Monthly Archive for April, 2008

Hype: Stripdagen Haarlem

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Stripdagen in Haarlem has long been known as one of the best small comics festivals in Europe, consistently offering quality programming and notable international guests. This year’s festival, which runs from June 6-8, looks to be no different, with a group exhibition of artists from the collectives FRMK, La Cinquiène couche and La Mycose being the central attraction announced so far.

Full disclosure: I’m in the nominating jury for the so-called VPRO Grand Prize, for which Chris Ware, Naoki Urasawa and Dominique Goblet have been singled out. The winner will be selected by an independent committee of some hundred Dutch and Belgian comics experts.

Additionally, it has been announced that the nominees for the national prize, the so-called Hoogste Prijs, are Hanco Kolk, Peter de Wit and Marcel Ruijters. The winner will be chosen by the same committee. Also, the VPRO debut prize will be given to Randall C.

Go, if you can!

Images from Goblet’s Faire semblant c’est mentir, Ware’s 2007 Thanksgiving covers for the New Yorker and Urasawa’s Monster.

Re: Danmark hægtet af III: Komiks.dk


Matthias Wivels og overtegnedes indlæg i Strip!, Danmark hægtet af, har afstedkommet endnu en reaktion (som efterfølgende besvares behørigt af yours truly) – denne gang fra Komiks.dk’s formand Mads Bluhm, der skriver:

Vi har fra Komiks.dks side fulgt den omfattende debat, som er opblomstret på henholdsvis metabunker.dk og Seriejournalen.dk som følge af en række artikler i magasinet Strip!

Vi synes langt hen ad vejen, at det har været en god og konstruktiv debat, men vi kan ikke sige os fri for at være lidt forundrede over påstanden om, at Komiks.dk ikke skulle have nogen klar vision.

Komiks.dks vision er at vise alle facetter af tegneseriekulturen, både det kommercielle og vidtfavnende samt avantgarden og det mere nicheprægede. Vi ønsker at afspejle alle aspekter af kunstformen og vise, at tegneserier spænder lige fra underholdende striber og hæfter til tankevækkende fortællinger, grafiske romaner og skæve kunstneriske rammebrydere. Men hvis man forstår “vision” som en målsætning om at presse tegneserien i en bestemt retning, så er det ikke vores bord. Continue reading ‘Re: Danmark hægtet af III: Komiks.dk’

Hype: Komiks.dk

teddy_plakat_lille.jpgBetween May 31st and June 1st, the third installment of the International Danish Comics Festival, Komiks.dk, will take place in Copenhagen. Its programme is broad and truly international in scope, with guests ranging from the French veterans Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières (Valerian) and a couple of the more interesting names in American mainstream comics, Duncan Fegredo (Hellboy) and Sean Phillips (Criminal), to such modern masters as David B. (Epileptic) and Martin tom Dieck (Hundert Ansichten der Speicherstadt). And just announced: two mangaka, Kouhei Nishino and Tsugumi Nishino (Cybermanga) — the first time Japanese cartoonists visit Denmark in an official context.

After the successful first festival, in 2004, this event quickly became THE comics event in Denmark, and the second time around only served to consolidate that position, despite a certain amount of criticism for lack of focus and critical attention to contemporary comics from certain parts of the comics community, including ourselves (ie. Rackham). This time around, the organisers have attempted to address the problems of the earlier festivals as best they could and the result is an impressive programme, remarkably inclusive, while still generally maintaining a high level of quality.

Full disclosure: yours truly is on the festival jury and will be participating in the programming. Still, don’t let that hinder you from going. It’s going to be a great time, and — I’m sure — proof that Danish comics culture is still alive, despite what one might otherwise think. I’m psyched already!

Komiks.dk 2008: Full guest list. Rackham‘s reports from the 2004 and 2006 festivals (in Danish), pictures from 2004 and 2006. Poster by Teddy Kristiansen.

Hype: Portfolio Review på Komiks.dk

portrevlogogg3.gifHenrik Rehr har sendt mig denne meddelelse om et af de nye, konstruktive tiltag på den kommende danske tegneseriefestival Komiks.dk, om hvilken der kommer mere senere:

Få en professionel vurdering af dine evner som tegneserietegner!
En lang række af Danmarks førende udgivere og udførende inden for tegneseriemediet, står parat til at give DIG et ord med på vejen. Inspiration, konstruktiv kritik, ideer og forslag til hvordan du kommer videre og om du har en chance på markedet. I hvert fald får du nu en enestående chance for at go one-on-one med folk der ved hvad de taler om – og om hvad DU har af muligheder.

Du kan se hvem du har mulighed for at snakke med på oversigten herunder. Du SKAL bestille tid i forvejen – ellers er der gode chancer for at gå forgæves. Medmindre andet er angivet får man 10 minutter – så find ud af PRÆCIS hvornår du har tid. Tænk bl.a. på om der er andre ting på Komiks.dk-programmet du ikke vil gå glip af. Du bestiller tid ved at sende en mail til: drk@idworks.dk, emne: Port Rev. Skriv dit navn, og hvem du vil tale med og PRÆCIS hvornår du kommer. Efterhånden som tiderne bliver optaget vil oversigten blive opdateret. Continue reading ‘Hype: Portfolio Review på Komiks.dk’

Picks of the Week

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The picks of the week from around the web.

