Stockholm International Comics Festival 2018

SELTA Chair Ruth Urbom is back from the Stockholm International Comics Festival at Kulturhuset with this report.

Not even the warm weekend sunshine could keep comics fans away from the cultural offerings at this year’s Stockholm International Comics Festival at Kulturhuset, the arts venue in the city centre, in early May. This year’s special focus was on Japanese comics, and there were guest artists and academics in attendance from several other countries including the Czech Republic, Finland, Poland and Spain. In addition to a packed schedule of panel talks and artist interviews – all free of charge to attend – the première of a documentary profiling a handful of Swedish comic artists rounded out the on-site programme. Those with an appetite for even more could explore a satellite programme of book launches, Japanese animated film screenings and gallery exhibitions around Stockholm.

Fans could stock up on books at Swedish comics publishers’ stands, and many author/artists were on hand to sign their works. Not content to simply sign the title page, many comic artists like to add a unique sketch or doodle to their dedication for an extra-special touch. Perhaps the buzziest atmosphere was to be found at the independent comics market, where indie artists could rent a table to showcase and sell their self-published comics and zines as well as postcards and other merch.

Many of today’s Swedish comic artists got their start at the Comic Art School or in dedicated courses at the University of Malmö in southern Sweden. In 2005 a group of independent comic artists formed Dotterbolaget, a collective dedicated to promoting their work and supporting new and emerging women artists.

Official festival image drawn by Åsa Ekström