Images from ‘Contemporary Comics’ at the University of Copenhagen

Regular readers might be aware that I was recently involved in the planning of an academic conference on comics at the University of Copenhagen. It was called Contemporary Comics and took place on Friday May 21st. It featured 12 international speakers, as well as the Canadian scholar Jacques Samson, who delivered the keynote address, and cartoonist Chris Ware in conversation with British comics expert Paul Gravett.

The conference tied in with that weekend’s International comics festival,, and was organized jointly by the Institute of Art and Cultural Studies, the Danish Comics Council and the festival. I very much enjoyed being part of the conference committee, which besides myself consisted of Rikke Platz Cortsen, Andreas Gregersen, Liva Skogeman, Christian Jess Rasmussen and Carsten Fogh Nielsen. Credit is especially due to Rikke, Ph.D-student at the Institute, who in addition to helming the conference taught a course on comics in the spring semester and saw her students through their exams at the festival itself, in front of a broad audience. Without her, none of this would have happened. Also, thanks to everyone else involved and everyone who turned up. It was nice meeting you all, and a great day!

We now have some pictures up over at the Danish Comics Council website — here are the photos taken on the day by Henrik Conradsen, from which the above image of Gravett and Ware is culled, and here are cartoonist Erik Petris live sketches.

J. F. Willumsen-tegneseriekonkurrence OBS! Ny Deadline

J.F. Willumsens Museum har netop udskrevet en stor og ambitiøs tegneseriekonkurrence, der søger en behandling af den danske kunstners liv og værk i tegneserieform.

UPDATE: Museet har netop udskudt deadline til 31. december.

Her er deres (let redigerede) pressemeddelelse:

J. F. Willumsens Museum udskrev d. 22. maj 2010 på en konkurrence for professionelle tegnere og illustratorer om en tegneserie om en af Danmarks mest originale billedkunstnere gennem tiderne – J.F. Willumsen (1863-1958). De tre bedste oplæg præmieres med hhv. 35.000, 10.000 og 5.000 kr., og det vindende forslag vil i samarbejde med J.F. Willumsens Museum og et tegneserieforlag blive videreudviklet og publiceret.

Men hvorfor en tegneseriekonkurrence på et kunstmuseum? It’s on!

This year’s festival in Copenhagen promises to be the best yet. Friday night saw the launch party with the customary awards ceremony. As usual, most Danish comics people were there, providing the base of a fine crowd with many visitors from abroad: besides the two triumvirata — Burns, Clowes, Ware & Gibbons, O’Niell, Quitely — the festival’s international guests were out in force (sans Yslaire, who had to cancel at the last minute) and it was great to see most of the scholars who attended our conference at the University of Copenhagen earlier in the day (in itself a great pleasure — more on it soon) hanging around till late too.

I was part of the jury and am proud to convey the winners here. It was difficult, but this is what we came up with — the list contains theall the nominees, with the winner highlighted:

Today is ‘Everybody Draw Muhammad Day’

For better or worse. I’m not sure what, at the end of the day, this will do for the cause of reason and compassion in this matter, but a situation where drawing certain things will net you death threats and attempts on your life is simply unacceptable. Whatever the history of systemic injustices or problems that feed this mess, they cannot excuse unjust actions of individuals. Stop threatening my friends and peers, who have done nothing but exercise their freedom of expression, and let us join in non-violently criticising those that exercise it irresponsibly.


If you’re interested, you can read my 2006 thoughts on the cartoon crisis here.

Hype: Blæk og Blyant at CMYK this Friday

If you’re looking for something do on Friday night to warm you up for the weekend’s festival, you could do worse than dropping by Butik CMYK in Nørrebro for the opening of the exhibition Blæk og Blyant (‘ink and pencil’), featuring three illustrators: Nygårds Maria Bengtson, Majbrit Linnebjerg and Toril Bækmark (more here). Peter Williams will be playing the bass from five o’clock.

It goes down on Friday 21st of May from 17.00 – 20.00 in CMYK kld., Jægersborggade 51 (in the basement), Copenhagen.