onsdag 5 maj 2010

America Loves Us - Four New Reviews

I still haven't found the time to write about our US tour, but please don't be sad. Here are some terrific new reviews for your reading pleasure:

Boing Boing loves The 120 Days of Simon!

USA Today's Pop Candy blog loves Hey Princess!

The Crack Magazine loves The Troll King!

Creative Loafing loves The 120 Days of Simon!

onsdag 28 april 2010

Invasion Reviews

Oh dear, The Swedish Invasion turned into The Swedish Occupation due to that Icelandic volcano you might have heard of, but now me (Mats) and Kolbeinn are back in our subarctic abode. Simon will stay stateside a couple of more weeks, but that's according to plan.

We'll soon post a report of our US tour, but for now I'll leave you with links to some of the reviews of our books that turned up the last few weeks. Enjoy:

Comics Alliance reviews all three books here.

The Portland Mercury reviews 120 Days of Simon and Hey Princess here.

Worcester Magazine reviews Hey Princess and The Troll King here.

And here are the Booklist reviews of 120 Days of Simon and Hey Princess:

"In art as in burlesque, ya gotta have a gimmick. The one Swedish comics creator Gärdenfors dreamed up was, as a friend drily put it, Simon sublets his place . . . travels around and stays with people for 120 days. To get some ass. He scrupulously kept a road diary and, after darkening his own doorway again, drew it up. Boiled it down, too, skipping whole days (too drab? embarrassing?), to produce a latter-day On the Road, via commuter-train rather than auto wheels, as full of kicks loud music, drugs, and ass as any trip Sal and Dean ever took. He even had some alternative religious experience (so there, dharma bums!) while putting on a TV crew. He was mugged, lost the sublet payments, risked losing his new love back home. But then the grant he d applied for came through. Moralists should hate Gärdenfors as their forebears hated Kerouac, except that he renders himself, friends, and assailants as highly geometric, early-video game figures, so cute that they couldn t be doing that, could they? Some gimmick!"

"Like Simon Gärdenfors 120 Days of Simon, Jonsson's American debut is a youthful autobiography focused on sex and drugs and rock n roll; well, OK, sex against a backdrop of the other two. Named after a 1990s Swedish indie hit, it records Jonsson s randy early twenties, from February 93 to June 99 that is, from the middle of college to the world of full-time work. When he hasn t got a girl, he s miserable; when he does, he s only fleetingly happy. He hooks up quick; not much dating (as opposed to flirting/hitting-on) before scoring for him, though he does accept just sleeping together as relatively lengthy prelude/foreplay. Clubs and indie festivals are his stalking grounds, though meeting the next lady is usually accomplished through friends. Although he can seem depraved, especially as drawn in the brutal-but-cute style he practices, which resembles those of such American women cartoonists as Lynda Barry, Jonsson s no worse than most of his mates, better than some. His is an oddly refreshing story of raffish youth, pretty thoroughly amusing."

fredag 9 april 2010

lördag 20 mars 2010

More 120 days hype!

"a Swedish underground icon with no responsibilities."

read more on Flavorwire

fredag 19 mars 2010

Indie Street reviews "The 120 Days of Simon"

"In the course of the whopping 400+ pages, you’ll certainly laugh, cringe and wonder why your life isn’t nearly as interesting. An attractive cover and unique two-panel, black-and-white page format all give the book the refined look that Top Shelf is known for providing."

Read it all here!

söndag 28 februari 2010

Avoid the Future reviews The Troll King!

Those crazy kids at Avoid the Future has been at it again, this time with my Baby, The Troll King. They seemed to like it a lot: "Heavily saturated with imagery and symbolism, this naturalistic, sometimes-macabre, other-world is largely left to the reader to deconstruct. As much a story as it is an introduction to a parallel universe, the setting of The Troll King feels like a micro-ecology, and reading it often feels like watching a nature documentary on weird and wonderful newly-discovered species and their environment."

Sounds like they got the gist of it pretty well. Read it all here,

torsdag 25 februari 2010

Avoid the Future reviews The 120 Days of Simon

Wo-hoo, the 120 Days review is in, and it's very pleasing to the eyes of the Swedish Invasion crew:
"As a fan of a good old fashioned caper, I would recommended this book to anyone who is interested in stories that feature the everyday world being subverted into a place suitable for adventure."

