THE FINNISH COMICS SOCIETY
The Finnish Comics Society was founded in conjunction with an international exhibition in Helsinki in 1971. It is an association of makers, readers, collectors and researchers of comics. It presents comics both to the wider public as well as to the cultural establishment. The association aims to promote the awareness and critical reading of comics and to gain respect for the art form. The quality and appreciation of Finnish comics is boosted by the development of various official support mechanisms. In the past few years, many new culture and export projects as well as new websites and web services have been started by the Society.
The main event of the society is the annual Helsinki Comics Festival, which is the biggest comics event in Finland and in Northern Europe and has been organized since 1979. The festival offers various kinds of events, like panels, interviews, exhibitions, workshops and performances.
Sarjakuvakeskus (for Comics Center in Finnish) was founded in May 2008 to be an open cultural centre for comics and related art. It is situated in Helsinki, in the district of Arabianranta. The centre houses offices of the Comics Society and organizes comics courses for both beginners and professionals as well as open/free workshops. It is also possible to order a comics course from the Comics Center and have it somewhere else. The Comics Center also runs a gallery, cafe and shop and organizes many kinds of comics-related events from publications to comics auctions. Because of the expertise and relations of people working at the Comics Center, many kinds of interesting projects and international activities are arranged at the Comics Center. Co-operation with the Helsinki Comics Festival and other Finnish and international comics festivals makes up an important part of the activities of the Center.
Since 1972 the Society has annually awarded the Puupäähattu prize to an established Finnish comics artist. The name of the prize refers to the hat of Ola Fogelberg's classic character Pekka Puupää. In 2012, the Puupäähattu prize was awarded to the comics artist Kaisa Leka.
Sarjainfo, founded in 1972 and the oldest and largest magazine of its kind in Finland, is published by the Finnish Comics Society four times a year. It charts the past and present of comics, presenting news and reviews as well as interviews with both Finnish and foreign cartoonists. Members of the Comics Society get the subscription and the magazine is on sale at bookshops and events.
The comics library is situated at the Aalto University School of Art and Design in Helsinki. This unique collection collected by the Finnish Comics Society consists of thousands of Finnish and foreign comics, plus literature and articles on comics. It aims to be a comprehensive archive collection for reference use and also contains, for instance, comics-related masters' theses. In 2011, a project for establishing a comics archive was started, the purpose of which is to collect and archive original comics material in a centralized manner.
The society also maintains several websites and organizes international projects, exhibitions and publications related to the art form.
In the centre of Helsinki, in a bar called Mbar, there is a comic strip vending machine that is converted from an old cigarette machine by the Finnish Comics Society. The comic zines are fitted into cigarette packs, and you can buy them from the vending machine at the price of 2 euros.
The photo archive for comics is maintained by the Finnish Comics Society. It contains, for instance, samples of comics drawn by Finnish artists, photos and book covers.
Finnish Comics Society / Comics Center
00560 Helsinki, Finland