Continental Drift: Angoulême 2009

Just a quick note of hype. The latest issue of The Comics Journal, #299, includes my report from January’s festival in Angoulême. For various reasons, it took till now for it to see print, but since it isn’t particularly topical, I don’t think it’s a problem for its readability.

Get the new Journal for my thoughts on the art of Dupuy and Berberian, my assessment of L’Association’s relaunch of their anthology Lapin in its classic format, but almost exclusively with young up-and-comers (with comments by editor/publisher JC Menu), my reviews of some of the prize winners: Winshluss’ Pinocchio, Bastien Vivès’ Le Gout du chlôre, Blanchin and Perissin’s Martha Jane Cannary, Étienne Davodeau’s Lulu — Femme nue and Émile Bravo’s Spirou revival Journal d’un ingénue, and an attempt to gauge what the popularity of these comics tells us about Francophone comics. Last, but certainly not least, read the thoughs of Jessica Abel, Alex Holden, Frederik Peeters and Craig Thompson on the year’s Grand Prix winner Blutch. The latter even provides an example of how his work directly inspired sequences in Blankets.

But most of all, get the mafazine for Bob Levin’s fantastic article about Michel Choquette’s incredible, if inevitably unrealized 70s comics project Someday Funnies — a comics anthology that would have included work by people such as Harvey Kurtzman, Federico Fellini, Will Eisner, William Borroughs, Kim Deitch, Tom Wolfe, Art Spiegelman, Ronald Blechman, CC Beck, Harlan Ellison, Jean Giraud, Ralph Steadman, Goscinny & Uderzo, Arnold Roth, Topor, Frank Zappa, Jack Kirby, and many more…

Breaking News: Free Comics stopper

Det er netop kommet Bunkeren for øre, at Torben Hansen har besluttet sig for at indstille produktionen af gratistegneseriebladet Free Comics. Sidste nummer bliver således det netop udkomne sommernummer, nummer 53.

Torben skriver:

Hej Alle!
Jeg har besluttet at stoppe Free Comics. Det er blevet for meget bøvl for mig at lave; det er ikke sjovt mere. Desuden har den såkaldte krise også en effekt på selv et produkt der ligger så langt uden for normal markedsøkonomisk tænkning som Free Comics. Mange budgetter har været indskrænkede, og nogle af de firmaer der har hjulpet med distributionen er enten gået rabundus eller omstrukturerede, med den følge, at jeg skulle til at bygge distributionsnetværket op igen. Det nåede at blive til 53 numre, og godt et par tusind sider med nye danske serier. Det’ sgudda også meget godt.

Jeg vil fortsat udgive tegneserier, nu skal de bare ikke foræres væk. Nu hvor folk ingen penge har, vil jeg sælge dem istedet. Så smart er jeg nemlig.

En kæmpe tak til alle jer, der har været med til at lave Free Comics, for jeres engagement og bidrag.

Bedste hilsener,


Vi her i Bunkeren ønsker hermed at udtrykke vore kondolencer — projektet Free Comics voksede fra at være en god græsrodsidé til en veritabel institution i det danske tegneseriemiljø — et sted hvor flere markante yngre talenter, fx. Johan Krarup, Anders Brønserud, Jacob Rask Nielsen, Christian Skovgaard og nu, med nummer 53, Mikkel Sommer, har slået nogle af deres første offentlige tegneseriestreger. Et skidt og kanel-projekt drevet af idealisme og knofedt til oplag i området 20.000 eks., samt et lille dobbeltforlag med smag for skæve tegneserier.

Hatten af! Og held og lykke til Torben — og projektets andre involverede — med fremtidens projekter!

Billede fra Mikkel Sommers korte bidrag til det seneste nummer af Free Comics. Her kan du læse Rackhams noget uimponerede anmeldelse af bladet fra 2004, da det trådte sine barnesko, og her kan du læse vores interview med Torben fra 2006, just som han havde startet forlaget Brun Blomst.

Hype: From Wonderland with Love Available Now!

fromwonderland.jpgI’ve talked about the new Danish comics anthology From Wonderland with Love before, and I’ve even interviewed editor/publisher Steffen P. Maarup about it, but at the risk of it all becoming rather trite, I’d like to call attention to it here once again, because it is now out and should be available at your bookstore (brick&mortar as well as the internets), and it’s a damn fine collection of comics.

If you need further recommendation, check out the starred review it has just received at Publishers Weekly, or look at the generous samples provided by Maarup here. From Wonderland with Love is published jointly by Fantagraphics Books and Aben Maler.

Oh, and if you happen to be in Copenhagen on Friday the 14th, do consider dropping by the release party at Karriere Bar, Flæsketorvet 57-67, Kbh V, from 5PM!

Picks of the Week

The picks of the week from around the web.

