I scored rather highly on the sci-fi/comic part of the Nerd test I took. That has made me think about the cultural difference between the US and Norway (as I understand it) in comics: Norway has a number of monthly comic books – aimed at adults. They are not adult comics in the sense that they are R-rated, but rather, they are the comics of the US Sunday newspapers, translated and offered to Norwegians of all ages. The magazines sit in the adult section of the magazine rack, not the kid section.
Jefe’s comment has prompted me to add this, since it made me realize that I was a bit sparse on the details:
Just to be clear: I’m not talking about illustrated novels (like Sandman), serials (like Modesty Blaise) or manga, though those exist and are popular in their own right. Nor am I talking about the sort of magazine or booklet that offers printed stories of familiar animated cartoon characters (though we have that, too). I’m talking about the humorous strip or one-pager; the sort of comic that typically gets printed daily in the newspaper. Both Bizarro and Non Sequitur are translated and published in these magazines.
The format of the magazine is that most pages are devoted to the main comic, the one the magazine gets its name and cover art from. In every issue are regular guest series, some home-grown, many imported and translated. Some imports are so popular – like “The Far Side” and “Zits” – that they get their own magazine. The choice of guest series take the tone of the main comic. The “Zits” magazine, for example, runs a lot of family-type strips, like “Betty” and “The Buckets” in addition to the main series “Zits”. All translated (though sometimes they run a feature “Untranslatable”).
All these magazines print the daily strips that a newspaper would print. As far as I know, there is no exact counterpart in the US, nor does the US have this consumer pattern of adults – both male and female – buying comic magazines.
This weekend, Norway’s largest comics/illustrated story convention is underway right here in Bergen. I intend to drop by tomorrow. There are some of my favorites I want to see in person, because past experience has shown me that an artist often draws characters with features similar to his own.
My favorite humorous comic strips are drawn by Norwegians; the country has fostered some amazing talents which in turn have made some hugely popular comic characters and strips of high quality. My favorites are Nemi, Pondus, and M, and I am delighted by the artwork of cartoonist/writer Lars Lauvik. There are some others, who are regulars in these Norwegian magazines. It may be the only regular diet of Norwegian culture I get since I don’t bother much with Norwegian music, film or TV. At least it keeps me somewhat abreast of what Norwegians think about (which includes British soccer, dragons and Star Wars, apparantly).