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Variety on the Upcoming Moomin Animated Feature!

Updated January 7, 2014


"Report: Indie Sales Bows ‘Moomin’ Toon Feature (EXCLUSIVE)"
By Elsa Keslassy
Variety Magazine, Sep 5 2013

"Paris-based Indie Sales has boarded “Moomins on the Riviera,” a toon feature based on the popular Finnish comicbooks.

The comedy adventure feature marks the first bigscreen adaptation of the Moomins, a comicbook franchise was created by Finnish author and illustrator Tove Jansson in the 1940s.

Indie Sales, launched at Cannes by former sales and acquisitions topper Nicolas Eschbach and producer Eric Neve, has nabbed worldwide distribution rights (excluding Scandinavia and France), and is kicking off pre-sales at Toronto.

Nordisk Film will distribute across Scandinavia, while Gebeka will release the film in Gaul.

Toon features the entire Moomin clan as they take off on an adventure on the glamorous Riviera.

A Finnish-Franco co-production, “Moomins” is produced and directed by Hanna Hemila at Handle Productions and Xavier Picard at Pictak.

“Xavier and Hanna have done a superb job in maintaining the timeless humor, tone and pictorial quality of the Moomins in a sophisticated adventure for the whole family,” said Eschbach, adding that the toon will be keeping Jansson’s original creed, “Live in peace, plant potatoes and dream.”

“Moomins” will be delivered in the second quarter of 2014. Rolling off Toronto, it will be presented at the Finnish Film Affair, taking place Sept. 24-26 in Helsinki."
 
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Featured artist

Tove Jansson

          



  My Dirty Dumb Eyes & Moomin featured in NPR's top 5 summer comics

Updated June 25, 2013


The Funny (Touching, Fascinating) Pages: 5 Comics For Summer

NPR, June 18, 2013

My Dirty Dumb Eyes
by Lisa Hanawalt
Hardcover, 1 v. (unpaged)
Then, of course, there's My Dirty Dumb Eyes, by Lisa Hanawalt, which might qualify as a guilty pleasure if it wasn't so smart. Hanawalt is weird and funny, and has given her imagination and subconscious free rein in this collection of vignettes, jokes and contemporary observations, which showcase drawing styles ranging from surreal and cartoony to frighteningly accurate caricature. Hanawalt's mind is a dangerous place that you'll feel lucky to visit through illustrated movie reviews and musings on popular culture that will — among other things — change the way you think about Martha Stewart, celebrity chefs and Anna Wintour forever. What makes her so fun to read is her willingness to champion the sorts of thoughts most of us barely admit to ourselves — ideas about sex, borderline behavior in movie theaters, and an animal hat fixation that results in several pages that will make you laugh even if you're in a public place at the time. Read this book because it's funny, because it's beautiful, and because it will nourish the inner weirdo you've been keeping under wraps for too long.

...

Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip
by Tove Jansson
Hardcover, 95 pages
The last must-read comic I'm going to wing your way isn't even a book — it's a whole series of them (the next one comes out in September). Finnish cartoonist Tove Jansson is as famous as Walt Disney in large swaths of Europe, but in this country she's someone most people haven't heard of. Jansson created the creatures known as Moomins, and while she wrote some memorable children's novels about them, she (and later her brother, Lars) also created a quirky, original comic strip masterpiece for European newspapers. Moomin ran from 1954 to 1975 and, at its peak, appeared in newspapers in over 40 countries. The Moomin universe is what you'd get if you took Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, Bill Watterson and Charles Schultz, and mixed them together with Finland's cartoonishly long summer days and winter nights. On the outside, your average Moomin resembles a cross between an albino hippopotamus and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, but like all timeless characters, Moomins are the vehicles through which Jansson explores everything that's laughable, charming, laudable and suspect about being human. Whether they're exploring the oceans, entertaining ungrateful guests, or trying their hands at being artists or being famous, the Moomin series — like Peanuts — is the sort of thing you can read at age 8 or at 48 and find equally gratifying
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Featured artists

Tove Jansson
Lisa Hanawalt

           Featured products

Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book One
My Dirty Dumb Eyes




Moomin in Love in The Telegraph

Updated June 5, 2013


"Graphic novel round up"

By Tim Martin
The Telegraph, March 29, 2013

It’s anyone’s guess what the commissioning editors are smoking in the graphic novels department of Jonathan Cape, but when the results are this interesting, why inquire?

....Less forbidding, but concealing vast wisdom beneath their amiable surface, are Tove Jansson’s Moominland comics, two of which are reprinted this month in beautiful small-scale editions from Drawn & Quarterly. The secret ingredients in Jansson’s stories about a family of podgy, large-snouted Scandinavian trolls are her bone-dry humour and worldly eye for human (or Moomin) frailty, meaning that even their most comic episodes vibrate with crystalline melancholy.

In short, their author was a sage and a genius in her novels and comics alike: for this reviewer, Moomin Falls in Love has more to say about real human relationships than a shelf full of Booker nominees....
 
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Featured artist

Tove Jansson

           Featured product

Moomin Falls In Love




  Campus Circle recommends Moomin and Rookie

Updated April 11, 2013


From "BOOKS: SPECIAL FEATURES"

Angela Matano
Campus Circle, 4 April 2013

(...) Charming in the extreme, 16-year-old Tavi Gevinson’s RookieMag.com acts like a teen girl’s scrapbook/manifesto. Gathered together in Rookie Yearbook One, this smash book to all things female covers such disparate topics as eye makeup, feminism and “bitchfacing.” (...)


