The Danish Comics Council

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Our international readers may remember a lot of activity, all conducted in the gibberish tongue that is Danish, about a month ago here at the Bunker. The reason was that a new Danish comics organisation, the Danish Comics Council, was founded. On the board serves yours truly serves, along with the Bunker’s own Thomas Thorhauge, who was elected chairman, Steffen P. Maarup co-publisher with Fantagraphics of the forthcoming Danish comics anthology From Wonderland with Love, as well as several other good people from the Danish comics scene.

Here’s the central mission statement:

The Danish Comics Council wishes to assist in:

  • heightening both the general and the specialised knowledge about comics, and
    thus strengthening both communication of and research into comics
  • contributing actively to the creation of, the conditions for and the versatility of
    Danish comics and publications of comics in Denmark, as well as the availability of
    foreign comics in Denmark through publications and exhibitions
  • establishing contact between and functioning as a shared forum for everyone with
    a personal as well as a professional interest in comics
  • collaborating both nationally and internationally with organisations and institutions
    with an interest in comics and related media/artforms
  • This is a go-to organisation for queries, national and international, as well as possible collaborative projects having to do with the above-mentioned areas of interest, having to with comics and cartooning in Denmark. The full press release in English, which includes details on our areas of concentration, a full list of board members, and much more can be downloaded in PDF form here.

    Additional information (in Danish) on www.dansktegneserieraad.dk

    Photo from the foundational meeting: Christian Sand

    Going Home Again

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    Just watched the three-parter that marked the return of British SF-comedy sitcom Red Dwarf after ten years in the movie development wilderness, which ran on the digital network Dave TV over Easter. I had absolutely no expectations for this — the last two seasons of the show, VII (1997) and VIII (1999), had been rather mediocre and it just seemed highly unlikely that this was going to be any kind of return to form, after all these years.

    Suprisingly, it was rather good, and — most importantly — funny.

    Do you see a prototype? Updated!

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    We’ve been asked whether we recognise any comics/cartooning prototypes, or sources of inspiration, for the above-posted picture. We are somewhat at a loss. Can you help us? Please let us know what you think might have inspired the painter, or merely what the image makes you think of.

    (I shall refrain from giving more information on the image for a few days, in order to let your associations wander more freely. Thanks for your help!)

    UPDATE: Here’s what Anne Gregersen from J. F. Willumsens Museum in Denmark writes:

    “The painting is called The Prince’s Wedding and was created by the Danish artist J.F. Willumsen (1863-1958). There’s a sixty-year span between different parts of the painting: It was first painted in 1888. After a severe criticism by the establishment and by a leading art critic, Willumsen chose to cover the central figures of the painting with a star-shaped piece of black paper. In 1948 he began a radical modification of the work. He cut out the part of the canvas covered by the star-shaped piece of paper and inserted new canvas there, as well as on the left side of the painting. And he then repainted the central figures in a completely different style, which may have been inspired by contemporary comics like Flash Gordon, Prince Valiant, Superman and Batman. Or movies like The Wizard of Oz or Robin Hood. On May 13th, the J.F. Willumsen Museum is opening an exhibition about this work, and we are very interested in hearing what kind of associations the painting brings to your mind.”

    Apaches


    Jean Giraud, one of the major figures in comics history, is still alive and kicking. Neither he nor his alias Moebius seem particularly marked by age. As a matter of fact, it seems his output has never been bigger. Most notable, probably, is his series of self-indulgent improvisations, Inside Moebius, of which five volumes have been published so far, and then there is his virtuosic — and energetic — return to Major Grubert in Chasseur Déprime (selected by Matthias Wivel, Henry Sørensen and myself amongst the comics of the year 2008).

    But while Moebius after an extended period of creative insolvency (who would not rather forget the exploitation piece Le Nouveau rêve of 2001?) has only recently caught his second — or third, or fourth? — wind, Jean Giraud has never experienced this kind of crisis.

    Sacrebleu! Thorhauge Live on the Web!

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    The Bunker’s own Thomas Thorhauge has finally — after all these years — gotten his act together and created a web page for himself. He has decided upon the old school Web 2.0 format of a blog, which he — inexplicably — calls Sacre Bleu! Unfortunately, it’s all in Danish, but go there and check out some of his fine work.

