onsdag 4. juni 2014


Norway have, or has had, several minor comic book and comic strip awards, but only one that seems to have any lasting power and influence. Or at least that's how it used to be. 

I'm talking about the Sproing award, named for the onomatopoeia used to describe a breaking spring, and shaped like such a spring - with a pen split on top. It has been handed out by the Norwegian Comics Association every year since 1987, with the two primary categories being "best Norwegian comic" and "best translated comic". Some years there's been extra categories like "best debutant" and "open category". This year, they are down to the two former categories only, but there's an ongoing discussion about the categories, and how you qualify for a nomination. This discussion heated up last Sunday, when journalist Walter Wehus wrote a commentary informing us that Oslo Comics Expo would refuse to host the awards ceremony this year. Wehus supported this decision.

The cause of conflict is a rule stating that collected editions cannot be nominees for the award, unless the comic was first printed the same year as the collected edition came out. This means that last year's most important comics release, Steffen Kverneland's critically acclaimed comics biography on the life and art of Edvard Munch, is disqualified because the indvidual chapters have formerly been printed in a series of anthologies. Kverneland's book, simply entitled Munch, is translated into more and more languages and even won the Brage Award - Norways's most prestigous literature award - in the category of best non-fiction book. But because of a technicality, it was disqualified from being a Sproing nominee.

Another graphic novel that was disqualified from being a Sproing nominee for exactly the same reason this year is Herr Merz by Lars Fiske. This also disappointed many comic book aficionados in Norway.

The award ceremony have been moved from Oslo's festival tent to Bergen's main library, where I will attend tomorrow as one of the participants in a panel discussion. While I understand the Norwegian Comics Association's reasoning, I see the need to make the nomination rules less rigid, and will bring that up tomorrow.

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