The best norwegian comics of 2010!

Posted by on December 30th, 2010 at 11:35 AM

2010 was a pretty average year for norwegian comics/graphic novels, well to be honest, a bit below average.

Luckily, it wasn’t the quality that was the problem, but the amount of new books being released.

Since there’s only 4 million Norwegians, one can’t expect too many new, awesome releases, but considering the fact that there are around  a 1000  Norwegian fictional books released every year, one could at least hope for more than 10-15 graphic novels.

But let’s not end the year on a sour note, here are three books I found especially exciting this year! (There were, of course, several other high quality releases, but I don’t want to write myself into the new year, so I settled for these three, very different books.)

Christopher Nielsen

Weltschmerz # 9

128 pages, color/black and white

No Comprendo Press 2010

Christopher Nielsen, (1963) is norwegian comics bad boy. He’s utterly political and satirical in his comics, criticizing the society and the rich, wealthy and not so generous Norwegian elite. He had his international break with the computer animated movie Free Jimmy in 2006, where his two heroes, the drug addicts Odd and Geir  were trying to catch the just as stoned elephant Jimmy.

In Weltschmerz #9 he has collected a bunch of short stories, all drawn in Nielsens distinct, curvy style. Nielsen’s “hero” is usually the little, insignificant man, often friendless and poor. But never a saint. Here are rapists, happy whores, nazihippies (sic.) child molestors and just regular norwegian drunks. Nielsen confronts us in an utterly humoristic-satirical way with a Norwegian society far, far away from the high mountains and deep fjords, this is anti-postcards from Norway, and they are very striking indeed.

Fagprat

Flu Hartberg

132 pages, color

CappelenDamm 2010

Flu Hartberg (no, his firstname is no coincidence, he actually changed it to the infection,) is one of Norway’s most significant younger cartoonist. He has made several books, amongst them the utterly funny Horgan, about a fat loser which life is turned upside-down when he finds a lot of money. Fagprat is a collection of his comics which regularly appears in one of Norway’s biggest newspapers, Dagbladet. These are narrow, long one-panel drawings, usually populated with quite distinct looking, often disturbingly ugly looking people.

Hartberg is no stranger to drawing aliens or other strange looking creatures into his comics, but there are always some  references to political debates, society in general, tv-shows or other current hysteria, and that’s why this is  Norway’s funniest comic strip, ever! (in my opinion..)

Andrew Page

Blokk

72 pages black and white

Jippi Forlag

Andrew Page,(b. 1967) is English, but has, for mysterious reasons, chosen Norway as his home base. After last year’s Kunsten å knyte en knute, (The art of tying a knot, very roughly translated..)he’s already back with a new story.      This time the people in Page’s minimalistic drawings are inhabitants of the same appartment building, otherwise they have little in common. It’s not only Page’s drawings that are minimalistic, he is also using a highly minimalistic language. This is a book filled with quiet longing and desperation, some love and a lot of cats.The last pages remind one of Pushwagner’s Soft City (see previous post) but in a good, inspired way, ‘cos Page has now, in Blokk, found a voice and a style very much his own.

So, I’m looking very much forward to an eventful and “releaseful” 2011, and I will try to keep you up to date and always in the know of what’s going on on the top of the world of graphic novels.

Erle Marie Sørheim

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