CBA vol 50 in the Supertoon selection + samples

CBA vol 50 was included in the official selection for the Supertoon animation & comics festival of 2021 (July 19-23).

We’re accompanied by some other CBK-related friends/artists, like Komikaze and Stripburger in the magazine selection and Radovan Popović and Igor Kordej in the book selection.

And of course the festival poster was made by Danijel Žeželj.

We won’t be at the festival, but a copy the book will be there!

CBA vol 50 is available at Hybriden, as is CBA subscriptions.

The above was reposted from the CBK website, so as an extra, here’s a bonus sample of my comic from the issue (Algorhythm, a new Piracy is Liberation story):

This one is also available as a separate zine.

BURNOUT

Right now, you can go see the BURNOUT exhibition at Hybriden.
It’s the release exhibition for the latest issue of CBA, which you can order here.

I’m the main editor of this issue, and I think there’s some great stuff in there.

Burnout has become an increasingly normal part of everyday life for many of us since the term was getting widespread use in the late 1900s. From hospital staff to comic creators to basically any job in the gig economy. Anyone who doesn’t have a steady income, or who is expected to do more work in less time than is reasonable, can feel it. So who or what is to blame? Could we create a situation, a systemic change, to avoid the conditions that cause burnout?

Of course, I’ve been working on my own burnout for about 20 years. I haven’t quite broken down yet, but who knows how long that can last? So when it was my turn to helm a new issue of CBA, I thought this theme must be one with a high recognition factor, not least among comics creators. We didn’t mean for the deadline to be extra short, but when it turned out that way it was tragically fitting.
In the end, I’m quite happy with the result.

Comics by: Steve Nyberg [SE], Mattias Elftorp [SE], Henna Räsänen [FI], Iso Sling Lindh [SE], Tom Mortimer [UK], Radovan Popović [RS], Aleksandar Opačić [RS], Manuel Rodriguez Navarro [DE], Felipe Kolb Bernardes [BR/DE], Korina Hunjak [HR], Julia Nascimento [BR], Aiden Kvarnström [SE]. Texts: Kinga Dukaj [SE], anonymous [SE], Lisa Weibull [SE]. Illustrations: Rasmus Gran [SE]. Cover & main editor: Mattias Elftorp [SE].

My own contribution, apart from the cover and editing, is a comic called BurnOut Boy. An attempt at comedy/semi-autobiography. Here’s a page:

The forgotten anthology (47)

Hey, it’s me.

I’m not very good at bragging. Mostly I just tell people (= blog about, post some link somewhere) about things I’ve been involved in and hope for the best, but I’m going to give it a try here, because far too few people bought CBA vol 47 that I was the main editor of (which I know because I’ve seen the orders).

I’m not even marketing my own stuff here, mostly, and I don’t make any money from the sales, so it’s self-less bragging, really. I do this for you. So here goes:

One of the things I did make in this volume was the cover, and I’m really happy with it. It’s a combination of a linocut print, a scan of the plastic sheet I used to mix the paint when I did the print, the old circuitboard I scanned and used for Piracy is Liberation after finding it at the dump in Skellefteå in the 1990s, and maybe some other random structures I had lying around. The letters of the title are left-overs from someone’s (Kinga’s?) lino cut-outs for something. Anyway, I had fun doing it and think it worked pretty well as a cover.

The first comic, by Avi Heikkinen was the winner of the comics competition in Oulu where I was one of the judges (because I got the honorary prize the year before). I really liked how it’s look of photo-based drawings worked well with the story about a camera that can look into the past, and a film-maker who becomes obsessed with it.

Next up is a comic I wrote and compiled, based on a nightmare that Kinga Dukaj had, built out of one of my favorites of her artworks. It’s one of those dreams where you dream that you wake up but then realize you’re still in the dream, then you wake up but realize you’re still in a dream and so on. Layer by layer. Scary stuff that made for a scary story that fit really well with her photomanipulation of a tree growing out of a skull.