With all things Scandinavian increasing in popularity, it’s time to rediscover Tove Jansson. Her series of Moomintrolls, as in Moomin’s Winter Follies, started as comics before becoming a popular and enduring series. (...)

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Featured artists

Tove Jansson
Tavi Gevinson

           Featured product

Rookie Yearbook One




Moomin books featured in Canadian Review of Materials

Updated February 25, 2013



CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 15 . . . . December 14, 2012

Moominvalley Turns Jungle
Review by Natalie Schembri
**** /4

Drawn and Quarterly has commenced republishing Tove Jansson's Moomin comics, with a focus on individual stories. One of the first republished editions of the Finnish comics, Moominvalley Turns Jungle, is a charming story that is initiated one day in the withering summer heat as Moominmamma plants the tropical seeds that have been washed ashore on to Moominvalley.
Jansson invites readers to explore with the Moomin family the transformation from an exhaustingly hot and dry desert setting into a magnificent, yet curious, world of flora and fauna. Readers, and Moomins, amusingly discover orchids, bamboo, and carnivorous flora. Moominvalley becomes a surreal jungle of plant life that attracts the investigative work of an inquisitive botanist and a hopeful zoologist, as well as visits from various exotic animals that have been freed from the zoo. The panels of Moominvalley Turns Jungle are erupting in strange plants and creatures that have grown from the crate of tropical seeds and are waiting to be explored. Readers will delight over the sophisticated panels and pages of Moominvalley Turns Jungle.

Notably, this reprinted edition is whimsically illustrated in full-colour for the first time. The soft, yet colourful hues expressively highlight Jansson's sweet and quirky Moominvalley story.
Jansson's endearing comic strip continues to charm and entertain readers. I highly recommend this witty classic, Moominvalley Turns Jungle, for school and public library collections. The Moomin stories are humorous and delightful comics that the entire family will enjoy! I eagerly await the 2013 release of Moomin Builds a House and Moomin Falls in Love. In anticipation for the 2013 releases of more full-colour Moomin comics, I will further direct readers of Moominvalley Turns Jungle to the Tove and Lars Jansson classic hardcovers of Moomin, as well as the picture books, The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My and Who Will Comfort Toffle?.

Highly Recommended.
----------

Moomin's Winter Follies
Review by Claire Perrin
*** /4

This unique graphic novel is part of a series of books based on the Moomin family from a popular Finnish comic strip. The comic appeared daily in newspapers around the world for over 20 years, but was never published in Canada. Moomin's Winter Follies is one of seven Moomin books that are being released in Canada more than 60 years after their creation.

The Moomins are a family of hippo-like animals living in the North. In this adventure, young Moomin tries to go for a swim only to find that the pond has frozen over. Instead of hibernating, Papa Moomin decides to break from tradition by convincing his family to go out and explore winter. As they venture out, they encounter the evil Mr. Brisk, a tyrant who is organizing the Winter Games for all the creatures of the North. The Moomins try downhill skiing and skating but are not well suited for either sport. In despair, they wake their human friend, Mymble, to get some advice about how to escape Mr. Brisk. The story snowballs from one story line to the next: Mymble becomes infatuated with Mr. Brisk and tries to win his favour by learning how to ski. Mr. Brisk takes no notice of her at all, or of Mama Moomin who is also falling under his spell.

The Winter Games are finally held, and Mr. Brisk is beaten at his own game by none other than Mymble. Desperately trying to console him, Mymble arranges a snowball fight between Edward the walrus and Mr. Brisk, a fight which they will let Mr. Brisk win. Infuriated that he didn't win legitimately, the evil tyrant challenges Edward to some more winter events. The plot continues to twist and evolve until finally Spring arrives and Mr. Brisk retreats. The Moomins resume their way of life, and the allure of Mr. Brisk quickly melts into the snowy landscape.

A cast of quirky characters along with unusual and fast paced storylines will keep readers engaged. At times, it seemed that new storylines were cropping up before others had finished. New characters come onto scene and take the plot in a new direction so that the reader is never sure what to expect.

Author/illustrator Jansson received much acclaim for her comic strips in Europe and enjoyed a huge following of loyal readers. The unique characters, drawings and plot are sure to entertain the 'tween audience.

Recommended.
 
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Featured artist

Tove Jansson

           Featured products

Moomin's Winter Follies
Moominvalley Turns Jungle




  Radio Times recommends Tove Jansson documentary

Updated January 16, 2013


Moominland Tales: The Life of Tove Jansson
Review by:
Claire Webb

For more than half a century, plump, philosophical trolls the Moomins have enchanted children and parents alike. They also brought unwanted fame to the Finnish writer and artist who created them.

More than a decade after her death, this thoughtful film reveals Tove Jansson’s love/hate relationship with her Moomins, and how many of their adventures were inspired by real life. Friends, relatives and fellow authors pay tribute, but it’s those magical illustrations that really captivate.

ABOUT THIS PROGRAMME
A profile of the author behind the well-loved Moomins series about a family of trolls facing a range of adventures. The programme traces how Jansson lived a bohemian existence as an artist in Helsinki before becoming a recluse on a remote island in the Gulf of Finland, and reveals how her creative genius extended beyond her popular characters to satire, fine art and adult fiction. Narrated by Sam West.

