"Sourrealist" cartoonist wins EUR 10,000 in comic strip competition
Finnish-born comic creator Markku Huovila has won the first prize in a comic strip competition organised by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation. The first prize, worth EUR 10,000, was handed to Huovila yesterday.
The jury of the competition praised Huovila, aged 61, for his sharp and recognisable caricatures of top politicians as well as for his pithy texts.
”I feel as if I had just come out of the closet”, Huovila says, adding: ”Comic strips are my only real passion”.
Markku Huovila moved to Sweden in 1976, where he did odd jobs until he ended up teaching Finnish to Swedish-Finnish immigrants. During the lessons he used to draw pictures that his pupils found good, and they urged him to continue drawing cartoons.
Since then his comic strips have been published in print media of various kinds, for example in the Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter, the Finnish business newspaper Kauppalehti, in the Finnish late-edition tabloid Ilta-Sanomat, and in many others.
The humorous illustrator says that his style could be called sötsurrealism. The Swedish word is a pun, joining together the Swedish words söt and sur, in English ”sweet” and ”sour”.
”A comic strip has to contain both elements”, says Huovila.
The second prize of EUR 5,000 went to Tuomo Kostet and the third prize of EUR 3,000 was given to Tuomo Mänttäri.
Janne Virkkunen, the chairman of the jury and Senior Editor-in-Chief of Helsingin Sanomat, commented that while the competition represented varying standards of quality, many promising artists could be found among the 20 best competitors.
For decades, the legendary Finnish cartoonist Kari Suomalainen overshadowed all other comic creators, and Virkkunen was pleased to note that no ”Kari copies” were among the top cartoons this time.
Another member of the jury, cartoonist Johanna Rojola, agreed, saying that the participants in this competition represented a number of various styles - "French, English, American, a bit of all sorts”.
The works of the best 20 cartoonists will be on show at the Päivälehti Museum (address: Ludviginkatu 2-4, Helsinki) from Tuesdays through Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from September 20th onwards.