Tag Archive for 'Nummer9'

Kirby at 100


Today, Jack Kirby, one of the great artists of the twentieth century and a visionary of the comics form, would have turned 100. For those unfamiliar with this extraordinary person and artist, or merely wanting to brush up, here’s a good primer and here is the touching and informative reminiscence by Kirby’s friend and erstwhile employee Mark Evanier, and here are a couple of really good pieces on his work reposted today by two great comics critics, Ken Parille and Andrei Molotiu.

I myself will be contributing a piece to the rolling celebration taking place all week at Danish comics site Nummer9, masterminded by my friend and occasional collaborator Henry Sørensen, whose feature-length 2009 essay on Kirby leads a variety of homages and critical takes. He posted the first part of it today, soon to be followed by the second, as well as the first of a series of tributes by Danish cartoonists. Meanwhile, Danish afficionados Morten Søndergård and Kim Schou have posted a two-hour podcast on Kirby. All of this, regrettably is only available in Danish, but if you do read the language stay tuned for more, including an article by yours truly which will feature the image above (from New Gods #5, 1971) and will subsequently be posted somewhere (probably here) in English, I hope.

Oh, there have of course also been a few posts on Kirby on this site. Among them are my thoughts on Kirby’s extraordinary transitional work on the Challengers of the Unknown in the late 1950s, my take on his last Fantastic Four story with Stan Lee, and my review of Evanier’s 2008 monograph, which has just been re-released to mark the centenary. Also, there is the provocative 2007 article by aforementioned Søndergård on his possible involvement not just in the creation of Spider-Man, but the execution of some of the first comics pages featuring the character. I don’t really believe it, but it is worth your attention, as is the debate it sparked, which features Evanier (again!) as well as Blake Bell, expert Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko, and others.

UPDATE: here’s my essay in Danish at Nummer9 and in English at The Comics Journal.

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The Week


The week in review

As is always the case, lots happened this week, but my preoccupation continues to be the implications of the 7 and 9 January 2015 murders in Paris, or at least what they are coming to represent. As Kenan Malik laments in his excellent op-ed piece for Göteborg-Posten, the initial wave of sympathy for the dead and the huge public manifestations which happened as a reaction all over France, and in other countries, exactly one year ago don’t seem to have changed much for the better when it comes to public opinion on freedom of speech and freedom of expression. European countries, France not least among them, continue prosecuting people for various forms of “hate speech” and “terrorist sympathies” while identity politics are leading educated people in increasingly absurd to silence others. And Islamist reactionaries and jihadists seem as determined as ever to silence any perceived transgressors, whether in the West or in Muslim majority countries, most recently and horrifically Saudi Arabia. At the same time, very few in the West are joining Charlie Hebdo in the necessary, continued testing of the boundaries. And frankly Charlie itself is much diminished now that several of their best cartoonists are either dead or have left the publication. Continue reading ‘The Week’

The Week

Here in the United States we are experts in the knowledge that editorial cartooning is a dying art. In other areas of the world, however, it is an art that people die for.

– Dr. Robert Russell

The week in review

The execution, earlier this year, of cartoonist Akram Raslan is another reminder of the untenable situation in Syria, of the kind we who are especially attuned to cartooning notice. As if we needed it. It is great that the deal to eliminate the country’s chemical weapons so far seems to be going ahead (though, what about the chemical weapons in Egypt and Iran?), and good to see that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this week. But I fail to see how the Assad regime can be regarded as anything but illegitimate by now. I realize the complexity of the situation in the region, how delicate affecting regime change would be, and the power vacuum any removal of the current despot in charge would cause, but how can one seriously contemplate having dealings with these mass murderers in the future? How will the region ever be more stable if they remain in charge? After a while, fear of change just becomes cynicism.

