So I came back from CRACK! a couple days ago and tomorrow is the first day with no meeting or things I have to do, so I will set the phone to silent and stay away from any other means of contact with the outside world.

Maybe spend the day in New Bordeaux or in space or the future.

But before I go into my 24h hibernation, here are some things from recent times that you may find interesting:

New books:

En Andra Chans (Tusen Serier) was written by me and drawn by Shko Askari. It’s written in Swedish & Arabic and consists of two interconnected stories, read in different directions, that meet in the middle. About war, racism, integrity and migration.
You can order it here.

CBA vol 36|37 (CBK) was edited by me, with stories by Akab, Spyros Verykios, Elena Guidolin and Serena Schinaia, with a cover by Radovan Popovic. I’m very happy with this latest volume of the international art comics anthology. This one is all in English.
You can order it here. Here’s another pic of the cover, this one modified during CRACK!:

Speaking of CRACK!… One of the things that happened there was a gig with Noise Against Fascism, for which I made this backdrop (which turned into a kind of cape during the gig):

And while I’m writing this I’m answering Facebook comments on this text. Some people seem to be unable to think outside the boundaries of the law, even if the law is immoral, which is kind of worrying. Others seem to have problems with texts longer than a tweet, so here’s a short summary:

When I grew up, in the 1980s/90s in a small town in Sweden, anything out of the “normal” was weird and something to stay away from (reading comics/listening to techno/being gay/being born somewhere else/watching foreign movies/being female etc).
Parallel to this, it was hard for immigrants to get asylum here (and it’s worse now, no matter what right-wing propaganda you hear). And anarchism was unheard of as a viable ideology. The mainstream ruled.
It’s all connected so what we do in CBK/CBA is antiracist by providing a printed space for what isn’t seen as normal.

Of course, it’s more elaborate in the blog post, so maybe read that…

Here’s an excerpt, which I think may be the most controversial part:

Once, a bunch of years ago, I was with a large group of people outside the refugee detention centre in Malmö. We were there to stop a deportation of a man from… I don’t even remember from where. The police came to get him. We stood in the way, blocking all entrances. After a while, the cops said: “All right, now you’ve made your statement. You’ve expressed your opinion. Now stand aside and let us do our job”. That hit me on a deep level. We were there to save someone’s life, and they thought we just wanted to express out opinion and then things could go back to repressive normality. Of course we didn’t move. We stayed there all day, hungry, getting burned by the sun, until the guy managed to break a window from the outside and get out. Within minutes he was in a car being driven away from there, to a life in hiding. Maybe eight months later, he got his permit of residency, proving us right.

People here seem to think that opinions is something everyone can have, as long as they don’t interfere with reality. Conversely, they also see them as something harmless, which is why we’re supposed to be so lenient towards racism. Because it’s just an opinion, which anyone is entitled to, and it has nothing to do with real life (and, incidentally, they won’t hurt you as long as you belong to the white mainstream (but who worth considering isn’t white mainstream?)). Except it does. Anything that today is ‘just an opinion’, may tomorrow be the new mainstream, with real-life consequences.

In other news… A while ago I made this book cover for Malvarma Bufedo (SLEA) the Esperanto version of Jenny Wrangborg‘s Kallskänken. Got my copies of the book the other day (and you can (soon anyway) order it here):

Also, if you drop by Hybriden these days (it’ll probably be closed but if you’re lucky or look through the window), you can see the Berättelser från Yunnan (Tusen Serier) exhibition by Emei Burell. Or you can order the book here.

And you will also see our banner in support of the XM24 squat in Bologna:

I’ll finish this off with two pages from Transgressions (Wormgod) that I think illustrate part of the point I wanted to make in that CBK blog post (click for bigger version):

You can, of course, order it here

Advertisements

I don’t want to dream

April 26, 2017

Here’s something you should go see at Hybriden if you’re in Malmö between May 5-25 (read more about it here):


And if you feel the need for some new books to read, here are a few tips:
CBA vol 36|37: IN THE PITS OF MADNESS
Berättelser om Yunnan by Emei Burell
En Andra Chans by me & Shko Askari

Back from CRACK!

