READERSVOICE.COM: Where did you grow up and where do you live now and what is your daily routine?
ELIAS ERICSON: I grew up in Stockholm, moved to Gothenburg after highschool for a year and then ended up in Malmö studying at Serieskolan. I go there every day and try to write and draw as much as I can. I’m planning to move back to Gothenburg after the course is over.
RV: In your comics you’ve mentioned a couple of books like The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio. And in your comic Good Things in Elias’ Life you mention how you sometimes loved not-so-famous books. I was wondering if you could give a list of some really good books you’ve come across over the years, fiction or non-fiction, comics or not.
EE: The Engelsfors trilogy (The Circle is the first book) is great! [The first two novels in this young adult fantasy trilogy have been published in English.The Circle is a Swedish book by Sara Bergmark Elfgren and Mats Strandberg] One of the authors, Sara Elfgren, is my mentor helping me out with Espaced and a book about my characters Diana and Charlie that I’m writing. I generally love reading about miserable and/or queer teens, but also books about queerness and/or mental illnesses in general. I think I like teen lit so much because the feelings you feel as a teen are so intense, and I’m all about intense feelings in art. If I don’t feel anything reading something it simply doesn’t interest me. I don’t like listing specific work as the list never would end… Other than comics I’m also very influenced by Swedish film. Show me love [The title for the English distribution of the 1998 Swedish film]/Fucking Åmål is my all-time favourite. Swedish media tends to be painfully realistic and tragicomic, which is exactly what I like.
RV: Did you become interested in autobiographical comics when you had to do college assignments about your experiences, or were you inspired by autobiographical comics artists and which ones?
EE: I started drawing autobiographical stuff when I discovered Swedish autobiographical comic artists! Åsa Grennvall’s work in general, Coco Moodysson’s Aldrig godnatt and Sara Hansson’s Vi håller på med en viktig grej are great autobiographical comics that influenced me when I discovered them at 16. Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis is also great. Before I was 16 I exclusively made fictional stories. I didn’t even consider the possibility to make comics about myself.
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– copyright Simon Sandall.