Then there’s Danijel Žeželj. Danijel fucking Žeželj, just to emphasize, because not enough people have seen his works. And a lot have, because he’s worked on X-men, Superman and a whole lot of other stuff, self-published and at big publishers. I first heard about him from the Stripburger crew when they were visiting Malmö in 2005 and talked about Stripburger in particular and Balkan comics in general. I saw Žeželj’s stuff and immediately fell in love! First time we published him in CBA was later that year, or maybe the year after. We distributed a few copies of his book Small Hands, which is sadly out of print now, I think, but it’s one of my favorite comics. Anyway, it’s always great to have his stuff in one of our books and you should check him out if you don’t already know his works.

After discovering Balkan comics, I found Komikaze, a Croatian web-based anthology, and in Komikaze I found a bunch of artists that we also published back in the day. One of which is now a friend of mine that I meet maybe once or twice year (pre-covid, when we could go to festivals), which is far too seldom; Radovan Popović. His art style here is based on chaotic paintings/collages, evocative and dark and beautiful. In this case a story connected to Philip K Dick, inspired by the Science/Fiction theme.

Another artist originating in the Balkans but living in Canada at the time is Ivana Filipović. I may be mistaken but I don’t think I found her but rather she found us. She sent a comic to the AltCom anthology of 2018, which she said was the first comic she made in about 20 years. A great honor and I’m glad she started again because I really like her stuff. Mostly straight-up drawings, and this is no different. She picked up on the religion-related part of the theme, with a fun/dystopic sci fi twist.
Edit: Turns out she found us when Radovan shared a link about CBA. So there you go, it’s all connected somehow…

Korina Hunjak, another Balkan artist, but one that I’ve had less personal contact with, made this one. The ”where is the line between the living and the artificial” robot story is a classic, and one I often find interesting. This one is thematically reminiscent of the game Detroit: Become Human (which I replayed recently, by the way. Great game).

Francisco Sousa Lobo is a friend of a friend in Portugal. I have a couple of his books published by Portuguese comics network/publisher/association Chili Com Carne, and they’re always interesting, mostly low-key storytelling with simple lines that don’t necessarily betray the dark undertones of the stories. This one is no exception, and I think it’s a good sample of what he’s doing. You should check him out!

Last but not least, one of the founding members of CBK, Oskar Aspman, got inspired to make a new comic in his way that is often abstract in story, expressive in line-work, apocalyptic in mood. Always a pleasure.

And I also wrote a few illustrated text pieces, one about the construction of identity, one about something I’ve been thinking a lot about the last few years: how we seem to be living in an increasingly fictionalized world, in the post-truth era that former US president Trump is such a great champion for. It’s interesting and pretty frightening depending on the kind of dystopic fiction we often end up living in…

So that’s it. Maybe none of this sounds like something you’d like and then you should probably stay away. But if you’re anything like me and it sounds like something for you, give it a try (buy it here)! This is one of my favorite issues in recent years, and not just because I was so involved in putting it together, but because I think it’s really good!

By the way, if you want a wide variety of comics in style and content, why not get a subscription? It’s an extra good idea to get it now, before we will have to to raise the price due to increased postage costs. If you’re like me, you like things that are high-quality and low-price, so if you make sure you get your subscription before mid-April, you’ll get a better deal (not that it’s going to get super expensive after that, but still)!

Call for submissions: CBA vols 52 + 53

CBK just announced a call for submissions for two new upcoming volumes the other day. I’ll be main editor of one of them.

Here are theme descriptions and deadlines for both of them. You can find submission guidelines here. We’re looking for comics as well as text articles.

CBA vol 52: BURNOUT
Main Editor: Mattias Elftorp
DEADLINE: Feb 15
Burnout has become an increasingly normal part of everyday life for many of us since the term was getting widespread use in the late 1900s. From hospital staff to comic creators to basically any job in the gig economy. Anyone who doesn’t have a steady income, or who is expected to do more work in less time than is reasonable, can feel this. So who is to blame? Could we create a situation, a systemic change, to avoid the conditions that cause burnout?
What we’re looking for aren’t necessarily stories of depressing social realism, but artistic expressions of that feeling, suggestions for solutions, wishful thinking and visual abreactions. Expressions of rage rather than apathy, insurrection rather than complicity. Something to read for strength in times of austerity.

