There are many comics festivals and events held in the northern countries. On our site you can find short introductions to the main events. To add all the festivals to the list, we need your help! Please contact us with suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copenhagen Comics is Denmark’s international comics festival and the biggest of its kind in the country. Every second year the festival celebrates the wonderful art of comic books, graphic novels, cartoons and manga during a weekend of panel discussions, lectures, workshops for the whole family, signings and the chance to meet the best and greatest comic creators from all over the world.
From 2004 until 2010 the festival was known as Komiks.dk. The next Copenhagen Comics will be held in 2013.
Helsinki Comics Festival
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.
Kemi Arctic Comics Festival
The Kemi Comics Festival a.k.a. the Arctic Comics Festival is arranged by The Arctic Comics Centre in Kemi and supported by the town of Kemi and the Finnish Ministry of Education. It is also the oldest annually arranged comics event in Finland and the world’s northernmost comics festival that is known of. The annual programme consists of a comic fair, lectures, panel discussions, seminars, workshops, competitions and exhibitions. Also the Japanese manga convention Kitacon is held alongside the main festival.
Kitacon is the northernmost manga convention in Finland. It was born as the manga department of the Arctic Comics Festival extended in 2008 from a one-day happening to a two-day event. As part of the Comics Festival, Kitacon’s programme not only serves the enthusiastics of Japanese pop culture, but also the fans of more western comics. Kitacon consist of workshops, lectures, different kind of shows, competitions, movies and a cosplay competition. It has also a lot of programme aimed at children.
History of the Festival
The Arctic Comics Festival was held for the first time in 1981 and it became international in 1985. So far more than sixty illustrators, critics and researchers from all over the world have visited the festival, among them such names as Robert Crumb and Scott McCloud from USA, José Muñoz and Carlos Sampayo from Argentina, Norio Yamanoi from Japan, Frank Odoi from Kenya and Eddie Campbell from Australia. European illustrators have come from as far away as Iceland, Portugal, Albania, Hungary and Arkangel to join the festival. Angoulême’s 2002 and 2003 years Grand Prix winners Schuiten and Loisel have visited as well. In 2003 Moebius/Jean Giraud visited the festival and in 2004 Kemi welcomed French artists Jano and Mezzo. Celebrating the 25th festival in 2006 were English artist David Lloyd, better known for V for Vendetta, and Frederic Boilet and Aurelia Aurita of France.
The President of the Republic of Finland Tarja Halonen acted as a patron at the 20th anniversary festival 2001. She also visited The Comics Centre in autumn 2002.
The Comics Competition
From the very beginning a national comics competition – which became Scandinavic in 1990 – has been an integral part of the festival. The Arctic Comics Centre annually publishes an anthology of the award winning and otherwise successful works. In the year 2007, when the competition was held via internet searching for the best web comics, there exceptionally was no physical anthology published. Nowadays the competition has two categories to compete in: 1) web comics and 2) print comics.
The most significant exhibitions at the festival have been Crumb’s World 1993, Who Would Be Afraid of Donald Duck 1994, Mämmilä 1995, The World of Moebius 2003, The Comics and Music 2004 and Viivi ja Wagner 2005. The Kemi Art Museum had 18 248 visitors during a three-week time period and the rest of Finland ca. 70 000 visitors at the Mämmilä exhibition. In 2008 the Arctic Comics Festival presented Superheroes in Kemi exhibition celebrating the history super hero comics.
The Lempi prizes
Since 1987 the Arctic Comics Centre has awarded accomplished people and organisations with Lempi prizes at the comics festival: Lempi Grand Prix, Strip-Lempi, Publication-Lempi and Lempi International. In 2006 the festival’s father, Heikki Porkola, was the first one ever to be awarded with a special Lempi-prize, Lempi Grand Slam.
Oslo Comics Expo
OCX is a modern comics convention aiming to be an inspirational congregation for the comics scene in Norway and Scandinavia, as well as showcasing the medium of comics to the citizens of the Norwegian capital.
The festival takes place at Serieteket, the comics library in Oslo, and in the park outside. In addition, there are exhibitions and events in the evenings in galleries and other venues around the city during the festival.
Oulu Comics Festival
Oulu Comics Festival is an annual event held in the Cultural Centre Valve and other places in the city center of Oulu in early November. The festival invites performers from several Nordic countries. The festival and related seminar programme consists of panels, lectures, workshops, artist presentations and signing sessions. The festival also hosts the annual Oulu Nordic Comics Competition and is the biggest comics event in the Barents area.
Stockholm International Comics Festival
Previously known as Stockholm Small Press Expo or SPX, Stockholm International Comics Festival is a steadily growing venue for comics enthusiasts, though the small press market remains as the festival’s beating heart.
The festival is held annually at the comics library Serieteket situated at the heart of Stockholm.
Tampere kuplii (transl. Tampere bubbles) is the youngest Finnish comics event, being held for the first time in 2007. Tampere kuplii is organised by Tampere kuplii ry.
Like many other events Tampree kuplii consists of seminars, lectures, panel discussions and work shops among other things. It has also got a cosplay costume competition and other Japanese pop culture programmes.
Sarjakuva-Finlandia is a prize established by Tampere Kuplii ry and the City of Tampere’s Luova Tampere -program in the year 2007. The prize is worth 5000 euros. The award is given to a Finnish artist who has alone or with a co-creator made a successful comic album. The prize is given annually in spring at the Tampere kuplii comics festival.
Å-fest comic festival is a Nordic comic art event which is held annually in Porvoo, Finland. The focus of the one-day festival is on small press and Nordic comic culture. Along with interviews, discussions and workshops with comics professionals, there’s a comics bazaar for sellers and buyers, multiple exhibitions and other activities. The event aims to create a dynamic avenue where local, national and Nordic creative comics talents come together to share ideas and learn from each other. Another aim is to educate the public about the comics culture in Nordic countries.
Å-fest is held in February at various locations in Porvoo and usually it attracts approximately 400-500 visitors. It is organized by Porvoon sarjakuvaseura (Comic Society of Porvoo) with a group of volunteers. First Å-fest was held in 2015. The event is mainly funded by the City of Porvoo, Aktia Säätiö, Svenska Kulturfonden and several sponsors.