Tag Archive for 'Copenhagen Comics'

Hype: Chris Ware Conversations


The latest volume in University of Mississippi Press’ series compiling interviews with individual cartoonists features Chris Ware. It is edited by Jean Braithwaite, characteristically beautifully covered by Ware himself, and includes a compelling selection of very different interviews spanning the cartoonist’s career — including rarely-seen ones made very early on in his career as well as a couple of brand new ones with Ware and one with his wife Marnie.

The book also contains my 2010 conversation (see here and here) with Ware from the Copenhagen comics festival Komiks.dk (which has since changed its name to Copenhagen Comics and whose most recent edition is coming up next month). I am proud in general to be in this series for the second time (the first was the Chester Brown volume; see also here) and in this particular, skilfully edited volume in particular. Do check it out.

This weekend: Copenhagen Comics and Ping!

Thomas Mikkelsen's poster for this year's Ping awards


Once again, it’s time for the gathering of local tribes in Copenhagen that is the biennial Copenhagen Comics. It’s this weekend and as usual it features close to every Danish comics professional and amateur you might imagine, including yours truly.

As always, the programme is wide-ranging, offering something for almost every taste profile, but this year with a special focus on children’s comics. The international headliner is Art Spiegelman who will be there along with his equally high-profile wife Francoise Mouly. Among the other international guests are Mathias Adolfsson, Simon Hanselmann, André Juillard, Steffen Kverneland, David Lloyd, Rutu Modan, Tommi Musturi, Herr Seele, and Thomas Wellmann.

Additionally, Saturday night sees the Ping awards ceremony, now in its fourth year since the revamp of the storied Danish comics award. It takes place at Lille Vega and will be as big, grand, and festive as ever. Do secure yourself a ticket before they sell out (as they invariably do).

Notably, the Ping group has already announced the recipient of this year’s grand, hall-of-fame type award, which goes to the historically crucial editor and publisher behind the publishing company Interpresse, Arne Stenby. A little-appreciated key person in Danish comics, without whom the culture would be immeasurably poorer. This recognition of his importance is long overdue and I’m happy to be part of it.

If you’re in town and have the slightest interest in comics, you cannot miss this. And look me up: I’ll be around most of the time both days, plus of course at the Ping ceremony (for which I had the pleasure once again of being part of the Jury). On Sunday I’m moderating a panel on comics, art and drawing featuring the above-mentioned Hanselmann, Kverneland, and Wellmann, as well as two excellent and outspoken Danish cartoonists: Rasmus Bregnhøi and Rikke Villadsen (at 11.00), as well as conducting an on-stage interview with the great Herr Seele, on his and Kamagurka’s hilarious strip Cowboy Henk (at 13.00).

See you?

Live from the Ping Awards


You may remember me writing about the Ping Awards in this space. But briefly: the Ping Awards are awards given annually to comics in Denmark at an annual gala show. There was an older award of the same name, a reference to one of the great Danish cartoonist Storm P.’s (1882-1949) most famous characters, but the present incarnation was founded in 2012 by the comics website Nummer9 in collaboration with the Danish Comics Council, the international comics festival Copenhagen Comics, and the comics magazine Strip!

Works are nominated in six categories by comics critics from Nummer9 and Strip! and the winners are selected by a jury comprising representatives from each of the founding bodies, as well as a number of independent critics, writers, artists and comics professionals. You can read much more on the Ping website, albeit only in Danish. (Sorry).

Anyway, this year’s Ping Awards were given out at a show at Lille Vega held in conjunction with Copenhagen Comics on 1 June in Lille Vega Copenhagen. It featured appearances from such international luminaries as Jaime Hernandez and Jill Thompson, as well as hilarious acceptance letters from awards winners Chris Ware and David Mazzucchelli. A sampling of the event has now been made available by the Ping team in the video above. Enjoy, and get in touch if you would like to know more about the Ping Awards.

Thanks for a Great Festival

Late Sunday crowd

Continue reading ‘Thanks for a Great Festival’

Hype: Danish Kuti


A Danish edition of the internationally distinguished Finnish comics newspaper will be released in Copenhagen this Friday. The release is marked by a reception at the Storm P. Museum, just in time for Copenhagen Comics — the grand, international comics festival which will take place in Øksnehallen, Copenhagen, this coming weekend.

Comics people on the festival circuit or their ear to the underground will be familiar with the free Kuti anthology, which since the early issues has been published with English subtitles and has already seen several local edition featuring cartoonists of a particular country. The Danish edition is the 28th issue published so far and half of it is entirely devoted to Danish artists. The editors of this section are Zven Balslev, Søren Mosdal, and Jacob Ørsted, while the other half, published under a separate cover on the flipside, has been edited by the publisher at the Kuti Kuti studio in Helsinki.

