Magnus Engström made his debut in 2011 with the graphic novel Luftspår (Air Track), an experimental detective story with existential dimensions. Skuggfärd (Shadow Road) is a kind of sequel, in the sense that it once again contains a detective/thriller story used as a tool to discuss other issues, in this case, what happens after death.
The fourteens volume, and still an adrenaline rush… You’d think that Kirkman would have milked this post apocalyptic zombie concept for all its worth by now, but he still manages to get me involved in the lives of the characters, and making me quite exhausted after finishing reading. And with that cliffhanger (SPOILER ALLERT) of having Rick’s son’s life hanging in the balance, you can bet I’m reaching for volume 15 as soon as I stop typing.
This is a little gem of a graphic novel. Set in Russia after a world war in the near future that seems to have wiped out most of humanity (here made up of anthropomorphic pigs…) and most of the technology. A small group of survivors have built themselves a true communist society and are trying to make do, while they are all slowly dying from radioactive poisoning. The protagonist is a former soldier who deserted and are now trying to make himself useful by biking around, helping out, solving disputes etc., while coughing worse and worse. It’s sad, beautiful and touching, and really far from many other, more chaotic, action filled post apocalyptic dystopias. I do hope we will see more stories from this world in the future.
The Finnish artist Tommi Musturi creates wordless, symbolic comics, often with four square panels per page and images brimming over with imaginative details and richness of color. Inspiration can be discerned from Hergé and Joost Swartes ligne claire, but also from Jim Woodring’s whimsical, hypnotic comics. The main character is a simple, stylized white figure which rarely shows any emotion despite being exposed to everything from traveling backwards from the tomb of the womb, to the artist’s hand literally, and forcefully intervening in the storyline. The short comics contained in this book are not clearly linked, and are divided with what appears to be individual, non-sequitur illustrations. Overall, the book’s content, however, creates a unified feeling that lingers after reading.
When it got this new graphic novel by Max Andersson, actually the first since Pixy, which was published an astonishing 25 years ago, I was really elated. For me Pixy was one of the major eye openers to the potential of comics and I have followed Andersson’s career ever since. But he has mostly created shorter comics, and though highly interesting, not quite matching the more epic qualities of Pixy. So, it was with some trepidation that I took on reading The Excavation, although I had read some of these comics before, in various publication including the comic book Death and Candy.
A story that begins promising and has great potential, which unfortunately is sorely misspent by scriptwriter Cauvin at the end. The idea of alternative, subjective versions of the chaotic reality during a battle is inspired, although no one who reads this long-running series would ever believe in the possibility that Blutch, one of the comic’s two main characters, actually would have died. Despite this, entertaining and well done, if not ingenious.
An extremely strong reading experience about a young Moroccan who is forced away from his little family to try to earn money in Europe. The Finn Tietäväinen takes his time to let us get to know the main character and his reality so that the reader really cares about what will happen to him, and he has also spent a lot of time doing research on the Moroccans’ situation, both domestically and in Spain, where many of them get stuck, more or less as slaves in various shady industries.
An entertaining book for those of us who have read a Swedish crime novels, or seen a version on TV, which should by now include most of the world’s population … This is a variation on Lange’s winning concept to summarise novels and movies in three very concise panels, and the book also contains a number of these patented short versions of classic Swedish crime novels. Most of the book consists, however, of a tongue in cheek look at the genre, with an overview of all the clichés you have to use as well as advice on how to build a career as a writer of detective novels, including advice to always include food in the stories so that you can then write the obligatory cooking book, participate in cooking programs on TV and so on.
A beautiful graphic novel about dying of cancer, not a heroic fight and win over the decease, but actually dying from it. We follow David who learns that he has throat cancer, his adult daughter who recently had a baby, his new young wife and their young daughter – and see how the disease unfolds from different perspectives. It’s beautiful, sad and poignant – and very well told. Despite the topic, it never gets sugary sweet, and the images are evocative and very personal in style.
Lars Krantz is likely THE most different and artistically interesting Swedish comics artist working right now. This second and final part of his epic Vandrande stjärnor (Wandering stars) is incredibly beautiful with its well-composed images, pages and spreads with black and white flowing back and forth, crawlingly frightening in a way that gives you an empty feeling on your stomach after reading it, and intellectually challenging with visual cues high and low – from today’s popular culture to the Bible, and everything in between.
Fanny Agazzi makes her book debut with a graphic novel of how it is to have a close friend dying abruptly and way too early in life. The story is autobiographical and woven into the story of how her friend Nabil passed away and the mental breakdown that followed are other recurring themes such as trying to get pregnant despite a number of failures,attempts to function socially and keep a job.