CAST AND CREW

Cast
NarratorSam WestCrew
DirectorEleanor Yule
Executive ProducerFranny Moyle
ProducerEleanor Yule
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Featured artist

Tove Jansson

           Featured product

Moomin: The Complete Lars Jansson Comic Strip, Book Seven




TheStar.com praises Moomin for its "unnervingly accurate perceptions of human (and Moomin) nature"

Updated January 16, 2013


Small Print: Mini reviews of books for tots and teens
Published on Friday December 21, 2012
By Deirdre Baker

Moomin’s Winter Follies

By Tove Jansson, Drawn and Quarterly, 45 pages, $9.95

Ages 4 and up

There are those who hit the ice in the winter, and there are Moomins. “Sports can’t be wholesome. All my friends are behaving most strangely!” Moominmamma thinks when athletic Mr. Brisk gets the Moomins into competitive skiing and skating. Finnish writer Jansson pokes gentle fun at Moomin’s sportive ineptness and his friends’ susceptibility to Mr. Brisk’s rugged outdoor looks. “How about a small winter party instead of sports?” Moominmamma finally asks — and everybody celebrates. Jansson’s 1950s comic strip story comes in child-friendly format, complete with Jansson’s native wit and unnervingly accurate perceptions of human (and Moomin) nature. Quirky, wise and funny.
 
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Featured artist

Tove Jansson

           Featured product

Moomin's Winter Follies




  The Telegraph loves the "funny and subversive" tone of Moomin

Updated January 15, 2013


Jeanette Winterson: The Moomins and me
Jeanette Winterson loved Tove Jansson’s creations as a child, but she loves them even more as a grown-up. As the Moomins’ very first outing is published in Britain, she explains why
12 Nov 2012

I will never forget it: Moomintroll and the Snork Maiden have captured the annoying sand-spraying ant-lion and stuffed him inside the Hobgoblin’s hat. The hat has magical properties and whatever goes in comes out changed; eggshells into clouds you can ride, water into raspberry juice. To contain the ant-lion’s rage they flatten him down in the hat with the Dictionary of Outlandish Words. “You must take risks when experimenting,” says Snufkin. The dictionary starts to crumple up and all the words crawl out along the floor and up the walls until the ceiling is covered in Outlandish Words.
I was reading Finn Family Moomintroll in the Accrington Public Library. I must have been nine or 10. I went home and put my Collins Gem English school dictionary into my Dad’s trilby. When that didn’t work, I wrote out random words and stuck them on the wall above my bed with flour and water. This got me into trouble but I didn’t care. The words, random, alive, were making a kind of leafmould in my mind. From that rich and fertile place came language of a different order.
Poetic disorder is how language is made. Only later is it codified. Naming starts as joy. Think of the pleasure a child has in finding words and inventing words and forming sentences that are also shapes. Words are ear and mouth before they are pen and paper. Words run away; you have to catch them.
Machine-made language, the language that comes later, in school and then at work, is useful enough but has no life of its own. The job of the writer is to stay on the side of life. The moving words were what I wanted – then and now.
I keep the Moomin books in my study and if I am tinkering about preparing for work I will often open one at random and read a page – they are funny and subversive, (Hemulens of either gender only wear dresses). And playful. Whatever happened to playfulness? Why, as adults, is serious/superficial the boring binary of our lives?

The Moomins and the Great Flood began in 1939 when Tove Jansson was 25. War had broken out, and the Finnish writer was thinking about a different world, one not shot through with fear and hatred.
There’s been a fashion, thankfully going out of fashion, that if you are not writing social realism you are wasting time. I am sure that so many adults read Harry Potter because they wanted some magic back. The huge success of books like His Dark Materials, The Hobbit and Coraline, or movies like Up and Shrek, is down to our imaginative need for a world within a world. Part of us is wired to sit around the fire telling stories. And truth is often easier to bear when told at a slant.
Moomin-world is wise. The Groke only cares about riches and freezes everything she touches like a refrigerated Midas. The Hemulen collects stamps but falls into despair when his collection is complete – then he is only an owner. Moomins don’t think much of owning things.
The Great Flood is a story of adventure and reconciliation as Moominmamma and Moomintroll search for Moominpappa, lost at sea, which everyone agrees can happen if you start adventuring, though everyone agrees that adventuring is important. On their travels they adopt a small creature with big ears who explains: “I got lost and thought I’d never see the sun again”. This is Dante opening L’Inferno – “Midday through this life of ours I found myself alone in a dark wood.”
We know what that feels like, when the sun goes dark, whether we are a small scared child or a depressed adult.But here are light-up flowers and bowls of sea-pudding and Moominmamma reliably carries a dry pair of socks and stomach powders in her handbag.
Yet sadness is allowed. When Moominmamma falls into despair, everyone else gets gloomier and gloomier dwelling on the sadness in their lives. Perhaps this is Scandinavian, or perhaps it is just a psychic truth, and we try and protect children from what they know anyway – that life is dark as well as lit up.
Tove Jansson believed in happy endings, though. Not the Disney kind but more solid and ambiguous, which is a paradox, but more truthful than black-and-white solutions. Ever-after is what is invisible on the next page.
Moominpappa is at last rescued from a tree above the flood but his house is lost. Then, suddenly, it reappears – still with the three rooms, one yellow, one sky blue and one spotted, built like a tall old-fashioned wood-burning stove. It has floated by luck to a better place.
Luck and chance are part of Moomin weather. And better than a controlled environment. Happy ever after is much too boring for a Moomin.
'The Moomins and the Great Flood’ by Tove Jansson (Sort of Books, Ł9.99) is available from Telegraph Books at Ł9.99 plus Ł1.10 p&p. Call 0844 871 1516, or visit books.telegraph.co.uk
This article also appeared in SEVEN magazine, free with the Sunday Telegraph. Follow us on Twitter @TelegraphSeven
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Featured artist

