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The Swedish Comics Miracle: Imagining Future in Swedish Comics Anthologies
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Political, Historical, Religious and Cultural Studies. (Kulturvetenskapliga forskargruppen (KUFO))ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1639-6180
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Since the beginning of the 21st century the Swedish comics field has expanded significantly. Today comics and graphic novels are influential in the public cultural debate. Albums and books are sold in bookstores, reviewed in the cultural fora and get a lot of attention in all kinds of media. Young people create visual stories and some of them are political, while other are more epic. Both categories contain examples that address questions about the future.


Many of these comics are published in Swedish anthologies, such as Galago, which has existed as a forum for alternative comics since 1980. Started by a collective of comics artists, it has been bought and sold several times. Still it has produced some of the most artistic Swedish comics ever. Another creative collective in the comic field in Sweden is Dotterbolaget (The Subsidiary, but in Swedish literally meaning The Daughter Company), which published an anthology with the same name in 2009. Between 2011 and 2014 Utopi Magasin published mainly Swedish comics with epic ambitions and character. The comics field in Sweden is expanding, and the phenomenon has been paid attention to abroad. Since 2001 C’est Bon Anthology presents Swedish comics artist to an international audience four times a year. More recent additions are From the Shadow of the Northern Lights I and II, containing comics by artists from the alternative scene in Sweden. Examples of comics creators in these anthologies are Sara Granér, Lotta Sjöberg, Liv Strömquist, Mattias Elftorp and Mats Jonsson.


The paper analyses a sample of comics assembled from these anthologies, and discusses how they explore the idea of the future. We argue that many of these comics problematise visions of the future through a critical perspective on the neoliberal ideology in the Swedish debate and society. The criticisms are often based on a gender and class analysis. Different kinds of humour, such as irony, satire and black comedy, are important strategies in the visual as well as the verbal narratives. Deterrent and alternative visualizations of the future are presented with a humorous twist, sometimes by telling one version in words and another in images. The paper describes and analyses the visual and verbal narratives, how the mise en scène is designed in the single panels and how visual and verbal conventions are used (Groensteen 1999 and Kukkonen 2013).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholms universitet, 2015. 30-31 p.
Keyword [en]
Comics, Swedish, Anthologies, Future
National Category
Art History Cultural Studies
Research subject
Visual Arts
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-41133OAI: diva2:914510
Future in Comics, Stockholm, 3-5 September 2015
Available from: 2016-03-24 Created: 2016-03-24 Last updated: 2017-01-18Bibliographically approved

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Wallin Wictorin, Margareta
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