As part of Eudicom activities towards internationalization and networking in the comics sectors, the Federation of European Publishers decided to meet with comics professionals and experts all over Europe to get an insight into their needs and interests. With this column we will present to you some of the most interesting profiles of comics experts, associations, and activists from Europe.
Icelandic comics society
The Icelandic Comics Society captures the variegated reality of comics in a nutshell: passion, do-it-yourself attitude and an eye on growth and international realities.
We spoke with Atla Hrafney, chairman of the Society in regard to the possibility of an Icelandic participation in Eudicom. While in her opinion the Icelandic comics scene has not gained enough traction yet for immediately utilizing the tools that Eudicom offers, she did not exclude a digital future for Icelandic comics publishers.
Currently the Icelandic comics scene is indeed smaller compared even to neighbouring ones. The same Icelandic comics society was just recently founded in 2019 in order to foster local talents and tend to the growth of a local comics industry, at this time lacklustre. To support the development of such scene, the comics society is invested in educational activities such as workshops, comics jams, and exhibits. In 2020 the society published their first print book, an anthology.
According to Atla, given the situation, Icelandic comic creators usually look to foreign markets to distribute their works. In short, the Icelandic comics scene is characterized mostly by self-publishing authors or, when professionals, by authors publishing outside the country – in France or UK.
This does not mean that local creators would not want a wider audience to have access their works directly, however. Especially independent creators mostly publish in English and would greatly benefit from a stronger European digital distribution infrastructure, allowing them to showcase their art to wider audiences. Whereas other media from the country find an easier way to be shared outside of the island’s borders, attesting to the interest for local creatives, comics still struggle to do the same. Showing the nature of comics as a viable media both to publishers and readers in Iceland remains one of the main goals for the society, towards a greater impact abroad.