July 3, 2016

Back from CRACKLAND, putting the preparations for AltCom 2016 into high gear (is that the expression? I never learned to drive a car and my bikes usually didn’t have any gears).

Most of the posters are finished, most of the program is set, most of the tables are booked, but there is still a lot of space for additions and changes, so it’s going to be a couple of interesting weeks until it all starts…

To start the month and also to put the festival in a bigger context, here’s a little thing I wrote on the site the other day:

crackland_fulbaileys

Feberdröm & me in the Wormgod/Tusen Serier/CBK + friends cell…

So we just came back from the CRACK! festival in Rome, which is more or less the hub/parent/sibling of the European(+) scene for underground/alternative/DIY/art comics & temporary art. The festival gathers hundreds of artists and thousands of visitors under the same roof, or actually in the tunnels under the same fort.

CRACK! is the great inspiration for AltCom and many others, even if the conditions very from country to country. For example, the squatting culture in Italy and Sweden are completely different. If you try to occupy an empty building to turn it into a social centre in Sweden, you will have to deal with a massive police assault on you almost directly. No such squat in Sweden has lasted more than a few months in recent years, and even that is extremely rare. It’s more likely that you will be back on the street within hours. Whereas Forte Prenestino (the social centre where CRACK! is held) celebrates its 30th anniversary as a squat this year.

On the other hand, Malmö is a friendly city and it’s possible to cooperate with a lot of venues (like Folkets Park, Panora, Mitt Möllan and others during the previous AltComs) without having to spend all of your budget just to find a place to have the festival’s exhibitions, comics market, etc.

On the other hand, Sweden is kind of expensive compared to other countries (though Malmö is cheap for Sweden), if not as expensive as Norway or Switzerland, so it comes with some other issues that we need to handle when organizing our event. We compensate by keeping as many parts as possible of the festival free of charge, like tables, entrance fees, festival anthology…

An important aspect of AltCom is that even if the comics fair is an important part of it, since it gives small press publishers and artists the opportunity to sell their books and the public the opportunity to buy them, we focus a lot on the social aspect.

That’s why we start the festival off with a two-day exhibition opening for several exhibitions at once, gathered in the same place. It creates a meeting ground for artists from different parts of the world, to show their stuff, to talk, to drink together and make new plans for the future, as well as meet a public that get the chance to experience something new.

The CRACK! festival is truly a seed for a future that may come, a seed that may be part of creating an atmosphere based on participation, mutual respect, creativity and boundless exchange. And that’s what we also try to be with AltCom, even if we are in Sweden and don’t have a huge squatted-since 30-years fort.

This seed is already bearing fruit. Weeds are cropping up in various places taking different forms, such as:
AFA (Autoproduzioni Fichissime Anderground) Milano (ITA)
Combat Comics Livorno (ITA)
Ratatà Macerata (ITA)
Ca.Co.FEST Bari (ITA)
BORDA Fest – Produzioni Sotterranee Lucca (ITA)
PICS Pescara Intergalactic Comics Show Pescara (ITA)
F.OFF Angoulême (FRA)
Tenderete Valencia (ESP)
Gutter Fest Barcelona (ESP)
Vendetta Marseille (FRA)
PRINTNOIZE Berlin (GER)
Ohoho Festival Zagreb (CRO)
NOVO DOBA Beograd (SRB)
ŠKVER! Art Project Mali Lošinj (CRO)
Fijuk network (Balkans/International)
and of course AltCom and probably many more…

If you’re into comics, you may have come across a phenomenon called the 24 hour comic challenge. The rules are that you have to make a comic of 24 pages within 24 hours, from idea to finished story. It’s a great experiment, because after you’ve done it at least once, deadlines seem less intimidating and your self-esteem gets a boost.

I’ve done it a few times, with varying results. There’s a rumor that one time I didnät have time to spend 24h, so instead I made 24 pages in 24 minutes. But I don’t remember and I can’t remember seeing the result. Stress can do that to you.

seqtrollet

Anyway. They usually do it once a year at the Comics school in Malmö, where I took my second year in 2005. I think I was done writing and drawing after 18h, and I spent the rest of the time scanning and doing halftones etc. In the end I think I had one minute to spare or something. The result was The Troll.

