The polemic pencil

When
did you publish your
first comic?

When
I was 13 years old, I self-published a 50-paged album. It was an adventure
influenced by Asterix, Corto Maltese and Indiana Jones.

Favourite
place to draw, meaning where do you feel more comfortable and concentrated to
work?

I
like to draw in cafés drinking coffee and smoking mini cigars. But I think the
place I can concentrate best and find my inspiration most easily is my own
drawing table in my workroom.

Finnish
artists you admire?

There
are a lot of excellent artists here! The poet Pentti Saarikoski is the most
important (called himself "The Poet of Finland" and translated
Joyce’s Ulysses into Finnish). In the comics I like Jyrki Heikkinen, Marko
Turunen, Terhi Ekebom…

International
artist you admire?

James
Joyce, Picasso, Keith Jarrett (jazz pianist), Ornette Coleman (jazz musician
also), the poets and writers of the Antique Greece and Rome like Petronius…
Frédéric Chopin…

{mosimage}What
was the last comic you read?

Jyrki
Heikkinen’s Tohtori Futuro that is about to be published by the small
publishing house Asema in Finland. I am one of the founders of Asema and do a
lot of work as editor. Otherwise, I think the last book was Joann Sfar’s latest
Chat du rabbin, Jérusalem d’Afrique (Dargaud).

What
was, in your opinion, the best comic of 2006?

Well!
You know, I haven’t read them all. I’m quite fond of Joann Sfar’s Chat du
rabbin albums. One appears every year and it’s almost every time the best comic
of the year, for me.

What
makes a Ville Ranta’s comic work different from the others?

I
rarely use panels in my stories, I improvise alot and find my influences a lot
from other art than comics, for example modern jazz music. As a comics artist,
the rhytm is the most important thing in storytelling.

Do
you like being polemic when drawing a comic?

Yeah,
I find contemporary subjects interesting and I comment things alot. When I get
furious about something, I draw a comic. A lot of this material is published in
my comics blog in http://www.villeranta.com but I also draw contemporary and
politic comic/cartoons in the on of the biggest newspaper in Finland,
Ilta-Sanomat.

Do
you like manga?

No.
Though I’ve get to know only the mass entertainment stuff which doesn’t
interest me at all.

What
can you tell about the censorship in Kaltio for the Mohammed cartoon?

Lot
of people in Finland (and in Europe) are afraid of the discussion of religion
and islamistic fundamentalism. Or even afraid of any discussion on muslims. A
group of people among the sponsors of Kaltio and the publisher of Kaltio got
extremely afraid of something when Kaltio published my comic on Mohammed. They
didn’t even read it. The comic ironizes the fundamentalism and the European
fear of Muslims and opposes the Iraq war. But they were totally ignorant of
what I had to say. They didn’t want that this discussion is done in Kaltio and
they censored my work in a brutal and illegal way. That’s all I have to say
about that.

What
do you think about so many comics adapted into films in last few years?

I’m
not very interested in those films more than the comics behind. Except The
Ghost World is a great book. I haven’t seen the film.

What
other activities do you do apart from drawing comics?

I
run this publishing house of alternative comics, Asema. I teach comics a little
in a art school near Oulu.

What
other hobbies do you have?

Cleaning
the house, listening to free jazz, watching films of Fellini.

You
have your own company. Is it hard to be an artist and business man at same
time?

I’m
not a business man. The publishing house is a hobby, it doesn’t produce money.
I only get paid of the rights if Asema publishes my book, the rest is hobby of
me and Mika Lietzén. We run this house for free.

What
are your future projects?

I’m
going to finish my next graphic novel in fall. I’ve worked a long time at it.
It will be probably published in France at the same time as in Finland.

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