Sarjakuvakeskus // Comics center

This week, we would like to highlight a very special and unique Helsinki venue: Sarjakuvakeskus Comics Center. It's all the more interesting to us, as co-founder Hannah is currently preparing her own comics.In 2008, the Finnish Comics Society (Suomen sarjakuvaseura), Kutikuti comics collective and Pitkämies comics shop decided to join forces and create Sarjakuvakeskus in Kallio, Helsinki. Since then, Sarjakuvakeskus has moved, many things have changed and currently they reside here in Arabianranta. Sarjakuvakeskus is the place to go to when looking for foreign or Finnish comics. They also sell special comics which are not always available elsewhere – such as foreign translations of Finnish artists. They have a huge selection from Mangas to children's comicbooks, as well as a very interesting selection of more experimental and alternative comics to chose from. Furthermore, you can just chill, drink coffee or participate in their weekly workshops. The place is very warm and cozy. Sarjakuvakeskus is quite different from your average comic and magazine store, where you just browse and buy. Here, you can also talk with the welcoming staff, and just take your time to hang out. It's more like an open cultural center than a store per se, and teaching is always at the core of their activity.

The center takes into account customer feedback and ideas. For instance, they've even created courses based on customer requests. The center has also developed comics teaching methods. 
=> Interesting fact : On top of their courses and adult and kid workshops, Sarjakuvakeskus also uses comics as a way to work with special groups, e.g. senior citizens, prisoners, disabled people. 

The Finnish Comics Society has offices at Sarjakuvakeskus and the center publishes Sarjainfo magazine, runs an international residency programme and other international networking projects, as well as organizes in September Helsinki Comics Festival.

=> One of Sarjakuvakeskus top picks of the moment: check out Hanneriina Moisseinen's works. The center also recommends looking into Finnish comics blogs. Make sure to check out Sarjakuvakeskus' :
A special nod to funny newspaper strips, which are quite a big thing in Finland right now.

=> A little bit of history: 
The Finnish Comics Society started in 1971. At first, it dealt more widely about popular culture but soon focused solely on comics. Sarjainfo magazine was started in 1972 and Helsinki Comics Festival in 1979. 
The point was - and still is - to promote comics culture in all sorts of ways. And, Finnish comics has since then flourished!

Finland is known for having many unique artists with highly visual and experimental styles. For such a small country, the scene in quite big and diverse. Not many people are in it for the money, which explains the seeming lack of conformity and commercial compromises. 

There is no strong comics history such as there is in France (and Belgium), the US or Japan for instance. So the genres and formats are quite free here. That's another reason for Finland's experimental styles. It is also crucial that the industry gets some public funding for arts.

=> Make sure to check out this week Ville Pirinen exhibition! On top of more known things, such as Ornette Birks Makkonen, it features many less known works from Ville Pirinen's past. Also illustrations, album covers et. most of the works here are for sale, at very reasonable prices.They also have Pirinen's original works for sale at the shop, among other artists' works. 
Ville tells about his works here: and in the next Sarjainfo magazine there will be long interview of him.

What to look forward to in the future? At some point the center will move to yet another, still unknown location. => The biggest event to come is Helsinki Comics Festival, a free event in Central Helsinki on 2–4 September

Suomen sarjakuvaseura // The finnish comics society

Further information:


Hämeentie 150
00560 Helsinki
Phone: 09-6856100
Opening hours:
Mon-Fri 10am - 6pm
Sat 12am - 4pm
From the centre of Helsinki, take bus 68, 71 or 74 or tram 6 or 8.


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