2011–2022

From a humble beginning as a project among others under the Swedich Comics Association, aiming at making some small change in the Swedish comics climate, in 11 years Tusen Serier has grown to something that will hopefully be shown to have had a larger, more lasting impact.

After publishing some twenty books, showing almost fifty exhibitions, organizing over a hundred workshops, a couple of festivals, a collective workshop and a Hybrid network, we’ve at least made a good start.

Who knows where the next 11 years will take us?

Graphic Novels

When we started Tusen Serier, it was with a consciousness of how segregated Swedish society is, and how it is also reflected in the Swedish comics culture. People socialize in their circles and those circles are often ethnically homogeneous, at least among the majority population.

It’s in such a context that movements and political parties can emerge that are based on fear of cultures and people that don’t look like what you’re used to. Movements talking about closed borders and harsher measures and evil foreign cultures. There is no interest in trying to understand someone else’s situation or to solve common problems together. Instead, those who are portrayed as “the others” are blamed for everything and aggression becomes the only solution. Immigration is seen as the cause for everything bad, from crime to unemployment to the general feeling that everything gets worse all the time. Even if race and skin color are reinterpreted as culture and religion when talked about openly, everyone knows what it means. In the new nationalism, Sweden is the best and everything coming from outside is a threat. There is an implicit understanding that makes it unnecessary to explain WHY Sweden would be better, or exactly HOW someone born outside Europe automatically becomes a threat.

In that situation, it becomes be an act of resistance to publish and distribute comics by creators with a background in other countries, comics that talk about migration in a different way or just comics that have a slightly different perspective than what we’re used to from the regular publishers. But it’s not only an act of resistance, it’s also an attempt to move us forward, to create understanding, insights and empathy, for a better future than the one we seem to be heading towards today.

Comics as a medium have the potential to bridge boundaries and increase understanding, but who gets published is very much a question about knowing the right people, so Tusen Serier was needed to do its part to get past such obstacles. A non-profit association that doesn’t have to take into account what is already seen as commercially viable and therefore can look beyond what’s established and publish something new.

These are the books we released during our first decade, by comics creators with origins in Chile, Iran, Colombia, Turkey, Slovenia, Irak, Bosnia, Egypt, Spain, China Lickan and Sweden.

DESTRUKTÖRERNA
By Marco Leal

Imagine a mix between Alejandro Jodorowsky, Moebius and Geoff Darrow, and you’re getting close to what you can expect from Marco Leal.
The colossal Destroyers have come from the future to obliterate history and our present time, and only David Lincen knows what’s going on. Science fiction meets ancient as well as new mythology in a trip through philosophy and politics like you’ve never seen before.

Languages: Swedish/Spanish/English

FEM PAPPERSLÖSA KVINNORS HISTORIER
By Amalia Alvarez

An award-winning book featuring comics based on true stories about five women who live or have lived “illegally” in Sweden. One who the author met at a women’s shelter tells her story as a mail-order bride, another whom she met at the trade union tells about the situation for female undocumented workers in Sweden, about trafficking networks etc.

Another story is about a woman who got her asylum application rejected and about her road to Sweden and struggle to be reunited with her daughter.

Languages: Swedish/Spanish/English

BEKELE
By Raquel Lozano, Mattias Elftorp & Emre Özdamarlar

Bekele lives and is married to Johannes in Malmö, Sweden. Periodically, they go on interviews at the Migration Board to prove that their marriage is genuine.

But what do you do when your whole life situation is suddenly turned upside down? When something happens that puts more at risk than just the relationship?
This is the story of a triangle drama under precarious circumstances, but also about Sweden of today…

Language: English/Swedish (two different editions)

BLÅ
By Shabnam Faraee

Blå (Blue) is about escape, love, sex and grief. Blå is the story about a woman freeing herself from the fairy tales that for centuries have been constructed about her.

Language: Swedish

COOL CYKEL
By Tanja Komadina, based on a short story by Manke Kremenšek Križman

This heartbreaking drama about Mile and the bike of his dreams is a story anyone can recognize. In its simplicity, it’s a striking story about disappointment and jealousy, about the consequences of taking matters into your own hands when the longing becomes too strong.

With no moral pointers, Cool Cykel reflects how a boy’s dreams meet the injustices of reality and how the conflicts of adults resonate in the world of children.

Language: Swedish

EN ANDRA CHANS
By Mattias Elftorp & Shko Askari

About an Iraqi doctor, an American soldier and a Swedish student who receives an unexpected visit. About how their paths meet and their lives are intertwined.

The book is written from two directions, so the story that begins in Iraq is read from right to left and the one that begins in Sweden is read from left to right. The two stories together form a coherent narrative of duty, flight and self-sacrificing integrity in a difficult situation.

