I finally moved!

I finally got my shit together and moved my blog to my own site (with help and moral support from Kinga Dukaj)!
The new URL is:

blog.elftorp.com

Which means no more fucking ads! And not that much else is different, but it feels much better to have it as part of my own website.

So see you there!

Found this old drawing from when I was only a few years old (3? 4? something like that).
As good a parting image as any…

Nytt zine: Polisen | Vara Svensk

So I made a zine about a month ago to bring to SIS. It’s two chapters from Me & my Daddy & Zlatan. Probably the two chapters which, when juxtaposed together like this, most clearly point out a certain kind of Swedish self-righteousness and how hollow it can be. It’s a flip zine that stands on its own but also works as a sample of the actual graphic novel.

Polisen|Vara Svensk (The Cops|Being Swedish)
Det här myntet har flera sidor, men oftast är det bara en som syns.
(Translation: This coin has more sides, but most often you can only see one.)

The zine is only available in Swedish for now, but you can get the book in either English of Swedish, all available in the Hybriden webshop:
Polisen|Vara Svensk (the zine)
Me & my Daddy & Zlatan (English)
Jag & min Pappa & Zlatan (Swedish)

Polisen|Vara Svensk is (of course) made at Fanzineverkstaden, published by Tusen Serier.

Return of the live exhibition

CBK presents:
[PLACEHOLDER] & UNCOMICS
Double release exhibition for the new CBA vol 53 & CBA vol 56|57!

Where: Panora/Fish Tank Gallery
When: The exhibition starts Thursday June 9 at 19:00
and will stay up until the middle of August (possibly a bit longer)

Two exhibitions at once, with international comics art to celebrate the release of two new volumes of CBA! From comics about the special situation brought by the pandemic to comics that break up their own form to such a level that they begin to question what comics as an art form is.

At the opening on June 9 at 19, you can witness a live painting/music performance with Grønvall.Haverholm.

Since I have comics in both issues (and en extra text in CBA vol 53), I also have two works in this exhibition (and I designed the poster). But the best thing about this is that it’s a live exhibition where we can meet, look at art and drink together! So drop by and I’ll see you there!


Exhibition: [PLACEHOLDER] (CBA vol 53)
The pandemic was supposed to have a deadline, most of us agreed on a year but it lasted much longer. What happens when the world is paused for an indefinite time? What does this do to our experience of our existence? How do we replace our routines? We’re waiting, and in our wait, we imitate the “real” we hope will soon return. Like placeholders in our own lives.
Available now! Buy it here Participating artists: Adrián A. Astorgano, Aiden Kvarnström, Felipe Kolb Bernardes, Ivana Filipovic, Julia Nascimento, Kinga Dukaj, Matt Carr, Mattias Elftorp, Nataniel E, Saskia Gullstrand, Tom Mortimer

Exhibition: UNCOMICS (CBA vol 56|57)
Abstract art emerged in the early 20th century as a reaction to the complexities and — just as often — atrocities of modern society. Meanwhile, embedded in the entertainment industry, comics evolved primarily in terms of disposable spectacle or literary ambition; stylized pictures in service of story.
Comics scholar Jan Baetens noted a decade ago that narrative “melts in the air when [abstraction] walks in”. Living in a time of hyperlinked, multi-threaded and immersive narrative, we suggest instead that abstraction opens up to non-linear, ambiguous understandings of comics. Understandings so contradictory in terms that we need a new phrase to describe them — we give you: uncomics.
An artistic field where contemporary art and comics inform each other. Where the absence of sequence encourages the reader to investigate the picture plane(s) in any direction and order, becoming an active co-creator in the process. A space outside the tedious limitations of story where images both abstract and suggestive interact. Comics, at last, as a visual art form.
Available now! Buy it here
Participating artists: allison anne, Anastasia Hiorns, Churchdoor Lounger, Gareth A Hopkins, Jeremy P. Bushnell, Kimball Anderson, Laurel Lynn Leake, Louis Deux, Mark Badger, Mattias Elftorp, Miika Nyyssönen, Rosaire Appel, Shaun Gardiner, Simon Russell, Tana Oshima, Tym Godek, Warren Craghead III, William Lillstjärna

