Just got home from The Great Satan, after a really good time spent in its capital city, New York City.
Second time at the MoCCA festival, and it was great, both at and around the festival itself. I spoke to a lot of interesting people, found a lot of interesting stuff, traded books and looked for artists for CBA. And found some new readers for Piracy is Liberation, I believe.
I participated at a panel on scandinavian comics, together with Åsa Ekström and an assortment of people working with comics from the other nordic countries. We had a good talk. As it turns out, we all had some prejudices about the other scandinavian countries, and we all seemed to agree that they were more or less true. Things are changing though, especially in sweden. The more internationally oriented we get, the more interesting stuff seem to be coming out. The new generation of swedish artists read more internationl comics, and want to do more internationally relevant comics. Be it manga, cyberpunk or horror comics, I see a brighter future.
The festival was nice, but it was also nice to do a bit less of the touristy stuff in New York City this time. Staying in Queens helped. Riding on a subway where you hear more spanish and chinese than english makes it feel more like home, somehow. Spent some time in Astoria too, which was more or less the high point of the trip. All in all, the Great Satan is growing on me.
Oh, and Piracy is Liberation books 001-006 are now available at Blue Stockings bookstore in the lower east side, at 172 Allen Street.
I went to see the new Star Trek movie today. I liked it, but that’s not what I wanted to talk about here. It (or rather the title) made me think about somsething that I’ve touched upon in Piracy is Liberation.
They didn’t name it Star Trek XI, or even Star Trek: [individual movie title], even though it is the eleventh movie in the series. They named it Star Trek, like the others didn’t count. OK, considering the story in the film, that might be understandable, but I still think we can see some kind of trend here. A trend to ignore the past and make everything seem new.
Same thing with Rambo, Rocky Balboa and others I can’t think of right now. There is a history behind these films, and the contents of the films are building on this history, but in naming and marketing the thing, that history is more or less ignored.
Same thing with many of the remakes that have come in the last couple of years. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Departed, The Ring, Dark Water, Pulse, Dawn of the Dead and lots of others. Remakes of things that came from far away in time and/or space (counted from Hollywood, of course).
Of coursem you might not want to admit that the film you just made is a rermake, because it takes away some artistic merit from it. And there is some logic in making things sound new because of how the media works. News sell, even if they aren’t really news. So it’s understandable in a short-sighted capitalist perspective, but in the long run and a larger perspective, I’m wondering where it will lead (expecially if we see this trend in films and media as a sign of a cultural phenomenon in all of society)…
I already knew I liked her stuff, but working this close with someone else’s material gives you a new appreciation for it. It’s really an interesting experience. Also, after having read the first 100 or so pages of the book, I really look forward to having the finished book in my hands and getting to read it all at once (which will have to wait though, since there are three books planned before it’s all done. -Which is another reason why I like it. There are very few comics creators working in sweden right now who take their time to tell their stories like this. Who let the details drag out for a long time (counted in pages), because they’ve realised that there’s a lot to be said for details, and also let the overall story take its time to reach its conclusion. There are also (still) very few artists working in sweden right now who put this much effort into refining their art. But there are some, and I’m hoping there will be more of that in the coming years.
At this year’s SPX in Stockholm (hosted by Serieteket), there were some books that I especially looked forward to reading when I got home. One was Niklas Asker‘s Second Thoughts, recently released from Top Shelf Comix, and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s not a very long story, but there’s a great sensitivity in it, and attention to the little things. And I really like the art. I already look forward to Niklas’ next book, so hopefully he’ll get the time to do it soon…
There was also a book by Natalia Batista, called A Song for Elise, which I haven’t read yet, but it looks interesting. First swedish Yaoi I’ve seen and I’m quite intrigued. I just need a bit more time to read stuff.
Speaking of reading… Pretty soon I expect I’ll get to see the new Oblivion High too, created by rama, creator of Vesi Oli Mustaa. The problem is that all her books so far are in finnish, which I don’t understand much of, so I can’t read them. Seems like finnish publishers are more willing to look at new interesting stuff than the swedish ones. Big surprise.