Tove Jansson

          



AV Club praises D+Q's Enfant line

Updated January 14, 2013


By Noel Murray October 17, 2012

The prestigious comics publisher Drawn & Quarterly has in recent years been in the business of making the kinds of kid-friendly books that become family keepsakes. In sort of a reverse of what Fantagraphics did back in the ’90s when it started the pornographic Eros Comix to keep the bills paid, D&Q established the Enfant imprint for its archival collections of classic kids’ comics, like the recent color repackaging of selected Tove Jansson Moomin storylines and D&Q’s strange, wonderful collection of 1950s Pippi Longstocking comics, appearing in English for the first time. These are books that young kids read and re-read, then pass along to their kids someday—or at least leave on a shelf in the den for their children and grandchildren to stumble across, the way I remember doing with my grandmother’s collection of crumbling-but-still-gorgeous children’s books.

And this matters, because books like D&Q’s Nipper collections or Fantagraphics’ Mickey Mouse archives are a better gateway to comics than anything DC or Marvel is publishing now. That’s not a knock against those companies, or against the superhero genre, which I still love. But the major comics artists of today—like Dan Clowes, Chris Ware, Marjane Satrapi, and Lynda Barry—tap into that feeling of being 8 years old and poring over the Sunday funnies or a Golden Book. They connect that feeling to adult concerns and emotions, but still, they rely on an inherent affection and nostalgia for the medium. Five years ago, I worried that those cartoonists were a dying breed, writing and drawing for a dwindling audience. Now I look at the stack of comics next to my daughter’s bed, and I see hope.
 
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Featured artists

Tove Jansson
Doug Wright
Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman

           Featured product

Pippi Moves In




  Rookie calls The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My "just SO GOOD-LOOKING"

Updated January 14, 2013


All Work and Lots of Play
Books and comics that are fun, funny, or otherwise delightful.
10/11/2012
Tavi Gevinison

The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My
Tove Jansson
1952, Ernest Benn Limited
EVERY Moomin book is good, but Moomin, Mymble and Little My has paper cut-outs, so I chose this one to recommend. It is a Finnish picture book from 1952 about these little hippo-looking trolls who live in a tall house with ghosts and a brat named Little My, to whom I was constantly compared as a 50% Scandanavian child with older sisters. The COLORS are such a delight, and the handwritten text gets all topsy-turvy, and it’s just SO GOOD-LOOKING. It is the Channing Tatum of Finnish children’s books, and I’m sure Tove Jansson would be psyched to hear it. I also know it’s for children, but it’s so lovingly written and illustrated that I end up letting myself get lost in it each time without even a pinch of irony. —Tavi

Featured artists

Tove Jansson
Tavi Gevinson

           Featured product

The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My




Comics Worth Reading promotes Pippi Moves In and the latest from Moomin

Updated January 14, 2013


Good Comics Out October 10, Including Buffy and Stumptown

Posted by Johanna on October 10, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Drawn & Quarterly has three releases in their Enfant line. Two books kick off their re-releases of Tove Jansson’s Moomin comics in color paperbacks. The flexible covers and landscape format are more kid-friendly. Each volume holds one Moomin story. In Moominvalley Turns Jungle ($9.95), the Moomins are trying to cope with unusual heat when a crate of tropical seeds wash ashore, a fast-growing jungle threatens to take over. Then zoo animals appear, and the Moomintrolls risk being mistaken for hippopotamuses. (A clever plot, especially for new readers who might be confused by their appearances.)


Pippi Longstocking
The other book is Moomin’s Winter Follies ($9.95), in which the lovable characters experience the opposite weather extreme. A frozen pond means it’s time for winter sports. But first, the family has to debate whether to follow the tradition of hibernating. I’m not previously familiar with the Moomins, but I was reminded of how much fun I had reading Babar as a child. The animals behave like people but their unusual appearance makes it all otherworldly in a creative way that spurs the young reader’s imagination.

The other Enfant volume is a debut. Pippi Longstocking comes to English comics for the first time in Pippi Moves In ($14.95). The first of a planned three volumes is by creator Astrid Lindgren and illustrator Ingrid Vang Nyman. Originally published in the late 1950s, these comics adapt the chapter book stories in visual form.

As you’d expect, the art is unusual and distinctive, dating from another era but looking fresh as a result. The chapters are short — four pages each — and so the storytelling is stilted, but it’s fun to see Pippi’s ridiculous way of living illustrated.
 
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Featured artists

Tove Jansson
Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman

           Featured products

Pippi Moves In
Moomin's Winter Follies
Moominvalley Turns Jungle




  Comic Book Resources talks with D&Q Creative Director Tom Devlin about D&Q's Enfant line

Updated January 14, 2013


D&Q'S DEVLIN BRINGS "THE MOOMINS," "PIPPI LONGSTOCKING" TO THE STATES
Wed, September 26th, 2012 at 12:58pm

Tom Devlin worked at comic book stores before founding Highwater Books in 1997. The publisher made a splash at Comic-Con International in San Diego that year when they distributed -- for free -- "Coober Skeber" #2, which was promoted as "The Marvel Comics Benefit Issue" and featured many independent cartoonist tackling Marvel heroes, including, most famously, the "Hulk vs. Rain" short story by James Kolchalka, which the cartoonist later redrew for Marvel.