Language: Arabic/Swedish

EVERY GIRL IS A HERO
By Hasmik Hovhannisyan, Lika Dpiryan & Natalia Batista

Every Girls Is A Hero is a collaboration between Tusen Serier in Sweden with the manga artist Natalia Batista, and HY Pictures in Armenia with the manga duo Hasmik Hovhannisyan and Lika Dpiryan. Together they have created a comic book with comics based on interviews with girls in Armenia and Sweden, about how they want to change the world.

Language: English/Swedish (two different editions)

FINSMAKARNA
By Rubén Aguilera & Marco Leal

David Lincen survived the apocalypse in the struggle against the Destroyers. Now he is travelling through a world controlled by malicious connoisseurs, in a story tainted by war and populated by icons.
This sequel to Destruktörerna is a philosophical trip through a strange and yet familiar postapocalypse.

Language: Spanish/Swedish/English

Language: Swedish

LILLEBRORS FANTASTISKA MARDRÖMMAR
By Aida Ghardagian, Bekim Gaši, Mauritz Tistelö, Meisam Azimi

This book is based upon Mejsam’s nightmares. The other co-writers have added their nightmares to create a long journey towards liberation and awakening.
What began as a therapeutic work was transformed into a book that is also a meeting between four artists. An art project and at the same time a meeting between the existentiality of, and the society that creates the conditions for, our dreams and nightmares.

Dream stories are a way to get away from the roles that have been set upon us; undocumented, citizens, workers, artists.
A way to escape and to understand our lives.

Language: Swedish, with translations in English/Bosnian/Farsi

MAPUCHE – JORDENS FOLK
By Jorge Varas Varilla

Mapuche, one of the indigenous peoples of Chile, has a rich cosmology which has mostly existed as an oral tradition. Here it is presented as a children’s book, illustrated by Jorge Varas Varilla.

Languages: Spanish/Swedish (coming soon in new edition including Mapudungun/English)

MYLING
By Amanda Casanellas, adapted to comics form by Yossra El Said

Mylings are children murdered by their mothers and buried clandestinely, maybe in the forest, maybe under the floorboards. Stuck between two dimensions, their bodies have continued growing in their graves, in twisted, unnatural ways. Sometimes they wake and venture out to haunt the living.
Amanda Casanellas has taken this old Nordic myth into a new, postapocalyptic context in her novella, adapted to comics form by Yossra El Said. The book contains the comic in Swedich and English as well as the original short story in English.

Language: English/Swedish

FEM HISTORIER OM PROSTITUERANDE
By Amalia Alvarez.

Stories about five persons who define themselves as prostitutes. They describe “los prostituyentes”, those who buy their services. They exist in a part of Swedish society that lies there beneath the surface, but isn’t visible to everyone.

Sex work is most often described from an outsider’s perspective. Like the stories of Amalia Alvarez’s Fem Papperslösa Kvinnors Historier, this one is based on interviews with people who are in the situation being described. The book provides an insight into how prostitutes view themselves and those who buy their services.

Languages: English/Spanish/Swedish

SVENSKA MED SPANSK BRYTNING
By Alicia Pena.

Alicia traded the beach and her flipflops for a warm hat and biting winds, all for the sake of a pair of blue eyes. In this book of strip comics, we follow two girls from different cultures, full of humor och moods. What happens when the Spanish temperament clashes with the typical Swedish? Through her alter ego, Alicia questions and parodies contemporary Swedish society.

Language: Swedish

VOID
By Susanne Johansson

Images appear in my head when I close my eyes. Sometimes because it is the only sane solution in an insane world. We do what we can to survive or escape the monstrocities of the universe. No matter how brief the respite.

First art book by Susanne Johansson, active in Wormgod and one of the founding members of Dotterbolaget, mostly known for her various cover illustrations.

Language: English/Swedish (art book, not much text)

BERÄTTELSER OM YUNNAN
By Emei Burell

In the mid-1960s, the Cultural Revolution swept through China and changed the lives of countless lives. An entire generation of city-born youths were sent to the countryside to be ideologically re-educated through physical labor during their most formative years.

Emei Burell has created this book about her mother’s story in the China of the Cultural Revolution. It’s a winding story about how a teenage girl from Beijing managed to become one of the very few women who was given the responsibility of driving a truck high up in the mountains in southern China’s rubber plantations.

Language: Swedish

ME & MY DADDY & ZLATAN
By Mattias Elftorp

Sara used to play soccer with her friends. When she and her dad had to leave their country she was happy that they were going to Malmö, Sweden, where Zlatan lives. Her greatest wish is to see him play and maybe even meet him.
But all isn’t completely well. They may not be allowed to stay. And there is something strange about this new country where you have to wear a Swedish mask to hide that you are “different.”