Other than the ones I’ve mentioned, most of what I got at the SPX was not swedish books. There’s still so much, more interesting, stuff that are published elsewhere that I can’t really be bothered by most of the swedish stuff. Which is too bad, of course, but it’s just the way things are, at least for now. The swedish comics climate has long been constituted (maybe I should say dominated, because there are of course some, more peripheral, exceptions) by a very small community that has for a long time been quite uninterested in looking past the national borders. Consequently, the most interesting work right now seems to be created by artists who have looked to the outside for inspiration, be it Manga or western comics…
I should mention, I guess, that this thing about not looking outside of the national borders for inspiration is a problem that has as much to do with swedish society in general as it has with the swedish comics culture. Självgodhet is the swedish word that comes to mind.
By the way, I’m starting to suspect that Piracy is Liberation will be at least 20 books, and not 19 as I used to think until I started planning for book 007…
And, last but not least, I should mention that Suss and I have started to plan the first graphic novel to come out of the Wormgod project. It’s a horror story, naturally. More on that later…
There will be a book 007 before the end of 2009 after all! I wasn’t sure, but events are falling into place that will allow me to do it. I’ll start working on it after the June World Tour (MoCCA in New York City, Punk Illegal in Munkedal and Crack! in Rome) is over… The theme for this book will be religion. I will explore the religious structures of the City’s society and we may get to witness the birth of a new semi-divine entity. Also, I suspect, the first appearance of Ming (who was mentioned in book 005).
We will also see the effects of the last pages of book 006. The rules have changed in a very fundamental way for the inhabitants of the City. So what’s the next step? How will the authorities/rebels react to this development?
As soon as Suss has some time I’ll ask her for a cover, and I’ll get to work on the insides of the book.
So. The first Wormgod exhibition, konSEKVENS, took place this April at the Växjö University.
For some more info, and the image in its entirety, go to the Wormgod site.
Being at the Academic Perspectives on Comics, Manga & Graphic Novels as Intercultural & Intermedial Phenomena event was a bit weird when we were just a few comics creators present and so many academics. It’s usually the other way around. The participants were nice though (except for one) and the lectures were interesting. -To a varying degree, I should add. There’s a limit to how much use you have as a creator for a definition of what comics are, and in some ways, definitions can even be limiting. But apart from that, it was a nice setting. Except…
A number of the copies I brought of Piracy is Liberation were stolen. Normally, I wouldn’t mind terribly. Charging money for the books is just a necessary evil, but in this case, considering the type of students I suspect to be the culprits, it doesn’t feel ok. Oh well. With some luck they’ll read the books and rethink their choices in life*…
konSEKVENS is only the beginning and will be expanded into another exhibition called VÅLD. It will be shown at the release party for Piracy is Liberation 006: Violence, probably some time in July at Utkanten in Malmö. Keep your eyes peeled for information as things fall into place for the arrangement.
In conclusion, here’s the presentation that accompanied the image at the exhibition:
This exhibition is a sequential artwork about consequences. The image tells a story, perhaps many stories, about a crucial event in human history. Something that has affected our generation and our view on life in a very basic way. An event that brought death into the equation, on a scale that is bigger even than specieswide extincion. konSEKVENS is also an experiment in linear/non-linear thinking. The images and their stories can be read like a comic strip, but it is up to their viewers to make the connections between different image elements and arrive at something that is not chronological. Something that is spread out through time: a multitude of events and their consequences. In the end, we all live in the shadow of the mushroom cloud. A shadow outside of time that reaches the lab in Los Alamos, the streets of Hiroshima, the Whute House, the board rooms of the war industry and the minds of the visitors here today at the University of Växjö.
* Växjö University is not only the host for academic comics events, there is also the police academy. And, as we all know, the police are not to be trusted.
There’s also a little clip of FEBERDRÖM & NYRODHA, some photos and stuff at the Piracy is Liberation site. If anyone has a video clip of EN HALVKOKT I FOLIE, please let me know and I’ll put it up on the site as well.
Also, the day after that, I went to a Skånes Konstförening/Singsang event to see FRIA KONSTELLATIONEN, SUDDEN INFANT and ÄTTESTUPA. All quite nice, if not as harsh as the Friday thing. It’s interesting. After two nights of this, I feel almost as if I’m in love, but in a music style. It’s Sunday night and I’m still floating on some kind of high. Maybe it helps too that I’m listening to the Treriksröset – Venal tape that I bought yesterday…
Within the nearest weeks I’ll be trying not to do very much other than draw the remaining 40 or so pages of Violence, so I can have it printed and have an excuse for another release party.