Another truly beautiful little box with larger-than -life content. What you first see is not what you get.
It is the true story about Simon Gärdenfors’ dead friend.
Simon is seventeen and has just started College in Lund, a small town in southern Sweden. One day he gets a phone call that will change his life. An unknown voice from the hospital informs him that his best friend just died from meningitis. Everything goes black.
His comics are drawn in a simple, icon-like manner. They remind me of Smileys trapped in a world of Kwaii Kitty and Japanese candy ads. Every page is a grid of frames. They are boxlike, static and almost mechanically repetitive, and at the same time color and layout is exquisitively composed. The contrast between the icon-like figures and Simon’s story about friendship, loss and grief is heartbreaking and hits me hard in the face. To me this contast is vital. The simplified graphics creates a distance and makes it possible to take in Simon’s devastating loneliness and grief. Somewhere in that hiatus I find myself in a quiet refuge where I can finally hear and feel all the gentle tenderness of this story. The contrast reminds me so much of what it is to be a teenager, when ruddy comments and gawdy remarks, booze and nervous perspiration compete with love, longing, grief and vulnerability.
Simon remembers his dead friend, and everything that happened before and after that one phone call.
Simon Gärdenfors (born March 23, 1978) is a Swedish cartoonist, rapper, television presenter, and radio host.
He is possibly most famous for his comic about Per-Olof Svensson, the formerly accused, subsequently acquitted murderer of then Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Anna Lindh. By a weird twist of fate, shortly in connection to the murder allegations, a short comic in Galago was published. According to Gärdenfors, he had met Svensson during a stay in Lund, and included him in his comic as a subject of mythomania. In 2005, Gärdenfors has had his book Lura mig (Fool Me) published, containing interviews with different people he considers mythomaniacs, and his comments about the media coverage of the event.
Alongside his childhood friend Calle Thörn, he is also a member of the underground hip-hop duo “Las Palmas” that received a lot of airtime on Swedish radio in the fall of 2004, primarily with the song “Spökskrivare” (“Ghostwriter”), claiming that it actually was Simon who had written all famous hip-hop songs.
- 2002 – Turist (Tourist)
- 2005 – Lura mig! (Fool Me!)
- 2008 – Simons 120 dagar (published in English as The 120 Days of Simon in 2010)