Tag Archive for 'The Animation Workshop'

Cool Comics Documented


So, Cool Comics — the exhibition I co-curated at Gammel Holtegaard (greater Copenhagen) — is over. For a show running just a month on a modest budget and with very little prep time, I was impressed with what they pulled off at the gallery and it seems it was a success, with a good number of visitors and lots of media coverage through its run.

The director Mads Damsbo is really dedicated to showcasing the intersection between popular culture and high art and is planning to continue to do so in the coming years with new iterations of the Cool Comics idea. Color me excited that we have a gallery that devotes its energy simultaneously to such forms as comics, animation and digital media and to once popular, now enshrined high art such as the drawings of François Boucher — the object of a world class selection of drawings displayed beautifully at Gammel Holtegaard just prior to Cool Comics.

Click on over to the Bunker’s photo page to experience our virtual walk-through of the exhibition courtesy of our ailing Canon Ixus camera. Enjoy, and keep an eye on future shows at Gammel Holtegaard!

Apocalypse Now

Not that I want to jump on the silly media bandwagon or anything, but this End of Days affords me the opportunity to post the video above, for seminal Danish hip hop group Malk de Koijn’s “Braget” (‘The Boom’), written and directed atmospherically by Tobias Gundorff Boesen, alumnus of The Animation Workshop in Viborg — the school which has just announced a new educational track for comics makers. From the Gilliamesque vistas of a Copenhagen apocalypse to the Tarkoskyesque finish, it shows a keen visual talent and a sure directorial hand.

Happy Apocalypse. Next.

Educating Comics Creators


It’s been several years coming, it has taken a lot of hard work, but now it is here: the first professional educational track for comics creators in Denmark. Today, The Animation Workshop in Viborg, Denmark, announced their new four-year bachelor in graphic storytelling. And thus, a new chapter in Danish comics history seems to begin.

I believe this may well be a watershed for comics in Denmark. In our neighbouring country, Sweden, they have had two such programmes for over a decade and it has made a huge difference to local comics production, both in terms of quality and quantity. Although other factors have contributed, people in the know attribute the relative health of Swedish comics in large part to the schools in Stockholm and Malmö. So the potential here in Denmark seems evident.

For more than a decade, the Animation Workshop has been educating animators at a high level. It is an institution that enjoys great respect internationally, not the least because of its excellent guest lecturer/master class system. It is a primarily craft-oriented school, but the comics track is expressly defined as both market-oriented and auteur-driven. The idea is to educate cartoonists to develop their vision in comics form for application across as variety of media and platforms.

Director Morten Thorning and his team has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to have the programme approved by all the relevant instances. And we in the Danish Comics Council — particularly chairman Thomas Thorhauge along with Allan Haverholm, Lars Horneman, Kim Hagen, and Cav Bøgelund — have been along for the ride as consultants, instigators, and fellow advocates. Fruit of our labours and all that.

To read more about the new programme, please visit the website of The Animation Workshop. Non-Danes are more than welcome! And if you’re not already a member of The Danish Comics Council, please consider joining. Your membership makes a big difference to our work.

Illustration by Thomas Thorhauge.

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.

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.