Lakes Festival Focus 2019: Comic Artist Rune Ryberg

Lakes Festival Focus 2019: Comic Artist Rune RybergEvery year, in the countdown to the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in October, we bring you a series of interviews with guests at the event. This “Festival Focus” for 2019 is with Rune Ryberg, a Danish comic book artist with a history in animated films.

UPDATE – 9th October 2019: Unfortunately, Rune Ryberg had to cancel his Festival appearance this year due to illness – we wish him all the best. We’re retaining this interview as first published, as it offers an insight into this talented creator’s creative process for our readers

Rune’s artistic style is colour saturated quirky, skewed and rumpled, giving the impression of dynamic movement and expression. His work often contains odd characters in comical action sequences, with a cinematographic feel and a limited use of text and dialogue.

He made his debut as a comic book artist in 2014 with the award-winning Gigant, published at AdHouse Books. His 244-page tribute to the pinball machines of his youth, Death Save, has been published in French under the title Tilt.

What are you working on, comics-wise, right now, and when will it be published?

Rune Ryberg: I am working on a gothic, mystique, horror’ish story set in 19th century London. It’s loaded with monsters and terrible things. It’s the first time I’ve collaborated with an author, the brilliant Danish author Benni Bødker, who came up with the idea and wrote the script. It’s planned to be published as two books.

Which comic project you’ve worked on are you most proud of and where can people see it or buy it?

Rune: I am proud of my first comic book Gigant, since it’s my first published work. It’s published in English by AdHouse Books. But I am probably even more proud of Death Save, although it hasn’t been published in English yet, only Danish, French and Polish so far. It’s a big 250 pages book about two pinball playing hoodlums in the mid 1990’s.

"Tilt" by Rune Ryberg

How do you plan your day as a creator? (Do you plan your day?)

Rune: I try to plan my “productions” so I can keep a realistic view on what I’m capable to output and how I’ll be most productive while staying in the best creative mindset. You can’t plan on when freelance work will come to you, so everything has to be flexible and projects often get postponed.

What’s the best thing about being a comics creator?

Rune: Making comics, really. Being able to create and build on something that started with a dumb idea and end up with a printed piece of work that people appreciate.

And the worst?

Rune: The hopeless economics of everything comics. It’s a f*ing buzz-kill.

Gigant by Rune Ryberg

What most distracts you from getting your work done?

Rune: Other ideas. My mind often goes in many different directions. Sometimes I have to stop everything because a new idea keeps spinning in my head and I need to get it on paper.

Do you think it’s easier or harder for young comic creators to get published today?

Rune: Much easier, in the sense that you can just do it yourself, you don’t even have to print your comic. You can just publish it as a e-book. Getting someone to read it is a whole other game.

Art by Rune Ryberg

Art by Rune RybergWhich one comic creator would you most like to meet, and why?

Rune: Dead or alive? Damn, too many to mention. I’m not big on having single favourites because it changes constantly. I wanna meet ‘em all, that’s what’s great about cons and festivals, you meet the ones you heard about and whose work you read and you meet those you never knew existed and you learn to view comics in new way, always. I would be stoked to meet Katsuhiro Otomo, though.

How do Festivals and other comics events help creators most, do you think?

Rune: Putting different creators in the same room and we get to meet our readers. It all becomes very real, you talk to people who recognise your work or you realise no one care, it’s all valuable.

What one piece of advice do you offer people looking to work in the comics industry?

Rune: Ask yourself what the attraction really is. It’s a bit like sports. Why would you wan’t to be a pro athlete? Is it because you like to stand on a podium and get the praise or do you simply just like the running to bits. Don’t do it because of a goal, do it because you like the fact that you’ll never really reach the goal.

What’s your favourite comic right now and where can people get it?

Rune: I keep thinking about how great Derf Backderf’s Trashed was.

UPDATE – 9th October 2019: Unfortunately, Rune Ryberg had to cancel his Festival appearance this year due to illness – we wish him all the best. We’re retaining this interview as first published, as it offers an insight into this talented creator’s creative process for our readers


• Web:
• Instagram: @runeryberg

Gigant is published by AdHouse Books. You can get it here:

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Books featuring the work of Rune Ryberg on AmazonUK (Affiliate Link – help support downthetubes, thank you)

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

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