23 July 2009

Propaganda in Donald Duck

When writing a book you often end up seeing examples of what you are writing about everywhere you look. You find endless ways to associate the world to your subject, in my case right now: propaganda in comics. And sometimes the examples are so obvious they just stare you in the face. This was the case with this week's issue of the magazine Kalle Anka & C:o (the Swedish Donald Duck magazine - the best selling comics magazine in Sweden).

Here you find a two-page story which is nothing but blatant propaganda about file-sharing and illegal copying of music. Donald gets the idea to copy a popular CD and sell it, and no sooner has he thought this than the symbol of corporate greed, Uncle Scrooge, jumps through his window and gives him a lesson in copyright... Now I'm not taking sides in this debate, but I can say that this comic was not very well done. Its sole purpose is obviously to convey the message of it being illegal and immoral to download and copy music. The author has done nothing to try to conceal this and the characters are only used to tell this cautionary tale, acting strangely out of character. You can of course speculate in the reason for including this story in a Donald Duck magazine, published by a major corporation, telling stories about characters owned by another big international corporation known to vigorously protect their copyrights, but I'll settle for saying that this was for all purposes, a badly done comic.

Portrait by Kim W. Andersson

A while ago I wrote a piece on Japanese horror comics for the artist Kim W. Andersson's site, and today he reciprocated with the beautiful portrait above. I have always, secretly - or so I thought, wanted to be the leader of an occult group, ordering sacrifice in the moonlight, drinking blood from a holy chalice and partaking in the carnal festivities that ensue. Well, OK, so I might go for the robe anyway...

Pondus - Division fyra

Pondus - Division fyra
By: Frode Øverli
176 pages, color, softcover
Language: swedish
Kartago, 2009
ISBN: 978-91-89632-936

This is the fourth collection of the Norwegian cartoonist Frode Øverli's strip Pondus. For those of you not familiar with Pondus, this is a rather traditional comic strip about a family man, a bus driver to be exact, whose great interest in life is soccer. The stories also follow his loser friend Jocke, who always dates the most horrible women, Jocke's gigantic elderly mother who lives with a German midget and so on... The humor in Pondus is often burlesque and the portraits of women are not very flattering. On the other hand, neither are the portraits of the men. Actually, the wife of Pondus, Bea, is one of the better, more believable female characters in comic strips right now. And I must admit that after having read loads of more culturally refined, autobiographical, journalistic, nihilistic whatever… comics, I quite enjoyed simply being entertained by the strips in this book.

Oh and yes, there's supposed to be a slash across the O in Frode's last name. It's pronounced something like the last part of "the". Anyway...