Performance: Grønvall.Haverholm
Grønvall.Haverholm is an improvisational, crossover-media act combining live music and drawing with appropriate amplification – distortion and back projection.
Allan Grønvall (bass/guitars) has a varied musical background in the Danish metal underground of the 90s. In Grønvall.Haverholm he’s taken the DIY-mentality and lo-fi focus from back then to a new level.
Allan Haverholm (charcoal/paints) is a visual artist and editor. Moving from graphic novels via musical expressions in comics onto his current, abstract expressionist work, his work remains deeply moored in comics.
Giving concerts since early 2015, the duo have joined their individual fortés in avant-garde comics and extreme music into a unique, creative performance.

CBK
Panora
Grønvall.Haverholm
Order CBK books from Hybriden
Exhibition produced with support from Malmö Kulturnämnd

Facebook event

#Swedengate (w/ recipe)

So, my international friends, let’s talk a bit about #Swedengate.

First, what you need to understand is that in the international country, Sweden is very much a little backwards countryside community where we just discovered the internets.

We’re pretty well off now, which makes us think that we’re a bit better than most other communities, but we used to be poor not long ago. The secret is that we have some natural resources that others wanted (and we also managed to stay out of the big war, so when others needed to rebuild, we were happy to sell them building materials.

We used to be known for our almost socialist welfare system, but that was like 50-60 years ago. Around the same time, we were also known for our generous and welcoming attitude, because back then we needed people to come here and work. So we took in people from exotic places such as Italy, Finland and Yugoslavia, and some political refugees from Latin America. After a while, we kind of stopped doing that, but we kept and cultivated the self-image anyway.
This was also around the same time we figured it was time to change the name of our institute for racial biology, and maybe stop forcefully sterilize poor people with mental health issues.

I say we used to be that way, a society where we took care of each other on an institutional level, where most of us were kind of (at least seemingly) on the same level. Now, however, our rich are getting richer and our poor are getting poorer at a pace more rapid than most other places.

We also make money selling guns to the bigger cities and we don’t really see a problem with that, because it’s a good thing to make money, right? That’s what you’re supposed to do and it’s what all the other kids are doing when they grow up.

So we used to have this cultural thing where families ate together and if other kids were visiting they were expected to eat with their own families later, so instead of giving them food they had to sit in the room and read comics or whatever. No one thought much about it because everyone did it like that, except the immigrant kids who weren’t used to it because they had perspectives and experiences that were a bit bigger than what we had in our backwards little town.

This was around the same time when our view of culture was also a bit backwards. It was frowned upon to listen to weird music like hip hop or techno, it was kind of frowned upon to read anything that wasn’t detective stories and you didn’t watch anything other than the most mainstream of Hollywood movies. While the rest of the world knew us for Ingemar Bergman, we viewed (and still kind of do) people who watched Bergman movies as stuck-up snobs who thought they were better than the rest of us.

And when something bad happened we tended to blame the out-of-towners.

We were visited once by a foreigner, a Chinese musician (I know I may have talked about this before, but it’s such a telling story) who was interviewed in one of our morning TV shows. When she got the question about how excited she was to have made music for such a big movie, she was kind of embarrased (not for herself so much as for the interviewer) because she had been doing huge concerts for years and that movie was just one job, and not the reason she was here. It’s quite possible that the interviewer, being kind of a journalist* in this small backwards countryside village, didn’t mean it as a belittling kind of racist comment. It’s more likely that he had just discovered that they actually make movies in China and (if he had even seen it himself) he was probably mightily impressed, and which one is China again, it’s the one with the samurais, right (whatever that means)? He probably wasn’t even aware that he maybe should have made a little more research before the interview because why would he need to know more than that she’d made music for one of the few Chinese movies that were good enough to be shown in Sweden (ok, kind of racist, but in a way he may not have been aware of)?
Also, and I think this is important: the imagined audience for that morning TV show were ”normal Swedes”, i.e boomers who just recently heard of the internet (if they even heard about it at all), and who were a bit racist/ignorant, and you mustn’t scare them off by acting as if the world is bigger than their living room. I still get more or less that feeling when I watch morning TV, even now, 20 years later.

