15 June 2011

News: Positiv Förlag recieves Unghunden

Today it was announced that the publisher Positiv Förlag, responsible for the acclaimed children's comic Tivoli med vänner, receives this year's prestigious Unghunden, the special award given out by the Urhunden jury, for work in the field of children's comics and promotion of reading of comics among children.

This award is traditionally revealed at the big Book Fair in Gothenburg in September, but due to the past week's events, the jury has decided to reveal the recipient now. The magazine Tivoli was recently canceled, but the publisher announced that if enough new subscribers sign up it will be revived. This gave rise to a flurry of online grass-root activity, which resulted in, as of right now, 1 370 new subscribers. The goal that the publisher set to be able to go back into production, is 1 500, so the finishing line is near.

Many in and around the Swedish comics business are right now keeping their fingers crossed and helping out by reposting, linking and generally promoting this cause. Let's see if it's enough.

Recommendation: Approximate Continuum Comics

Title: Approximate Continuum Comics
By: Lewis Trondheim
Language: English (French)
162 pages, black & white, soft cover
ISBN: 978-1-60699-410-8
Fantagraphics, 2011

It's Wednesday, and time for this week's book review. Approximate Continuum Comics is a book I have been waiting for. I'm an avid fan of French artist Lewis Trondheim, his irreverent storytelling and loose, simplistic and yet very personal art style. Still my French is, at best, stumbling, and I do prefer reading his stuff in languages that I am more fluent in, to get that reading flow that makes comics come alive in my mind.

This is actually the first of Trondheim's continuing autobiographical efforts in comics, chronicling two pivotal years in his life (1994-1995), which at the same time were very important for the evolution of the French comics culture. Trondheim was, at this time in life, close to breaking through to the big league personally, and was at the same time part of the group that formed the publisher L´Association, poised to revolutionize the whole of the French comics business.

Thus, Approximate Continuum Comics is both a very personal diary in the comics format, and a record of an important moment in comics history.

Well, the comics history stuff is of course interesting for someone like me, but you really don't need to understand who everyone is (even though this book is full of the very best comics artists from Trondheim's generation...) to appreciate the humour and the sly wit of Trondheim's musings about being in the middle of life, trying to decide what to do with your life, your (growing) family, your career and so on.

Approximate Continuum Comics contains a very human tale, inviting you to the strangely normal life of Trondheim. When you've read it I recommend you continue to Trondheim's later efforts in the autobiographical genre, with At Loose Ends, which has been serialized in the anthology Mome, and the beautiful, hand coloured Little Nothings, which has been published in three books so far in English.