Afterword for AltCom 2016

The AltCom experience of 2016 is over, as much as something like this is ever over, because when a festival like this is at its best, it lingers in your soul/mind/5D construct.

We actually managed to create this separate plane of existence. A space that is its own thing and when it’s over it’s like you’re going back home, even if you already live in the same city. And when I say “we”, I don’t mean me, I don’t mean the organizers or volonteers, I mean all of us who took part in it. The guests/exhibitors/musicians/visitors. The smokers and drinkers. The ones who woke up, went to the festival and stayed until they passed out or went home (sometimes when the morning sun had come out and the birds started singing, sometimes when the wine was over, sometimes when it was just the right time to go). The ones who arrived late at night, the ones who left early. This international family that’s made up of people you almost only meet in these liminal existences. These special relationships with people you meet a few times a year, in different parts of the world, that you consider to be friends even if you hardly know most of them in any deeper sense.

It started with the preparty sessions where a few of us sat down with some wine after putting up exhibitions, discussing anything from printing techniques to working conditions to drug culture to Pokémon Go to the effect the internet has on communication and on underground and zine culture. Then it all grew as the actual festival started. People meeting, inspiring each other, giving birth to new collaborations, extending invitations to future events, other worlds to visit in the future. An intersection of pasts, present and futures.

The lost/found piece, by Alkbazz…

Many of us will meet again, because this part of the comics culture is borderless by nature and part of a network of recurring aquaintances, but we may never meet again in this exact same constellation of people.

And then there’s the story of the lost luggage that arrived just in time for the Saturday afterparty so we could complete the exhibition a few hours before it closed, the stolen items, the missed flight, the missing guest, like an offering to the god of Branquignole. Maybe the price to pay for everything else running more or less smoothly. Sleep was another casualty, but what are you gonna do?

So thank you to everyone who came, who let people stay in their homes, who participated, volunteered, carried tables, held talks/performances/workshops, who brought their art or simply their presence. For an AltCom festival that became something beyond the sum of its parts. Not unlike the language/artform of comics itself.

/Mattias Elftorp, 2016-08-02,
about to go into a 2 week coma
so you may not hear from me for a while.
Don´t take it personally, I love you all.

In the coming period, we will add some documentation to the site, like comics interpretations, photos, videos etc.

This is what we have to offer so far:

Comics interpretation by Radovan Popović
Video: Feberdröm
Video: 3ZB
Tusen Serier - WORKS (Alkbazz)
Photos by Le Garage L
More photos…

AltCom 2016: WORK is here!

Here’s the entire program for AltCom 2016:

Thursday, July 28 @ Mitt Möllan (exhibition openings – day 1):
17-23 Stripburger – Attention, Work!
17-23 Tusen Serier – WORKS
17-23 CBK – Re: Creation & Idleness
17-23 Wormgod – VOID

Friday, July 29
@ Panora
(films/exhibition opening):
1430-18 Knut Larsson – Aniara
15-18 Film program
@ Mitt Möllan (exhibition openings – day 2):
17-23 the exhibitions’ opening party continues
20(?) 3ZB [Malmö] (LIVE MUSIC)
21(?) Feberdröm [Göteborg/Bergen] (LIVE MUSIC)

Saturday, July 30 @ Folkets Park (comics fair/exhibition):
14-21 Comics market
15-18 Talks & workshops
14-21 Komikaze – Femicomix

Sunday, July 31 @ Folkets Park (comics fair/exhibition):
14-21 Comics market
15-19 Talks & workshops
14-21 Komikaze – Femicomix

And at all events, you will find the free AltCom 2016: WORK anthology!


Talks & workshops during AltCom 2016

This is the program for talks and workshops at this year’s AltCom:

17-23 – Le Garage L: Linoprint workshop

SATURDAY (@ Moriskan in Folkets Park)
1500 – Tonina Matamalas/Projecte Úter: poster storytelling/presentation
1600 – Stripburger: presentation
1700 – Frances Tuuloskorpi: Gråt eller strid – Om arbetsplatskamp

SUNDAY (@ Moriskan in Folkets Park)
1500 – Taija Jyrkäs: Oulu Comics
1600 – Rakel Stammer: Art & activism1700 – Underlandet: Visuella dagböcker – en utflykt till Underlandets kreativa observatorium (starring Lynda Barry)! (workshop)
1800 – Amalia Alvarez & Bellas libres y locas: teater/presentation om Fem historier om prostituerande



The AltCom film program hads now been set! It will be Friday, July 29, 1430-18 @ Panora (Friisgatan 19 D). Films start at 15.

There will be NO ENTRANCE FEE and no reservations, so it’s first come, first watch movies.


