Klas Katt in the Wild West

Posted by on January 5th, 2011 at 4:05 AM

Title: Klas Katt i vilda västern

Translation: Klas Katt in the Wild West

By: Gunnar Lundkvist

Language: Swedish

94 pages, b&w and colour, hardcover

Publisher: Kartago Förlag

ISBN: 978-91-86003-45-6

Gunnar Lundkvist is an institution in the Swedish comics culture. He has written and drawn his contemplative, quiet and anxiety ridden comics about his main character Klas Katt (Klas Cat) since 1979 and not much has changed since those first comics.

Klas Katt i vilda västern (Klas Katt in the Wild West) is a perfect example of this. The drawings are about the same as (at least in the second Klas Katt book from the 1980s, when Lundkvist had found his style) and the themes exactly the same. Lundkvist’s comics are like visual poetry. There is mostly no story in the classical sense, only panels showing the distress of the main character, often without any words what so ever.

The images are rather crude, drawn in black and white and most often without any background except a darkness that encroaches upon the characters personal space and looks like it is going to engulf them at any given moment. Whenever there is dialogue, that is also bleak and often exemplifies the impossibility of actual communication. OK, so this may all sound as if reading a Klas Katt comic is a depressing experience, but surprisingly that is not so. There is something beautiful, etherial to these stories and you slowly get into the mindset of Lundkvists world. This is both poetry and art, but most importantly it is very much stories that could only exist in the comics format.

Klas Katt has never made a big splash in the English speaking world, and I can see why as this really is quite some way away from Superman and the X-Men. In France and Canada on the other hand, several books has been published and there, as in Sweden, Lundkvist is somewhat of a cult creator. If you want to sample Lundkvist’s comics there are shorter stories in English in the anthologies From the Shadow of the Northern Light vol. 1 and 2.

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