Helsinki Comics Festival is the biggest and the oldest comic-con in Finland. Helsinki Comics Festival is arranged by the Finnish Comic Society every autumn. It is a gathering place for artists, comic-enthusiasts, publishers and salesmen alike. The Festival is entirely free for everyone – there are no admissions or entrance fees whatsoever.
The annual festival programme consists of a comic fair, lectures, panel discussions, seminars, workshops and meetings with fellow comic artists.
The programme is filled with great events, everything from presentations, art shows and panel discussions to competitions and art performances. Guests of Honour from Finland and abroad show-and-tell about their work and, of course, sign autographs for their fans.
In addition to the festival programme, since 2007 there has been a whole day and a whole separate venue dedicated entirely to Japanese comics, a “Day of Manga”, gathering together manga and Japanese culture enthusiasts with international artist guests, a cosplay competition and other manga themed programmes.
Small Press Heaven and the Most Heavenly Zine competition
Small Press Heaven is a venue for small press publishers to sell and present their productions during the festival. The sales tables are for free, but all salesmen must give two of their newest items to the Finnish Comic Society’s collection.
The Most Heavenly Zine is a tradional competition for all Finnish self published, “non-commercial” comics. The winner will be chosen and announced at the Helsinki Comics Festival. Also “the cream of the crap” will be on display during the festival.
The history of the event
The festival has been organised as different types of audience events since 1979. Helsinki Comics Festival (and the former event ‘Helsingin piirtäjäpäivät’) has had numerous notarious comic artist from abroad as guest, mainstream names such as Jeff Smith, Lewis Trondheim, Lise Myhre, Enric Romero, Neil Gaiman, Enki Bilal,Joe Sacco, Marjane Satrapi, Sergio Aragones and Hunt Emerson, and more alternative ones like Fremok, Le Dernier Cri, Stripburger, Anke Feuchtenberger, Adrien Tomine, Martin tom Dieck, Kramers Ergot, Canicola, Olivier Schrauwen, Dongery, Lamelos and Ruppert & Mulot.