1500: Stripburger in motion & Hypnagogia
1610: Wanted & Tito on Ice

Stripburger in motion
By: Boris Dolenc

Hypnagogia – Send me the pillow that you dream on
By: Knut Larsson

By: Boris Dolenc

Tito on Ice
By: Max Andersson

At Panora, you can also enjoy the Aniara exhibition by Knut Larsson.


What AltCom is about…

The name AltCom is an abbreviation of Alternative Comics. To us, “alternative comics” means making and/or publishing comics that aren’t first and foremost commercially viable. It’s more important to do something that feels meaningful and interesting rather than something that will make you rich. This is why what you’ll find at the festival are smaller publishers and individual artists rather than the big commercial ones.

We also want to give visitors a chance to find new things, to experience what used to be alien or unknown. Because we don’t believe the myth that says you have to be afraid of what you don’t know. We don’t believe that everything needs to be familiar or safe to be appealing. Nor do we think that art (a term which of course includes comics) has to be appealing or adhere to “what people want”.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t find any comics creators whose works you’ve seen before. This is the fourth AltCom in its current form, and there’s something to be said for continuity as well as for innovation. So this year’s guests will be a mix of familiar and new faces.

All to make AltCom as meaningful and interesting as possible.


Back from CRACK!

So we just came back from the CRACK! festival in Rome, which is more or less the hub/parent/sibling of the European(+) scene for underground/alternative/DIY/art comics & temporary art. The festival gathers hundreds of artists and thousands of visitors under the same roof, or actually in the tunnels under the same fort.

Poster art by RurruMipanochia

CRACK! is the great inspiration for AltCom and many others, even if the conditions very from country to country. For example, the squatting culture in Italy and Sweden are completely different. If you try to occupy an empty building to turn it into a social centre in Sweden, you will have to deal with a massive police assault on you almost directly. No such squat in Sweden has lasted more than a few months in recent years, and even that is extremely rare. It’s more likely that you will be back on the street within hours. Whereas Forte Prenestino (the social centre where CRACK! is held) celebrates its 30th anniversary as a squat this year.

On the other hand, Malmö is a friendly city and it’s possible to cooperate with a lot of venues (like Folkets Park, Panora, Mitt Möllan and others during the previous AltComs) without having to spend all of your budget just to find a place to have the festival’s exhibitions, comics market, etc.

On the other hand, Sweden is kind of expensive compared to other countries (though Malmö is cheap for Sweden), if not as expensive as Norway or Switzerland, so it comes with some other issues that we need to handle when organizing our event. We compensate by keeping as many parts as possible of the festival free of charge, like tables, entrance fees, festival anthology…

An important aspect of AltCom is that even if the comics fair is an important part of it, since it gives small press publishers and artists the opportunity to sell their books and the public the opportunity to buy them, we focus a lot on the social aspect.

That’s why we start the festival off with a two-day exhibition opening for several exhibitions at once, gathered in the same place. It creates a meeting ground for artists from different parts of the world, to show their stuff, to talk, to drink together and make new plans for the future, as well as meet a public that get the chance to experience something new.

The CRACK! festival is truly a seed for a future that may come, a seed that may be part of creating an atmosphere based on participation, mutual respect, creativity and boundless exchange. And that’s what we also try to be with AltCom, even if we are in Sweden and don’t have a huge squatted-since 30-years fort.

This seed is already bearing fruit. Weeds are cropping up in various places taking different forms, such as:
AFA (Autoproduzioni Fichissime Anderground) Milano (ITA)
Combat Comics Livorno (ITA)
Ratatà Macerata (ITA)
Ca.Co.FEST Bari (ITA)
BORDA Fest – Produzioni Sotterranee Lucca (ITA)
PICS Pescara Intergalactic Comics Show Pescara (ITA)
F.OFF Angoulême (FRA)
Tenderete Valencia (ESP)
Gutter Fest Barcelona (ESP)
Vendetta Marseille (FRA)
Ohoho Festival Zagreb (CRO)
ŠKVER! Art Project Mali Lošinj (CRO)
Fijuk network (Balkans/International)
and of course AltCom and probably many more…

The anthology

For each AltCom since 2010, we’ve made a festival anthology with comics by artists from different countries, making their own interpretations of the theme of that year.

altcom2016antholog_cvrThis is the lineup for this year’s anthology:
Radovan Popovicć / Rashid
Mileta Mijatović
Aleksandar Opačić
Nils Bertho
Nicolas Krizan
Line Høj Høstrup
Manuel Rodriguez
Jonas Svensson
Patrick McEvoy
Randy Valiente
Henrik Rogowski
Steve Nyberg
Teresa Câmara Pestana
Sónia Oliveira
Rakel Stammer
Stefan Petrini
Mitchell Bercier
Kinga Dukaj
Juhyun Choi
Ivana Armanini
Mattias Elftorp