosa Flickan - by multimedia marvel Kristin Eklund. 

Accessible works by Linda Pedersen (An Ordinary Week) and an intriguing novel adaptation by Tove Sorblom. There’s more, what I don’t catch in today’s notes I’ll catch in some mini-reviews. 

I wrap up the day with a huge stack of comics. And draw one of my own, with an assist from the Festival staff.

For more comics goodness? Check out this cover gallery with links to author web sites.

[FYI: Hopping on a plane tomorrow. So Day Two may follow a week from now.] :)

Stockholm International Comics Festival 2014 - Day One Convention Report (Part One)

Illustration: Nina Hemmingsson

Your roving reporter had the very good fortune to be in town for the *exact* same week as Stockholm International Comics Festival 2014. Serendipity? I’ll just roll with it.   

As I walk up the stairs of the ‘Kulturhuset’ I spot a young man in a ‘Captain America’ outfit. (It takes all sorts to make proper spectacle.) 

I’ve got 5 copies of QuickDraw and a few samples of comics from Our Books, no business cards. (A lesson for me: always travel prepared!) As this is a convention report, I’m just going to mention what catches my wandering eye and save detailed reviews for later. 

This last week in Stockholm I was treated to a delightful folk concert as I emerged from the subway one morning, advocating the point that ‘traditional culture does not mean prejudice.’” This was due to the current Sweden & EU elections. The issue of immigration is a hot topic and several friends and convention-goers expressed their concerns that there is an element of prejudice in limiting migration. 

Fitting, then, that the exhibition gives prominence to ‘Comics For Equality’.  

It’s a great book full of bite-sized stories *by* migrants *about* migrants. Not just an EU issue but a global one; if you’re going to the convention, don’t miss the exhibit! 

Entering the convention I’m given some free Swedish comics, Slass Som En Tjej, Scener Fran Paradiset, and Galago. “Holy cow, is this socialism?” I jibe. “No, sorry, that’s ended now.” is the deadpan rejoinder. 

I’m encouraged to take a look at one of the conference’s younger participants: Tyra Blomster isn’t out of high school yet and has her own color zine and a video to boot! “Fucking Problem" may be the title, but I don’t think she has a problem expressing herself. I ask to take a photo, it’s inspiring to see people who ‘take the microphone’ at an age when there’s intense social pressure to conform. 

I also encounter a table full of *African* comics… in Swedish! is an initiative to share comics and culture, and it’s very gratifying to see. I’m referred to the ‘Internationella Biblioteket’ staff to share Khmer (Cambodia) comics for their collection. 

There are plenty of manga-style comics, I pick up ‘The Art of Fika’ anthology by ThinkInkSweden. Fanny (the artist who’s tabling) has studied in Japan, which I’m a little envious of.

On the more serious end of the spectrum, try ‘God Hates Sweden’, relating to the issue of homophobia, with a *hilarious* ending that I won’t spoil for you.

I spot a table of - could it be? - USA feminist / queer / PoC zines! Rock on!

It turns out ‘TitWrench Stockholm' (above) is repping the 'Pampleteer Project’. Why zines for Sweden? Because even in a ‘progressive country’, overt discrimination can be just around the corner. Think I’m joking? Read this.

Zines, activism, music shows, is there anything ‘TitWrench’ won’t do? In addition to giving me some convention tips, they (very) generously give me two copies of ‘Kvarnby’. Rock on!

Kvarnby' is a very attractive (thick!) anthology, practially a 'who's who' listing of just about everyone in the show and many others. I hope to check out more about them and their efforts on the second day.

I make my way into the main room and do some comics grazing. Good gods, I can’t buy them all. It’s great to see a proper convention, in Cambodia it’s a much smaller scene. I buy Anna Syvertson's 'Punches'

and get some free fanzines from her table with Matthieu Cousin and Tove Sundstrou (?). Cute, one zine is done all left handed! And there are some ‘24 Hour’ Comics! Syvertson’s art reminds me a little of Kathy McLeod's style, and after lunch I return to buy everything they've got and snap a picture.

I manage to catch up with the Library folks, they have a convenient listing of comics and web comics they feature. Librarians have a special place in my heart, they are the bulwark against ignorance in many societies.

And next door to them I receive a warm welcome from Jigsaw comics, who are happy to swap some of their titles.

They’re students and they inform me about some distance learning comics courses - in Swedish and English. Cool! (I wonder just how far that distance could go?) I depart smiling for lunch with copies of Jigsaw, It Bugs Me, Forest Romance (above) and (yes) Comic Diarrhea. Cute and quirky. 

After lunch I explore the downstairs space. There’s an informal collective selling lots of ‘handmade’ style comics and tidbits: small prints and things. (I believe it’s ‘Kulturcollectivet Djuransikte?)

Today I settle for Asa Palmborg’s Kaleidoskop, Helena Stromborg’s Menanda #4, and Hanna Lundin Tistelo’s compelling screen-printed ‘REGNPERIOD’. Must research further. 

Near by Kate Beaton and Seth are signing their comics. Viva Canada! I’m a big fan of Kate’s pacing, and have been reading her comics since her early LiveJournal days.  

Upstairs I run into another Canadian, Dakota McFadzeann, who helps helm Irene anthology. I’m reserving my dwindling SEK for Swedish comics but I can’t resist picking up a copy. 

[ is coughing up blood, so I’ll resume my notes in a separate post. (Too many pictures!)] For more comics goodness? Check out this cover gallery with links to author web sites. <a href=”” target=”_blank” data-mce-href=””></a></p><h1> </h1>

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taken from Art as Life - an 80 page comic book about a free art...

taken from Art as Life - an 80 page comic book about a free art school in East Timor and working as a comic book artist in Melbourne, Australia. 

Working on new comics (cover test for FEVER 2 shown here) and a...

Working on new comics (cover test for FEVER 2 shown here) and a graphic novel about free art, but while I’m here writing on the computer let me tell you I am doing a mini comic of the month this round and you can subscribe here for a comic delivered every month for only $28 if you live in Australia or New Zealand and $40 anywhere else in the world. 

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I started this blog in 2003 during my first year at art school, that's now 11 years ago! It has done me well and I have avoided leaving it in the past. But it's time to finally set up a better website for myself.

RIP, Lauren Bacall

Caricature from the New York Observer

Caricature from the New York Observer

RIP, Robin Williams

MRS. DOUBTFIRE illustration from the New York Press, 1993

MRS. DOUBTFIRE illustration from the New York Press, 1993

I Try That Tilted Mirror Copying Method From TIM’S VERMEER

David Chelsea is reading: Updike by Adam Begley   By the way, Vanity Fair reportedly retouched Courtney’s hand so she wouldn’t be seen smoking while pregnant. Does anyone have a copy of the photo with cigarette intact? Blog post about my pre-fame brush with Courtney Love.

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