GayIceland presents: An extremely offensive, gay cartoon character

Comedian Jonathan Duffy and illustrator Einar Másson have created a comic strip called Angry Bears which will be featured weekly on GayIceland – starting tomorrow. The humor is dark and Einar is a bit nervous the two-some will offend readers. Jonathan says the protagonist is the voice of reason, raising a series of uncomfortable questions.

The idea behind Angry Bear comes from comedian Jono Duffy and the main character has been with him since 2011.
The idea behind Angry Bear comes from comedian Jono Duffy and the main character has been with him since 2011.

“Bruce lives in Gaykjavik with his partner Spencer. They run a steak house together and have been together a long time. Bruce has some blunt opinions of people and the world and would probably be viewed by some as a bit un PC,” says comedian Jonathan Duffy, or Jono as he is often referred to as, about the comic strip’s main character, Bruce.

Jono teamed up with illustrator Einar Másson to create the comic strip which is called Angry Bear for GayIceland.

The idea behind Angry Bear comes from Jono and the main character has been with him since 2011. “I was touring with my documentary “The doctor’s wife”. It was showing in the gay film festivals and for some reason it was always screened just before “BearCity”,” says Jono, referring to the 2010 American gay-themed comedy-drama film directed by Doug Langway.

“There were two versions of my film, a longer one and a shorter one. The festivals would sometimes mess up the advertising and would screen the long one but advertise the times of the short one. This meant that on a number of occasions I got to meet a lot of Angry Bears outside the cinema. I was quite twinky at the time and didn’t really know what to make of it. Then I came up with this idea of an angry bear who has a basket of twinks he throws at people when he’s enraged. It sat in the back of my mind for years. I was often trying to think of a way to do something with it. I had used the character in my stand up before and it worked well but I knew there was something more I could do,” he adds.

“I do feel nervous about some of the jokes we’re planning to tell in the comic. I do however see Bruce the Angry Bear as an opportunity to touch on taboo subjects in a constructive, entertaining way.”

The idea of making Bruce into a comic strip called Angry Bear wasn’t born until this year. “Earlier this year I spoke at TedX Reykjavik. After my talk, my friend and podcast partner Hulli (comedian Hugleikur Dagsson) joked to me that my life is like a comic book. I then told him about the idea I actually had for a comic book and introduced him to Bruce. He loved it and said: “You have to make this happen.” It just so happened that there was a very talented illustrator there at the

Jono teamed up with illustrator Einar Másson to bring Bruce, Spencer and Gaykjavik to life.
Jono teamed up with illustrator Einar Másson to bring Bruce, Spencer and Gaykjavik to life.

event. Einar Másson was drawing all of the speakers and I just loved his work. We got to chatting over lunch and I asked if he would be interested in collaborating. When we met, I started describing the characters to him and he drew them straight away. He showed them to me and it was like he had ripped Bruce out of the dark room in my mind he’s been sitting in since 2011,” says Jono.

Was illustrator Einar as eager to work with Jono? “Honestly, I was a little hesitant about collaborating with Jonathan,” says Einar with a grin. “As a straight, white guy, I have a very limited view into the LGBTQ-community in Reykjavík, and I didn’t think it was my place to take part in poking fun at it. That said, Jono likes my art, and I trust Jono. I think he’s funny, insightful, and he has some thoughtful, interesting things to say about LGBTQ life in Reykjavík. If I can use my art to help a fellow artist get his message across, then I must be doing something right, right,” says Einar. But he has some ulterior motives.

“I also see this as an opportunity to broaden my own horizon, to learn about a culture that’s been very close to me all my life, but that I’ve never gotten to know. At the risk of sounding sappy, I want to be a good ally and I figure this is one way I can do that. Also, I’m just doing this so I can get closer to Hugleikur Dagsson, who has basically been my hero since I was seventeen. Don’t tell Jono,” he says and laughs.

Gaykjavik is real but not real

A lot in Angry Bear is reminiscent of Iceland. Will there be a lot of references to Icelandic reality? “The setting of Gaykjavik is a bit like a parallel universe of Reykjavík. When we started thinking about the setting, Einar and I decided we wanted to sort of create a city that was real but also not real. Somewhere you could go to but the building you’re looking for isn’t exactly the same. A bit like that whole hidden people thing. Of course there are other definite inspirations that have come directly from the city I now call home. The gay bar is called Cheeky’s, the steak house that the couple run is next door to a vegetarian restaurant, which is on the corner, near the gay bar,” says Jono who has big dreams for Gaykjavik.

“Eventually we would love to have an entire map of Gaykjavik. One that can just be laid on top of the actual city of Reykjavík and you can see the inspirations for some of the places. We also would like to take inspiration from some of the people we all know and love,” he adds.

„Bruce represents a generation of gay men who at times feel forgotten about. Now, that a lot of those rights have been achieved, he's not really quite sure how to grasp the current zeitgeist.“
„Bruce represents a generation of gay men who at times feel forgotten about. Now, that a lot of those rights have been achieved, he’s not really quite sure how to grasp the current zeitgeist.“

Which leads me to wonder about the protagonist, Bruce. What sort of a person is Bruce? “To me, Bruce is a very unreasonable person: He attacks vegans and hipsters for superficial reasons, he kidnaps twinks to throw them at people, he’s divisive and rude and he has no filter. And that’s okay, because he’s a silly cartoon character. He has foils like Spencer to help point out how unreasonable he is, while at the same time he prompts discussion about topics that we are all too embarrassed to talk about,” says Einar and stresses the importance of a character like Bruce in modern society.

