8 September 2009

Live: Peter Madsen

And here's the celebrity of the evening, Peter Madsen, a bit surprised by all the commotion created by the publication of the very last Valhalla album. Besides the party, there's been loads of articles in Danish newspapers, interviews on the radio and on TV and so on. Nice to see that media in Denmark realizes what a big thing this is and that Madsen is one of the few Danish comics artists who really is on an international level.

Live: Stupid white guys...

Whenever I'm at a comics event in Denmark I inevitably end up posing like this with Danish publisher Paw Mathiasen (Fahrenheit). I'm not sure why, and neither is he...

Live: The Valhalla cake

There's not only beers at this party, there's also cake, adorned with the cover images to Valhalla 15 and the very first volume of Peter Madsen's and Sissel Böe's new series Troldeliv (troll's life). It doesn't go very well with beer, though...

Live: The Valhalla release party

Right now the release party for Peter Madsen's final instalment of Valhalla. "Everyone" is here, the beer flows freely.

News: Lewis Trondheim on iPhone

OK, so I'm not going to harass you with news about comics on the iPhone every day, but this is just fantastic. The French artist Lewis Trondheim is one of the most prolific, and at the same time artistically interesting of his generation (and a personal favourite of mine...). That he would get into this rapidly moving game is not surprising. Trondheim has created a silent comic about a cat directly for smart phones complete with a brand new interface. You can subscribe to it for a mere $0.79 a month and get daily instalments with the cat Bludzee. I'm there!

Review: Valhalla 15

Valhalla 15: Vølvens syner

Av: Peter Madsen och Henning Kure

56 pages, color, soft cover

Language: Danish

Carlsen Comics, 2009

ISBN: 978-87-626-5805-9

Peter Madsen has been working on his magnum opus Valhalla since 1979. He has, since then, produced 15 stories in the classical French-Belgian album-format, one feature length animated film, children’s books, comic strips and so on, and so on. Valhalla is simply one of the most successful of all Scandinavian comics. It has been translated to a great number of languages and the first volume alone has sold more than 100 000 copies.

All these impressive numbers would not mean a thing, though, were it not for the fact that Valhalla truly is a masterpiece with great storytelling, wonderful character design and beautiful artwork. The stories in Valhalla are all based on authentic Norse myths, but translated by Madsen and his co-writer Henning Kure. They have given these old character new lives and told some really good stories throughout these last 30 years.

This, the 15th and very much final volume, in the series, deals of course with Ragnarok, the mythical end of all the Norse gods. Madsen has not made any attempt to hide the fact that there would be an end to his stories, and this is the obvious way to go. As with all stories in Valhalla, it is well-told and even though Madsen does follow the original myths and let the apocalyptic forces reign, he pulls it off and delivers yet another good story, with an end that feels fulfilling both for the album, and for the whole series.

Today, I often tend to neglect comics in the traditional album format, as I feel that this is a thing of the past. With Valhalla, though, it feels perfectly right. Madsen started out a young artist deciding upon this format, and has – like a European Dave Sim – stuck it out for 30 years, never straying from the original concept. Now, with Valhalla finished, I expect that he will try other formats. He has already done so, as I received the three first volumes of his new series of children’s book, Troldeliv (Troll’s life), written by his wife Sissel Böe. So there is a life after Ragnarok.

Oh, and then there is the fact that Peter Madsen is one of the nicest, most decent persons I have met in the comics business.