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SIS18: Guests

The twentieth edition of the Stockholm International Comics Festival will focus a lot of Japan, and Japenese influences on western comics. In the year 2018, Japan and Sweden will also celebrate 150 years of diplomatic relations, which is why we have invited prominent Japanese manga artists such as Fumiyo Kouno and Chihiro Tamaki, as well as the Swedish but Tokyo-based comics artist Åsa Ekström. The comics scenes of Poland and the Czech Republic will also be noted, since the two nations both celeberate their official 100th anniversaries this year. And we will also have guests present from Finland, France, Brazil, Argentina, and, of course, Sweden. Check this page for continuous updates of our guest list.


Catherine Anyango Grünewald

Catherine Anyango Grünewald is a Swedish-Kenyan comic artist working as a Senior lecturer at Konstfack, and previously taught for ten years at the Royal College of Art in London.
She holds a Master’s degree from UCL in London. In 2010 SelfMadeHero published her and David Zane Mairowitz’s comic adaption of Joseph Conrad’s classic book Heart of Darkness. The same book will be released in Sweden in an updated version this spring. Catherine uses soap, pencil and eraser to create diverse dark images. Catherine says the process and labour invested in the work is a direct homage to the subjects and victims of violent domestic or institutional crimes. With her images she wishes to convey sensitive and complex themes, and explore physical or domestic environments being disrupted by emotional, intangible phenomena.



Ciro Hernandez alias Berliac was born in Buenos Aires in 1982, but is currently based in Krakow. His comics – in recent years produced in Japanese gekiga-style – has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern and Det grymma svärdet. The graphic novel SADBØI, the story of a young refugee's refusal to adapt to their new home country's expectations, has been published in Norway, Poland, Italy, Spain and Argentina and has now been translated into Swedish by the publishers Lystring. 
Berliac's comics are characterized by expressiveness, resilience and are often controversial. His gekiga-style led to accusations of cultural appropriation, and in the discussion he was criticized as making transphobic statements. He denied this was his intention, but the resulting twitter storm and criticism led to the Canadian Drawn & Quarterly withdrawing its announced release of SADBØI last year. At SIS, he will be interviewed about this, about his graphic novel, on the theme of refugees and much more in a conversation with Rojin Pertow.


Jaqueline Berndt porträtterad av Sukeracko

Academics of comics: Dr. Jaqueline Berndt is Professor in Japanese Language and Culture at Stockholm University, and previously worked as Professor in Manga/Comics Theory in the Department & Graduate School of Manga, Kyoto Seika University in Japan between 2009–2017. She holds a bachelor's degree in Japanese Studies and a PhD in Aesthetics/Science of Artforum, Humboldt University Berlin. Her research and teaching is based on media esthetics and exhibition studies on graphic narratives, anime and Japanese modern art. Her books have been published in Japanese, German and English.


Åsa Ekström

Åsa Ekström made her debut with the autobiographical comic Tokyo by Night in the comic book Manga Mania in 2004, which led to a big breakthrough as Sweden’s first professional manga artist. Since then it has been possible to enjoy Åsa’s pictures on stamps, on fabrics from Ikea, exhibitions on museums and large amounts of children’s books. 2009 was her first own book released, Sayonara September (the first part of a trilogy), a relationship drama inspired by her time at the comic school of Malmö. Åsa have also worked 2007 on a Japanese manga studio as assistant scanning pages and adding screentones. Her big breakthrough came with Hokuou joshi Åsa ga mitsuketa Nihon no Fushigi (or Nordic girl Åsa discovers the mysteries of Japan). The comic was published on Åsa’s blog and was for a time one of of the most read blogs in Japan and later became a huge success as a printed book selling several hundreds of copies. Åsa’s comics often have strong female protagonists, an underlying sensual tone, feminist messages and also contains themes of dreamy past and injustices. 2014 she was awarded the Swedish comic association’s grand prize for promoting children comics.


Yukari Fujimoto

Academics of comics: Yukari Fujimoto is professor at the School of Global Japanese Studies at Meiji University Tokyo, where she lectures on manga culture as well as gender and representation with a special focus on female manga genres. Also working as an editor at Chikuma Publishing her own publications since the late 1980s have made her Japan’s most renowned critic with respect to shōjo, BL and yaoi manga. She has published five monographs in Japanese so far, including the critically acclaimed Watashi no ibasho wa doko ni aru no? (="Where do I belong?") in 1998 as well as Takahashi Macoto: The Origin of Shōjo Manga Style in 2012.


Self portrait Fumiyo Kouno

Born in Hiroshima in 1968, Fumiyo Kouno worked as an assistant with senior manga artists for seven years, after which she accomplished her commercial debut in 1995 with Machikado hanadayori (Street-corner tidings of flowers) in Action Supplements. Her real breakthrough came in 2004 with Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossom (Yūnagi no Machi, Sakura no Kun), a series of interrelated manga narratives about the aftermath of the Hiroshima bomb. She continued to focus on ordinary women’s everyday life in relation to World War II with In This Corner of the World (Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni), which was adapted into a critically acclaimed animated movie in 2016.