  • Q & A with David Barstow. The journalist behind this week’s contender for the Pulitzer answers FAQs about his piece on the Pentagon’s propaganda campaign at the major American networks.
  • Bart Beaty on David Hajdu on Frederic Wertham (parts one, two, three). The discussion of the 50s comics clampdown continues. Comics and media historian Bart Beaty criticises the book that reignited the debate and paints a more nuanced picture of the psychiatrist who became the number one boogeyman of comics fandom.
  • Will Eisner’s Joe Dope. Check out this selection of scans from Will Eisner and his studio’s instructional comics for the US Army. The interface sucks, but it’s worth it (hat tip: Dirk Deppey).
  • Bleed Runner — Updated!

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    The long-awaited Blade Runner — The Final Cut, which was released last autumn in a new transfer in digital format, is in many ways a model example of how to restore and update a classic film. It contains none of the ill-advised anachronisms seen in such projects as the remastered Star Wars movies, and neither has the director tampered insensitively with his assertive yet delicate masterpiece the way Francis Ford Coppola did with Apocalypse Now: Redux. The tweaks to the edit mostly enhance rather than impair the movie, while the corrections of continuity gaffes and shots deemed inadequate have been carried out with care and do not disrupt the experience of the film.

    Unfortunately, however, the director and restorers have been unable to resist the temptation of adjusting the picture to fit what one presumes is their 21st-century notion of what an edgy SF film should look like. The vivid colour of the original, that glorious early 80’s pastel and neon-sheen overseen by the late, great director of photography Jordan Cronenweth, has been bled from of the Final Cut to leave us with the bleak, desaturated ‘blue steel’ look pioneered by James Cameron in the 90s and now ubiquitous in contemporary Hollywood action films, including those of Blade Runner director Ridley Scott. Continue reading ‘Bleed Runner — Updated!’

    Hype: Warren Craghead — “Petals, a Spell”

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    Warren Craghead, one of the most interesting and innovative cartoonists working the boundaries of the medium today, has just released an “origami comic” to his website for free! Go, download the PDF, print it, and fold along the dotted lines. And while you’re at it, go check out these postcards by him. What, exactly, are you waiting for, again?

    The First Victim of War

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    “The strategic target remains our population… We can lose people day in and day out, but they’re never going to beat our military. What they can and will do if they can is strip away our support. And you guys can help us not let that happen.”

    – General Conway, Director of Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff

    If you only read one news article this week, make it this exposé on the Pentagon propaganda programme in support of the war in Iraq, written by David Barstow and just published by the New York Times. It brilliantly details how “Internal Pentagon documents repeatedly refer to the military analysts as “message force multipliers” or “surrogates” who could be counted on to deliver administration “themes and messages” to millions of Americans “in the form of their own opinions”, relying amongst other things on surprisingly candid accounts by many of these analysts themselves. It especially focuses on the Government countermeasures undertaken to discredit the 2006 so-called “Generals Revolt” for then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to step down.

    This is simply shocking reading. Not only for the utterly cynical, callous and irresponsible approach to public office of Rumsfeld evidenced by his handling of this insidious propaganda programme, but for the major American media’s apparent utter lack of critical vetting of by these “independent analysts”, several of whom doubled as military contractors with the government, consistently relying on them for information about the war effort for years on end. We all know that Fox News has basically acted as the Fourth Branch of the Bush Government over the last 7 years, but the success of this propaganda effort reaches way beyond that, extending to all the major networks. A bleak picture.

    Photo montage from the New York Times.

    Congratulations, Gordon!

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    Finally, the stupid-ass lawsuit against comics retailer Gordon Lee, for having available a free comic in which Picasso’s limp dong is shown for two and a half panels in a completely non-sexual situation where a kid could pick it up (oh, the horror!), has been finally and conclusively dismissed. Shame on whichever idiot “concerned parent” and assorted “well-meaning citizens” it was that brought this ridiculous thing into the world to cause Lee anguish for several years and cost both him, the CBLDF and the Georgia taxpayers way too much money.

    Cartoonist and Dickasso illustrator Nick Bertozzi on the case, in his Bunker interview.

    Continuous Creation — Titian’s Nuova Natura

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    This 2006 essay, posted here to supplement the review of the Spring 2008 Titian show in Venice, is an attempt, firstly, to analyze the loose finish of Titian’s late pictures as a natural development in his art with roots as far back as the beginning of his career, and, secondly, to provide a contemporary theoretical framework for it in order to assess its aesthetic implications for the cinquecento beholder. Continue reading ‘Continuous Creation — Titian’s Nuova Natura’

    Picks of the Week

    The picks of the week from around the web.

