One of themes this year involves children, but the event isn’t just for kids!

Celebrating comics here in Finland and abroad, the 28th Helsinki Comics Festival is being staged in the capital on the first full weekend of September. The largest comics festival in Northern Europe, the festival features a comics market, Small Press Heaven, artists, exhibitions, discussions, presentations, live drawing performances, competitions, animation, kids’ events and clubs.

Under the banners of “comics for children” and “North American comics”, fans of comics and professionals are encouraged to participate. Having evolved from their traditional position of being children’s entertainment into an independent field of art, the festival ponders the notion whether this process has seen the younger audience being forgotten. Thus the festival seeks out the different kinds of comics that are published for children today, as well as offering younger punters a specifically-themed workshop programme.

Meanwhile, this year’s festival sees a range of guests from North America, the birthplace of comics. Guests from across the pond include both established and up-and-coming stars Patrick McDonnell, Lilli Carré and Michael DeForge.

Lasipalatsi Square is the focal point once again for the festival, with the main Festival venue tent and the Small Press Heaven located there. MBAR acts as the official bar and terrace for the festival main event, also hosting an interview stage featuring live music.

Helsinki Comics Festival 2013
6-8 September

Kirjasto 10 is getting in on the act, hosting two thematic afternoons focusing on western comics and comic books meet rock music. On Friday 6 September Dubrovnic Bar and Lounge and Andorra Theatre host a number of lectures, discussions, music, live drawing and a film matinée. A comics and poetry jam night is being held on Saturday evening at Mascot, and a variety of exhibitions are being presented in different galleries around town.

James O’Sullivan