Fumiyo Kouno

Both manga narratives were serialized in the seinen [youth] magazine Manga Action. Exceptional within Japan, Kouno’s manga are being read across genders and generations which is, among other things, due to her focus on everyday life and a non-didactic introduction of historical knowledge into the fiction. In extension of that line of work, Kouno is now engaged in a new – and for the first time non-Japanese – project, a comic biography of Austrian physicist Lise Meitner (1878–1968).


Hanneriina Moisseinen was born in 1978 in Joensuu, Finland and is active as a visual artist and comic maker. She has become famous for her beautiful comics created from textiles, and has previously been published in Swedish in the magazine Galago and the comics anthology Allt för konsten. At the 2016 edition of SIS, Moisseinen was a guest and appeared in a conversation together with Åsa Grennvall while also exhibiting textile originals from her book Pappa (2015). Now she is bringing out her second book in Swedish – Näset – like Pappa published by Lystring Förlag.


Nosebleed Studio is Sweden's leading manga artists collective and publisher of Swedish-written manga. From the beginning of 2006 they have published annual anthologies with members' work, as well as produced the popular drawing book Nosebleed Studio lär dig teckna manga! – Karaktärsdesign (="Nosebleed Studio Teaches You To Draw Manga! – Character Design" (2017).

Members include:
•    Catarina Batista, illustrator for Mojang (Minecraft) and the national dentist association (Folktandvården) among others.
•    Natalia Batista, creator of the internationally published manga series Mjau!, Sword Princess Amaltea and A Song For Elise, as well as a tutor in comics at The Comics School in Malmö.
•    Alice Engström, illustrated the DVD covers of Silver Fang and draws comics for horse magazine Min Häst.
•    Elise Rosberg, manga teacher at Malmö Cultural School and organizer of the Manga competition Klara, Färdiga, MANGA! (="Ready, Steady, MANGA!").
•    Joakim Waller, creator of the new manga Penguin Rumble.
•    Magnolia Winroth, creator of the ParaZycle webcomic.
Nosebleed Studio was nominated in both 2016 and 2017 for the Unghunden award for its efforts to promote children's and youth comics. Several titles published by the publisher or its members have also won prizes in the children's book prize with ‘The Book Jury’ (Bokjuryn). The studio annually takes part at various manga conventions and comics festivals, sells books and holds lectures and workshops to spread Swedish manga.
This year's new book is Penguin Rumble 1, the first part of two about Erika, a young girl who begins to work at the Noah’s Park (Noaks Park) animal shelter in Stockholm, where she suddenly finds out that she can talk to the animals!


Berenika Kołomycka, Wojciech Stefaniec & Paweł Timofiejuk

We continue our appreciated cooperation with the Polish Institute for the third consecutive year – with this year having a little extra focus as Poland officially celebrates its 100th anniversary as a nation. Count on an interesting reflection on the Polish comics scene, the contemporary as well as the historical.

We are visited by:
•    Berenika Kołomycka; cartoonist, sculptor and graphic artist. Winner of the Grand Prix at the Comics Festival in Łódź 2011. Her works have been published in Polish and foreign magazines, anthologies, and school books.
•    Wojtek Stefaniec, graphic designer, poster designer and creator of award-winning comics such as NOIR (2013) and Wróć do mnie, jeszcze raz (="Come Back to Me Again", 2016).
•    The publisher and comics promoter Paweł Timofiejuk comes representing his publishing house Timof Comics.


José Andrés Santiago Iglesias

Academics of comics: Dr. José Andrés Santiago Iglesias is a visual artist and PhD researcher at the Fine Arts Faculty of Universidade de Vigo in Spain. His research is a theoretical perspective focused on the studies of expanded-field comics, Manga and anime published in Spain. Formerly a member of the Japan Foundation’s Japanese Studies Program and invited researcher at the Graduate School of Manga, Kyoto Seika University between 2014-2016. His doctoral thesis was revised into a book called Manga: del cuadro flotante a la viñeta japonesa published by Comanegra in 2010. He is also one of the founders of the ACDCómic Spanish Association of Critics & Researchers of Comics started in 2012.


Daniel Špaček

The Czech Republic also celebrates a century as an official nation (celebrating the independence of Czechoslovakia in 1918). The Czech Center in Stockholm is a long-standing partner and participant in our comics festival. We are visited this year by acclaimed comic artist and illustrator Daniel Špaček, currently based in Gothenburg, who among other things will perform a stage interview and some live-drawing together with Swedish collegue Erik Svetoft.


NOTE! Sadly, Chihiro Tamaki cannot participate in the program.

Chihiro Tamaki is a Japanese comic artist educated as Musashino Art University in Tokyo, professionally active for for 16 years. Her most famous comic is Walkin’ Butterfly from 2002–2006 that got adapted into a TV-series in 2008. It is about Michikos’s first attempt in the fashion industry as a catwalk model and how she grows as a person and learns how to like herself. 2009 it became a American Library Association nominee.

Her comic Konkatsu no Tatsujin got made into a stageplay in 2013 and she has also made a comic about Joan of Arc. Her comics are available in English, French, and German, among other languages, and she has been awarded with several comic-related prizes both in the East and the West.