Links:

  • I really shouldn’t be giving it any attention, but the new “Leonardo” find this week is symptomatic of a rising trend toward sensationalist PR stunts in the art world, where often dubious pieces are trotted out as genuine works by one of the great masters. Another example is the recent, silly attempt to upgrade a Velasquez copy at Kingston Lacy. The press clearly laps it up, but in the long run it has to be a problem for anybody taking seriously the study and facilitation of knowledge of art, as well as to the market. And it clearly makes one wary even of more serious proposals, such as that of the new, possible Titian I wrote about the other day.
  • Speaking of new finds, the sensationalist rollout of the fantastic Van Gogh discovery by the Van Gogh Museum last month is scrutinised and found wanting by Gary Schwartz.
  • And speaking of Nobel Prizes, the one for literature of course went to Alice Munro, whom I suppose is deserving and all, but when is the committee finally going to give it to Bob Dylan? Bill Wyman made the by now long stated case once again before the prize was announced.
  • Pusha T’s new album My Name is My Name, seems poised as contender for album of the year if the singles are anything to go by. The Kendrick Lamar-featured “Nosestalgia” is hot, and “Pain”, released this week is Fyah! Also, check David Drake’s pre-release analysis here.
  • If you read Danish, Louise B. Olsen’s smart and elegant essay on Krazy Kat is a nice way to celebrate the centenary of that greatest of comic strips.
  • Oh, and this article on how the city of London has become an international tax haven for real estate speculators is just a depressing peek into the workings of global capitalism, not the least to somebody like yours truly who will soon be moving to that city.
  • 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.

    Building Stories Roundtable at Nummer9


    For those who read Danish, or are willing to brave a Google translation, myself and a few colleagues — Thomas Thorhauge, Erik Barkman and Johan F. Krarup — have discussed Chris Ware’s latest major publication, Building Stories — one of the past year’s most anticipated and remarkable comics — at some length in roundtable-style format. It’s at the comics site Nummer9 and can be read here.

    Hype: Tezuka in Viborg


    On Friday, The Animation Workshop in Viborg opened an exhibition on one of the greatest comics artists ever, the Japanese ‘God of Manga’ Tezuka Osamu. If you’re in the area, I urge you to go see it.

    And if you read Danish, here’s Thomas Stærmose’s newly-penned introduction to Tezuka’s work and career. Oh, and here’s Poul Petersen’s not-so-recent one.

    Tintin at Nummer9


    On the Danish comics site Nummer9.dk I’ve written a bunch of notes on two of Hergé’s earliest Tintin stories, the notorious Tintin in the Congo and the criminally overlooked Tintin in America as they were originally published in the early thirties. I touch upon everything from racism to humanism, from gag construction to panel composition. Unfortunately it’s in Danish, though I might try to translate it into English at some point. But yeah, now you know.

    Giraud/Moebius Remembered at Nummer9


    For the past three weeks, the Danish comics site has been remembering comics legend Jean Giraud/Moebius’ passing with articles, essays, reminiscences from a number of Danish creators, and — most interesting to a non-Danish reading audience: drawn homages. Go here for a panoply of drawings on “The Theme” by Denmark’s finest.

    Above is Jan Solheim, below Christian Højgaard reinterprets the last page of The Hermetic Garage.

    Ping Resurrected!

    Ping, by Storm P.

    In collaboration with the Danish Comics Council the festival Komiks.dk and the Storm P. Museum, the Danish comics site Nummer9 is now resurrecting the Danish comics award, The Ping, named after the great cartoonist Storm P.’s famous sidekick character.

    The Ping in its original iteration was awarded between 1986 and 1996 and was given to an individual for his or her contribution to Danish comics. The new Ping is rather different — it’s a set of awards given in multiple categories, much like the Eisners in the US or the Fauves in Angoulême, France. Nominees in six categories have been selected by the staff of Nummer9 with their votes tallied by Nummer9 editor-in-chief Erik Barkman, Comics Council president Thomas Thorhauge, and myself who therefore couldn’t nominate works ourselves. The winners will be selected by a jury, the members of which will be announced on 1 February and will be presented at an awards ceremony in Lille Vega, Copenhagen 28 February.

    Among the nominees are some of the remarkable Danish comics published this past year, several of which are of such high quality that one might hope for international editions in the near future. You will also find nominated in two different categories a number of the best non-Danish comics of 2011. The full list can be seen here.

    We’re very happy to announce the inauguration of Ping Resurrected, which would not have happened without the hard work of the great, hard-working organizing committee. Read more about them here. And do show up for the show — it’s going to be a great party!