Me and Kinga were invited to represent Fanzineverkstaden at a workshop at MaU (Malmö University) today, as part of their Comics Research Lab project.
First time I tried risoprinting and it went much better than expected. I had thought, based on most risoprinted books etc I’ve seen that the colors would be really pale, but it turned out really nicely. Especially since the print I had prepared was 2 colors on top of each other which created a nice effect and much deeper colors.
I made a variation on my tape cover for Noise Against Fascism / Legion of Swine.
Second color + combination:
Also made a few copies where I printed yellow as the second color:
This is the one Kinga made:
In case you haven’t seen my original image, this is what it looks like:
Here’s my usual attempt to figure out what I’ve been doing this past year. Let’s start with my personal works. Is it less than usual? Feels like it should be, considering I’ve been working (almost) full time this year with Fanzineverkstaden. Somehow I seem to have still managed to do some stuff.
My processes differ a bit between working digitally and on paper. Here’s how it goes:
I have something that needs drawing. I take out my tools, I sit down at the drawing table and draw the thing. When it’s good, I like the flow of it, the feel of steel nib on non-glossy paper, the random splotches of ink that can enhance or ruin (ruin, as in I have to do some postproduction in the compouter, which I always do anyway. However, there’s usually big risk that I stumble on the starting line and never even take out my tools, even less sit down at the table.
I reach for the pad and start drawing. I miss the feel of pen on paper and the ability to see the whole page since I often zoom in while drawing. But it’s soo much easier to just get started, and so I’m more productive this way.
It’s a dilemma.
That said, this year I’ve worked almost exclusively in digital form, with the exception of some linocut and silkscreen prints.
Some of these were made for the CBK: LORE exhibition, and were also used for my only proper book project this year, After the Ends of the World 2, which I did with Susanne Johansson, my partner in Wormgod:
Hungr I made half asleep at the pre-party for Seriefest 2019:
Encounter in the Woods I’ve written about earlier. It feels good to finally have something from that project in print, and in exhibition form:
Sleep Paralysis, a cooperation with Kinga Dukaj, a remaster of the comic we made for CBA vol 47 (more on that in a later post). She had a dream that I put into writing and embellished a bit, using one of her photo manipulations to turn it into a visually abstract comic. I’m really happy with it, especially how it looks which I didn’t even make myself. It’s always nice to work with great art (which brings me back to the upcoming post about CBA vol 47, but more on that later as i said).
I’ll end this post with one of the year’s last projects, which was a cassette tape cover I made for a split by Noise Against Fascism and Legion of Swine. It’ll be released January 9 in Copenhagen and in Malmö the day after. Only in 17 copies though, so it’ll be very exclusive…
We’ve also started putting up prints on the site, so you can find some of my stuff in that section as well. We’ll be adding to the prints some at a time during the coming weeks…
We also spent some time recently putting up what remains of our old back-issues of C’est Bon (2001-2004) and C’est Bon Anthology (2004-2005) in the shop, in case you’re a completist or just curious. Those are also included in the sale.
And you can now see the complete list of artists published in any of the incarnations av CB/CBA in this list, complete with links to the books they’re included in at the shop. It’s 263 artists so far, including a whole bunch of extremely skilled ones. Looking at this list always makes me proud to have been involved in working with these books.
If you for some reason don’t care about anyone else and just want my stuff, here’s a direct link to that.
So I came back from Novo Doba two weeks ago and am still trying to acclimatize to the Swedish social climate. I’m not sure if Serbia is actually that much better or if it’s just the situation of the festival and Matrijaršija, with its combination of recurring guests and a view of art that is simultaneously more relaxed and more serious than what I’m used to from Sweden.