And when bad things happen, we still, embarrassingly, tend to blame the out-of-towners.

So that’s some of the context. It should be noted that not everyone did the ”let the kid’s friend wait in the room while we eat” thing, but enough did that it was a pretty common occurence. It would make more sense if it was a class thing (and maybe it was, originally?), but it seems to have been more widespread than that. It seems to have been more common in some areas than others, but it was pretty standard all over the country. It was, however, still possible to grow up without experiencing it, depending on what (more or less random) circles you grew up in. And it seems to have more or less stopped since the turn of the millennium, so the current international astonishment over this whole thing is about 20-30 years too late to be meaningful…

Drawing of Swedish food with no additions from other cultures, by Kinga Dukaj.

—RECIPE—

How to cook a You can go sit in the room while we eat family dinner:
Portions: exactly 1 family

Put 1 Dinner is the only real family time we have between work and TV (God probably told us that, back when we all believed in Him), just after he taught us the virtue of wage labor,
1 It’s your parents’ responsibility to feed you
and 1 You can read comics while you wait or similar flavour
into a bowl and stir until you get a Dinner’s ready (not for you)!

Boil in a bowl of Food is expensive until you feel that you’re Acting the proper Swedish way.

Season with some Let’s just pretend this is normal until it is, a spoonful of If you don’t feed my kids I’m not feeding yours, a bit of It’s just kids, they have no feelings anyway, remember when we used them in the mines and a pinch of If I feed your kid you may feel that you owe me and I wouldn’t want that to happen to me so I won’t subject you to it either.

You know that it’s almost ready when it smells like That’s simply how we do things here and you’re a weird foreigner for questioning it.

Let it simmer for approx. 20-30 years for an added taste of Who’d’ve thought this would ever come up and bite us in the ass?

Serve as an embarrasing Social media event.


* I should add that of course I can’t know the actual vews of this interviewer, and I’ve embellished/speculated a bit, so don’t take it as a critique of that individual but rather as a representation of the general sentiment in the Swedish mainstream. The movie in question was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Angry Animal on NATO 2022

Nu är det ju lite sent och vårt enda hopp verkar ligga på Erdogan av alla rövhål till människor. Och/eller svenska politikers förmåga att ha integritet nog att inte sälja ut alla kurder i landet för att blidka honom. Men det är nog ungefär like troligt som att bara de som var för medlemskap kommer att behöva skicka ut sina egna barn i framtida NATO-krig. Den här Arg Kanin-bilden gjorde jag hursomhelst för inte så länge sedan till Tecknaruppropet Moment2022.

This post is in Swedish because it’s about Swedish politics (well, not only Swedish, since it’s about our membership in NATO). Normal transmissions will resume shortly. I translated the cartoon text but not the accompanying text.

Making a decision about whether to join NATO or not right now is a bit like going to shop for food when you’re really hangover hungry.
Except what you’re buying isn’t food but war, and you’re not hungry but afraid, and you’re not hungover, only stupid.
So what you risk returning home with isn’t too much food…
…but a potential contribution to a new world war and then we all die.

Detta skrev jag i samband med att jag la upp bilden på Facebook, så det var ett tag sedan och situationen är lite annorlunda nu, men det enda som inte fortfarande är giltigt är sista meningarna eftersom folkomröstningståget redan har gått:


Kanske behöver jag förtydliga några saker om hur jag ser på hela den här grejen:

Att tycka att NATO inte borde ha försökt expandera genom att ta med Ukraina (innan kriget) och att ha en förståelse för att det av Ryssland kan tolkas som en aggression (typ Cuban missile crisis light) är inte ett försvar för Putins invasion av Ukraina. Inte heller är det att lägga skulden på någon annan än Rysslands ledning.

Borde Sverige göra någonting? Ja, men ska vi bidra inte bara humanitärt utan även med vapen så kanske vi inte måste skryta med det för att vinna politiska poäng utan vi kan göra det i smyg som antagligen andra länder har gjort, av rena säkerhetsskäl. Och vi kanske borde försöka se till att de vapnen inte hamnar i händerna på just ukrainska nazister.

