Dave Arneson RIP (Worlds of Difference II)

arneson_dave.jpgDave Arneson, creator of Blackmoor and co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons, with Gary Gygax, just passed away. Although virtually unknown beyond old school gamer circles, the invention of the table top roleplaying game was a milestone in the development of interactive gaming, of the digital as well as the low tech kind. When Gygax died last year, I wrote an appreciation of their invention and what it has meant to me. What I wrote applies equally to Arneson, so I will refrain from adding anything here, other than warm thoughts to his friends and family. RIP.

Photo: AP.

The Arbiters of Taste 2008

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By Henry Sørensen, T. Thorhauge & Matthias Wivel
Right, so here were are again with our selection of the best comics of last year. It’s taken a while but we hope you find it useful.

Much of what we said about the year in comics 2007 when we did this last year applies equally to 2008. It was another great year in comics in what must be described as an ongoing string of such years. Recession or not, comics are alive and doing well. We’ll have to see how it manages the lean times that are surely ahead. While the industry is already taking hits on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as in Japan, where it has seen a slow, but steady decline over the last few years, and while especially comic strips are going through a phase of redefinition through newspaper death and digital translocation, the comics medium as an art form seems like it’s going to do just fine. If nothing else, the comics on our list provide ample grounds for optimism on that count, we should think.

As usual, lots of great comics fell by the wayside in this selection, so please be advised of its fallibility and consult other recommendations of the year in comics 2008. And, well, enjoy!

Hype: Academic Perspectives on Comics, Växjö

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At the end of next week, April 16-18, Växjö University in Sweden is hosting an academic conference on comics, the full title of which is the rather torturous “Academic Perspectives on Comics, Manga & Graphic Novels as Intercultural & Intermedial Phenomena.” Don’t let that dissuade you, though — it looks pretty great and features Thierry Groensteen, Paul Gravett and Helena Magnusson as its keynote speakers. For more information, go here or check out the event’s Facebook page.

Unrelated illustration by François Ayroles.

Picks of the Week

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The picks of the week from around the web.

  • Big Numbers #3, by Alan Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz (assisted, infamously, by Al Colombia). (Everyone’s posted this, but what the heck). Bits and pieces of it have been flowing around for years, but finally Pádraig Ó Méalóid has assembled the whole story and put it online. The quality is somewhat dodgy, but it is a thrill — albeit it a somewhat bittersweet one — to be able to read the third chapter in what for a brief moment after Watchmen had made its mark, was the Next Big Thing in comics, until it crashed and burned. A masterwork that never was. Also, read Moore’s original script here, and read Eddie Campbell’s typically insightful and entertaining commentary here. and more here.
  • More Intelligent Life: “The Age of Mass Intelligence”, by John Parker. The Economist‘s rather too-hip-for-its-own-good subsite nevertheless offers some very worthwhile material. This article on the proliferation of high culture in Western society is interesting, as is this trenchant counterpoint, by George Balgobin.
  • Dansk Tegneserieråds Stiftende Generalforsamling — Flix & Dækning


    Efter den stiftende generalforsamling i Dansk Tegneserieråd i torsdags var den nyvalgte formand, Bunkerens egen T. Thorhauge i Deadline på DR2. Her er hans samtale med Kurt Strand — en fin opsummering af rådets tanker og ambitioner.

    Deadlines introduktion til interviewet kan ses nedenfor. De originale links kan findes her og her. Læs i øvrigt også Politikens dækning af begivenheden, med kommentarer fra formand Thorhauge og bestyrelsesmedlemmer Ulf Reese Næsborg & Marianne Eskebæk Larsen her.

    Dansk Tegneserieråd stiftet

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    Aftenens stiftende generalforsamling i Dansk Tegneserieråd var en stor succes. Med et fremmøde på ca. 70 mennesker og — forstår jeg, der desværre ikke var til stede — rigtig god stemning, kom Rådet godt fra start. Den valgte bestyrelse ser sådan ud:

    Formand: Thomas Thorhauge
    Bestyrelsesmedlemmer: Marianne Eskebæk Larsen, Allan Haverholm, Paw Mathiasen (kasserer), Steffen P. Maarup, Carsten Søndergaard, Matthias Wivel
    Suppleanter: Mads Bluhm, Ulf Reese Næsborg
    Revisor: Anders Hjorth-Jørgensen
    Revisorsuppleant: Rikke Platz Cortsen

    Den nyvalgte formand var i DR2 Deadline samme aften, udsendelsen skulle være til at fange her fra en gang i løbet af fredagen. Derudover var der bred dækning af Rådet hele dagen, fra P3 Morgen (med undertegnede) og P2 Kulturnyt (med Steffen Maarup), til forsiden af Politikens kultursektion, der bragte en artikel om danske tegneserieforlæggere og en kort gennemgang af mediets udgivelseshistorie i Danmark siden albummets fremkomst i 70erne.

    I det hele taget er nyheden om Rådet blevet modtaget overvældende positivt. Vi har allerede fået en del lovende tilkendegivelser, både fra tegneseriemiljøet og udefra, så vi ser spændende muligheder på horisonten. Nu skal der arbejdes for sagen!

    Illustration af T. Thorhauge til Politikens artikel om danske forlæggere. Kan du se, hvem der er hvem? Svaret kan læses her.