I’m sure some of it is just a lingering hangover and some of it is stress over deadlines and workload in general, but I’ve had to struggle with the feeling that maybe I should just fuck off from everything I do that’s not exclusively about my own personal gain. Because I’ve felt for a while that that’s what most people do and maybe I should let others taste that same medicine? Conform to the egotist norm? I don’t really want to be that kind of asshole, but it would be nice to have some space/time in my life to do some stuff for myself. I mean comics projects that are bigger than just a few hours’ worth of work, maybe some painting, some printing, some simple drawings. Sure, I started playing Metal Gear Solid 4 and I’m enjoying it and everything BUT it also feels a lot like a desperate attempt at having some free time, rather than something I do simply for entertainment. And I never have that time because there are so many things I feel should get done, and no one else is doing them (except Kinga and me).
That said, through willpower, stubbornness and a very optimistic sense of how much you can do per hour, I’ve managed to get some stuff done lately…
For example, me and Kinga finally managed to use Fanzineverkstaden for some personal projects and made a serious attempt at silkscreen printing in preparation for Novo Doba and Gallerinatten (which was in the end of September).
This is an old illustration I did years ago for the Occupy Wall Street Journal (also published in an issue of Brand, I believe). Here printed in white on black A2 paper, and also on A3 in different colors:
I also have a comic in the new CBA, but more on that later…
I made a bunch of new works for it, inspired by some stories I heard as a child, and some I’ve heard later. Fairy tales and similar concepts that inspired me in one way or another.
Yeah, I know, this last one doesn’t really fit into the whole fairytale theme, but what the hell. Dune was a great influence on me while growing up, and now when I’m rereading it I’m really enjoying it, so I think it fits anyway.
I heard that human society has maybe two decades left before we’ve fucked things up too much to go back. But so far, let’s get on with things, business as usual:
CBK has one new CBA at the printer now and at least two upcoming volumes, with accompanying exhibitions, already planned out. First up is CBA vol 43: Corners, the last issue of 2018 which will be released at some point soon. Then we have CBA vol 44: Lore, still with a few days left before the deadline for submissions. The call for submissions for CBA vol 45: Qtopia will be announced soon. Hopefully I’ll have time to make some short story for at least one of them, but we’ll have to see about that.
It’s still a bit unclear how the budget will look for Tusen Serier, but with any luck we’ll be able to publish a book or two this year.
And I’m desperate to do some Wormgod stuff. I have plans that I’m excited about but it’s too early to talk about them so far. But it would be foolish not to use it now that I have access to Fanzineverkstaden, which will be my main focus in 2019, as it was last year.
Aand I guess that’s about it, unless something unexpected comes along. I’ll try to keep you posted on anything interesting…
As I have somehow suddenly, I mean recently, reached the age of 40, I don’t seem able to keep up the same rythm that I used to. Combine that with an increasing hopelessness concerning the state of the world, with fascism and climate suicide-because-we-can’t-let-go-of-Capitalism, I’ve been needing more free time and escapism lately. Hopefully it will give me the energy and ideas to fight back somehow. It means that since I started to get paid I’ve been going down to only working 100% (which is kind of funny and complex and I’d like to go into it at some point). It also means that I seem to be spending more time in comics and Playstation…
So let’s get the work stuff out of the way. This year, we (me & Kinga, for Tusen Serier & CBK) started Fanzineverkstaden(the Zine Workshop). After working a lot with the preparations, we opened in July. It’s the start of a collective workshop for selfpublishing comic creators and we’re offering lots of workshops in different printing techniques and other useful things for making comics. This is now my main project and will be for (at least) 2 more years.
We (Tusen Serier & CBK) also made a new AltCom festival. Because of the depressing prognoses for the election in September, we chose the theme: HOW TO SURVIVE A DICTATORSHIP.
We (Wormgod) also arranged another TRAUMA noise festival in conjunction with AltCom, together with Noise Against Fascism. I know the connection between comics and noise isn’t obvious to everyone, but the whole thing felt really great as usual.
