About Frank Madsen

Frank with his cat “Sortemis” in 2015. Photo: Sussi Bech.

 

FRANK MADSEN (Frank Bruun Madsen) was born in 1962 in Kalundborg. He graduated  from high school in 1981 (math/social studies at Kalundborg Gymnasium) and completed his military service in the Royal Danish Life Guard in 1982. Subsequently, he became a self-employed comic book creator and illustrator from 1983, operating from his studio in Copenhagen (Tegnestuen Gimle, 1983-2010) and later from his home in Birkerød 20 km north of Copenhagen (since 2010).

 

He is particularly known for his comic series such as Jim Spaceborn, Kurt Dunder, Eks Libris, and Københavnermysteriet, as well as the children’s books series Snus Mus (Sniff Mouse) and Gustav og Raketbroderskabet (Gustav and the Rocket Brotherhood).

 

Frank Madsen has received the Hanne Hansen Prize for his contributions to the field of comics and has been nominated for the Claus Deleuran Prize four times. His works have been translated into several languages, including Swedish, Finnish, Dutch, English, German, Spanish, and Tamil.

 

His first published comic was a monthly feature about “Uffe Ulv” (Uffe the Wolf) in Avisen Kalundborg in 1980, inspired by, among others, the Donald Duck cartoonist Carl Barks.

 

In 1982, he became a member of Tegnestuen Gimle, where he collaborated with Per Vadmand, Niels Roland, and a dozen other Danish comic artists for many years. Another artist at the studio was Sussi Bech, whom Frank married. They now share a studio in their home in Birkerød and also run the publishing house Forlaget Eudor.

 

Jim Spaceborn

 

Frank’s first professional assignment was a 13-page comics story featuring Woody Woodpecker (Søren Spætte in Danish), which he both wrote and illustrated for the Swedish publisher Semic. The connection was facilitated by Freddy Milton. It was printed in Danish in the monthly magazine Søren Spætte #2/1985.

 

Around the same time, Frank Madsen took over the comic strip Hans og Grete after Helge Hall’s death in 1983 and produced the daily strip until 1986 when his full attention was required for another comic series, Jim Spaceborn, for LEGO.

 

The collaboration with LEGO began in 1984 when LEGO sought to expand its universe with comics, children’s books, and activity books. Frank Madsen wrote and illustrated a total of 3 albums, each with 46 pages, and 3 mini-albums with 24 pages, which were published by various publishers in 6 countries (Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Holland, and England).

 

When the first volume was released in Danish, it received positive reviews in the Danmarks Radio P1 radio program “Dine børns bøger”, in which the producers reenacted 5 pages from the story as a radio play. The series came to an end when LEGO discontinued all its publishing activities in 1987.

 

  • Volume 1: The Secret of the Galaxy (1986)
  • Volume 2: Castle of the Shadow Men (1987)
  • Volume 3: Panic on Board (not released)

 

External link: “Out of this World” – Interview with Frank Madsen (in English) in Brick Journal #2, 2008.

 

Simultaneously with these assignments, Frank Madsen published the comic booklet “Stegte striber,” to which he contributed, edited, and released three issues in 1984-85.

 

Kurt Dunder

 

In 1988, Frank Madsen began working on the Kurt Dunder series, whose first installment, “Kurt Dunder in Africa,” was published as a monthly serial in the HK Magazine. The story was released as a comic album by Carlsen Publishing in 1991, and in 1994, “Kurt Dunder in Greenland” followed, serialized as a daily comic in the newspaper B.T.

 

Comic historian Anders Hjorth-Jørgensen wrote in his comic book encyclopedia from 1997: “The comic is an example of high-quality entertainment, well-told, logical, and coherent stories that can be enjoyed by both children and adults. There are too few of such comics in the 90s!”

 

In 1996, Frank Madsen started the third book about Kurt Dunder, “Kurt Dunder in Tyrol,” serialized in the FDF Scouts’ magazine GLIMT and released as an album in the early 2000s.

 

In 1996, Kurt Dunder became the first Danish comic character to have his his own website on the internet, designed like his living room and filled with activities. Among other things, visitors could navigate around as Kurt Dunder in Kinshasa, the capital of Zaire, taken from a computer game project that the company Mediamix was working on in 1995.