Självklart ska vi ta emot flyktingar från Ukraina, precis som vi borde från andra länder, men inte för att “de är ungefär [kulturellt och etniskt] som vi” utan för att de behöver hjälp och det vore omänskligt att neka dem det. Precis som det är omänskligt att neka flyktingar från andra ställen.

Putin har aldrig varit annat än ond. Att hävda att vänstern stöttar honom är oärligt, särskilt när det kommer från folk som var för Trump även när han satt och tindrade med ögonen mot sin bästa diktatorvän/idol Putin. Redan innan den här invasionen drev han en gangsterkapitalism och krigade mot andra länder och stiftade monstruösa anti-HBTQ-lagar osv osv. Han har aldrig varit ok, men vissa hade mer överseende med de sakerna fram till anfallet mot Ukraina och de borde inte kasta sten i det glashuset genom falska anklagelser mot alla som inte älskar NATO.

Den offentliga debatten om hela grejen har också alldeles spårat ur, på ungefär samma sätt. Att ställa in en stödkonsert för Ukraina med motiveringen att det skulle användas ryska instrument är idiotiskt. Att ta bort kefir för att förpackningen hade Mokvareferenser är löjligt. Att överlag ge sig på random ryska individer och rysk kultur som inte har något med kriget att göra överhuvudtaget är galenskap, precis som när folk gav sig på random asiater för att COVID-19 först upptäcktes i Kina, eller random muslimer efter 9-11. Det är som att folk bara går och väntar på vilka lösa ursäkter som helst för att få bete sig rasistiskt. Och att intervjua random personer på gatan i Ryssland som uppenbarligen inte vågar uttala sig kritiskt mot Putin eller kriget är på inget sätt ett bevis för att alla ryssar är på hans sida. Rasismen blir ännu tydligare när ickevita ukrainare stoppas vid gränsen utan att det blir skandal, och vi fortsätter neka andra flyktingar som har minst lika starkt behov av skydd.

Är Sverige hotat av Ryssland? Jag kan inte se det. Visst, Putin är oberäknelig, men om han inte på riktigt planerar att ta över hela Europa och därigenom starta ett tredje världskrig så tror jag inte han bryr sig om oss. Möjligen om vi skulle gå med i NATO, så även vårt eget säkerhetsläge är ett argument mot att vi skulle gå med.

Ett medlemskap i NATO skulle också, som vissa påpekat, påverka Sveriges möjlighet att vara en alliansfri medlare i olika konflikter. Jag vet inte hur stor skillnad i praktiken det skulle göra, eller hur ofta/framgångsrikt vi har tagit den rollen på sistone, men det finns å andra sidan ingen anledning att se det här så kortsiktigt. Går vi med så påverkar det inte vår internationella roll bara just nu utan för lång tid framöver.

Nu är jag långt ifrån en utrikespolitisk expert så jag kan såklart ha fel om vissa saker som jag precis skrivit här. Jag har mest mitt eget logiska tänkande och de fakta jag plockat upp att gå efter, men ingenting i dagens debattklimat med skandalösa löpsedlar om Putins hemliga döttrar och artiklar som rakt av utgår från att ett medlemskap i NATO är oundvikligt och allmän krigshetsclickbaiting och (återigen) rasism säger mig att jag skulle ha mer fel än någon annan som väljer att uttala sig.

Så till sist: Borde vi ha en folkomröstning om medlemskap i NATO? Med tanke på hur opinionen verkar se ut just nu och hur extremt vinklad den offentliga debatten är (då menar jag självklart inte att vi borde se fler inlägg som försvarar Putin, men just debatten om NATO framställs ofta som att den frågan redan är avgjord och självklar) så vet jag inte hur mycket hopp jag har kring en sådan folkomröstning, MEN det vore extremt konstigt att inte ha en. Vi röstade om kärnkraften, EU-medlemskapet och EMU och med tanke på hur stor förändring ett medlemskap i NATO skulle innebära så bör vi rimligen få rösta även om det.

Och vi borde rösta nej.

Out now: CBA vol 54|55 & 56|57 (with samples)

Two massive new double issues of CBA just came from the printer:
CBA vol 54|55: Was it a car or a cat i saW
and
CBA vol 56|57: UNCOMICS

ORDER HERE (Hybriden)

180 pages each, and filled with comics (and uncomics) from an international assortment of creators. All printed on a shiny new paper stock that really makes both colors and blacks look great!

