Showing posts from September, 2015

The Assad Test

As per the Encyclopedia Cartooniensa: "The acid test of cartooning; for a cartoon to be of quality, it must stay clear of any authoritarian setup; in cartooning known as the Assad test":

If a cartoon (advertently or inadvertently) serves the intention of dictator/ruler/regime XX in directing the attention away from what ought to be addressed, the cartoon has taken a wrong turn. 
Bashar al-Assad made puppets of his population, such as forcing them onto the streets demonstrating. It is a strategy to great effect. Masses shouting in anger letting out their frustrations directed at an outer enemy, making it next to impossible to have a thought of one's own. Demonstrations furthermore make for great imagery, consequently leading all interest away from Assad's own rule.

The strategy has been verbalized since the Roman Empire (bread and circus) and continues to be the most popular game plan of despots, in fact it may be a proof of a despot when detected:

The Malaysian gove…

In Deepest Gratitude

I had no inkling of what was to come when the address was read on Saturday night and I am still not certain that I have fully understood: Below is the press release from today; the English translation is to be read below.

I am utterly everything - utterly overwhelmed, utterly grateful and most of all I feel humble in that I have done so little, but hope to do so much more.

Kunsthistorikeren Louise C. Larsen modtager Svarres legat.

Vi har i Danske Bladtegnere i år valgt at uddele Svarres legat til en af foreningen faste støtter: Louise C. Larsen.

Louise har gennem sit utrættelige arbejde med Dansk Bladtegning tilført faget et vigtigt akademisk element. Vi hædre en helt særlig personlighed – en der har stået vagt om vores fag igennem en svær tid, en person der har givet vores fag en flot ballast.

Louises arbejde med sin blog “Valdemar Andersen” har stor betydning for faget, ikke altid let at forstå, ofte kontroversiel, men altid begavet og vidende. Louise har et vidstrakt netværk, som h…

Q.E.D. of the day


True Lovers

Ivar Gjørup is 70 years young today, which is a chance to declare a love from the perspective of a future in which paper is a thing of the past. 
That thing about which everyone was fighting since it could not be about the words, hardly? Note how Divus, Ivar's protagonist in his comics series Egoland, with which I for one grew up and qualified god for a living (albeit out of work), has hung his halo on the protective glass while conducting his scientific lecture on said paper. 
The sheet is indeed active. It can bee seen at first giggling mischievously to itself, then sobbing in self-pity and lastly moaning in delight:

"In dealing with priests the paper developed all the deploring properties which is the reason why today we neither miss it nor them.
Self-pitying and torn between cover and back-cover, devoured by its eternal longing for the Finnish forests - from whence it originates - full of hate and revenge and abused by...

... priests, militarists, bureaucrats! Only 1 pro…

Akram Raslan, R.I.P.

Today brought the possible confirmation we have been fearing for so long.

Akram Raslan died following torture shortly after his arrest on October 2, 2012.

He was arrested while drawing at his desk. He was subjected to torture for his critical drawings against the blodshed Assad is conducting on Syria with the world as a passive spectator. In the span of 1 1/2 years from the onset of the revolution till his arrest, 300 critical drawings are known from his hand. Akram Raslan died in hospital following torture. Rumors of his demise have been traveling since. The news today came by way of a fellow detainee (F. Y.).

The Assad regime is taking absurd measures to obscure its own doings, among which the killing off of cartoonists. The still not formally confirmed murder on Akram Raslan has been denied, obscured and the UN has even been told of a formal trial to take place. An all too fitting image of the Assad rule - and how he is still able to make everyone dance to his pipe.

Akram Raslan dr…

"... or not!"

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him.

Apart from the skull, Hamlet could be anyone. Which fundamentally he is, of course. There is no iconicity to his figure. It is not that exceptional that he is a she either, only this one is striking in her sharp cut appearance with an iconic predecessor of her own in the silent movie star, Asta Nielsen, when she did her Hamlet in 1921.

Those ringed in eyes. Those lines across the face that they actually produce her doubt, her Angst, her knowing all too much of human weakness. But a knowledge from having acted, not from having shied away. 

- The text frames are in German.

And today it is time to indulge in a toast as her creator turns 40: Félicitations!

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Flask and must not be reproduced without his permission.

The Playfulness of Modernity

At the Copenhagen Comics in June the cartoonists had their own section complete with an exhibition in which they each had created a poster on a special predecessor. Ida Felicia Noack chose Valdemar Andersen and his son Ib. Gitte Skov drew the first female cartoonist around these parts: Gerda Wegener (1886-1940).

"Around these parts" must be taken loosely, since Gerda Wegener is primarily known today for her artwork created in Paris.