Read the full review here.

måndag 22 februari 2010

Hey Princess reviewed at Avoid the Future

The first review of Hey Princess is in, and it's a good one:

"Jonsson has created a rarity in the field of romantically-focused autobiographical comics: a story that is both universal and personal. Whereas most entries in this subgenre simply focus of the universally relatable aspects of romantic/sexual relationships, Hey Princess takes the opposite route. Rather than limiting the exposition of his characters, Jonsson takes great efforts to imbue his supporting cast with personality."

Read the full review here.

fredag 19 februari 2010

Coming to America

Okay, you've read about us and you've seen the promo video, but when will the actual invading take place? And what are we supposed to invade?
Well, we'll start by invading New York City during the MoCCA arts festival April 10th-11th (or actually the evening before), and then stay a couple of days in NYC doing interviews and buying vintage candy packages (Simon), frolicking in the spring sun (Kolbeinn) and stalking
Central Park with his four year old daughter in search of Stuart Little (Mats).

Friday April 16th we land in Chicago for release party #2 and signings at Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo. See the complete schedule below!


-- 208 Smith Street, Brooklyn, New York, Phone: 718-797-1348
-- Come meet and party with Mats Jonsson (HEY PRINCESS), Simon Gärdenfors (THE 120 DAYS OF SIMON), Kolbeinn Karlsson (THE TROLL KING), Niklas Asker (SECOND THOUGHTS), Fredrik Strömberg (SWEDISH COMICS HISTORY), Johannes Klenell (Editor of NORTHERN LIGHTS), and NORTHERN LIGHTS contributors Sofia Olsson, Sara Granér, Benjamin Stengard, Asa Grennvall, and Emelie Ostergren; as well as Chris Staros, Brett Warnock, and Leigh Walton of the Top Shelf crew. Food and cash bar will be provided by the Clover Club private room (attached to Rocketship).

-- 68 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York (Between 25th & 26th)
-- Hang out with us at the Top Shelf tables where the whole gang will be signing books all weekend.
-- Also appearing: Nate Powell, James Kochalka, & Alex Robinson!


-- 1572 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Phone: 773-489-3160
-- Tickets on sale @ www.doubledoor.com, $10/$8 with C2E2 pass, Doors @ 8 p.m. Show @ 9 p.m.
-- Come meet and party with Mats Jonsson (HEY PRINCESS), Simon Gärdenfors (THE 120 DAYS OF SIMON), Kolbeinn Karlsson (THE TROLL KING), and Chris Staros (TOP SHELF), as Top Shelf co-sponsors the official C2E2 After Party with the Nerd City crew. It'll be a music and event-filled night, featuring sets by DJ Ghengis Won, Major Taylor, burlesque troupe The Flaming Dames, and headlining band The Jai Alai Savant (fresh off their recent show with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists). Simon Gärdenfors -- a well-known Swedish rapper as well -- will also be featured in a special performance.

-- McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, Downtown Chicago
-- Hang out with us at the Top Shelf, Nerd City, and Chicago Comics booths, where the Swedish crew will be signing books all weekend long.
-- Also appearing: Jeffrey Brown, with his new UNDELETED SCENES!

onsdag 17 februari 2010

Erkki presents: The Swedish Invasion video commercial!

Our friend and - in some cases - neighbour Erkki of comic store Serieslussen kindly agreed to help out in the worldwide marketing our books. All you need to know about us, our beautiful books and the grim Nordic climate in a little more than two minutes!

Invader #3: Kolbeinn Karlsson

“The magical biology of The Troll King reads like a psychedelic Hans Christian Andersen, blended with the neo-traditional storytelling of Miyazaki and just a touch of black metal. These are hairy fairy tales for the Burning Man generation."
-- Jason Leivian, owner of Floating World Comics and comics editor of Arthur magazine

Kolbeinn Karlsson
was born in 1982 and lives in Uppsala, Sweden. From 2006 to 2007 he was a student at Kvarnby School of Comic Arts in Malmö. During this time he self-published several mini-comics, which earned him a reputation as one of Sweden's most original cartoonists.