CBA vol 53: PLACEHOLDER
Main Editor: Leviathan
DEADLINE: Mar 31
The pandemic paused the world for an indefinite time. What does that mean practically? What does it do to our consciousness and how we experience our existence? Some places see recovering wildlife and cleaner air. Which other phenomena appear to replace our old routines? We’re waiting, and in our wait, we imitate the “real” we hope will soon return. We are like placeholders in our own lives.

All Cats Are Beautiful – exhibited now

Right now, two digital CBK exhibitions, Nedjem and Origin of Life, are going on at Hybriden. This is my contribution to one of them:

It comes from CBA vol 48: Nedjem, which you can buy here.

Here’s the text that accompanies it in the book. I wrote it earlier this year, but it’s of course still current since some change comes reeeaaally slow, if at all.

ALL CATS ARE BEAUTIFUL (or ACAB)

So it happened again, on May 25 of 2020. Another name added to the list of people who were murdered by Police. I won’t mention his name here because I won’t mention any names because there are too many. I won’t mention his skin color because he was a human being first and foremost, but also because you already know. We still remember him and his last moments.

I should perhaps mention here that I am White and I live in a segregated little country called Sweden. I may not be completely segregated personally, not completely socially unconnected to the groups of people who are usually the victims of Police violence, but I don’t think I personally know anyone who has been killed by cops.

Abused in some way by police? Sure, lots of people, including friends, friends of friends, family, loose aquaintances and myself at one point. Most of it political, some of it in enforcement of what I’d call racist legislation concerning migration (which is also political) and some for other reasons.

But murdered by Swedish Police? Not as much. I think the closest one was a relative of an ex of mine. They don’t do that as much in Sweden as in some other countries, even though it’s not unheard of. But the thing is that US culture is also our culture in many ways. The current US president may wage an internal culture war against anything left of the Republicans at the moment, but internationally, they won years ago. We in the rest of the world watch US TV and movies, eat food from US food chains, play US games, read US books and comics, it’s everywhere. I even use mostly US English even though the one I learned in school was the British one. Sure we miss a lot of nuance and we only get the surface of it. Most of us don’t know what it’s like to live in the US, we haven’t felt it in our bodies. But we identify with US culture, and part of that comes in the form of transferred race relations.

I’m not saying this to exonerate us in any way. We have contributed lots to the ingrained racism ourselves, we can’t blame Hollywood for that. But when we see cops murder Black people in the US in the news and social networks, we feel kind of like it’s happening here. In part because the same things are also happening here on a smaller scale, but also because we’re all affected by US politics. Through wars and the tentacles of their capitalist practices and reproduction of the class system they’re so good at maintaining (even though we at least still have comparatively free health care).

So it happened again. And again. And again. And it felt like it happened to us, because Sweden isn’t all White, you know, just largely segregated, and our history classes probably taught us more about slavery in the US than US children learn in school. And this time the name and the reactions got bigger. This time it was the drop that made the glass spill over, just like it was those other times. The name and the reaction got so big this time that maybe. Just maybe. Maybe this time was going to be different. Maybe something would actually change. Even though it didn’t in any of those other cases.

But even after that last big name, there were more people killed. Some of it was political, people getting shot to death at protests. Some of it were traffic stops or other misdemeanors. Driving while Black. Breathing while Black. The names kept piling up and for each one the newsworthiness diminished and most of them probably went completely under the radar for the people whose local communities weren’t directly affected.

Because All Cops Are Bastards. And by that I mean that they largely get away with whatever they do. They can use excessive force with no repercussions. They can harass innocent people with no repercussions. They can kill with no repercussions. The exceptions to this rule are too few to make a difference.

As I started writing this text there was an incident in Sweden where some truck driver got a cop’s baton shoved up his ass, and it was ruled that it had to have been either an accident or a warranted police action. The court didn’t determine which one it was but it didn’t matter as long as the cop and his commanding officer were innocent. Which only seems likely in a world where anything a cop does is automatically defensible. Too bad that’s the world we live in.

All Cops Are Bastards. It may sound like a harsh statement, but let me explain:

Even if the bad ones really are just a number of individual cops, that means that the rest of them are either quietly approving or, in at least a few cases I hope, actively resisting. And the ones that are approving of racist or violent behavior, or even quietly disagreeing, are part of the problem. The ones that are resisting (though I hear that’s really hard to do from within the corps) will be aware enough that it’s a systemic problem that they will know what we mean when we say that All Cops Are Bastards. As the saying goes: a few bad apples spoil the bunch.