If decadence by 1900 had turned its back on the double standards of morality, her work belongs to the playfulness of the genre. Playfulness as in the freedom of everything being possible and not least pleasurable, at times taking a darker turn when a possible rape is at hand, and still more often than not turning into a dance, such as the Le roi d'Angleterre est mort! in which the cherry blossoms balances out his ermine cloak leading her into that darkness or maybe he is the one being lead to her curtain opening onto which he has already gra…

Kierkegaard Would Have Been Proud

Some images have it in them to represent an entire situation in its complexity. The most recent was Aylan Kurdi. The cartoon on him by Juan Zero for instance shown here became the most read post of all times on this blog within a few hours.

The demand was already there for new ways to depict the loss of human life in the Mediterranean in combination with Europe neglecting and/or refusing to react. Aylan Kurdi combined it all. He was no longer in the water, he was not pleading for help and he never made it to a European coast. He was monumental in the devastating calm of his little body with his face protected from the prying. He was every child to whom the interest in his life and wellbeing came painfully too late.

Not all cartoons following his death have been lauded, with two drawings by Riss in the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo yet again at the center of debate. Mocking are they? The said drawings are heavy handed in all aspects of the word. Aylan Kurdi for one seems to have grown …

He Who Was Absent

He who has been known by his absence shall be seen by his absence.

Lars Løkke Rasmussen, the Danish prime minister has been caught in this own net, pleasing the right-wingers taking a stand against admitting more than a handful of refugees into the country, while being caught up in the reality of Syrians fleeing the war.

His easy way out has been to stay silent, rejoicing in the fact that the Syrian refugees prefer traveling on from Germany to Sweden. Which has left the police the delicate task of not doing their duty while doing their duty. In other words looking away, doing nothing, while seeing to the safe and secure handling of situation.

The National Commissioner of Police was the one granting the refugees a safe passage to Sweden. While the specialty of the Danish police is seeing to the safe passage of ducks, they are not meant to act on their own motivation in a democracy. It is in other words time to give the Prime Minister a lesson on the difference between police and politi…

You Are The Head of State

... and the declaration of a state of emergency is a convenient tool to halt the activities of not just murderous madmen, but your political adversaries as well. Especially when the latters had planned to take to the streets to demonstrate this Saturday against a law you had just insisted on.

Of course you vowed that the freedom of meeting and of the press would not be restricted, when the state of emergency was first declared this summer.

But Nadia Khiari nailed your intent as that of any other criminal enterprise. The mask of course equates the varnish of official speak.

Children at War

A toddler curled up all on his own, exposed to the perils of nature and man alike. There is no protection to be found within the contour of the world of grown ups, which not even the grown ups themselves know how to survive in. For the past week we have had a boy before us in this very position dressed in this very way and colors, only this boy was drawn six months before Aylan Kurdi drowned.
A fact which sadly highlights how children are constantly caught up in the wrongs of the world and the cartoon is by Arifur Rahman, who is the creator and publisher of the online cartoon magazine tOOns MaG. The cartoon is in the exhibition by Fadi Abou Hassan Children at War in Avistegnernes Hus in Drøbak, Norway. The exhibition comprises works by cartoonists, who have seen all too much themselves. Most have experienced the impact of war on their own body.

Children at War, September 10-November 8 at Avistegnernes Hus, Lindtrupbakken 1, 1440 Drøbak, Norway. See more at tOOns MaG.

Children at War is…

Bashar's Victory

Little Aylan Kurdi was turned into an icon the minute the photos of him were released this week. Most of the cartoons on him have focused on the hypocrisy of Europe (Hey, mythological Europa crossed the Mediterranean riding on the back of Zeus transformed into the bull) and Doaa Eladl created the dance macabre of media attention. Who are the truly dead?

He himself has remained untouchable all through the drawings. For one thing he is sadly only recognizable lying in that very position considering how many Syrian children have already been drawn sharing his fate. And then he is given the respect of not adding to his plight, giving him a little of the protection he did not have in time.

But there is a reason for children and their parents drowning in the Mediterranean and Khalid Wad Albaih is pointing directly at one culprit Bashar al-Assad. It is a constant point of debate whether to give him the limelight in cartoons as opposed to giving those struggling for freedom a face, but Assad…

"Do you prefer....?"

This is an instance of a drawing being an ouch! When life is being handled as if it was a matter of taking tea. As is case of the Syrian massacre as seen from Europe these days. 
Juan Zero draws in a sweeping line for letters and figurative elements alike, which softens the sharp precision of both: The Syrian flag personified, the two of them turning their back to us, and both transgressed by the blue for that borderline of hopelessness. A devastatingly true scene of today.
The cartoon hurts all the more in that this blog is written in the country geographically placed between Germany and Sweden; the country with a disgraceful government doing its utmost not only to neglect, but to abuse those in most need of its taking action.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Juan Zero and must not be reproduced without his permission.

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