Egmont/Bonnier: Worst Case Scenario For Danish Comics Culture

Yesterday saw the announcement that Nordic media conglomerate Egmont has acquired its rival, Bonnier Books. Since then, the Danish media have written a great deal about tendencies in Scandinavian book culture (where the presence of bookstore chains is steadily growing, causing predictions that they will eventually end up dictating publishing), in which both Egmont and Bonnier are major players. Here at the Metabunker, the development as it pertains to Danish comics culture especially is cause for concern. Egmont’s acquisition may have huge consequences, at least for the Danish market. Both companies have their own comics divisions: Egmont has Serieforlaget and Bonnier has Carlsen. And though both publishers are very commercially driven, they are extremely different in terms of attitude, philosophy and market strategy.

So, here’s the Metabunker’s four-point worst case scenario for Danish comics culture, and at the end of this piece, a constructive what-to-do:

Egmont køber Bonnier Forlagene – opdateret

Bogmarkedet meddeler, at der i disse timer bliver skrevet dansk forlagshistorie; Egmont-forlaget Aschehoug har netop købt Bonnier Forlagene, der blandt andet tæller Lindhardt og Ringhof, Børsens Forlag, Akademisk Forlag og Carlsen. Bonnier Forlagenes hidtige direktør Morten Hesseldahl forlader storforlaget, der fortsætter under navnet Lindhardt & Ringhof. Hvorvidt Egmont Serieforlaget og Carlsen vil blive sammenlagt ved overtagelsen vides pt. ikke, men Metabunkeren vil følge sagen løbende.

Læs mere om udviklingen i det danske bogmarked i Politiken og på Nyhedsavisen beskriver forfatternes frygt for “forlagsmaskiner”, som også Information beskriver. Endelig kan Politiken fortælle at Bonniers tidligere adminstrerende dirketør, den tidligere tegneserieforfatter Morten Hesseldahl, bliver ny administrerende direktør på dagbladet Information.

Hergé 100: The Collected Drawings

To commemorate the centennial – on May 27th – of Hergé, creator of Tintin, the Metabunker asked a number a Danish cartoonists to contribute commentary/tribute drawings, which we posted daily the week following the day itself. These are now scattered around our archives as individual posts, so we thought it helpful to collect them all in one place. Here you go.

Hype: [insert generic contemp. art show title here] & Parfyme Deluxe

If you’re in Copenhagen, there are two exhibitions of interest opening today: one is Gaze.Space.Desire (yes, the title is as stereotypical as it gets, but indulge us…) at Den Frie udstillingsbygning, the other is Parfyme Deluxe: The Tent Show at Nikolaj. There’s even a special Rackham/BLÆK-connection, since the terrible trio Ingen Frygt is participating in both.

Gaze.Space.Desire runs till July 1, the opening is today from 5-7 PM; The Tent Show is there until November 11, while the opening coincides with the one at Den Frie.

Hype: Kosmorama #239: Animationsfilm

Danmarks ældste og bedste filmtidsskrift Kosmorama er ude NU, med et stort temanummer om animationsfilm. Bladet – eller retteligt: bogen – er spækket med spændende og indsigtsfulde artikler om det gamle og det nye, om det kendte og det obskøne, det fede og det, der bare er forgæves. Sidstnævnte tager denne skribent sig bramfrit af i publikationens afsluttende indslag, hvor tegnefilmen som udtryksform slæbes gennem mudderet : strengt men retfærdigt. Klik her, og læs første halvdel af svadaen ganske gratis. Kosmorama forhandles bl.a. af Filminstituttet, og kan købes i Cinematekets boghandel.

Tak i øvrigt til redaktionen, som var så letsindig at give mig lov til at supplere mit essay med ovenstående, barnlige skribleri (her gengivet let modificeret).

Scribblings of the Comics Fawn

All right, so I finally read Joann Sfar’s latest sketchbook comic, Greffier, which collects his comics form transcripts of the Charlie Hebdo trial at the Parisian Correctional Court earlier in the year (February 7-8, to be exact). This was the trial in which three Muslim organizations, the French Union of Islamic Organisations (UOIF), the International Islamic League, and the Great Mosque of Paris, sued the venerable weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for defamation of a religious group by having published the infamous Danish Muhammed cartoons, as well as adding to the mix a cover by Cabu showing the Prophet, in January 2006. Charlie Hebdo, whose lawyers asserted their right to publish the cartoons under the principles of free speech, was — thankfully — acquitted of any wrongdoing.

Sfar writes in his introduction to the volume: “I’m neither a journalist, nor an editorial cartoonist. I wanted to take notes as a comics author. To document the entirety of the debate. Not just the essential parts”. He wants to convey the entire experience of a courtroom trial. Unfortunately, he fails quite egregiously at this.

Covering BLÆK

When Rackham’s Danish comics anthology from last year, BLÆK, was recently selected amongst the books of the year by the Association of Danish Bookbinders, it turned out to be in the ‘cover’ category. Besides acknowledging the fine work done by our designer, Frederik Storm, this is, of course, first and foremost a recognition of cover artist Jan Solheim. To mark the occasion, I asked to him to talk a little about his ideas for, and work on, the cover, and he also coughed up some of his preliminary sketches. read on…