Will Sara’s dreams come true? Or will her nightmares?

Language: English/Swedish (two different editions)

TUSEN STAFETTSERIER
By various

Part of a special jam comics project.
Tusen Stafettserier is a free book with jam comics from various workshops where the participants made collaborative comics. It also contains instructions for how to make jam comics, and panel templates for the readers to make their own comics.

Language: Swedish

ENCOUNTER IN THE WOODS
By Mattias Elftorp

A short story set in the woods of Angered, Gothenburg about a boy walks out in the woods to escape his bullies. There he meets something else instead…

Language: English

KROPPEN RÖR PÅ SEJ
By Mauritz Tistelö & Aida Ghardagian

So far, I have devoted myself to desecrating and destroying my body. Killing its stories, preventing it from creating its history. I lifted my body around. I met some dancers. They shattered my self-image, my past life.

Art book/consideration of how we mutilate and control our bodies and movements in ourselves and in the public space. Every movement can be a sabotage, a crack, a beginning to liberation.

Language: Swedish

ANGRY ANIMAL CROSSING BORDERS
By Mattias Elftorp (script assist by Aktion Mot Deportation)

An introduction to Swedish migration policies. Sadly not outdated even though it was written in 2011. Pamphlet for free distribution in the early days of Tusen Serier.

Language: English/Swedish (two different editions)

In 2017, we started Fanzineverkstaden, a collective workshop for self-publishing comics creators.
The workshop serves the function of making equipment for zine-making available, such as copier/printer, but also other printing techniques that are less common in comics, such as linoleum and screen printing and others that are more experimental. For this purpose we’ve also organized workshops when we’ve had the opportunity.

One important principle is self-activity. We provide the tools and act as support, while the comics creators themselves are involved in the entire process, from first sketch to finished zine. Another important principle is that it should be cheap. You should not have to be rich to pursue an art form that’s otherwise so technically available for anyone, regardless of assets. Anyone can start with a simple pen and paper, we make it possible to advance from there.

www.fanzineverkstaden.se

Workshops

Many of our workshops have been jam comic workshops. They are arranged so that each person starts on the first panel. Then the paper is sent to the next person who draws the next one, and so on until the comic is finished. It’s a great way to understand the basics of comics storytelling, and it also often lessens the performance anxiety that many have.

We’ve also held workshops at Fanzineverkstaden, where the focus has been more on learning different techniques, from aquarelle to printing with ceramic tiles or basic creative writing workshops, but also other things that are useful for comics creators, such as writing grant applications and the like.

The idea is to encourage potential comics creators to start telling their stories, and to equalize the knowledge so that more people can have access to the tools for comics creation.

Exhibitions

Comics often work best on paper, in books, but reading them that way can be a solitary experience. So we’ve organized lots of comics-related exhibitions to create a more social environment and maybe reach those who wouldn’t otherwise read comics.

From release exhibitions that showcase material from the books, to themed exhibitions where comics creators highlight certain phenomena, to exhibitions where we just want to show material by artists we like.

Until early 2021, we had our own exhibition space that we ran with CBK, called Hybriden. Until we find a new space of our own, we’ll be showing exhibitions at the Hybriden website and/or find other venues.
Hybriden is our current webshop for comics, prints, etc.
Hybriden is also a collective name for our local network of comics-related associations/resources/events, such as Tusen Serier, CBK, Wormgod, Fanzineverkstaden, AltCom and more…

AltCom is an international biannual festival for comics and underground culture in Malmö. The first edition was made by CBK in 2004. After a break, it came back in 2010 under the Swedish Comics Association and since 2016 the festival is organized by Tusen Serier in collaboration with CBK. In 2012 and 2018, we also coordinated AltCom with Wormgod’s noise festival TRAUMA, with great success.

After 2018 we took a break that was prolonged due to the pandemic. The international guests have always been an important element of the festival, so the travel restrictions were a big problem. Hopefully the festival will be back soon.

AltCom is a way to create a liminal space through a combination of exhibitions, markets, lectures and parties where the usual boundaries are set aside and people can meet in a different context. It is also a way to inspire and, in the long run, develop the comics medium through exchanges and collaborations between comics creators from different countries and between comics creators and the audience.

AltCom 2010: SEX & WAR
AltCom 2012: NO BORDERS
AltCom 2014: POSTAPOKALYPS
AltCom 2016: WORK
AltCom 2018: HOW TO SURVIVE A DICTATORSHIP

www.altcomfestival.se

Thanks for watching! You can check out more details at our website: www.tusenserier.org för mer detaljerad info om det som har presenterats i den här utställningen.

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See you around!