Serial fun, or comics celebrated

24 January 2011 | In the news

The art of comics celebrates  its first centenary in Finland this year. The first Finnish picture story was a book called Professori Itikaisen tutkimusretki (‘Professor Itikainen’s expedition’, WSOY), by Ilmari Vainio, published in 1911; see our post on the Books from Finland website.

By the way, comics in Finnish is sarjakuva, ‘serial picture’, covering the modern usage of ‘comics’ – including serious, graphically impressive stuff such as the newish genre of the graphic novel.

The annual Helsinki Comics Festival, organised by Finnish Comics Society (founded 1971), is the biggest event in the field in northern Europe; this year’s festival will take place in September. In 2011 comics exhibitions will take place at the Finnish Design Museum, the Finnish Post Museum and the National Library of Finland.

Tommi Musturi. Photo: the Finnish Comics Society

The Society awarded its Puupää prize 2011 to Tommi Musturi (born 1975) – take a look at an extract from his Walking with Samuel which we ran on the Books from Finland website in May 2010.

Among Musturi’s publications are ten anthologies entitled Glömp; he has also worked for Kuti magazine and Huuda Huuda publisher. The jury remarked, in particular, on their appreciation of  Musturi’s highly original, often wordless, stories and their graphic brilliance.

The prize: Puupää's hat

The prize is not money but a honorary hat, and is named after a classic Finnish cartoon character, Pekka Puupää (‘Pete Blockhead’), created by Ola Fogelberg and his daughter Toto. The Puupää comic books were published between 1925 and 1975, and some of the stories were made into film.