Highwater went on to publish books, comics and prints from cartoonists including Megan Kelso, Brian Ralph, John Porcellino, James Kolchalka and Matt Madden before closing up shop in 2004. Devlin later joined Drawn and Quarterly where he currently acts as their Creative Director. This month, D&Q releases two new projects Devlin is overseeing, "Pippi Longstocking" and "The Moomins," both of which are part of D&Q's Enfant line for children of all ages.

CBR News spoke with Devlin via e-mail to discuss the new titles, the fifteenth anniversary of Highwater Books, and look ahead to the other books he's overseeing at D&Q in the coming months.CBR News: Tom, let's start by talking about the Pippi Longstocking comics D&Q is publishing. This is the first time these three books have been published in English. When were they made and who was behind them?


Drawn and Quarterly Creative Director Tom Devlin oversees the "Pippi Longstocking" titles for the publisher, including this month's "Pippi Moves In"
Tom Devlin: They were initially published in the late 1950s in a Swedish children's magazine called "Klumpe Dumpe" (Humpty Dumpty). I'm unsure how long they might have been out of print but recently the rights holders, Rabén & Sjögren, issued reprints and I spotted the Finnish version while attending a comic convention in Helsinki. That's my favorite thing about traveling to these other conventions -- you get a chance to dig through piles of comics, you meet the cartoonists that you've maybe just seen a few images from on the internet, you just get a chance to see things you wouldn't normally see.

Who was Pippi, because I'll be honest I have only the vague image of a redhead with pigtails and I know that "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" author Stieg Larsson described Lisbeth as a grown up version of Pippi.

I hadn't heard that Stieg Larsson quote but Pippi is certainly a household name in Scandinavia, so that makes sense. She's a headstrong -- and body strong -- 9 year-old who lives in a house alone and pretty much does what she wants much to the consternation of the very square neighbor children, Tommy and Annika. She's definitely one of those great proto-feminist characters from children's literature. Pippi has a great kind of rugged individualist approach to everything she does. She doesn't have an ounce of fear. And yes, she has red hair which she wears in pigtails, as well as prominent freckles, and mismatched socks.

Your other project right now is publishing new editions of "The Moomins" comic strip in color. I know we're both fans, but for people who don't know, who are the Moomins?

We've joked that we'll just keep sending me to different countries and I'll find the comics for the most famous children's character available and bring them back here to North America. While Pippi's kind of the most famous character in Sweden, the Moomins are the most popular in Finland. Tove Jansson wrote a series of chapter books in her native Swedish (there's a population of Swedish speaking Finns) which slowly gained in popularity in Finnish and English as well. Enough so that a British newspaper approached Tove about doing a comic strip. That's the short version of the story -- the full version will be in a book we're publishing later this year called "Moomin Every Day."

So, the Moomins themselves are a family of hippo-like trolls who live in a country home and lead a kind of free-spirited, relaxed lifestyle. Tove came form a family of artists (Mom was an illustrator and Dad was a sculptor) and there's a real sense that they lived a kind of bohemian lifestyle. This worldview clearly influenced the creation of the Moomins. The Moominpoppa is kind of a dreamer who spins yarns about his globe-trotting adventures and Moominmomma is a loving but pragmatic woman and Moomintroll or Moomin is their son. They're the focal point for a whole community of off-the-wall characters who live in Moomin Valley. They're surrounded by a bunch of schemers, hangers-on, dreamers, and dedicated friends. The stories have a kind of sardonic wit, not quite out and out satire, but there's a dark edge in this otherwise idyllic world.


After success publishing "The Moomins" in hardcover, Devlin wanted to expand the audience with color TPBs
You've been publishing "The Moomins" in oversize hardcover volumes for a few years now. Why did you want to publish them in a new format?

I would say that I wanted to expand the audience for these comics. We did really well with them here in North America and the UK and we sold our version to a number of European countries and I just started to think "how can we get more of these books in people's (kids') hands." I had heard from a number of people who said that their children MUCH preferred color comics to black and white comics and it dawned on me that we should try coloring these strips and make a less expensive softcover version that kids could carry around in their backpacks. So we colored a few strips and presented them to Tove's niece, Sophia, who runs the licensing of the Moomin Characters, and she loved it so we moved forward. Those books are just hitting stores now but I'm really excited because the strips really hold color well. I think people will be shocked how beautifully they turned out.

Are there other books aimed at kids, or at least a younger audience, in the works for the D&Q Enfant line?

Well, we are taking it slow. We have the collections of the Moomin strips, the two Moomin picture books ("The Book About Moomin, Mymble, and Little My" and "Who Will Comfort Toffle?"), the forthcoming three book Pippi series, a reprint of Brian Ralph's "Cave-In," and the Doug Wright "Nipper" paperbacks for now and there are plans for things we can't talk about yet. All along we've thought that we'll just take our time and build the line up and not rush. Recently, we published the first volume of Anouk Ricard's "Anna & Froga," "Want a Gumball?", and we'll continue to release that series. Finding Anouk Ricard's work was another lucky discovery -- I was at the local library and my kids were playing with some neighbors and I wandered away into the stacks and found these amazing French kids comics. The stories concern a group of friends who prank and needle each other but are still friends and the situations are just hilarious.

Just to go back in time, fifteen years ago you started a small publisher, Highwater Books, and you made a splash at San Diego in 1997 with "Coober Skeber" #2 -- the Marvel Comics benefit book. What were you trying to do? What made you want to be a publisher?