I was quite happy with it, so in 2008 I asked Mikke Schirén who was running Komika förlag if he wanted to publish it, which he did. Shortly after it came out, Komika was closed down. So there were a some copies (I think the print run was pretty small, possibly Print on Demand) but it didn’t even make it onto Komika’s website and there was probably no distribution at all. I got a few author’s copies, but since it was a Swedish edition and I mostly do stuff in English, so it  took me a while to get rid of them.

I always liked the story, however. It was heavily inspired by the films of Shinya Tsukamoto and their soundtracks composed by Chu Ishikawa. Tsukamoto is probably best known for the Japanese cyberpunk classic Tetsuo: the Iron man, but his other movies are also really great (best are possibly Tokyo Fist, A Snake of June, Kotoko and I could go on but I won’t). They’ve calmed down in later years, but they still manage to be really intense at the same time. If you’ve seen his Bullet Ballet, you may notice that the gun from that film made an appearance in The Troll.

troll-bulletballet-gun

So when I heard that Mikke was resurrecting Komika in 2014, I asked him if he’d be interested in republishing the story, and he said yes. So I prepared the files for a bigger size and for two editions, one in Swedish and one in English. And then nothing happened. I think I was waiting for an ISBN or something, until I got tired and thought: While I wait, why don’t I make it longer?

So I added a prequel chapter and planned to make two more chapters after the original story. I had an idea for the prequel, so I started with that, but I didn’t really know what would happen after the original story (which was now chapter 2).

When I made the first 24h story, it felt right to end it with an apocalyptic scenario and a quote paraphrasing Tetsuo, but it made it harder to continue the story afterwards. Then, one night I was watching Star Trek Voyager with Kinga Dukaj. For some reason (this probably happened during a bathroom break, because I kind of remember having a shit) I started thinking about memory. Maybe something in the Star Trek episode reminded me of something from my childhood and got me thinking about how different persons can remember the same event completely differently.

Anyway, I came back and we started talking about memory, and how it works, and how maybe memories differ because they originate in parallel timelines, and we just went on from there. I realised that I should take notes. I also realised that this might be the key to what was going to happen in the two final chapters of The Troll. And it was.
So this book that started out as a regular apocalypse story, with a manga-esque family trauma for a prequel, turned into a philosophical discussion about the nature of human consciousness, largely inspired by various youtube videos about extra dimensions,the multiverse and string theory. And when I decided to introduce a 5-dimensional character and realised that I could make that character in 3D, it got really interesting. There are also some elements about corporate logic and an evil boss and war, but I won’t spoil the ending by talking more about that.

troll_5d_sketch

Yep, this is what the beginning of a script looks like…

I finished the English version first, and got a few copies (Print on Demand) just in time for the CRACK! festival and a visit to Le Garage L in Forcalquier, France. But when I wanted more copies for the festivals of the fall, circumstances prevented Mikke from giving me more than 10 more copies and no 3D glasses. So we came to an agreement, because I’ve also had a job for a while so I had saved some money, that I would publish the English version as a Wormgod book instead. And here we are now, as the books arrived today and I couldn’t be happier about how it finally turned out!

troll_arrived

There will be a release party/exhibition on December 12 at Tusen Serier, and because I could be happier about a lot of things, half of what I sell for at the release will go to Kontrapunkt and their work with refugees and the local Roma people who were thrown out of their camp by the Social Democrats and the City of Malmö.

Facebook event

thetrollexhib04

It's 3D!!

It’s 3D!!

Immunology

November 21, 2015

I feel I should write something about terrorism and the need for levelheadedness in the face of these things. How it’s important to not become paranoid or racist when attacks like the one in Paris happened. How yes, our Western society and it’s media and its people tend to care more about “our own” French people than the ones in Syria or Beirut or any of the other places where atrocities happen, but it’s still about a lot of people being murdered for reasons that we can’t condone or ignore. I would write that what we do about it is important. Because what we want is peace and not more meaningless bloodshed (see now, I’m trying not to sound like some Defence Leaguer so instead I come off like a hippie, and it’s all the terrorist’s fault).

