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May 13 – June 12 2023, at Kulturhuset Serieteket (The Comic Library) in Stockholm.

Bande dessinée in Swedish comics in a Franco-Belgian spirit

Participating exhibitors:

Meet twenty-two active comic creators inspired by the French-language album comics in the exhibition Bande dessinée in Swedish – comics in a Franco-Belgian spirit. The illustrators have been invited by Per and Birgitta Demervall, Demervalls Art Studio. The exhibition takes place in collaboration with the French Institute in Sweden and Wallonia-Brussels International (WBI), with screening at Serieteket.

Vernissage of the exhibition, for specially invited guests, takes place in connection with the Stockholm International Comics Festival (SIS 23) on May 12. The exhibition will be inaugurated by H.E. the Ambassador of France Etienne de Gonneville and H.E. the Ambassador of Belgium Carl Peeters.

We in Sweden have, since the end of the 40s, been able to familiarize ourselves with French and Belgian comics, such as Tintin, Spirou and Lucky Luke. In the beginning, they were mainly published as comic strips in various magazines, but during the 70s and 80s there was a publishing boom of comic books. Comics were widely published for both children and adults: Asterix, Gaston, Valérian and Laureline, Blake and Mortimer, Johan and Peewit, The Smurfs, Sibylline, The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle and many more. Humorous adventures with caricatured characters were mixed with more epic works. The drawing style was often inspired by the “clear line” from Hergé, the creator of Tintin, with a clear ink line, few shadows and clear colors, whose tasks were to highlight the story. But here there were also examples of the more fast-paced “Marcinelle style” with cartoonist Franquin at the forefront. During this time the development of comics in the French-speaking countries took great strides forward. They had a literary and artistic ambition, the comics got longer and the term “graphic novel” was coined. In the French-speaking environment, the comic book was established as “The ninth art form”, a hybrid between literature and visual art.

Swedish illustrators and writers were inspired by the Franco-Belgian expressions in comics, some in terms of drawing, others in terms of content and publishing format. Some of the early comic books that were released were Ville by Jan Lööf, Älgen är lös by Ulf Frödin, Stenstaden by Leif Almqvist, Snövita stålar by Johan Höjer, The Ratte albums by Magnus Knutsson and Ulf Jansson, as well as Gyllene rosen by Per Demervall.

More than fifty years have passed since this wave of albums began to wash over us. How has the Franco-Belgian spirit characterized our Swedish series creation since then? Come and see for yourself, let the exhibition take you on an exciting journey with Swedish comic art at the highest level.

Warm welcome!

Per and Birgitta Demervall