At that time I was working at the Million Year Picnic in Cambridge, Massachusetts and was deeply entrenched in the small press and mini-comics movement. I loved seeing all this new work that wasn't getting a wide audience and I just wanted to find ways to get it out there. I tried creating a distribution system that never got any real traction because people made such small quantities and you had to do everything by phone or more likely through writing letters to the person's P.O. Box. By the time I got new comics in I would have sold out of them at the Million Year Picnic so I would just sell them to the store for no profit. But meeting all these cartoonists got me thinking about other ways to promote their work and eventually the Marvel Benefit edition of "Coober Skeber" came out of that. It was a really aggravating undertaking but when I opened up those cases of the freshly printed books, I was done for. There was no turning back. I was going to be a publisher. And after the success of that book, people started approaching me to publish their comics and well I figured I better step up.


The plan for D&Q's Enfant all-ages line is a slow expansion featuring titles such as "Anna & Froga"
I definitely had a plan. I saw a lot of work that didn't seem to fit in to what I viewed as the professionalism of Fantagraphics or Drawn & Quarterly. I knew that if I didn't publish this stuff then no one would. There were also some other new comics publishers coming out of the minicomics scene like Top Shelf and Alternative–and the very influential Black Eye who pre-dated us all by a little bit–and we were all pretty chummy.

By the time I had started Highwater, I had worked at two comic stores -- Newbury Comics and the Million Year Picnic -- and spent several years working at the Diamond Comics warehouse in Boston. I thought most comic book covers were an ugly muddy mess. There was so much I thought was done wrong in comics that prevented them from reaching the general public and I really wanted to change that. I focused on packaging to make more appealing objects -- I knew the comics inside those books were great but I really wanted everyone else to know.

In 2010 there was an exhibition in Boston, "Right Thing The Wrong Way: The Story of Highwater Books." Was that title a somewhat accurate summation of Highwater?

I did not like that title. I felt like it focused on the financial failure of the company over the artistic success. But when TD Sidell -- who was a former intern and good friend -- came to me with the idea, I told him he could do what he wanted but I wouldn't really be able to help because I had young kids and they were the priority. Besides TD earned a chance to try something like that show. I would have extended that blessing to many of my friends and interns because their support was instrumental in making Highwater work for those years that it worked. TD and the other folks who helped him do the show -- Greg Cook, Jef Czekaj, Brooke Corey, and Randy Chang -- did a great job though. It perfectly embodied the kind of catch-all follow your aesthetic wherever it leads you ideal that I always wanted for Highwater.

You officially announced the end of Highwater in November 2004, though by that point it had been a little while since a book was published. Now that several years have passed, what do you think of what you were able to accomplish?

Is that for me to say? I don't know. I hope Highwater was an influence on cartoonists and other publishers but you would have to ask them. I really did want people to see that anyone could be a distributor or a publisher or a designer or whatever. I'm glad I got to do it as long as I did. I'm glad that I got to promote so many great cartoonists like Ron Regé, Jr, Brian Ralph, Megan Kelso, Matt Madden, Mat Brinkman, Marc Bell, Greg Cook, James Kochalka, and John Porcellino (and others who I distributed like Jordan Crane) and writers like Camden Joy and Dan Buck to the world. I'm glad that Highwater helped me meet my beautiful wife Peggy and helped me land my dream job here at Drawn & Quarterly.


Devlin has other projects outside of his Enfant titles on his plate
You're working on a number of books besides the ones we've talked about. Are there any books coming out this year or early 2013 that you'd like to mention?

The ones that are really occupying my thoughts right now are "Beautiful Darkness" by Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoet and "Kitaro" by Shigeru Mizuki. Both are translated titles and I'm deep into editing them. I think "Beautiful Darkness" will be a bit of a surprise for D&Q fans so I don't want to say too much about it. "Kitaro" is probably the series that Mizuki is best know for. We're pretty excited to be getting around to publishing this work. Just so imaginative and lyrical and funny. Just really amazing adventure comics.

But there are so many. I really think that we've had such a strong five-year run, as good as any publisher in any medium. In just the past couple of months, we've published "Gloriana" by Kevin Huizenga, "Birdseye Bristoe" by Dan Zettwoch, "The Making Of" by Brecht Evens, and re-published "Cave-In" by Brian Ralph and I swear to god these are must have books -- four individual idiosyncratic cartoonists working at the peak of their powers.

We're also republishing (with new material) "Freddie Stories" by Lynda Barry and I think that book is going to blow people's minds. It's the darker Lynda Barry like in her novel "Cruddy" and I think a lot of people weren't ready for her comics to be so dark in 1999. It's just brutal,beautiful stuff.

You're a cartoonist in your own right. Are we ever going to see a Tom Devlin comic one of these years?

I'm working intermittently on something called "Nike Country" that goes back over a decade now. We'll see if I ever finish that. [Publisher] Chris Oliveros is also working on his comic "Envelope Manufacturer" and we kid each other about how long we've been working/not working on these stories.
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Featured artists

Tove Jansson
Anouk Ricard
Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman

           Featured products

Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book One
Anna & Froga: Want a Gumball?
Pippi Moves In




Quill and Quire tells story of "charming" PIPPI LONGSTOCKING find; MOOMIN also featured

Updated February 28, 2012



D&Q to publish collection of 1950s Pippi Longstocking comics

Montreal publisher Drawn & Quarterly will soon have its hands full, thanks to a certain mischievous, pigtailed redhead.

