Comics and large concrete subterranean rooms: ah sweet sweet nostalgia. Of course, few of those involved in the exhibits adorning the walls at the Lobster or Fame Gallery below the Laugavegur Bonus grocery store remember living on a base during WWII or hanging out in a shelter during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but these historical events formed the backdrop for the Gold and Silver Age of Superhero Comics.
As you descend into the bomb shelter that is Lobster or Fame, and check out the surprisingly dark humour and less than romantic subject matter, you may ask yourself, aren’t comics supposed to be fun and light, like that fourth Batman movie? Well… no. For your information, Superman wasn’t created by rosy-cheeked sci fi geeks, but scared Jewish kids in Ohio watching America, Europe and the world prepare for World War II. Comics are dark stuff, and they should be read viewed in an accordingly damp room. Thank god for Lobster or Fame, which, when it doesn’t house this exhibit, houses an homage to Icelandic rock—the bomb shelter feel there can be seen as a nod to the Cavern, where the Beatles first played and invented the type of rock that would come here, and to the rough and tumble world of Iceland in the 1990s… before cell phones.
Among the works considered essential-viewing by those in the know: full-canvas originals from Hallgrímur Helgason’s Grim comic series; the works of Icelandic comic originators Ólafur Engilbertsson, Jóhann Torfason and Bjarni Hinriksson.
With the help of JPV publishers, the Reykjavík Grapevine will also give away comic books of its own custom-made superhero, The Puffinaire, in a handsome edition which includes two bonus pages from regularly featured Grapevine cartoonist Hugleikur, and a two-page program guide to the Comics in a Bomb Shelter exhibit.