Monthly Archive for November, 2011

KOLOR KLIMAX-signering i Fantask på fredag


Kom til signering af den nye store nordiske tegneserieantologi KOLOR KLIMAX — Nordic Comics Now på fredag d. 25 november i tegneseriebutikken Fantask, Skt. Pedersstræde 18, København, kl. 16-19. Mød tegnerne Peter Kielland, Johan F. Krarup, Mårdøn Smet og Thomas Thorhauge, der alle har bidraget til bogen, samt undertegnede, der har redigeret den.

Læs mere om KOLOR KLIMAX her; se billederne fra sidste uges reception på Din Nye Ven her.

KOLOR KLIMAX Sneak Release — The Photos!

Johan F. Krarup, Henrik Andreasen and Marianne Eskebæk Larsen at the release party.


As mentioned here previously, last Thursday saw the Danish sneak release of the Nordic comics anthology KOLOR KLIMAX (to be released in the US and internationally by Fantagraphics Books in March). It was a fine evening; lots of Copenhagen comics folk turned out. Here are some photos hastily snapped at idle moments. Enjoy!

Same day saw a fine review by Bart Beaty, published at Comics Reporter. I was happy to see that he noticed not only some of the consolidated talents, but some relatively new ones, Johan F. Krarup and Mikkel Damsbo/Gitte Broeng, who I also think contributed really outstanding pieces to the book. Here’s a pull quote from Bart:

“Ultimately, there is no way not to recommend Kolor Klimax. It showcases a wide range of extremely talented cartoonists, and will open your eyes to a whole world of comics that get far too little attention. Something to anticipate for Spring.”

The Week (A New Day)


As I was writing this, my wife went into labor. Our child arrived nine days earlier than expected. It may have been the bass. I’m lost for words, except to say that publishing this, in a sense, is the best way for me to mark here at the Bunker this singular event in our lives.

Attended two great concerts this weekend, both featuring key players in the independent hip hop movement of the early naughts. Sole, formerly of Anticon, performed at Stengade 30, alone with a laptop, on Friday, while the Rhymesayers collective (featuring Greives and Budo, Blueprint, Brother Ali, Evidence, and Atmosphere) ended their European tour at Store Vega this night.

Attending these shows in such close succession recalled for me that very special moment in hip hop in the early naughts when the genre was expanding in so many different directions at once, seeing white suburbia embrace it on an artistic level theretofore unknown outside the inner cities and with an entirely new set of sensibilites. It seemed then, suddenly, that the sky was the limit for the art form. Eminem was only the most visible exponent of a watershed in hip hop that ran the gamut from his confessional hardcore to the hermetic abstractions of Anticon.

Atmosphere were at the center of this, defining a midwestern hip hop sound on the balance between boom bap and breaking form, while Anticon created an avant-garde within the avant-garde with their heady lyrics, abstract flows and arrythmic production.

Problem was it kind of ebbed. Only a few of the innovators of these years have kept up the steam they were building from grains of salt in those years. They foundered and lost their way as they got older and life became more complex, and as hip hop once again shifted in character and its prime innovations increasingly came southern fried.

Atmosphere are one of the few exceptions to the rule. They have continued to grow, releasing music that reflect their age and experience, and they still rock a show like few others in hip hop. Although we sadly lost their early associate, the insanely gifted Eyedea, last year, they continue to surround themselves with solid talent. Brother Ali, a born stage performer if a somewhat weak songsmith, tends to steal the show as did he this night, but Blueprint and the new Rhymesayers signee Evidence (of Dilated Peoples) held their own too.

Sole, who left Anticon last year and currently resides in Colorado has had a more difficult time of it, but then his artistry has always been grounded in personal difficulty, and he has kept releasing some high quality music, much of it under the collaborative moniker Sole and The Skyrider Band. He has become more politically aware, less introspective, but has also lost some of the personal nerve that made his first two albums, Bottle of Humans and Selling Live Water, classics. His barebones setup on Friday in no way impeded an intense performance which at times seemed defiant assertion that his approach to hip hop, an approach that has all but been eclipsed today, is still a vibrant alternative.