Especially the Best of CBK exhibition felt good for me personally. It was a retrospective over the 18 years since we started. Various material from many of our exhibitions, with presentations and anecdotes from the good old days, and all our almost 70 publications laid out on a table. Not so much nostalgia as recognition of all the things we did over the years. Even though I had a 5 year break, CBK really has been a big part of my life.
I did manage a few things but this year has been kind of slow when it comes to publishing my own works compared to other years.
A Subtle Fuck You vol 2 (Wormgod) came out in a glorious printrun of 10 copies, with individual linocut prints on the cover. I’ll probably make a properly printed run of it after I sell out of the first 10 copies.
I made a story for CBA vol 40|41 called Why you (maybe) shouldn’t kill Hitler. It’s a timetravel story that fits into the theme of Worst case scenario. As in: what’s the worst that could happen if you go back in time and kill Hitler. I quite like it. First complete comic I drew with a Wacom Intuos.
I also made a comic titled Fragments for CBA vol 38|39, and wrote a text about the Mandela effect and why I don’t believe in it even though I do like the multiverse theory. And for CBA vol 42: Subversive Superhero Stories I wrote a text about some interesting stuff that’s been made in the superhero genre since the 1980s. I wanted to make a comic for this issue as werll, but simply didn’t have the time. It’s always about time. I’ll probably do something in the genre in the future.
And I designed the final book in Möller/Krantz‘ Creation trilogy from CBK; Creation of a Myth. I’ve liked working on those books.
The only things that came out this year from Tusen Serier was Every Girl Is A Hero, which I had nothing to do with except proofreading. And of course the AltCom anthology, where I was editor (along with the Tusen Serier and CBK crews), designer and made the comic Angry Animal on How to Avoid a Dictatorship.
So how did the election go? Badly, but not as badly as feared. We haven’t had a government for the last months because they’ve been negotiating. For some reason everyone seem to want to be in the government even though the ones in power are pretty sure to loose the next election. Best case scenario is probably a mix of center/liberal/socialdemocrat/left, which is going to be really hard because they all kind of hate each other and won’t have it easy trying to compromise. Worst case? Conservatives/christians/fascists who seem to get along just fine, the evil motherfuckers. The conservative/christian budget was voted through, with the support of the fascists and the center (in Sweden the center is the old farmers’ party), which doesn’t exactly bode well for class equality, environment or culture.
To be continued…
Sooner or later I’m going to have to do a thing on Christianity. I have pretty good insight since I was raisd a christian, but I’m increasingly convinced that God is evil, Jesus is pretty ok and the relgion itself is more into God than Jesus, ideology-wise. Not saying that all christians are evil, mind you. We’ll see when this happens and what I arrive at. Ok, I did the Deicide story in Piracy is Liberation book 009 (which is included in v02) where Jehovah is pretty much a monstrous asshole. That was fun.
But enough about work and politics, let’s talk about comics and games and the occasional movie and TV show! Before I begin listing stuff I should say that everything mentioned here also comes highly recommended, unless otherwise stated.
First, YouTube – the new television, but with the added pleasure of being able to click past the ads. I’ve discovered leftist youtube this year, which was a relief. I’m just going to namedrop some stuff that I recommend, then it’s up to you to check it out: Contrapoints, Some more news, Zero books, Shaun, some more that I can’t think of now…
So yeah, I’ve been reading lots of comics this year. I guess it’s one of the main ways for me to escape… Oh wait. Escaping reality seems like a bad thing. I meant: to get inspiration and a will to live through these times of unrest and stupidity and global suicidism. I’m exaggerating of course. We may yet survive. Maybe. We’ll see…
The way I choose what comics to read is usually that I go by writers whose works I know, secondarily by artists I like. At the same time I’m trying to also keep an open mind to writers/artists that seem interesting.
