In service for Norwegian comics and graphic novels
For the last four years, I have had a job and position of trust that has meant a lot to me. In Norway, a fairly large sum of public funds (approx. 100 mill. $) is each year granted to all sorts of artists, publishers, theaters, art institutions etc. through the Arts Council Norway (ACN). This Arts Council has subcommittees for different areas, and I have had the honour of serving as the chairman for the (small) committee for comics and graphic novels. During these years, I have read almost every page of Norwegian comics to be published.
Each year we have divided approx. 700 000 $ to comics artists and publishers. The artists and publishers can apply for grants toward the production of comic book projects that are underway, since life as a comics artist in a small country is not very glamorous or financially stable. In addition, Norway has something called the "procurement system", which basically means that the Arts Council Norway every year purchases 700–1100 copies of "books of high quality" and disitributes these books for free to all public libraries. For these books, the publisher has to pay the authors twice the regular royalty.
Committees like the one I have been in, decide which books will be bought through the procurement system and distribute grants. During these four years, I have read 202 applications for grants and 136 books applying for purchase through the system. In sum, our deciscions can mean a fairly great deal to the individual artists.
The comics scene in Norway is SO vital and varied, probably in part due to this kind of public funding.
Above are some of my favorite books from the last four years, and many of them are also available in English: