Kolor Klimax cover illo by Aapo Rapi

Helsinki. The comics festival here is just starting up and it’s looking good. In addition to the full program of events, signings and parties, the festival sees the European release tomorrow of KOLOR KLIMAX — Nordic Comics Now, an anthology of Nordic comics edited by me and designed by Frederik Storm with invaluable assistance from Thomas Thorhauge. It is published by Fantagraphics Books under the patronage of the Finnish Comics Society.

I will be talking about a lot more here and elsewhere, but if you’re in Helsinki do stop by, pick up a copy and meet some of the contributors. Stay tuned for news on other events related to the book and eventually for the American release in the Spring of 2012

Here’s the text I wrote for the press release:

KOLOR KLIMAX unites twenty-two Nordic artists to present the best in Nordic comics right now. Focusing on work from Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, it offers a wide range of approaches and genres displaying amply the diversity and innovation in comics today.

Despite their small size and language groups, the Nordic countries have long had a strong comics culture. The per capita readership is remarkably high and distinct national traditions were shaped during the course of the last century, spanning the field from traditional newspaper strips to small press experimentation. And while the mass markets of the last century have declined, today’s Nordic comics are healthy and ever-diversifying embracing everything from the generalist graphic novel to avant-garde cross-pollination with the fine arts.

KOLOR KLIMAX focuses on personal creation, made independently of the traditional genres. It unites a very diverse field of short stories by the following artists: Mari Ahokoivu (F), Vanessa Baird (N), Mikkel Damsbo & Gitte Broeng (D), Joanna Rubin Dranger (S), Joanna Hellgren (S), Bendik Kaltenborn (N), Kolbein Karlsson (S), Peter Kielland (D), Johan F. Krarup (D), Tommi Musturi (F), Christopher Nielsen (N), Emelie Östergren (S), Signe Parkins (D), Joakim Pirinen (S), Ville Ranta (F), Aapo Rapi (F), Jenni Rope (F), Mårdøn Smet (D), Rui Tenreiro (Mozambique/N), Thomas Thorhauge (D), and Amanda Vähämäki (F).

Edited by art historian Ph. D. Matthias Wivel, KOLOR KLIMAX inaugurates a series of Nordic anthologies under the auspices of the Finnish Comics Society’s Nordicomics intiative. It is published in partnership with seminal American small press publisher Fantagraphics Books. By making it available on the American market and, by extension, for worldwide bookstore distribution, it aims to expose an international audience to the best in Nordic comics today.

Kolor Klimax : Nordic Comics Now, Fantagraphics Books 2011, 256 pages in color, suggested retail price $29.99.