Warren Ellis, for example, is a writer I mostly follow. And you should probably do the same. The thing I’m currently reading by him is his reboot of the WildStorm universe (called The Wild Storm). Which gives me a weird feeling of familiarity, kind of like when I started reading X-men again a few years ago. It was like revisiting family or old friends. This is similar, but weird because I was never really into the WildStorm books, other than some samples now and then. Seems it was enough for me to recognize almost all the characters included in the reboot series. Another thing that’s interesting about it is that it’s still kind of a superhero story, except it’s more like spy fiction. No tights, lots of espionage but still superpowers. More like Planetary than old-school WildCATs/Stormwatch…
Brian Wood’s The Massive is something I’ve been aware of since it came but never read until now. Highly enjoyable environmentalist/postapocalypse story.
I once sent my first Piracy is Liberation books to Ho Che Anderson, because I wanted some quotes from artists I admired to put on my books. One of the things he remarked was that the first few pages of Piracy book 001 reminded him of the first pages of a story he’d started working on, but then he took a long break from comics so I had to wait years to see his Godhead in print. Until now. Hopefully it won’t take as long until the second part comes out.
Another artist I sent my books to is Danijel Zezelj, who recently came out with the first part of Days of Hate, written by Ales Kot. Very promising near-future dystopia kind of story…
I’ve recently been re-reading Ann Nocenti’s Daredevil run from the 80s. I’d read most of it before but never all of it. And I also read for the first time her Typhoid Mary stories from the 90s (collected in Typhoid’s Kiss). With all the talk from internet idiots about the SJWfication of Marvel and all that bullshit, it was refreshing to see how much feminism she put into the Daredevil stories all that time ago.
Don’t know how much I have to say about these, but here’s a list of comics from Image that are being published now: Bitch Planet, The Wicked + The Divine, Black Hammer, Saga, Paper Girls, Lazarus, Days of Hate, Deadly Class, Death or Glory, Monstress. By wtiters such as Rick Remender, Brian K Vaughn and Marjorie Liu. Check them out.
After reading Fatale, Velvet, Kill or be Killed and some other stuff by Ed Brubaker, I decided it was time to catch up on his stuff, often in collaboration with Sean Philips: Scene of the Crime, Sleeper, Incognito and Criminal. It’s mostly crime stories, sometimes with superpowers thrown in. All very well-written and engaging.
Wonder Woman Earth One vol 2: Grant Morrison continues doing Wonder Woman right, almost exactly the way the film version did it wrong. Re-reading the first book made me angry again at how the film failed on so many points.
Berliac was a guest at this year’s Stockholm Inernational Comics festival, where I got his Sadboi, a story dealing with alienation, migration, the art world and criminality, which it mixes together into something that was much more interesting than I expected. Not that my expectations were low, it was more that I didn’t know anything about it before I read it.
Some Manga: Sunny by Taiyo Matsumoto and Uzumaki by Junji Ito. I’m alway interested in Matsumoto’s stuff, and Uzumaki is an old one that I just hadn’t got around to reading. It’s much better as comics than the movie version was…
Then there’s the comics adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness by Catherine Anyango and Yvan Alagbe’s Yellow Negroes and Other Imaginary Creatures, both dealing with the relationship between Europe and Africa but in completely different ways.
Only read two books without pictures this year: Killing Gravity by Corey J White, a pretty short sci fi story, reminiscent of Firefly, for lack of better descriptions… And then there was De kommer att drunkna i sina mödrars tårar (The will drown in their mothers’ tears) by Johannes Anyuru. Swedish sci fi, a time travel story that fit very well into the Swedish political narrative leading up to the AltCom festival (and also the election).
What a year it has been for the PS4!
God of War was a great reinvention of the series and an interesting development with the theme of fatherhood/regret. Amazing in its combat system and how it seemlessly goes from gameplay to cut scene to gameplay throughout the whole story.
Spider-man captures much of the feeling from the comics (which I admittedly haven’t really followed since the early 90s) and also does a great job with the web-slinging.
Detroit Become Human: another interesting game from Quantic Dreams (my favorite along with Beyond Two Souls). Three characters in a web of multiple choice-based timelines. You play as a cop, a household slave and a revolutionary, all thre of which are androids who gain self-awareness.