 

In 2002-03, Frank Madsen, along with Paw Mathiasen, released the comic magazine “Kurt Dunder & Company,” for which Frank wrote and illustrated the story “Kurt Dunder and the Nanobots.”

 

In September 2008, the company Catooz launched “Kurt Dunder in Africa” as a comic on cell phones. Frank Madsen himself handled the adaptation of the album into 10 episodes on the mobile platform.

 

That same year, Frank Madsen’s own publishing house, Eudor Comics, released two publications with Kurt Dunder: the hardcover album “The Apocryphal Writings,” containing a series of unfinished and unknown stories with Kurt Dunder, and “Kurt Dunder and the Nazi Gold,” a 24-page Kurt Dunder story that Frank wrote and illustrated during the Series Journal’s 24-hour comic marathon in October.

 

In 2015, the album “Kurt Dunder’s Short Exploits” was published, containing the short stories “Kurt Dunder & The Moonstruck Mummy”, “Call me Ishmadunder!” and “Kurt Dunder and the Nazi Gold” in a colored edition.

 

  • Kurt Dunder i Afrika, Carlsen 1991
  • Kurt Dunder på Grønland, Carlsen 1994
  • Kurt Dunder i Tyrol, Carlsen 2000
  • Kurt Dunder: Den månesyge mumie, Eudor 2015

 

In 2023, an agreement was reached with the Indian publisher Lion Comics for the release of “Kurt Dunder in Africa” in the Tamil language.

 

 

Eks Libris

 

In October 2010, Frank Madsen officially became the idea man and scriptwriter on the weekly newspaper comic “Eks Libris,” illustrated by Sussi Bech.

 

Since the fall of 2009, the series had been featured in Weekendavisen. The comic strips were compiled annually into books published by Forlaget Eudor. A total of 10 books have been released in the series.

 

“Eks Libris” features a set of recurring characters that, according to the creators, closely reflect the Danish literary environment:

 

  • Finn Sysholm, a second-tier author who every year feels himself ignored by the Nobel Prize Committee, when the Novel Literature Prize is awarded. He is supported by his patient wife, Krista Sysholm.
  • Sune Lynder, a young aspiring poet who still eats at his parents’ house several times a week and has two sisters with a strong shopping gene and proper jobs.
  • Two well-endowed librarians with hair buns. The smaller one, Bolette, longs to meet a well-read boyfriend with glasses, but her colleague believes they only exist in fairy tales.
  • Two bookstore employees, the boss, and his assistant Palle. The latter gets married and moves in with Bolette, after which she organizes their shared book collection (and the kitchen’s cutlery drawer) according to the DK5 library classification system.
  • Editor Lise (the eternal optimist) and Annika (the eternal realist), along with their choleric, ever-budget-cutting boss A. Grønært (Greenpea), all employed at the Buch Binders publishing house.
  • Biker Bjarne, a has-been biker, and his domineering wife Mrs. Biker Bjarne, and their common son Biker Bjarne Jr.
  • Kitty with the Big Balls, a feline fictional childrens picture book character created by Biker Bjarne.
  • Jonna Twinger, a short-haired advocate for the purification of offensive literature.
  • Zenia Nyker, a hibernating literary femme fatale who lives in the small rural town Høve.
  • Ande Pande, a young writing school student nervous about what men might come up with.
  • Additionally, real-world cultural figures appear as needed: Ib Michael, Klaus Rifbjerg, Yahya Hassan, ministers of culture Per Stig Møller, Marianne Jelved, and Bertel Haarder, Jussi Adler Olsen, Donald Trump, PM Mette Frederiksen, and many others.

 

Finn Sysholm and several of his colleagues also enjoy discussing world affairs at Babu Bar, a pub located diagonally across from the Buch Binders publishing house.

 

The series concluded in February 2020 and has been nominated for the Claus Deleuran Prize in the category “Denmark’s Best Comic”. Frank has been nominated for the Claus Deleuran Prize four times in the category “Denmark’s Best Comic Writer”.

 

 

The Copenhagen Mystery

 

In April 2023, “The Copenhagen Mystery” (in Danish: Københavnermysteriet) was released, “a comic thriller set in the museums and attractions of Copenhagen at nighttime. The story introduces the main characters – and the reader – to 2,500 years of physics history and unravels the interconnectedness of natural forces, possibly stemming from the same primal force.”