Maybe somethingabout the Swedish terrorist hunt recently and about how they caught the guy who seems to have just gone on with his life like he wasn’t the Most Wanted (which is kind of suspicious), but I don’t have enough facts about it, so I can’t really say a lot. Except that I didn’t suddenly start trusting the police/authorities in general for no reason…

/Edit: Seems that they let the guy go, so I guess he was innocent. Is there still a terrorist running around the country, or was the whole thing a false alarm? Since they knew exactly who to look for, I would lean more towards a false alarm. They had his name and a pixelated photo, yet somehow they couldn’t find him (he lived at the address he had given to the Migration Boeard, with his name on the door, and his Facebook profile was open and available, so they could easily have found a better photo), and when they did get him, he was just going about his everyday business.

Compare this to when they found lots of explosives in a barn belonging to a Sweden Democrat who was obviously up to no good. In that case they didn’t raise any official nation-wide threat levels. And when a wave of fires against refugee accomodations sweep the country (around 30 so far this year), that’s also obviously nothing to take seriously… End edit/

Definitely something hopeful about how now maybe people will be more understanding towards refugees from Syria. Because this thing happened to people “we” can identify with because maybe we’ve been to Paris or at least seen it in some film. Or maybe something bitter about how it doesn’t seem that way because “we” just put up extra passport controls on the border and people seem to go on being stupid and paranoid about it.

I should also write something about the Roma that were evicted from the Sorgenfri camp in Malmö and who have been sleeping outside City Hall since it happened, even though the City has repeatedly stolen (with the help of the parking guards and police) their trailers, mattresses, blankets, clothes. And now it’s snowing. And the politicians (Social Democrats) do nothing except congratulate themselves and exacerbate their situation.

I probably have something to say about the term racism and how it’s lost all meaning to people who say racist things. To them, it’s just an insult, not a word that means anything. I could also reflect on how cartoon characters used to seem overtly simplified when they talked about themselves as “evil”. I would have said that no one would see themselves as evil. But now I hear that in some mainstream(?) circles in Denmark, for example, they talk about “good” people as some kind of bleeding-heart wimps and/or dangerous enemies of society (because they try to avoid being or acting like racists/fascists). Which I guess means that they consider themselves evil?

Basically, I would talk about how a lot of things are turning more and more to shit.

However, I’ve heard that people prefer to hear good news, so I’ll settle for showing you the comic I got the honorary award for at the Oulu Comics Festival a while ago (it was included in their Hunger of Horror anthology where they spelled my name wrong but who cares?). It’s probably going to turn up in CBA at some point as well, but I’ll show you the whole thing now anyway (more news later about CBA and also about Myling that got 3rd prize and will soon be a Tusen Serier book).

So here it is: Immunology

(click images for embiggening)

immunology-1 immunology-2 immunology-3 immunology-4-5 immunology-6 immunology-7 immunology-8

Ett historiskt dygn

November 1, 2015

Detta dygn är historiskt. Eller kanske veckan som kommer, beroende på hur utdraget det blir.

Vi har vuxit upp med Katitzi och hört om saker som Sverige gjorde Förr. Berättelser om orättvisor mot ett folk utan nation. Från en tid då Sverige och dess myndigheter gjorde saker som att jaga bort romer från deras hem, då man steriliserade romer för att de inte skulle föra vidare sina “asociala” gener. Även efter andra världskriget, då man egentligen inte längre kunde skylla på att man “inte visste bättre”. Ändå var det mycket av den gamla tidens sätt att hantera samhällets utstötta som levde kvar. Sverige var Socialdemokratiskt, vilket väl antagligen betydde att man kunde ha gott samvete när man gjorde sådana saker, för det handlade om att bygga upp Välfärdsstaten. Det Svenska Folkhemmet.

Kanske såg man det som att man bekämpade fattigdomen genom att ta bort de fattiga så resten av oss slapp se dem? Ungefär som att våra beslutsfattande representanter för Malmö stad nu säger sig skydda de boende i Sorgenfrilägret från den giftiga marken de bor på, från den ohygieniska situationen som har byggts upp i brist på ordentliga sanitetsanläggningar. Återigen genom att köra bort dem därifrån och låta dem själva hitta ett alternativ. Kommunen har gjort sin plikt, nu är det upp till romerna att hitta nya lösningar på egen hand. Sålänge de håller sig borta från parkerna, för där ska vara rent och fint. Det är därför polisen ser till att väcka de som ändå vågar sig på att sova där. Varje natt. Och på gatorna kan man ju inte sova. Inte i Sverige 2015 där det inte finns någon riktig fattigdom.