No links this week. It’s all been a little hectic.

A House Divided – The Crisis at L’Association

A House Divided – The Crisis at L’Association

In-depth reportage for The Comics Journal on the recent crisis at the seminal comics publisher: part 1, part 2.

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Leonardo i Weekendavisen

Portræt af Cecilia Gallerani ('Kvinden med hermelinen'), ca. 1488, olie på træ, 54,8 x 40,3 cm., deponeret på Nationalmuseet, Krakow.


I denne uges Weekendavis kan man læse min anmeldelse af den forrygende Leonardo-udstilling, der netop er åbnet på National Gallery i London. Se den udstilling hvis du overhovedet kan.

Desværre har avisen ikke fundet plads til at gengive et af de billeder jeg diskuterer indgående, nemlig portrættet af Cecilia Gallerani, i fuld størrelse (det reproduceres i beskåret form i topmenuen på kultursektionens forside). Men her er det så.

KOLOR KLIMAX /// Sneak Release /// 17 November /// Copenhagen


Join us this Thursday, 17 November from 5pm, at
Din Nye Ven, Skt. Pedersstræde 34, Copenhagen, for the sneak release of KOLOR KLIMAX, the new Nordic comics anthology helmed by the Finnish Comics Society, edited by yours truly and set for American release in March from Fantagraphics Books.

The release will see the participation of the Danish contributors to the book, copies will be available for sale, and there might even be a little something for early birds. See you there!

KOLOR KLIMAX on Facebook. Follow KOLOR KLIMAX on Twitter @Metabunker.

The Week

The week in review.

Another fine week. Spent a few days in London for work and had the chance to see a number of the exhibitions on display there. I will return to the landmark Leonardo show at the National Gallery presently and hopefully also to the eye-opening Degas show at the Royal Academy, and perhaps even the enjoyable John Martin retrospective at the Tate. Here, however, I just wanted to attach a few words to the Gerhard Richter retrospective at the Modern.

Extremely well-received critically as well as commercially, Richter is no doubt one of the heavy hitters of contemporary painting. It is easy to see why. Clearly an intelligent artist, he speaks directly to central aspects of postmodern discourse, engaging in his work trauma (the Holocaust) and ideological violence (Rote Armee Fraktion), art history (from Titian to Mondrian), as well — and most essentially — his own medium. His art, which merges the techniques of photography and painting in innovative ways and alternately emphasizes and suppresses the author’s hand simply screams META!

Essentially, however, he is a purveyor of kitsch. Yes, he can emulate strikingly the look of a photograph, but beyond the theoretical reception his subversion of mechanical reproduction enables, these pictures are self-importantm, dim reiterations of his paragons, from Friedrich, Redon and Hammershøi to Duchamp and De Kooning. Gimmicky but decorative — hi-fi bank art, fit for the transnational corporate penthouse. Where he really shows his hand, however, is in his abstract art, particularly his squeegee paintings. Loud and garish, they lack any real sense of color or expressive touch. The work of an intellectual, not a painter.

The week’s links:

  • Not really a recommendation, but the distinguished T. J. Clark provides a lengthy counterargument to my little rant above in this panegyric to Ricther.
  • R. Fiore on Will Eisner’s instructional comics for PS Magazine. The Comics Journal‘s venerable critic is in fine form here in this essay on one of the puzzles of Eisner’s career.
  • The legendary hip hop producer marks the sad passing this week of golden age great Heavy D with a great mix of testimonials (and often rare) gems from the Hevster’s career.
  • Above: Gerhard Richter, Cage 4 (2006).

    Heavy D RIP


    Yesterday saw the passing of golden age hip hop MC Heavy D, “The Overweight Lover,” at the too-early age of 44. Best know to the world at large as the man who spat the nimble rap verse on Michael Jackson’s “Jam” (1992), he was an important figure in 80 and early 90s hip hop whose substantial contribution is perhaps a little overlooked today.