Artists included in the Danish section: Rikke Bakman, Johan F. Krarup, Storm P., Claus Deleuran, Zven Balslev (who has also provided the cover for the section, above left), Jacob Ørsted, Jon Andersen, Rikke Villadsen, Jan Oksbøl Callesen, Søren Mosdal, Bue Bredsdorff, Karla Holmbäck og Luca Bjørnsten. In addition to this, the section includes two articles on Danish comics, by Erik Barkman and yours truly.

Come to the reception and kick off your convention weekend in style. The Storm P. Museum is currently showing an impressive exhibition on the Japanese ‘God of Comics’ Osamu Tezuka, in case you need more convincing. If you are unable to come, pick up a copy at the festival or read in online here.

Hype: Copenhagen Comics 2013


This year sees the fifth international comics festival in Copenhagen, this year under the name Copenhagen Comics. I’m biased, but I think the organisers have put together a truly impressing program this year, topping even that of 2010, which was stellar. It’s on the weekend of June 1-2 at Øksnehallen in Copenhagen, with additional events on Friday 19.

Among the international guests are Anke Feuchtenberger, Jaime Hernandez, Melinda Gebbie, Emmanuel Guibert, and Jiro Taniguchi, while on the genre side, people like Jill Thompson, Brian Azzarello, Frazer Irving and Charlie Adlard are representing. As usual, there’ll be tons of events, interviews, workshops, exhibits, and all that.

In addition, we at the Danish Comics Council are planning an academic colloquium at the University of Copenhagen on Friday 19, free and open to all. The theme is teaching comics and comics as teaching tool. An international panel of scholars and cartoonists will be present and yours truly will be on hand to conduct an artist talk with Adlard, about storytelling, The Walking Dead, and cross-media success.

The culmination of the weekend, however, will no doubt be the Ping Awards ceremony on Saturday night. Last year, the the Danish comics website Nummer9.dk and the Danish Comics Council launched this new industry award, named after the beloved Storm P. character from the strip Peter og Ping, in collaboration with the Storm P. Museum. After a sold-out smash of a party last year, we’re looking forward hopefully to topping ourselves with an even more ambitious show. Read more about the show, the awards and the people behind at the Ping website (and on Facebook), and buy your ticket now, before they sell out.

Above: Bunker denizen Thomas Thorhauge’s festival poster. See his process report here.

The Week


The week in review

Whew! What a week. It seems the great things that have been brewing in Danish comics for the last few years are finally starting to make waves, what with a year of excellent and innovative homegrown comics, the resurrected Ping Awards, plans proceeding for an official educational track for comics makers at the fine Animation Workshop in Viborg, and the ambitious further development of the comics festival Komiks.dk, which has now changed its name to Copenhagen Comics and will once again be held in Øksnehallen, Copenhagen, in 2013 — bigger and better than ever, if the current signs are to be believed.

It’s all still baby steps of course, and there’s a long way to go before we can talk about genuine consolidation in terms of financial security or cultural clout. As things are, much of all this is run on a volunteer basis and a shoestring budget and it remains hard to muster the support, public or private, for comics accorded to other art forms in the country.

Still, the will seems to be there and good comics continue to be made. The photo above is from the release on Thursday of sometime Bunker denizen and my long-time collaborator (and Danish Comics Council chairman, and Ping director) Thomas Thorhauge’s latest comic, Det sidste ord (‘The Last Word’). The book compiles a series of strips done for the film section of the daily Politiken from 2009-2010, adding two longer, similar strips from elsewhere as well as a brand new one.

The concept is one that harks back to “M”, his contribution to BLÆK, an anthology we edited together in 2006 — a comic reprinted in English in the Fantagraphics/Aben Maler production From Wonderland with Love. Thomas takes authentic quotes from figures of interest and illustrates them in comics form. In the case of the Politiken strips, the focus is a diverse range of personalities from cinema. (One, on Godard, is republished in English here).

In the newspaper, they were primarily fun, satirical mini-portraits of the celebrities involved, but taken together they become much more than that — Thomas has been sensitive to certain types of quotes, dealing with issues of vanity, desire, aging, legacy, and death, and has crafted from them an acutely personal statement on life, all the while producing a very funny book. A direct jump from his last book’s youthful aspirations to something anticipating mid-life reflection. Give it a (second) look.

Photo by Frederik Høyer-Christensen. The entire set is here.

This week’s links:

  • Obama on Iran. The American President talks to Jeffrey Goldberg in anticipation of his meeting today with the Israeli Prime Minster and his address at AIPAC.
  • Carl Th. Dreyer on his métier. Recorded at the Copenhagen cinemathèque in 1968, Dreyer answers questions from film students a few weeks before his death. Fantastic, although sadly not subtitled in English (yet?). (Thanks @monggaard!)
  • Matt Seneca on Guido Crepax. A passionate examination of the comics of the Italian master. Replete with rather shaky assertions, but great on observation.