CBA vol 54|55: Was it a car or a cat i saW

Have you ever had to just stop what you’re doing and go: “Wait, is this a dream?”
When the unknown starts bleeding into reality and you are forced to question your sanity, if just a little bit.
You know the sort of thing that happens in dreams that makes you sure it’s just a dream? How do you cope when it happens in the waking world?

ISBN: 978-91-87825-28-6

Comics by:
Kinga Dukaj [SE], Knut Larsson [SE], Oskar Aspman [SE], Radovan Popović [RS], Aleksandar Opačić [RS], Marcel Ruijters [NL], Saskia Gullstrand [SE], Aiden Kvarnström [SE], Katie Handley [UK], Felipe Kolb Bernardes [BR/DE/SE], Susanne Johansson [SE], Korina Hunjak [HR], Mattias Elftorp [SE], Ollie Severin [SE], Sid Church [CA], Henrik Rogowski [SE], David Lasky [US]

Texts & illustrations:
Kinga Dukaj [SE], Mattias Elftorp [SE]

Cover & main editor:
Kinga Dukaj [SE]

CBA vol 56|57: UNCOMICS

Uncomics – an artistic field where contemporary art and comics inform each other.
Where the absence of sequence encourages the reader to investigate the picture plane(s) in any direction and order, becoming an active co-creator in the process.
A space outside the tedious limitations of story, where images both abstract and suggestive interact.
Comics, at last, as a visual art form.

ISBN: 978-91-87825-29-3

Comics by:
Tym Godek [US], Kimball Anderson [US], Warren Craghead III [US], Simon Russell [UK], Anastasia Hiorns [UK], Gareth A Hopkins [UK], Tana Oshima [JP/ES], Rosaire Appel [US], allison anne [US], William Lillstjärna [SE], Louis Deux [US], Mark Badger [US], Miika Nyyssönen [FI], Shaun Gardiner [UK], Laurel Lynn Leake [US], Churchdoor Lounger [US], Mattias Elftorp [SE]

Texts, illustrations & main editor:
Allan Haverholm [DK/SE]

Cover:
Jeremy P. Bushnell [US]

I copied this blogpost from CBK, but since this is my personal blog I’ll also add a few samples, since I have comics included in both issues.

My palindromic (if that isn’t a word it should be) story in Was it a car or a cat i saW.
My entry in the UNCOMICS book, called Outside.
Abstract comic consisting of re-used old comic pages and images.

SIS 2022 – fan art & competition

I’ve taken a short break from posting about Piracy is Liberation in order to be able to spend more time on actually drawing the new book.

Today I took a break from that as well in order to make some fan art for the upcoming SIS (Stockholms International Seriefestival):

COMPETITION:

If you are the first to identify which comic pages are surrounding the dog, I’ll give you a gift. Email me with book title and page number or part of the dialogue from the page (since I don’t normally use pagination) for all of them*. And let me know which one of my books you need as reward and I will send it to you.
*I say all of them, but one of these pages is from the upcoming book so it’s enough to identify it as the unpublished one.
Important: contact me by e-mail (see the contact page). No other means of contact counts.

Anyway, maybe I’ll see you in Stockholm, May 20-22? I’ll be there with Hybriden (CBK/Tusen Serier/Wormgod).

And with that, I’m back at the drawing table again (I mean not ALL the time, but as much as I’m able in between everything else I need to do). It’s hard to finish a book when I’m constantly adding pages to it, but I’m at least more than halfway done by now…

Release: Digital Piracy!

I just put up a bundle of Piracy is Liberation books 001-004 for digital download at Hybriden!

If you’re new to the world of Piracy is Liberation, here’s a short description of what you get in these four books:

Cyberpunk stories in a future where Capitalism is the only religion, where only sinners disobey and nobody loves a sinner. Pirate is one of those sinners, downloading illegal information straight into his mind to get high. When he gets caught while trying to free Information, he has to use all his skills as a 4-dimensional hacker to break them out of digital prison.
One year later, he’s part of a group trying to free sections of the City from the clutches of brainwashing television, riot cops and the Priests and Masters who control everything.
Meanwhile, Erica toils away as a Slave in the factory. But what’s the dark secret behind the cogs and wheels and levers of her machine? What hides in the desert that no one knows exists? And what of the Drivers and their upcoming strike?
Political theory, filtered through autobiography masked as fiction, in the form of cyberpunk postapocalypse.

