A de luxe edition of the comic strip Bruce the angry bear has been published. We spoke to the brains behind the book, Einar Valur Másson (34) and Jonathan H.Duffy, Jono (33) about the good reception it has gotten and possible new projects.

The cover of the new book.

Tell us about the new book? “Bruce the Angry Bear, vol. 1: Welcome to Gaykjavík, is a collection of the first year of Bruce-strips,” says Einar and Jono adds: “From the very first one which came out in January 2017 up to Christmas and New Year’s. There’s a foreword from my friend Hulli, i.e. comic creator Hugleikur Dagsson, who was one of the people who encouraged me to try to make this happen and a lot of bonus content.”

Einar nods: “Probably the biggest addition is the neighborhood map. It’s based off downtown Reykjavík, so Bruce fans can go on a “tour” of Gaykjavík by visiting noted spots and comparing them to locations in the comic. The map is exclusive to the book for the time being as a sort of incentive to those who would like to buy it.”

Why a book? Was that always the plan?
“I don’t know that printing a book was ever part of the plan, but then we didn’t have much of a plan beyond “let’s make neat stuff and maybe people will pay us to make neat stuff for them”,” Einar says laughing.

“We had quite a few people ask us about 6 months in if we would put it in print form so they could hold it and read it in more of an old school way,” says Jono. “Also we love that the internet format has meant that we are able to get an audience without landing a massive publishing deal, but we love that in the book format you can follow the story really easily from start to finish. And yes, being able to get paid for something you’re proud of always helps.”

Illustrator Einar V. Másson.

Was the book long time in the making?
“That depends on how you measure these things,” says Einar. “We’ve worked on Bruce strips nonstop for almost two years now. In addition, I had to create a cover for the front and back, I had to create the map, do a new illustration for the forward section, and of course had to lay an entire year’s worth of my work out for the print format.” The last sentence he says smiling. “Well, I say I had to. Of course, we didn’t HAVE to include the map. I could probably have dusted off some old artwork and used that for the forward and covers. But I wanted to make sure people got something new and nice along with the old strips.”

Jono: “The process of actually getting the book together was hands down, more work for Einar. But we were very lucky that he has done it before with other works so he already knew what we would have to do. I’m so new to the whole comic genre even after 2 years so it’s great to have my work partner be someone who is already very knowledgeable about how it all works.”

Einar: “Aw, shucks! I don’t mind much. Bruce is a labor of love for me.”

The difference between bears and twinks

When asked where and when they met and how the idea behind Bruce the angry bear actually came to life Jono says that when he spoke at Tedx Reykjavik that’s when he met Einar for the first time.

Comedian Jonoathan Duffy.

“It was a crazy time of life for me because I had just come back from being the creative director for Iceland’s entry to Eurovision. I was very nervous that day because my talk was actually dealing with some very dark elements and people were only used to me being a comedian. Einar was there as a volunteer and was drawing all the speakers. I remember that when I had spoken I was having lunch with Hulli and Einar and speaking to them about comics and asking them lots of questions. Then I mentioned the idea I had for Bruce which I had actually been working on since 2011 but never really knew how to make it happen. Hulli said that it sounds hilarious, I needed to make it happen and I asked Einar if he would be interested in chatting about it.”

Einar smiles: “Jono is incredibly good at introducing himself to new people and suggested to me that we should meet up, discuss ideas and see how we get along.”

Later the two met at a coffee-shop at Kringlan, where Jono told Einar about the difference between bears and twinks, not being sure the illustrator was listening when Einar suddenly showed Jonathan his notebook and said, ‘do you think this is what Bruce looks like?’ “I was stunned,” recalls Jono. “It was like he pulled Bruce directly out of my head. That first image is basically the same one used on Bruce the Angry Bear T-shirts that were made.”

“Ultimately it would be amazing to do an animated series. When we write now each weekly strip is often a smaller part of a 10-strip story arc, so this would translate very easily to video.”

Einar: “The ideas started flowing from both of us. Bruce would work at a steakhouse, he’d have a cute, little boyfriend by the name of Spencer, he’d have conflicts with tourists and fitness-geeks, etc.”

Jono: “From there we came up with 5 small strips and sent them to a few people to see if anyone here would be interested in publishing them. GayIceland snapped it up and were even able to get us a sponsor. And the rest is history.”

You can get in touch with the guys to get a copy.

 Animated series up next?

Going back to the new book, how have people responded to it? “The feedback has been great,” says Jono with a smile. “It’s rewarding to be standing at a stall where people are looking at it and actually hearing them laugh at the jokes. For me as a comedian I sometimes use the jokes I have said on stage in the comic. Just recently I did that at an event and an audience member came to me after and accused me of stealing a joke from the comic book they had bought at pride. I smiled and said, when you go home have a look at one of the names on the front of that book.”

Einar says that people are very enthusiastic about the book and that he and Jono are this month going to the Thought Bubble Comic Festival in Leeds to run a table and see if they can sell some copies of the book. “After that, we’re going to see about getting it into shops here in Reykjavík for the holidays. You’ll also be able to order copies directly from us through BrucetheAngryBear@gmail.com”

Do you see yourselves taking the concept further?
“Sure, there’s always new ground to explore,” says Einar. “Depending on how well this book sells, we’ll probably do another one next year. We’ve already done more strips this year than the previous one, so it’s guaranteed to have a higher page-count. We also brainstormed other merchandise like beer coasters, hats, stickers, posters, etc. We’ll have to see what kind of demand there is for any of this stuff first. Also, if there are any animation studios out there who are ready to give us loads of money to produce a movie or animated series, we’re all ears! (laughs)”

Jono: “Ultimately it would be amazing to do an animated series. When we write now each weekly strip is often a smaller part of a 10-strip story arc, so this would translate very easily to video. I like that we’re both really open to exploring where this goes.

For now I think we are just going to focus on getting Bruce out there more and trying to get some more international attention too. I was at the Bears on Ice event recently and was told that there is a bit of a following for Bruce in Seattle, so maybe that’s a good next stop.”

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

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        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


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