This September, D&Q’s children’s imprint, Enfant, will release Pippi Moves In, the first in a three-volume set of original Pippi Longstocking comics, written by Astrid Lindgren during the late 1950s, a decade after the Pippi books were published. It’s the first time the comics will appear in English, and an introduction for many fans to the drawings of Ingrid Vang Nyman.

The series of four-page Pippi comics originally appeared in the Swedish version of the kids’ magazine Humpty Dumpty from 1957 to 1959. Nyman was also the original illustrator for the first three Pippi books in Sweden, but while Lindgren went on to become an internationally celebrated children’s book author, Vang Nyman, who suffered from mental health issues, committed suicide in 1959.

Several other artists have illustrated the Pippi books over the last 67 years, most notably Louis S. Glanzman, but D&Q’s creative director and acquiring editor Tom Devlin, who discovered a copy of the comic at the Helsinki Comics Festival in September 2011, calls Nyman’s comics “really cool.”

“They’re really well done and they’re really charming,” he says. “A lot of times when you have a property like this and it’s being adapted to comics, it tends to be clunkily done.” Devlin notes that Nyman’s Pippi is shorter and younger than the “typical tall, lanky version we’re used to,” because her body needed to fit into a comic-panel format. “Ingrid was clearly into the idea of making comics with this character.”

This isn’t the first classic comics series D&Q has resurrected. In 2006, the publisher released the first of five volumes of Moomin, a serialized comic strip by Finnish artist Tove Jansson, which originally ran in the London Evening News during the 1950s. This fall, D&Q is re-launching Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip under the Enfant imprint.

D&Q purchased the Pippi translation rights through the rights department of Rabén & Sjögren, the original publisher of the book series. The collection is being translated by Tiina Nunnally, who worked on Penguin U.S.’s 2007 special edition of Pippi Longstocking, which marked the 100th anniversary of Lindgren’s birth.


 
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Featured artists

Tove Jansson
Lars Jansson

           Featured product

Moomin: The Complete Lars Jansson Comic Strip, Book Six




  Comic "icons" PIPPI LONGSTOCKING and MOOMIN celebrated by Comics Reporter

Updated February 28, 2012



Drawn And Quarterly To Do Pippi Longstocking + Color Moomin

By Tom Spurgeon
The Comics Reporter
Jan. 24, 2012

Drawn And Quarterly is set to announce plans later today that it will be publishing the first volume in a three-volume set of English translation of Pippi Longstocking comics. These comics have never been translated to English. The comics feature the writing of Pippi Longstocking creator Astrid Lindgren and the art of cartoonist and illustrator Ingrid Vang Nyman. D+Q's translation will be by Tiina Nunnaly.

The comics in question were first published from 1957 to 1959, a little more than a decade into the success of the worldwide children's book icon: the comics came between the first three chapter books and the late '60s return of the characters in another series of books. D+Q Creative Director Tom Devlin apparently discovered the comics while attending the Helsinki Comics Festival in September 2011. The press material mentions that Devlin was apparently quite taken with Vang Nyman's work. The artist committed suicide in 1959 after a battle with mental health issues.

The first Pippi book will be released this Fall.

In an additional move that should further consolidate and strengthen the company's kid-friendly comics endeavors, D+Q is also set to announce they will be re-publishing their Moomin comics in flexi-cover editions, with full-color. Unlike the Moomin hardcovers, the new editions will focus on individual stories, making each 48 pages. The first two editions are Moominvalley Turns Jungle and Moomin's Winter Follies.


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Featured artist

Tove Jansson

           Featured products

Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Two
Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Three




Access Hollywood suggests Moomin gifts!

Updated January 10, 2012


December 16, 2011

A stack of books from our Crewcuts Book Club, where a new associate from J. Crew picks their favorite book that they love to read to their children and we sell it online. One book is never enough and reading is the most useful and enduring skill a little person can acquire. For a boy—“The Boy Who Bit Picasso,” “The Complete Book of United States History” (because my boys are always asking me questions I WISH I knew the answers to!) and a green marbled composition notebook for them to write their own book in. For a girl—“The Book About Moomin,” “Mymble and Little My” (which I grew up with), “The Angry Fairy” (which tells a funny story about a fairy with blank pages and no illustrations so she can create her own masterpiece!) and she would get the neon pink composition notebook to also write her own story!
 
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Featured artist

Tove Jansson

           Featured product

The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My




  MOOMIN brings back memories for Lost at E Minor

Updated August 25, 2011


I grew up on Finn Family Moomintroll books so when I heard about the 1950's comic series being republished through Drawn & Quarterly, I jumped on it. It turns out I responded to the stories more as an adult than I had as a kid. The subtle humor and wisdom that can be found in Tove Jansson's books takes you by surprise.
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Featured artists

Tove Jansson
Lars Jansson

           Featured product

Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book One




LYNDA BARRY, JULIE DOUCET and TOVE JANSSON are all notable women in comics

Updated August 15, 2011


As a lady who frequently rants about lady issues, I have been selected by the Hooded Utilitarian to write a piece about lady cartoonists that will somehow not make all ladies reading it roll their eyes and groan. This is my punishment for all the ranting. I've learned my lesson.