  • Winsor McCay’s 1911 Little Nemo cartoon (above). For no other reason that it’s bloody awesome. McCay’s all the rage again, here’s a good article by Jeet Heer.
  • Great DJ Shadow breaks mix. Kinda the Cliff’s notes to a bunch of Shadow classics, but first and foremost a bunch of good music.
  • Inkstuds: Gary Panter podcast. Three hours worth of interview with one of the greatest cartoonists working today.
  • David Bordwell on There will be Blood and the Long Shot in contemporary film. Great analysis of a scene from P. T. Anderson’s movie and of the current trend for fast editing.
  • Vil I til MoCCA?

    Hermed videregives besked fra det danske konsulat i New York vedrørende årets MoCCA-festival. Sidste år var Danmark velrepræsenteret — er I på igen i år?

    Kære danske tegneseriefolk

    Tak for jeres deltagelse i Mocca 2007. Vi har fået mulighed for i alt 8 nordiske borde endnu et år og ved godt at det er en sen udmelding, da festivalen allerede finder sted 7.-8. juni. Men I skal alligevel have tilbudt to borde til danske forlag og tegnere, som måtte have lyst til at benytte sig af dem. Så vi har tilladt os hurtigt at gribe chancen og booke dem. Vi dækker udgiften til leje af de to borde men kan ikke tilbyde at dække andre udgifter. Hvis ingen fra dansk side kan bruge dem, vil de blive givet til de øvrige nordiske lande, så de kan brede sig noget mere. Det vil komme til at fungere meget lavpraktisk i forhold til sidste år: Er der nogen af jer, som gerne vil deltage, vil I selv skulle koordinere jeres deltagelse og brug af bordet. Vores kulturkontor her på Generalkonsulatet er nemlig lukket fra 1. maj og frem til 1. september på grund af en vacance, da jeg forlader jobbet som kulturattaché. Men assistent Louise Yung Nielsen vil kunne kontaktes for tilmelding og vil have kontakten til de to nordiske koordinatorer, Mats Silberg fra det norske generalkonsulat og Johan Brunkvist fra det svenske generalkonsulat.

    Så tilkendegiv om I er interesseret i at deltage ved at sende en email til Louise på louini@um.dk. Hendes telefon nummer her på det danske Generalkonsulat i New York er 001 212 705 4958. Louise vil også være den, som fremsender de praktiske informationer i forhold til indregistrering, hvor bordene er etc.

    I er meget velkomne til at give følgende tilbud videre til kollegaer indenfor branchen, som ikke har fået denne email. Henrik Rehr her i New York har spurgt om vi vil garantere et år eller to mere – det kan vi godt melde ud at vi gerne vil – såfremt den fællesnordiske oplevelse er lige så positiv som sidste år. Mocca er altså ikke noget det danske Generalkonsulat vil gå ind i alene, men vi vil følge en fælles nordiske beslutning om at gentage projektet. Og det ser sådan ud i øjeblikket.

    Mange hilsener

    Irene Krarup

    Imagined Communities

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    One of the fifty vignettes in Roy Andersson’s new film, Du Levande — or You, the Living in English — takes place in a basement-level office of what looks like a small-time service-provider, run in the old school fashion, on coffee and danish with dirty shirtsleeves, junk in the corners. A portly man sits at a small table in the foreground, leafing through a binder without paying much attention, punching a calculator with his pen. In the offices behind him two other men can be seen at their desks. One of them, in the office to the right, suddenly gets up, slightly startled, comes to the door and asks: “Did anyone call for me?”

    The Calculator lethargically replies in the negative, but turns obligingly to the other office, behind him and to the left, and asks the man we see in there. He doesn’t recall having called either, but perhaps their colleague, whose head now peeks into the frame like a glove puppet, might’ve? No, he hasn’t. Someone’s feet park a bike outside, at the upper edge of the office windows. Shrug. Nobody called. Continue reading ‘Imagined Communities’

    Hype: ZaMZaM Arts: Figurine

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    You in Washington DC? Have time this evening? Go to the opening of ZaMZaM Arts’ latest show, featuring work by Laura Falzon, Sangbin Im, Richard Jochum, Kevork Mourad, Aphrodite Desiree Navab, and Sarah Siddiqui, at the Touchstone Gallery. Prime mover of the project, Siddiqui, is a good friend and a firebrand organiser — her project is interesting. Go check it out.

    The opening is from 6-8.30, and the show runs till May 4.

    Picks of the Week

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    The picks of the week from around the web.

    Been busy this week, so not much of a selection this time around. However check these out:

  • Get your Rusty Brown on with the Legion of Lego Superheroes (above). How many of them do you recognize, without looking at the Cliff’s notes?
  • The Comic Book scare contd. Following last week’s links to Jeet Heer and Bart Beaty’s discussion of psychologist Frederic Wertham and the great comic book scare of the 1950s, here’s novelist Michael Chabon defending his portrayal of Wertham in his novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and both Heer and Beaty responding. For completeness sake: The New Republic is running a discussion between comics critic Douglas Wolk and the author of the book that started all this in the first place, David Hajdu, but it is not particularly interesting unfortunately.
  • Nico and Warhol as the Dynamic Duo.