 

Frank Madsen wrote the script and created layouts, while Sussi Bech provided the illustrations, and Jens Olaf Pepke Pedersen contributed conceptual ideas and served as the scientific advisor for the project.

 

In “The Copenhagen Mystery,” we follow four high school students – Thomas, Thorbjørn, Beck, and Astrid – who have formed a secret society with the ignoble purpose of avoiding physics lessons as much as possible. They have sworn never to open a physics book or submit a physics assignment they have written themselves. However, they each receive an anonymous letter inviting them to evening meetings at locations such as the Glyptotek, the Cisterns in Frederiksberg Gardens, the Round Tower, and the reading room of the Royal Library. To their surprise, they are tricked into attending lectures and exhibitions on topics from the fascinating history of physics. “P,” the mysterious organizer, manages to escape every time, prompting them to work together to uncover his (or hers) identity. The clues eventually lead them to the Niels Bohr Institute, where, in the middle of the night, they chase “P” through the dark corridors, luring them deeper into the mystery.

 

The creation of the comic was financially supported by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

 

Other comics

 

Additionally, Frank Madsen has also created educational comics for Gyldendal, Donald Duck scripts for Egmont, comics for the insurance company Codan, the clothing’s company Jack & Jones, and the monthly mag Vi Unge, as well as various other commercial illustration tasks. Examples can be seen here.

 

Bibliograpy (comics)

 

  • Jim Spaceborn 1: Den ukendte galakse, LEGO Publishing 1986
  • Jim Spaceborn 2: Mørkemændenes borg (not published in English) 1987
  • Kurt Dunder i Afrika, Carlsen 1991
  • Kurt Dunder på Grønland, Carlsen 1994
  • Kurt Dunder i Tyrol, Carlsen 2000
  • Eks Libris 1: Problemer med Carsten Jensen-robotten i Zone 7!, Eudor 2012
  • Eks Libris 3: Jyderne er mægtig flinke … men stille!, Eudor 2013
  • Eks Libris 4: Lotte går i parterapi!, Eudor 2014
  • Kurt Dunder: Den månesyge mumie, Eudor 2015
  • Eks Libris 5: Zenia Nyker genopfinder kulturrrradikalismen, Eudor 2015
  • Eks Libris 6: Finn Sysholm går i sort!, Eudor 2016
  • Eks Libris 7: Bob Dylan svarer ikke!, Eudor 2017
  • Eks Libris 8: Dr. Lidegaard og Mr. Hyde, Eudor 2018
  • Eks Libris 9: Hætten i hytten kan Halfdan få!, Eudor 2019
  • Eks Libris 10: Finn Sysholm sejrer!, Eudor 2020
  • Københavnermysteriet – Jagten på naturens enhed, Eudor 2023

 

Has also contributed to these comic books and comics anthologies:

 

  • Stegte Striber 1, Eudor 1984
  • Stegte Striber 2, Eudor 1985
  • Stegte Striber 3, Balder & Brage 1985
  • Kulørte Sider 2, Interpresse 1986
  • Lystige Skrifter, several issues
  • Gale Streger 1 og 6, Ultima, 1992-93

 

Bibliography (books for children)

 

Since 2009, Frank has written a number of picture books and children’s books, which he himself or Sussi Bech has illustrated:

 

  • Søren tror ikke på bøhmænd, Carlsen 2009
  • Bamse fuld af ord, DR 2009
  • Hvor er Kaj?, DR 2009
  • Cirkus Summarum opgavebog, DR 2010
  • Bamses Suttebog, Carlsen 2010
  • Snus Mus, Alvilda 2011
  • Mus og Konger på Kronborg, Alvilda 2013
  • Snus Mus: Månetyven, Forlaget Bolden 2013
  • Snus Mus: Larven, der blev væk, Forlaget Bolden 2013
  • Mis med de store kugler, Eudor 2013
  • Mis med de store julekugler, Eudor 2014
  • Gustav og Raketbroderskabet 1: Den grønne pige, Eudor 2014
  • Gustav og Raketbroderskabet 2: Fluen, Eudor 2014
  • Gustav og Raketbroderskabet 3: Robotter, Eudor 2015
  • Gustav og Raketbroderskabet 4: Beriah, Eudor 2015
  • Gustav og Raketbroderskabet 5: Plan B, Eudor 2016
  • Gustav og Raketbroderskabet 6: Xenia, Eudor 2016
  • Gustav og Raketbroderskabet 7: Tvekamp, Eudor 2017
  • Gustav og Raketbroderskabet 8: Klapjagt, Eudor 2018
  • Alf vil ha’ et kæledyr NU!, Eudor 2019
  • Snus Mus: Snemands-mysteriet, Eudor 2020
  • Snus Mus: Den betroede ost, Eudor 2020
  • Sussi og de ufornuftige sko, Eudor 2021
  • Koblingerne 1: Blade på skinnerne, Eudor 2022
  • Koblingerne 2: Den sorte røg, Eudor 2023