It’s a great way to get a substantial sample (266 pages) if you want to try it out before buying the books, or if you just want to read it for its own sake. Or if you prefer to read on a tablet (if this proves popular enough I’ll probably do digital versions of the rest of the books as well).

Digital comics often cost much more than I think is reasonable, so I set the price for this at 60 sek (about 6€/$6.35), which is what one and a half book would cost on paper, and now you get four! There’s also the option to pay more if you think my price is too low.

If you want it for free, books 001 and 002 are still available at ThePirateBay, so that’s also an option. Just don’t forget to share!

BUY IT HERE

PROCESS: Main characters

The two girls whose story will be the main focus of Piracy is Liberation 012: Outer Enemy that I mentioned in my latest post aren’t completely new to the series.

You’ve seen them before, for the first time in book 002: Infotrip for a few pages.

They were the ones being given the Basic information for the revolution discs at a café. In that chapter (Communications, subchapter 3: Conversation) they mostly served as a way to show the effects of that book’s events on some random people in the general society.
That scene also turned out to be a bit anachronistic, since it actually took place during book 005: Free Section in the chapter Outside, where we got to see it in the background and from another perspective.

I think I had, even back then, some thought of maybe returning to them at a later point. Which turned out to be correct.
Not going to spoil any of their story in the new book just yet, but here are two of the new pages…

PROCESS: New technique for book 012

I’m working a bit differently on this one.

My normal process for shorter comics used to be to have an idea and then to simply start drawing and see what happened, writing script as I went along. That worked fine and made it more interesting also for myself since I wasn’t sure how each story would end.

Then, when I started making Piracy is Liberation, I fels the need to do it a bit more properly. I started writing scripts with dialogue, voice-over and (still pretty loose) image descriptions. The script would sometimes change as the drawing process went along, because I still needed room for things to be a dynamic during the work.

This spread from Piracy is Liberation 002: Infotrip is two of the very few pages where I actually did a sketch before inking it.

Now, with Piracy is Liberation 012, I’m somewhere in betweeen those tactics.

I’ve been collecting notes for the last 10 years, writing down scenes, bits of dialogue and over-arching ideas for the upcoming books. Or actually for the rest of the series, which is now planned as 11 more books. Which is a number liable to change because, as I said, I like to keep it dynamic. I’m deliberately still keeping the details of last few books vague, even for myself.
After putting all these notes in order and making a rough sketch of what goes into which book, I started to tie them together, but still not writing out all of the dialogue/voice-over. More like a collection of scenes that I flesh out as I go along.

Much of the dialogue, I write more or less one or a few pages at a time as I draw them. Most of the voice-over is still just notes that I will turn into full text later, as I finish the pages in Photoshop.

Another difference, which is probably very much connected to this new strategy, is that I’m drawing digitally, in Procreate. That means that it’s much easier both to erase and modify things while drawing and that I actually often do sketches, which is pretty new for me. I still keep them very vague and loose, because I want to keep the feeling of the linework. I always thought my lines got more interesting and personal when they’re spontaneous. So I want to keep that while still getting the advantage of sketching.

Here’s an examples from book 012 where I didn’t sketch but drew directly, old-school style. Step by step (panel structure/dialogue/line art/halftone & other effects/black fields/detail fixes):

Go to my Instagram to see more video capture like this one in the near future:

And here’s one where I did sketch. You can see how loose it is, and how closely(?) I ended up following it:

So far, it feels like this process suits me well. At also gives the story space to evolve as it goes. For example, book 012 will have a main storyline focusing on two girls who were at first only meant to be there for a scene or two, to give the over-all events a bit more flavor. Now their story goes on to fill about 50 of the book’s maybe 150 pages (both of these numbers may very well go up before it’s all done).

More on these two characters in the next post, coming up on Tuseday…