Because it is a systemic problem, which means that it’s not enough to punish a couple of cops who went too far. No amount of measures are enough until Black people don’t need to be afraid of being killed by cops for existing on the streets, at work or even in their homes. It’s not enough until some nedlessly upset White people can no longer use a 911 call as a potential murder weapon. Which goes for both the US and for Sweden.

Some people seem to believe that there is no racism anymore, because slavery was officially abolished in the US, because the Nazis lost the second world war or because most countries (looking at you, Israel) don’t have any official laws demanding racial segregation. But it’s only possible to still believe that while looking at, for example, the statistics for incarceration and police killings in the US if you see those numbers through a lens that says that Black people by nature are more likely to commit crimes. Same goes for the unequal distribution of wealth. And I’m sorry to break it to you, but that is by definition a racist lens.

Combine racism, a disdain for the poor and widespread misogyny with a police force that not only is immune to repercussions but in many ways has the same mentality as a criminal gang or a bunch of bullies, and what do you get? A situation where All Cops Are Bastards and where Black Lives don’t Matter. Which means that All Lives don’t Matter. Which is something that everyone should care about, even those who aren’t personally directly affected in their daily lives.

White people aren’t of course immune to violence from the police. White people are just not subjected to violence or suspicion BECAUSE they are White. Which is an important distinction that does not contradict that we all have everything to gain from joining forces to make changes, because maybe another world is possible. One without class differences, without racism and without police brutality. One where that list of names doesn’t keep growing.

The Word – exhibited now

Right now, two digital CBK exhibitions, Nedjem and Origin of Life, are going on at Hybriden. These are my contributions to one of them (click images for bigger size):

They are two pages from a longer story. If you want to read the rest of it, you can get CBA vol 49: Origin of Life here!

Check back here tomorrow for another exhibition sample and a complete text I wrote for CBA vol 48 (All Cats Are Beautiful).

Algorhythm – first Piracy story in years

It’s been 13 years since I last published anything in the Piracy is Liberation series. I made the two collections of books 1-11 in 2013. Since then, it’s always been my intention to continue the story directly in a third volume rather than conrinue with book 12. The problem is that, as it turns out, making one 400+ page book is much more difficult than making 5 smaller books. So now I’m going back to what I used to do; publish a chapter as a self-contained story, for example in an anthology such as CBA. Fittingly, this will be my contribution to CBA vol 50, a volume dedicated to comics by members of the past and current editorial collective of CBA. Especially since the first two stories connected to Piracy is Liberation were published back in C’est Bon #1 and 2 (in 2001).

It’s a bit like coming home now when I return to this world I haven’t visited for so long. Rumor has it that every cell in my body will have been exchanged by new ones during that time. Does that mean that I’m a copy of myself? And if so, what does that mean, since the structure of my brain or whatever it is that forms my consciousness is more or less the same?

This one will be a story of Purple, set during the fight for copy rights, probably a few chapters into vol 3. It should be no problem to read it as a stand-alone comic, but if you have read the old ones, you’ll have a much greater grasp of the context surrounding the events in this one. I think that’s all I can say about it at this point. The story is called ALGORHYTHM and CBA vol 50 is planned for release by the end of this year.

If you haven’t yet read the old ones, here’s where you’ll find them. Books 001 and 002 should also still be available for download via The Pirate Bay.

CBA vol 47 release: Jan 24

January 24 (17-22) is the opening of the release exhibition for CBA vol 47: Science/Fiction at Hybriden (Mitt Möllan, Bangatan 5, Malmö).

The latest volume of CBA where I am the main editor, and one that I am extra proud of.

A while ago I was updating the list of creators who have been published in CBA over the years, and there are some truly great creators in that list. Some of which are also participating in this issue, which is probably my last as main editor of CBA, because I’m tired and need to focus on other things for the forseeable future.