“Bruce is a very unreasonable person: He attacks vegans and hipsters for superficial reasons, he kidnaps twinks to throw them at people, he’s divisive and rude and he has no filter.”

“I think it’s important that Bruce can say things that are offensive so we can talk about why they are offensive, but also to find the kernel of truth to what he’s trying to express. I’d like to explore why Bruce is the Angry Bear that he is. I don’t just want to do broad stereotypes – all gay men are catty and sassy, twinks are obsessed with their waist-line, lesbians are surly and pushy, etc. I want to illustrate these characters as real people. My hope is that our readers will stick with us long enough that we can do that.”

Jono steps in and says Bruce reflects certain aspects of the gay community. “Bruce is also reflective of something I’ve noticed in the gay community, not just in Iceland but all over the world. He represents a generation of gay men who at times feel forgotten about. Older men who were fighters for rights, but now, that a lot of those rights have been achieved, he’s not really quite sure how to grasp the current zeitgeist,” says Jono and goes on to talk about the BDSM controversy that recently arose in Iceland. A controversy that has been widely covered by the Icelandic media.

Bruce and boyfriend Spencer.
The couple run a steak house together.

“I saw this happen in Iceland when the BDSM group wanted to join the national queer organization of Iceland. I was surprised nobody asked for my opinion at the time but also relieved. Honestly I could actually see both sides of the argument. I remember hearing from a lot of the younger queer people about how backwards they thought those opposed were, but I would also explain to them that their opinion was probably based on their own life experience. I can get a bit like that at times with Icelandic gays.

Iceland in comparison to Australia has been very privileged for quite some time when it comes to gay rights. I’m 31 and haven’t met anyone around my age who has really been through the same things as me. I’ve been beaten up, threatened, lost jobs and friends, all for being gay, and that stuff was just in my teens and early 20’s. The people in Iceland who tend to know what that’s like are usually older than me.

Bruce has had to struggle to get where he is, as has all of the characters. The struggle he has been through gives him the right to make fun of things. Without the ability to laugh at ourselves and our friends, I think we would all be dull and depressed.”

“We are all as shit as each other”

The humor in Angry Bears is undeniably dark. Aren’t Jono and Einar afraid that they will offend the readers of GayIceland? “The humour is dark? I thought Hulli was the dark one,” says Jono and laughs.  “I know I have very dark humor, but then again that’s sort of what Iceland has become known for recently when it comes to comedy.

In some ways when I look at Bruce I feel like I’m looking at my own future. I’m pretty much a bear right now, I’m cynic, I seem to only attract the attention of tall skinny guys. It’s like looking into a mirror in a way. I do realize it’s a risk creating a character who is so opinionated when I’m the only gay comedian in the entire country. I understand that somebody might not like what I have to say through him, but to me it’s no different than what I do on stage,” he says.

“I’d like to explore why Bruce is the Angry Bear that he is. I don’t just want to do broad stereotypes … I want to illustrate these characters as real people. My hope is that our readers will stick with us long enough that we can do that.”

Bruce has foils like Spencer, his boyfriend, to help point out how unreasonable he is.
Bruce has a boyfriend called Spencer.

Einar on the other hand is a bit frightened of what people think. “I do feel nervous about some of the jokes we’re planning to tell in the comic. I do however see Bruce the Angry Bear as an opportunity to touch on taboo subjects in a constructive, entertaining way,” he says and Jono adds that Bruce is a sort of voice of reason.

“We are living in particularly interesting times when it comes to people’s rights and there’s no way I’m making fun of that, that’s serious stuff we all need to listen to and be aware of. Sometimes in our personal lives outside of the fight for everything we’re fighting for, we forget to laugh at ourselves. We forget that we are literally bags of meat on a rock hurtling through space around a giant exploding star. No one person is better than anyone and we are all as shit as each other.

Yes I’ve made fun of twinks, but I used to be one. I am making fun of a bear, but I am one, and vegans… well they know it’s coming. I have been a comedian for 12 years. Over that time I feel I have fine tuned the ability to make fun of someone without offending them. If someone is truly offended by one of the jokes in this strip my question to them would be, why don’t you lighten up for five minutes?”

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

        Your Name (required)

        Your Email (required)

        Subject

        Your Message

        Ísey skyr
        - once tasted never forgotten

        Our Story
        Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

        For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

        Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
        This is our secret and you are in on it

        You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

        Núðluskálin
        - noodle bar

        Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

        All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
        We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
        Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

        Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

        Seatours
        - adventure cruise

        Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
        and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

        The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

        600x400-seatours-tasting

        This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

        600x400-seatours

        The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

        Birds, possible to spot:
        -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
        -eider ducks
        -shags
        -kittiwakes
        -fulmars
        -white-tailed eagle

        The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
        Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

        Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

        Contact Us


        PGlmcmFtZSBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3Lmdvb2dsZS5jb20vbWFwcy9lbWJlZD9wYj0hMW0xNCExbTEyITFtMyExZDI3ODQyLjM0NzA2NDA3OTU4ITJkLTIxLjkwMDg1MDg1NzkxODQyITNkNjQuMTQxNzA3ODE2NzAyMDEhMm0zITFmMCEyZjAhM2YwITNtMiExaTEwMjQhMmk3NjghNGYxMy4xITVlMCEzbTIhMXNlbiEycyE0djE0MzMzMzc5MTUyMjYiIHdpZHRoPSIxMDAlIiBoZWlnaHQ9IjEwMCUiIGZyYW1lYm9yZGVyPSIwIiBzdHlsZT0iYm9yZGVyOjAiPjwvaWZyYW1lPg==
        Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.