I’ve been catching up on Metal Gear Solid. Watched walkthoughs of 1-2, played 3, Peace walker and Ground Zeroes. Now I’m just waiting to get the time to get into The Phantom Pain. I really like this series and am excited about the upcoming Death Stranding to see what Hideo Kojima will do when he’s completely free since leaving Konami. He’s always been on the forefront of pushing the envelope of video games and Death Stranding doesn’t seem to be an exception to that.
Call of Cthulhu: not a massive game, but a nice adaptation of the old role-playing game that was one of the very best back in my table-top RPG days. Caught the Lovecraft feeling quite well and I even played through it twice…
I also enjoyed Vampyr, even if I’m probably not going to go back to it anytime soon. And Shadow of the Tomb Raider was a bit of a disappointment, though I did manage to finish it anyway.
And I’m still ranked 16 in the world at Eptatron (Android, not PS4), which is kind of cool…
Lately it’s been mostly Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, after finishing Assassin’s Creed: Origins. While I like both of them, Odyssey somehow manages to be more or less the same but also a much better game. Probably because they handle the story elements better…
Oh! I also got my hands on enough Rage cards (the Werewolf the Apocalypse collectible card game) for at least 2-3 players. It was the best of the collectible card games we played back in the days (mid-90s) and it’s still quite enjoyable.
Not a lot of new discoveries this year. These are the ones I have something to say about.
South Park: From school shootings to the return of the Man-bear-pig, South Park stays relevant. The last few seasons have been great.
Doctor Who: Sure, the Doctor’s personality has changed a bit, from “I am the oncoming storm” and “I’m The Doctor and you’re in the biggest library in the Universe. Look me up” to a more modest approach. Which could make sense as simply an evolution of the character, I mean she is recently regenerated and (as far as I can tell) hasn’t really travelled on her own between episodes. I just hope it isn’t a change that has to do with the gender thing and that she will grow in future episodes. Both the stories and Jodie Whitaker feel very Doctor Who otherwise so I’m enjoying it…
Castlevania: Second season came out [on Netflix], and if you didn’t watch the first one, now is a good time to see both in one sitting. It feels more Warren Ellis now. Has been deservedly extended for a third season.
Speaking of Netflix… I don’t know why they seem to be cancelling all the Marvel Netflix series. I can understand it with Iron Fist, but Luke Cage and Daredevil? Hopefully it doesn’t mean the end for them, whatever happens.
And even though the Marvel Netflix series are great (except Iron Fist), Legion is still going strong as the best Marvel TV series.
Speaking of Marvel…
I’m not going to talk too much about the MCU movies. They keep not disappointing me but at the same time they’re a little bit like a high-budget TV series. I look forward to the next part and I do think they’ve made something remarkable with their shared universe storytelling (Marvel succeds almost as much as DC continues to fail with their movies). But they mostly don’t manage to reach that greatness that really great films can do. The best Marvel films are probably Deadpool and Logan, though Logan could actually do with a lot more gore which I think it would have needed. And both of those are outside of the MCU.
So here are a few I enjoyed that had something special on their own:
Mayhem: Maybe not the best in the list, but it has something…
The shape of water: Nice, semi-Lovecraftian, probably the most Guillermo del Toro film of all the Guillermo del Toro films in a long time.
The girl with all the gifts: The Last Of Us – the movie, or at least the closest thing I’ve seen. But with its own sense and sensibilities.
Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri: Oscar winners don’t always impress me, but I really liked this one.
You were never really here and A quiet place: Both low-tempo genre-ish (assassnin/alien invasion) movies.
Mandy: I think I watched this in exactly the right mindset. It hit the spot.
And finally, Baywatch. I was a bit of a sceptic at first, but I was in the right mood and after the first few minutes of over-the-top life-guarding I couldn’t help myself but like it.