His work has been published internationally in several magazines and anthologies, including Galago (Sweden), C'est Bon (Sweden), Glömp (Finland), Strapazin (Switzerland) and Kush (Latvia). He recently adapted The Troll King into an animated short film. The Troll King is his first book.

In The Troll King, a dwarf falls into a river and is taken to a place beyond space and time. A carrot takes a bath and finds itself transforming. Two reclusive mountain men rejoice when their wish for children is granted, but their sons make a terrible discovery. And throughout all these tales, the spirit of the forest walks on…

Welcome to the surreal world of The Troll King, by Swedish visionary Kolbeinn Karlsson. It’s a fantastic journey into the wilderness lurking right outside your town, brought to you by comics’ cuddliest Viking.

Read the interview with Kolbeinn Karlsson at Avoid the Future.

Read the preview at CBR's Robot 6 blog.

Preorder the book at Top Shelf.

Preorder the book at Amazon.

Invader #2: Mats Jonsson

“The brilliance of Mats Jonsson’s comics is knowing just how funny some of the most pathetic moments of adolescence can be, and not being afraid to share those, no matter how ridiculous it makes him look.”
--Jeffrey Brown

Mats Jonsson was born in 1973 and spent his formative years in a small industrial town in the north of Sweden. First published in 1991, he’s a regular contributor to the comics anthology Galago and the author of four graphic novels.

One of the pioneers of the autobiographical comics genre in Scandinavia, he was ridiculed at first, but then received critical acclaim for Hey Princess and the follow-up Pojken i skogen (The Boy in the Wilderness), which won the Urhunden award for the best Swedish graphic novel of 2005.

Mats is also a spoken-word artist and editor of Galago. He lives in Stockholm.

Hey Princess is a story about moving to the big city and being young, insecure and desperate to feel as hip as everyone else.

Originally published in Sweden, Hey Princess received praise from both critics and readers for its incisive and entertaining account of indie pop-listening young people in the mid-1990s.

Hey Princess takes its place in the proud tradition of self-deprecating, confessional, sex-obsessed and guilt-ridden autobiographical comics, but stakes out a unique identity by virtue of its Nordic setting and biting social criticism. … This seminal book in the thriving Swedish indie comics scene is a graphic novel packaged in the style of a traditional pulp novel.

Read the interview with Mats Jonsson at Avoid the Future.

Read the preview at CBR's Robot 6 blog.

Preorder the book at Top Shelf.

Preorder the book at Amazon.

Invader #1: Simon Gärdenfors

"The 120 Days of Simon is an alternately charming, funny and aggravating four month journal of a self-advertised, couch-surfing freeloader. Highly recommended!"
-- Peter Bagge

Simon Gärdenfors was born in 1978 and lives in Sweden. He has published three graphic novels, in addition to several short works for the anthology Galago.

He’s also known as a radio/television presenter (hosting a 2008 miniseries on ZTV about “junk culture”) and as a rapper in hip-hop acts such as Las Palmas (with Calle Thörn) and Far & Son (with Frej Larsson of Slagsmålsklubben).

The 120 Days of Simon is his first graphic novel to be translated into English. The 120 days began when Simon left his home to spend four months on the road. The rules were simple: For 120 days he wasn't allowed to return to his home, or to spend more than two nights at the same place. Otherwise, anything could happen... and it did.

This simple idea grew into an epic adventure across Sweden as Simon slept on strangers' couches, visited an ostrich farm, ate a psychedelic cactus, practiced free love, received death threats, was beaten up by teenagers, got adopted by a motorcycle gang, drank obscene amounts of alcohol, and sacrificed his underpants to the Nordic god Brage. And that's just for starters!

When this graphic novel was released in Sweden, it created a bit of a scandal. Some readers wanted to punch Simon in the face, while others hailed him as a hero.

Read the interview with Simon Gärdenfors at Avoid the Future.

Read the preview at CBR's Robot 6 blog.

Preorder the book at Top Shelf.

Preorder the book at Amazon.