De som har bott i lägret vill väl inte heller bo på giftig mark, men vad har de för alternativ?

Det här är knappast människor som kommer hit för att sno åt sig av vårt välfärdssystem, för det har de inte tillgång till. Välfärdssystemet ska ju dessutom vara till för just de som inte har några andra resurser. Vi betalar skatt för att samhälleligt dela på resurserna och hjälpa dem som har det sämst, men här gäller inte det för nu är det inte svenska medborgare det handlar om. Många kommer från ett område som drabbats av översvämning. Många kommer för att dra ihop pengar till vårdräkningar för sjuka barn eller matpengar till sina familjer. Gärna genom att lönejobba, men det är inte så lätt att få jobb när man inte kan språket och inte har tillgång till hela, rena, fina kläder att ha på sig på en arbetsintervju som man hursomhelst inte ens blir kallad till. Så de flesta, de som inte kan få tag i ett jobb med lön, får sätta sig på marken med en mugg och hoppas på medborgarnas godhet och generositet i ett allt kallare Sverige.

Och nu återupprepas historien. SDs framgångar har med saken att göra, men man kan inte bara skylla på dem. De har inte majoritet, så ansvaret ligger på de starkare partierna som inte ser det som att de kör bort smutsiga invandrare utan ihärdigt motiverar agerandet med sin egen godhet, sina goda intentioner. Även om de intentionerna inte sträcker sig längre än till “Vi måste upprätthålla lag och ordning, det finns faktiskt regelverk att rätta sig efter”, vilket egentligen inte har någonting med varken godhet eller medmänsklighet att göra. För den som tar lagar som garant för att ett beteende är rätt och riktigt och moraliskt försvarbart glömmer att nazisterna som genomförde Förintelsen inte alls bröt mot lagen utan snarare upprätthöll den.

Och där kom kopplingen till nazismen in i bilden. Det var väl bara en tidsfråga och det har faktiskt inte med saken att göra och det går inte att jämföra detta med Förintelsen. Nej, kanske går det inte att jämföra, men parallellerna finns där, klart och tydligt. För nazismen handlade också om att städa samhället, om att rensa bort de som inte var önskade, dölja det man inte ville se. Och romerna som dog i koncentrationslägren var en del av de miljoner som osynliggjorts i efterhand. Judarna fick ta största smällen, men det är ingen ursäkt för att glömma alla de andra. Precis som romerna försvunnit ur den statistiken då ska de nu försvinna ur “vår” stad. För det vi inte ser har vi inte ont av.

Förintelsen började inte med koncentrationsläger, det var något som byggdes upp till steg för steg. Steg i vilkas spår vi verkar följa ännu en gång.

Utvecklingen och vräkningen är ivrigt påhejade av de medborgargarden som tidigare slagit sönder romernas tält och kroppar med basebollträn, som bränt tiggarläger och asylboenden och som inte vill kalla sig rasister, för det är ju inget man vill bli kallad. I samma facebookkommentar går det nu att säga “jag är inte rasist” och “ut med packet” utan att blinka. När jag skriver detta står de utanför lägret. Kanske inte just samma personer, men personer som är del av samma mentalitet, samma samhällsutveckling. De väntar på att få heja på polisen när de ska riva vad som i flera månader varit folks bostäder. Polisen som pratat med de företag som har lokaler i närheten och kommit överens om att de ska ge sina anställda ledigt imorgon när rivningen ska ske. Antagligen främst för att de inte vill ha någon insyn från “vanliga” människor. Det räcker de vänsteraktivister som är på plats för att med sina kroppar försvara lägret. För dem är det ok att slå med batong eller rida över med hästar och dem är det ändå ingen som lyssnar på om hur jobbigt det var. För att inte tala om romerna själva som helt enkelt får skylla sig själva. De har ju faktiskt haft sin chans att lämna platsen.

