Variations on a Theme: <cite>Order is Always Maintained</cite> These two graphic short stories are available in full in English at the bottom of this page. Go to downloads

This is a volume of 23 graphic short stories with text by Pär Thörn, who is known as an experimental poet and sound artist. Each of the brief stories has been illustrated by a different artist (or, in one case, pair of artists). The book opens with a poem consisting of a series of found statements all beginning with the phrase, ‘Order is maintained’. The lines, taken from a variety of contexts, describe the methods, places and people involved in maintaining various types of order. The effect is by turns humorous, thought-provoking and chilling.

Each story begins with an announcement from beyond the grave: ‘My name is […] and I am dead.’ The narrator then recounts the events that led up to his or her own death. As Pär Thörn explains in his afterword, some of the stories were inspired by real people and events, while others are entirely fictional. Then – spoiler alert! – each story ends with the line, ‘Order is always maintained.’

Many commentators have noted that crime fiction is fundamentally about restoring order: solving the crime resolves the disruption that had occurred in the social fabric. While the stories in this book each have their own plot arcs, the closing line they all share makes it clear that whatever the narrator’s individual fate, the ‘bigger picture’ remains intact. The death of a mafioso perpetuates the tit-for-tat warfare between rival syndicates. When one criminal kingpin dies, another will step in and take over his turf. And those at the top remain at the top.

Two complete stories from the book are featured here in English translation. The first is ‘The Safecracker’, illustrated in nuanced pencil tones and textures by Allan Haverholm – the only Danish artist in the otherwise all-Swedish list of contributors.

The Safecracker

Also included here is ‘The Kaiser of Crime’, illustrated by Jimmy Wallin. Wallin’s figures are defined with sharp black outlines and cel-shaded with areas of grey. Some of the graphic short stories in this volume were drawn and lettered entirely by hand, while others were done with digital tools or a combination of the two.

The Kaiser of Crime


Click on the thumbnail images below to view the two featured stories in English. Apart förlag has a reading sample and video trailer on its site that includes a page from each of the 23 graphic short stories in this book in the original Swedish.

View full version of The Safecracker View full version of The Kaiser of Crime
View full version of The Safecracker (Adobe PDF, 3.2 MB) View full version of The Kaiser of Crime (Adobe PDF, 3.5 MB)

Original title: Ordningen upprätthålls alltid
Apart förlag, 2013
144 pp., paperback

Rights contact: Johan Kimrin, Apart förlag