 

Storyboards and movie work

 

In the 1980s and 1990s, Frank Madsen also worked on storyboards for TV commercials and animated films, including TV commercials for In-Wear and Matinique in the 80s (with Helge Steen-Knudsen and Mikael Salomon), LEGO from 1993-96 (Advance), Volkswagen, the National Board of Health (BBDO), the Greenlandic Home Rule, and others. In 1998, he contributed to the storyboard for the animated film ‘Help! I’m a Fish!’ by A-Film, and in 1999-2000, Frank Madsen worked as a storyboard artist on ITE/Sandrew/Metronome’s animated film project about ‘Skærmtrolden Hugo’ (Hugo the TV Troll), directed by Jørgen Klubien. With Danish Disney artist Flemming Andersen, he has also produced animated films for the Ministry of the Environment/Wood Industry and other clients.

 

Danske Tegneserieskabere

 

In 1988, Frank Madsen initiated the Danish Comics Creators association (Danske Tegneserieskabere), a professional industry organization that has since grown to 115 members. The association represents the interests of cartoonists to the Ministry of Culture, holding seats in entities like VISDA and the Copyright Council (Samrådet for Ophavsret). Danske Tegneserieskabere has its own website and presence on Facebook.

 

In 2019, at the initiative of Frank Madsen, the association established a Foreign Rights portal, which, along with participation in events like the Angoulême Festival, aims to promote the publication of Danish comics internationally.

 

Seriejournalen

 

From 1988 to 1990 Frank Madsen edited and published the member’s magazine of Danske Tegneserieskabere ‘Serieskaberen’. In 1990 the magazine merged with the fanzine ‘Fat Comic’ to become the quarterly journal ‘Seriejournalen.’ 22 issues were published, with a peak circulation of 1,200 copies. The last issue was released in December 1995, but by then, Seriejournalen had already started as a website, making it one of the oldest websites in Denmark focused on comics. In 2011, Frank handed over Seriejournalen to others, and today, Seriejournalen’s forum is part of the site Serieland.

 

Eudor publishing house

 

Since 2012, Frank Madsen, along with Sussi Bech, has operated Forlaget Eudor, a publishing house that releases comics, picture books, and children’s books. The annual output consists of 5-10 print titles and approximately 25 e-book titles. Forlaget Eudor is a member of the industry organization Danske Forlag (Danish Publishers Association). Frank Madsen has been using the Eudor name for his own publications since 1979, including works such as DAFI-nyt, Stegte Striber, Kurt Dunder & Kompagni, and others.

 

Awards

 

Frank was awarded the Hanne Hansen Prize in 2017. Nominated for the Claus Deleuran Prize in the category ‘Denmark’s Best Comic Writer’ in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2021, and in the category ‘Denmark’s Best Comic’ in 2018 (for Eks Libris).

 

Exhibitions

 

Frank has participated in 14 comics exhibitions in eight countries:

 

  • Huset i Magstræde, Copenhagen (1980)
  • Galleri Asbæk, Copenhagen (1989)
  • Italy (XII Convegno Internationale del Fumetto in Prato 1989)
  • Finland (Helsinki, 1990)
  • Sweden (Gothenburg, 1990)
  • Dansk Forfatterforening, Copenhagen (1990)
  • Portugal (Lisboa, 1991)
  • Poland (Poznán, 2002)
  • Gaudi-Galleriet, Jystrup (2002)
  • Komiks.dk, Frederiksberg (2004)
  • Palæfløjen, Roskilde (2009)
  • Germany (Comicfestival Munich, 2017)
  • AROS, Aarhus (2022 and 2023)
  • Belgium (The Comics Museum of Brussels – Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée, 2023/24).

 

Links