In an interview I did with a Swedish magazine a while back, they asked me why I chose to publish my book, Second Thoughts, at an American publisher first and not a Swedish one (since I am a Swedish citizen). I never really thought about it as something strange or out of the ordinary. I've never cared much for borders. I read more American and European comics than Swedish ones growing up, and when I tried to figure out the best publisher for my book, Top Shelf was the first choice, the best choice for this particular project.
I also don't care much for borders between different art forms. Before I attended the comics art school in Malmö, I studied to be a painter. But then, after three years in an art school, I was sick of the art world. It felt too much like a gated community with a lot of unwritten rules and regulations. So I decided to try my other great passion in life: comics. Now, eight years later, I'm working as a comic artist, painter, and illustrator and I couldn't be happier about what I do. I let the different art forms influence each other and try keep an open mind.
The comics scene in Sweden is quite young and still pretty underground. At least comics for grownups are. There's not a lot of money in it and therefore there are no rules, which I think makes comics the most interesting and rapidly developing art form in Sweden today. More and more young people see comics as a possibility to express themselves, and over the last few years, several new small press publishers have emerged on the comics scene, publishing great books by exiting new talents.
It's all about the stories. Whether I do a painting or a comic, there is always a history behind the imagery. It's always fascinated me how a story can have such power. How it can give us the tools to view the world from another point of view and make us see our own lives in a different light. Reading is traveling within yourself and so is writing. And I love to travel.
Looking back, I guess this is what Second Thoughts was always about. Stories and the power they possess. How it affects both reader and writer. I've read many stories that have taken me to a lot of wonderful places, and I just hope this one can take you somewhere. Where is up to you.
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Books mentioned in this post
Niklas Asker is the author of Second Thoughts