Tag Archive for 'Ping Awards'

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?

Boom PING PING

Nikoline Werdelin for the win!


It’s been a week and half since the big show, but I still think this year’s Ping awards deserve a few words for what little international audience this site still has after months of hibernation.

The Ping awards is an annual set of awards given to comics in Denmark in the manner of the Angoulême Fauves or the American Eisners. Founded by the Danish Comics Council, the awards are a revivification of a differently conceived, hall of fame-type award of the same name which was bestowed on single creators through the early nineties, as well as of the awards programme hosted by the comics biennial Komiks.dk from 2004-2010. The Pings are named after one of the best known characters created by one of the greatest Danish cartoonists, Robert Storm Petersen, aka. Storm P. (1882-1949). Continue reading ‘Boom PING PING’

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.

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.
  • Danish Comics of the Year 2011


    This year, Danish comics culture is seeing the revival of the Ping Awards, an industry award last given back in the Nineties. Once a hall of fame prize, it is now awards cartoonists in five categories in the manner of the Angoulême Fauves. This year focuses on comics published in 2011, and five Danish comics have been selected in their particular category. Although I didn’t participate in the nomination process, I was involved in organizing the event, and was part of the jury that selected Rikke Bakman’s Glimt as Danish Comic of the Year. So I’m biased, but I can say immediately that it was very hard indeed to select a winner. Here are the five nominees — for my money not just the five best Danish comics of last year, but the strongest showing in Danish comics for a long time. Continue reading ‘Danish Comics of the Year 2011′

    Post-Ping


    The Ping Awards gala last night? A success, no doubt about it. Sold out, full house, crowded and fun! The young event team had pulled out all the stops and were almost entirely stress-free. Things just worked.

    Anyway, this was a major event in the small subculture that Danish comics, and one we hope will continue for many years. It was done on a shoestring budget and came off looking like, well, not like a million kroner, but really neat. And there was a real atmosphere of enthusiasm for comics, even from the media who have covered the event surprisingly soberly and smartly.

    As for the Danish prize winners, they were remarkable not only for their quality, but also for what they tell us about Danish comics right now. I’ve written at some length about each of the nominees for Best Danish Comic for Paul Gravett’s Best of 2011 rundown, and the general conclusion bears repeating here: this is perhaps the strongest showing in a single year of the last decade or more. A long time.

    Finally, it seems that Danish comics are shedding years of polished euro-mainstream fetishization of craft at the expense of ideas and expression. These comics have heart, they want to tell you something. Perhaps not unsurprisingly, the majority of them are by women.

    With Danish comics culture having been male-dominated for way longer than those even of our closest neighbors in Sweden and Finland, it seems women understandably have stayed away. The great Nikoline Werdelin has been the main exception to the rule for years. But now women creators are making waves like never before with strong, original work.

    That’s just one factor of course, but perhaps the most spectacular one right now. More generally, however, a new generation of cartoonists less concerned with the trends of the past is emerging, and considering the fact that the two big and longstanding big publishers, Carlsen and Egmont fused and went on more or less to implode a few years back, a surprising number of excellent comics from around the world are still being translated and published in Danish.

    There’s still much room for improvement of course, and it remains a rather small fragile comics culture, but things are looking up!

    Here are this year’s Ping winners:

  • Best Danish Debut: Post-it monstre by John Kenn Mortensen
  • Best Comic for a Younger Audience: Ankomsten by Shaun Tan
  • Best International Comic in Danish: Speedy Ortiz dør by Jaime Hernandez
  • Best International Comics : Habibi by Craig Thompson
  • Best Danish Online Comic: Signe Parkins & Drawings by Signe Parkins
  • The Hall of Fame Award: Rolf Bülow and Søren Pedersen, founders of Fantask
  • Best Danish Comic: Glimt by Rikke Bakman
  • Photo above by Niels Larsen. Check his Flickr set from the night here.

    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!