    Musically, his greatest contribution was arguably helping define the so-called ‘new jack swing’ sound along with producer Teddy Riley — the amped-up fusion of hip hop and r’n'b that ruled the airwaves through most of the nineties and eventually won over even Mr. Jackson himself. While this synthetic, slightly facile vein of pop music hasn’t dated all that well, however, the Hevster’s emceeing sounds as fresh today as ever. Continue reading ‘Heavy D RIP’

    The Week

    The Week in Review.

    As the Arab Spring is moving into its second, rather messy and somewhat disconcerting phase in certain countries, it figures that we would get another cartoon flareup. The firebombing of the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo is yet another low point in the ongoing and increasingly polarized discourse surrounding free speech and religious iconoclasm today. In this post-Danish cartoons landscape, the despicably violent response of the anonymous firebombers naturally tends to get all the attention, but it is also the easiest part of the event to deal with, in that it can be condemned outright.

    The real question, as I see it, is why Charlie Hebdo figured it was a good idea once more to trot out the “likeness” of Muhammad. I found Luz’ cover, showing the prophet threatening a hundred lashes to whoever didn’t find it funny, worth a chuckle, but what purpose did it really serve? Why, exactly, did we need this piece of satire? The extra-legal power exercised by Islamic extremists deserves to be mocked and condemned, but it is also something most of us can easily agree to despise (stay safe Charlie!). It seems to me, however, that the blunt instrument of depicting the prophet merely further encourages these maniacs, while broadcasting once again that the beliefs of millions of non-violent Muslims is apparently not worthy of respect here in the West.

    Satire has no prerogative to be constructive, but free speech is such a potent idea that ceding it to this kind of bullying is unfortunate. Yes, we are entitled to insult whatever belief we like, religious or otherwise — and that is how it should be (good on Libération to open their offices to Charlie) — but it would reflect well on our principles if we also employed them to speak out against the general coarsening of what was once civilized discourse.

    Oh, yes, links:

  • Slavoj Žižek on the Arab Spring, the recession, Occupy Wall St., and everything else going on. Rambling and insightful as usual, Žižek is always good company. It all comes back to communism, of course…
  • Gary Groth interviews R. Crumb. This is perhaps the quintessential Comics Journal interviewer/ee constellation, and although this time around is a little light-weight, it’s still the good and fun read you’d expect from these guys.
  • A House Divided: The Crisis at L’Association

    Mattt Konture, Killoffer, Stanislas, Lewis Trondheim, Jean-Christophe Menu, David B., Philippe Dupuy and Charles Berberian in Angoulême in 1991. Photo Courtesy lewis Trondheim.


    I’ve spent some of the summer interviewing a number of the central figures in and around seminal French comics publisher L’Association (publishers of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and many other quality books) about the crisis they’ve been through over the last year or so. An interpersonal crisis that eventually led to a strike amongst the employees and resulted in the return of four of the publisher’s estranged co-founders as well as the departure of another, Jean-Christophe Menu, and his announcement of a new publishing house, L’Apocalypse. The first part is now up at The Comics Journal, with the second to follow soon.

    The Author’s Face?


    The Tintin movie makes good on the promise of not disgracing its august comics source. Spielberg is a pro and he delivers what he does best — a sense of adventure and possibility and a sufficiently sensitive approach to his film technology that his characters come alive despite the mo-cap plastic feel. The rewrite of the books (mainly The Secret of the Unicorn and The Crab with the Golden Claws) is well thought out and most of the characters are well realized, with good voice performances all round. The personal, slightly brooding and troubled subtext of Hergé’s work pretty much gets lost in the mix, but hey — this is a popcorn movie and a pretty good one.

    Spielberg hits a couple of false notes. Continue reading ‘The Author’s Face?’