Sooo. That was 2018. Now to figure out what to do about 2019…
What used to be nerd trivia is now common knowledge. When I was a kid, it wasn’t ok to know things like: who is Aunt May, what are the superpowers of the X-men, what’s the name of Superman’s adoptive mother and Batman’s birth mother? Ok, the last two have no justification for their exaggerated status as common knowledge, if you get my drift, but still. Who would have guessed that there would ever be a Black Panther movie that people in general (even in Sweden) would look forward to? Who would have thought that a Punisher TV series would even be possible?
That’s fiction gaining ground in the general consciousness. Superhero fiction it may be, and I’m not saying it’s a lower form because it’s superheroes because I know there are some good stories coming out of the genre, but you know, who would have thought that this underestimated genre could become so successful in the mainstream? And, maybe more importantly, what will come from it? Because out of a superhero-dominated North American comics culture came lots of interesting stuff, within the genre and from other parts of a culture whose lifeblood was those menand women in tights. Now I’m talking about a period that spans the 1980s and forward that is still evolving.
Speaking of women in tights… Did you know that, for example, the X-men comics were doing things with gender equality in the late 70s/early 80s that the movie industry is still working to catch up with. Could you imagine that the Wonder Woman movie, as progressive as it is in some respects, is actually a step backwards in many ways. It’s shameful to have to wait until now for this kind of big female superhero main character. At the same time it’s great that it finally came. It’s great that it opened the door for more. At the same time it’s shameful in the execution. How Wonderful wouldn’t it have been to have this Amazon woman come into the early 1900s world of men and simply not accept any of it. To have her look at the guys running the world, be they “good” or “bad”, and simply decide to fix it. Instead we got a character who decided to go shopping for clothes and play along as if she’d been indoctrinated into the role of the “fairer sex” all her life. Logically she would see Ares in all of Patriarchal society rather than one single man. I’m just saying. It could have been a great movie.
Anyway. While the nerd in me is hopeful, there’s also a darker side to this development. The city I live in has been depicted as a warzone, invaded by bearded men from foreign countries. And it doesn’t matter that it’s not true if real-life laws and policies are based on that image.
Similarly, if regular news is being treated as fake news and fake news is being treated as the hidden truth that the “elite” has tried to hide from us, sooned or later this new “truth” will be the basis of real-life policies (as if that wasn’t already enough of the case). The “elite” clearly not being people like the US president or the third biggest party in Sweden, but someone else. It’s not the Jews anymore, so probably the secret Leftist/Muslim conspiracy. You know, the ones who really rule the place, which explains why we all live in a Socialist Sharia dystopia. The ones who keep enforcing the belief that the Earth is round and other such nonsense…
So yeah, the future is going to be… interesting…
Here’s some of what I plan to be doing this year:
The theme for the AltCom 2018 comics festival, in late August, will be: HOW TO SURVIVE A DICTATORSHIP. There will be exhibitions and talks from people who have already lived through dictatorships as well as people who plan to survive future ones (you may have already guessed that 2018 is election year in Sweden).
I have a bunch of plans for new books, some of which involving the concept of the fictionalization of reality, but I don’t want to jinx anything so I won’t tell you what they are. Except I’ll have a comic in the upcoming CBA vol 38|39: Fragments that will be released really soon.
I will probably also have some part in the upcoming exhibitions FRAGMENTS and BEST OF CBK in the first half of the year. Both exhibited at Hybriden in Malmö.
Other than that, most of my time will be spent working with the zine workshop, FANZINEVERKSTADEN, a new project run by Tusen Serier with financing from Arvsfonden, which will be a space for selfpublishing of comics. I won’t talk about it more just yet, but when we get closer to actually opening, there will be announcements, so look for them.
Up next: What other fictions did I live in during 2017? A special blog post dedicated to the games and books and comics and movies and so on that I ingested last year as inoculation for all the bullshit. Also about some of the things I produced, though it was a slightly less productive year than usual…