So if you’re in the vicinity, drop by the exhibition opening at Hybriden and I’ll see you there for an evening of comics and drunk in celebration of the Future and the ongoing fictionalization of our reality. Check out comic samples on the walls, featuring these great artists:

Danijel Žeželj [HR/US], Radovan Popović [RS], Korina Hunjak [HR], Ivana Filipović [RS/CA], Avi Heikkinen [FI], Francisco Sousa Lobo [PT], Oskar Aspman [SE], Kinga Dukaj [SE] and me

About CBA vol 47:
Science/Fiction

Science and fiction rule our lives. The laws of physics seem set in stone while the laws of man are arbitrary mirrors of the morality of the times. Gods and spirits are creations of the mind but also the explanation when comprehension fails. What lies beyond our understanding? Is it more science or something else? What dark forces lurk outside our field of vision? What machineries of death and destruction are we yet to invent in the name of money (which used to be metal and paper but is now to a great extent nothing but speculation and expectations)? What (or who) else meet in the intersection between science fiction and real science? What came first? The egg or the hatching machine?

If you can’t make it to Hybriden, you can order the book at the Hybriden webshop.

Feel free to invite people to the Facebook event.

2019 pt2/3: collectives

First, here’s a reminder that our big winter sale is still going on at Hybriden, where you can get lots of my stuff really cheap until Jan 1.

Fanzineverkstaden is still going strong. Lots of workshops, members using it for their own self-publishing (you can do it too), lots of administration, planning, meetings, day-to-day work and an ongoing exhibition at Hybriden which will soon be updated with some new stuff.

Managed to squeeze in some time to actually use the equipment myself a few times, as you can see in my last post.

 

Tusen Serier is still in a low-activity period if you don’t count Fanzineverkstaden. Mostly trying to get by, gearing up for some new projects in the future. But we managed to have an exhibition at the Gothenburg City Library in November, and some other stuff. No new books, though, which I know is what we all really want. But we have a few coming up as soon as we find some money for it, and we have a few exciting international exhibitions in the winter/spring of 2020 that we just got funding for. More on that in the post about the future, coming soon.

CBK is an interesting animal. It makes me tired because I can’t give it as much attention as I think it deserves. At the same time, I’m immensely proud of, and excited about, the upcoming CBA vol 47: Science / Fiction. It’s the last volume of 2019 but will be officially released in January.

I’m the main editor, probably for the last time, and it’s a mix of some returning classic CBA creators, along with some we haven’t published before. All great art, interesting stories etc.

More on this in a separate post, coming soon, but you read more about it and pre-order it here.

I also had some comics published in vol 44 and 46 and drew part of the cover for vol 45.

And we did some exhibitions: Lore, Qtopia and Deep.

Wormgod published one book this year, but it has some great stuff in it. After the ends of the world 2 is a stand-alone follow-up to the first book of the same name. This time, Susanne Johansson made 3 stories about women who were brutally murdered. She wanted to focus on the victims, try to imagine how they ended up where they did, what they might have been thinking. Gruesome stuff, but everything can’t be shallow and well-behaved all the time. This is also a big inspiration for her music as TRAUMA COMMAND.

My stuff in the book is a bit more up-beat. One-image short stories about the different ways the world might end, told from a future perspective after it’s too late. Like I said; up-beat. Because you can read them and remember that it’s not too late yet, as long as we get our shit together. So good luck, us! yaay.

There’s a magnificent soundtrack by SYSTEMET, NIMAM SPREGLEDA, FACTORY FARMING, TRAUMA COMMAND, FEBERDRÖM, KOEFF. If any of these names ring a noisy bell, you’ll have some idea of what to expect.

I also included my time machine story: Why you (maybe) shouldn’t kill Hitler. That’s also a fun story.

You’ve seen some of mine before, so here’s one of Suss‘ pages:

You can order it here.

Speaking of Wormgod and SYSTEMET, we were interviewd in COdA #15. Check it out!

No AltCom this year. No AltCom next year. AltCom the year after that. You’ll see.

I made a map of the whole Hybriden complex, which is where most of my life has taken place creatively for as long as I can remember. Because burn-out affects your memory, haha.

But I’ve also managed to have some time to play/read/watch stuff, as you’ll see in pt3 of my 2019 story. Coming right up…