Så detta dygn är historiskt, för det visar att vi fortfarande lever i gårdagens samhälle. Där mätta, rena, varma människor med fast inkomst kan bestämma var hungriga, kalla och fattiga människor INTE får bo, istället för att hjälpa dem hitta en ny plats.

Ett historiskt dygn som knappast kommer att bli ihågkommet som något annat än en del i det som ledde fram till en ny mörk tidsålder. En händelse vid sidan av lasermän, brandattentat, skolmord och våldsamma tvångsdeportationer. En händelse som legitimerar fascisters och rasisters handlingar och retorik, oavsett om de kallar sig för just fascister eller rasister eller bara vanliga Svenssons. Indignerade över att behöva utsättas för att se att världen inte endast består av välmående svenskar utan också av folk som behöver hjälp och stöd. Stöd som inte tar formen av en vräkning från det enda hem de lyckats hitta och bygga i det här landet.

Storage…

July 21, 2015

Storage is a comic I made for the AltCom 2012 NO BORDERS anthology.

On page 3, you can see a deportee being strapped to a special chair that is used for transporting “difficult” persons by plane. People who, for some reason, do not want to be forcibly deported, even though the Swedish authorities have declared that it is correct, almost that it is done with the best interests for the person in mind. Because why would the Swedish authorities do something like that if it wasn’t the right thing to do?

storage-irl

Instructions: If you see someone being taken on the same plane as you against their will, stand up, make a fuss, etc. Get more people to do the same. The plane is not allowed to take off until everyone is seated, and the pilot has the final say. Several deportations have been stopped in this manner. This may give the person more time to appeal again and maybe even get residency. Also, they may not have to be drugged and wake up in another country where they may have no viable prospects for a decent life.

As for the comic, it was inspired by a passage from Fortets Murar, a report from various detentions centers (prisons for asylum seekers/refugees whose only crime was to try to stay within the wrong borders. In Sweden, they are called “storage”) in Europe.

Click images for bigger, more readable, versions:

storage-1 storage-2 storage-3 storage-4 storage-5

AltCom 2014 PHOTOCOMIC

November 19, 2014

Photo comic of the POSTAPOKALYPS!

Documentation in comics form; a journey through the postapocalypse, starring the gasmasked protagonist of the famous AltCom poster.

Go here for bigger, readable version.

altcom2014fotoserie_eng-1naltcom2014fotoserie_eng-2naltcom2014fotoserie_eng-3naltcom2014fotoserie_eng-4n altcom2014fotoserie_eng-5naltcom2014fotoserie_eng-6n

Tankar i Limhamn

August 27, 2014

Excerpt from a 3 page story (Thoughts in Limhamn) made for the diary comics zine Ritualen about the recent events in Limhamn, where police on horseback attacked an anti-nazi demonstration. They did this basically with no provocation, resulting in several injured, then lied about it to the media. For once, there were a lot of journalists at the site that could set the facts straight, and the police had to admit that their earlier statement about demonstrators attacking them with rocks were a “mistake”:

tankarilimhamn

 

I may show you the whole thing here later, after publication…

Police…

April 25, 2014

Went to see a documentary yesterday: Riots reframed, about the 2011 London riots, directed by one of the people who took part in, and the punishment for, the riots.

Really interesting film that I very much recommend if you get the chance to see it. It goes further in its analysis than the regulare media did at the time. Instead of dismissing the riots as mindless violence and looting, it puts the whole thing into a broader perspective and says that riots such as these are the result of long-time police persecution of the black and the poor, basically. But also takes into account how the prison system works, how the (in)justice system works and how these things work in conjunction with colonialism and the Brittish empire. In a nation that constantly wages war and has a self-image saying that it is/was/should be the head of a great colonial empire ruling over countries where the people have darker skin, is it weird to expect violent answers to repression from the police?

If you know my work, like Piracy is Liberation or the upcoming Me & my Daddy & Zlatan or, for example, the short story Violence which was included in the Brittish anthology Excessive Force a few years ago, you can probably guess where I stand in all this.

Like one of the people interviewed in the film says: they’re just another gang, except they get away with everything.