Firstly, I’d like to ask you about Top Shelf’s "Swedish Invasion" event. How did you become involved in the project?
Well, Chris Staros has liked me since day one, and it was a little bit of a fluke that my book was released in Sweden at the same time as Top Shelf's visit to the SPX in Stockholm. But it sort of makes sense; my stuff represents a generation shift in comic artists in Sweden, a bit different from the usual autobio stuff that Mats [Jonsson] (and to some extent Simon Gärdenfors) represents. Why they signed me though, you have to ask them. I can't really tell what qualities other people see in my comics. I am sort of interested in seeing how the American comic readers are going to take my book though; it's always interesting to see how people react in different countries. And it's a lot of nature, it has a bit of a Scandinavian mindset. It's Swedish exotica!
I love the idea of an ecosystem working on its own terms. I was pretty set from the start to create something that people will perceive as alien. Some figures, I can't really explain, and some just come naturally. I still don't know where my obsession with twins and triplets comes from, so when I write characters, I try to introduce a foreign element that I have very little control over. For example, the character of the green man was the result of me having a conversation with some sort of entity using some sort of online ouija board and on a couple occasions, I have used bird manuals to describe a character's behaviour. Then, it takes time to tie all the knots together. I am not incredibly productive, since comics take time for me. I feel like I have to understand what I am doing before I start to draw it. And the drawing is itself a pretty elaborate process. Not that I have to understand the thing I am about to describe in the comic, but it has to... make sense. It's a lot of gut feeling involved, a bit like making a collage really. It's also a pretty uncertain process. A lot of light tripping over crackling ice.
We dug through your blog and found an image entitled “Benny Björn Will Never Return”. Can you tell me about it?
I don't think anyone can.
We are planning on attending the World Beard and Moustache Championship in Norway next year. We couldn't help but notice that you have a pretty amazing beard. If you enter the competition, we'll definitely buy you a beer!
Awww, I trimmed it last summer... Now, it's starting to regain it's former glory but it's not huge anymore or anything.
Once again, ATF would like to thank Kolbeinn for giving us such a great interview. His great graphic novel, The Troll King, is available for pre-order on the Top Shelf website (link below) or via your local comic shop (Diamond code: FEB10-1096).