    (This all happens just in time for the now imminent release of his second graphic novel, Kom Hjem (‘Come Home’). A magnum opus nine years in the making, one supposes this has been in emulation of his idol, the by now notoriously dilatory David Mazzucchelli, and whaddayaknow, he also has a graphic novel out! Stay tuned for much more on all this…)

    Picks of the Week

    “The White House knew he’d been tortured. I didn’t, though I was supposed to be evaluating that intelligence… It seems to me they were using torture to achieve a political objective. I cannot believe that the president and vice president did not know who was being waterboarded, and what was being given up.”

    Former Pentagon Analyst

    The picks of the week from around the web.

  • Torture. The declassification of four torture memos from the US Justice Department the week before last is a good occasion to revisit the Red Cross Torture Report, which initially brought most of this information to light. And the recent New York Review of Books article on it is essential reading. Also, read this gripping article from last year detailing and assessing the information the CIA and its allies acquired from torturing a number of the high-profile terrorism suspects. This week, former FBI supervisory special agent Ali Zoufan weighed in succinctly in this op-ed piece for the New York Times, and Frank Rich wrote a scathing and impassioned editorial on Sunday that sums up the situation as well as anything.
  • Politiken: Peter Greenaway on cinema today. On a lighter side, check out this broadside aimed at contemporary cinema from one of its most uncompromising (if also unwatchable) directors. Although somewhat self-contradictory, it’s smart, caustically funny stuff.
  • Thomas Thorhauge’s Batman

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    I’ve already linked to Copenhagen cartoonists’ studio Over Floden’s current Batman tribute, but since I’ve been on the road lately and have nothing else to show for it yet, I’d like to call special attention to Bunker contributor Thomas Thorhauge’s contribution, which references John Wayne at the end of John Ford’s masterpiece The Searchers to create a poignant illustration of the Caped Crusader and his role in the comics firmament.

    Hype: Emmanuel Guibert in the Comics Journal

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    Emmanuel Guibert, whose comic Alan’s War we just selected as our comic of the year here at the Bunker, is featured in the new issue of the Comics Journal (#297), both with a preview of his book The Photographer, which is about to come out in English, and an interview conducted by yours truly. There’s an excerpt available here.

    The issue cover features, somehow rather appropriately, Mort Walker, plus there’s all the usual goodness. Do check it out! And more importantly: read Guibert’s books — they’re great.

    Picks of the Week

    “Paying fair market values for the assets will not work. Only by overpaying for the assets will the banks be adequately recapitalized. But overpaying for the assets simply shifts the losses to the government. In other words, the Geithner plan works only if and when the taxpayer loses big time.”

    — Joseph E. Stiglitz

    The picks of the week from around the web.

  • New York Times“Obama’s Ersatz Capitalism”. Short, sharp editorial on the Geithner-mastered bank bailouts by the Nobel laureate economist Joseph E. Stiglitz. Read it.
  • Ruppert/Mulot — Championnat de bras de fer. Another jam comics project from the dynamic duo that brought you the impressive Maison close. This conception of this simpler one, which sees a number of cartoonists from the French-language alternatives scene arm-wrestling each other in comics form, antedates the latter and provided the basic model for it, and finally the first round of the competition is online. Go see all your favourites strongarming each other off the page!
  • Over Floden: Batman at 70!

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    These days, the most happening cartoonist’s studio in Copenhagen is Over Floden. It counts amongst its members Simon Bukhave, Cav Bøgelund, Johan F. Krarup, Miwer, Søren Mosdal, Mårdøn Smet & T. Thorhauge. All of them do fine comics (and most of them have contributed to the upcoming Aben Maler/Fantagraphics-published antho From Wonderland with Love), but these days they are taking a breather to celebrate seven decades of Batman. The results are rather fun and pretty irreverent. Go check it out — a new cartoon will be uploaded daily until the big day, April 18th.

    So far, cartoons by Bøgelund, Smet and Over Floden guest, the great Peter Kielland, are online. More to come.