  • The New York Times: “The Making of an Iran Policy”. Roger Cohen on the Obama administration’s Iran policy, its major players and the challenges they face. A fascinating look behind the scenes by an informed observer.
  • Writings of Perry Anderson. I was only vaguely aware of the distinguished historian and sociologist before Jeet Heer recently called attention to some of his writings. Extremely well-informed and widely read, his dissections of modern European history from a leftist point of view carries both epic sweep and richness of detail. Check out, for example, this analysis of the development of German society, politics and economy over the last decade or so, or this compelling and depressing flaying of the Italian left. More can be found at the New Left Review, The Nation and the London Review of Books.
  • The Shat at his Peak. And finally, to offset the frivolity of this post, here’s William Shatner. Surely a reason why the internet was created. Here’s the source material by the way. (Thanks, Richard!)
  • IZ the WIZ RIP

    Jeez, talk about sleeping on the blog — I just found out, from Alex Holden, that original New York graffiti legend Iz the Wiz died two weeks ago. It’s a bit late, but I just wanted to pay my respects to one of the great early stylists of subway art and one of the most ferocious bombers of all time.

    Check out Holden’s site for a few classic flix and one of the two or three most resonant segments from Silver and Chalfant’s classic documentary Style Wars, where a young Iz speaks for a generation of writers. Alan Ket and Greg Lamarche have more, here’s an interview with the man and here’s another and here’s Iz’ website. Photo by Matt Isles from the Phun Factory aka. 5 Pointz — the legal writers’ playground in Queens, helped into the world by IZ. It was taken in 2001 and copped from here.

    Heavy Rotation: WEFUNK Radio

    wefunk-itunes-300x300.jpgGood evening. We have taken control as to bring you this special show. We will return it to you as soon as you are grooving.

    These last few days, I’ve been listening more or less non-stop to the great Montreal radio station, WEFUNK Radio, which has operated out of McGill University for over a decade now and is as awesome as ever.

    If you dig classic funk, soul, RnB, jazz fusion, as well as the best in in hip hop — historical and contemporary — it’s the perfect place to tune in. Hosts Professor Groove and DJ Static have impeccable taste, great musical knowledge and bring to their mixes years of experience, plus they often feature quality guest DJs, guaranteeing variety with quality.

    There’s a new show every Saturday morning between midnight and 2 AM Montreal time, plus over 300 archived shows from the last 8 years or so. Really, I can’t recommend this station highly enough.

    W-E-F-U-N-K, or, deeper still, the Mothership Connection.

    Gaea Ascendant

    Lars von Trier’s Antichrist is, at one and the same time, amongst his subtler works and one of the most blunt and, frankly, simplistic.

    It’s his first movie since Europa (1991) in which the artifice of the cinematic image is explored for illusionistic effect, but that film was simultaneously emphatically Brechtian with its jarring, intellectual storytelling strategies and mise-en-scène — a creative track he has since been exploring in different ways in most of his films — so, really, the earlier work Antichrist most acutely recalls is the feature debut, The Element of Crime (1984). That film was an unabashed and visually striking, but to my mind rather pretentious and ultimately unsuccessful pastiche on the cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky, and it seems no coincidence that Antichrist is dedicated to the great Russian, on whose cinematic language it is a much more sensitive and independent take.

    Picks of the Week

    The picks of the week from around the web.

  • The New York Times: “Radovan Karadzic’s New-Age Adventure” by Jack Hitt. This must-be-read-to-be-believed article describes the former Bosnian Serb leader and war criminal’s life in hiding from Interpol as a new age-healer — complete with sperm-revivifying hands — in Belgrade. A must. (Thanks, Mi!)
  • The TLS: “Iran Votes Again”. This is a little late, but for anyone interested in what is, and especially has been, going on in Iran, this review by Rosemary Righter of three books on the Khomeinist Revolution and Iran is greatly illuminating.
  • Prisoners of Gravity: Jack Kirby. Recently uploaded to YouTube: The King profiled and interviewed on this 90s Canadian TV show roughly a year before his death. I dare you to see it without at least choking up a little bit. Parts one, two, three. (Thanks, Henry!)
  • Easily Mused: R. Crumb Makes no Apologies! Great Crumb art — some drawn from life in France, some featuring God! — from the early 1990s. Need I say more? (Thanks, Dirk!)
  • And finally, a couple more great comics features in list form — Gary Panter’s top ten comics at Vice (which now has a whole comics guide up), and Seth on classic cartoonists at AV Club (Thanks Tim! Thanks Tom!)
  • Hype: Den nye gamle stil

    Just wanted to hype the release of my man DJ Carsten and his MC partner in rhyme, Paulo, on their new release, Den nye gamle stil (‘The New Old Style’). I’m obviously biased, but I still cannot recommend their work enough, if you want to get a taste of quality Danish underground hip hop.

    Carsten’s production skills have grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years, synthesizing traditional boom bap sound with a more jazzy vibe without ever sounding contrived, while Paulo has long been one of the most interesting and original MCs on the Danish scene. Although perhaps a little too mired in the classic preservationist, back-to-the roots, two-turntables-and-a-microphone themes so common in a lot of hip hop, he brings to the table a highly distinctive, often arrythmic, almost conversational flow, and when doing more concept-driven raps, such as “Animalistisk” on the new record, he shows himself as a fine writer too.