Eleven years ago, when The Comics Journal put out its big Top 100 Comics by English-Speaking White Men of All Time Ever Except Dave Sim Because Seriously, Fuck That Guy, five women made the list: Lynda Barry, Julie Doucet, Carol Tyler, Debbie Dreschler, and Françoise Mouly for her work as co-editor of RAW. When the preliminary votes for the HU list were being counted up, it looked like only four women would make that list. Interestingly, it was four completely different women, which led me to suggest that maybe this stuff has nothing to do with talent or recognition; the comics industry simply has room for only four or five women at a time.

By the time all the votes had rolled in and the final tally was made, the HU 115 included a grand total of nine ladies. Is that better? Worse? Essentially the same? I don't know. Mining the list for observations on which to pontificate, I notice that most of the artists are fairly recent-or, in the cases of Tove Jansson and Moto Hagio, new to U.S. audiences. There seems to be little love for classic old-timey creators like Nell Brinkley, Grace Drayton, Gladys Parker, or Marge Buell. No women from the underground era made the list either: no Trina Robbins, Lee Marrs, Dori Seda, Carol Lay, or Shary Flenniken, whose Trots and Bonnie is currently poised to take over as the Family Feud #1 answer to "Inexplicably Unavailable in a Sweet Reprint Edition" the moment someone finally does a Barnaby book. Autobio pioneer Carol Tyler, one of the four women on TCJ's list, didn't make the HU list, despite recently emerging from semi-retirement with the new graphic novel series You'll Never Know.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, very recent cartoonists were, understandably, also left out; if my brief skim of the list is accurate, the HU 115 includes no webcomics. I can imagine a future list making room for works by Dylan Meconis, Spike Trotman, Jenn Manley Lee, Jess Fink, Dorothy Gambrell, Kate Beaton (of course), and other webcartoonists.

And Carla Speed McNeil. And Lea Hernandez. And Gail Simone. And Fumi Yoshinaga. And Jill Thompson. And Jessica Abel. And Wendy Pini. And Riyoko Ikeda. And Colleen Doran. And Vera Brosgol and Jen Wang and I am going to have to stop before I get in trouble for everyone I'm leaving off.

Julie Doucet, the Dirty Plotte stories, including My New York Diary

Of all the countless autobiographical indie zinesters of the late 1980s and 1990s, Julie Doucet has best survived the test of time. Is it her big, swaggering art style? Her unique French-Canadian-punk-in-New-York perspective? Her willingness to get gruesomely confessional in stories brimming with sex, shit, and menstrual blood? Or is it just that she left her audience wanting more? After her series Dirty Plotte and the collection My New York Diary, Doucet stopped drawing comics. In interviews at the time, she expressed dissatisfaction with the comics world, interest in being taken seriously as a fine artist, and good old-fashioned lack of money.

Since then, Doucet has focused on fine art and on mixed-media projects like Long Time Relationship and 365 Days: A Diary, projects that employ elements of comic art but skirt the standard definition of "comic book." The Dirty Plotte stories survive as a snapshot of this particular woman, in that particular time, gleefully kicking down the walls of an art form. Dirty Plotte is as perfect an encapsulation of the '90s as Peter Bagge's Hate, but coming from a messier, bloodier, hairier place. Yeah, that place.

Lynda Barry, Ernie Pook's Comeek & the RAW stories

Remember when the "Masters of American Comics" show came out, and some cranky feminists like me complained that there were no women among the Masters, and other people responded with, "Well, what women would you dare put alongside like likes of Jack Kirby, Will Eisner, and the Hernandez Brothers?"

I'm coming out and saying it here: I'd have dumped one of the modern-day Masters to make room for Lynda Barry. In American comics she comes second only to Charles Schulz, the same way Moto Hagio comes second only to Tezuka. Barry's simple (but deceptively appealing and well-composed) artwork is the perfect vehicle for her harrowing four-panel reports from the bowels of childhood. Seldom have imagos and logos been so perfectly paired, and never has a cartoonist so perfectly captured the voices of her awkward, bespectacled, scribble-haired characters.

In college I didn't know there were book collections of Ernie Pook, so I used to photocopy the strips out of back issues of the Village Voice in the campus library and make my own. Some of those strips have never been reprinted, so it turned out to be worth it. And few lines from comics have stuck in my head as persistently as lines from Ernie Pook. A single caption from "The Night We All Got Sick" - My land which was gorgeous and smelled like perfume from France - has haunted my skull for ten years.

Tove Jansson, Moomin

Tove Jansson is best known as a writer and illustrator of children's books, particularly the internationally beloved Moomin series, but Drawn & Quarterly's swanky reprints of the Moomin comic strip, which ran in newspapers through a British syndicate for 20 years, have inspired a reassessment of her work as a cartoonist. And it's worth reassessing: the most successful Finnish comic strip is also one of the smartest, most inventive, and most charming strips ever drawn.

The Moomin characters move through a world that's both whimsical and hauntingly melancholy. As depicted in the comic strip, it's also a visual feast, every panel packed with weird flora and fauna. In a touch I can't recall seeing in any other four-panel strip, Jansson likes to build panel borders out of symbolically relevant objects: knives and forks for a cooking scene, twigs for the outdoors. The plots have the simple profundity of good children's literature, often revolving around wistful searches for love or identity, and the sequence in which the Moomintroll family sets up a home in a lonely lighthouse strikes me as one of the most beautiful stories I've read in a comic. But I always wanted to be a lighthouse keeper.
 
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Featured artists

Julie Doucet
Tove Jansson
Lynda Barry

          



  Newsarama reviews WHO WILL COMFORT TOFFLE?

Updated March 11, 2011


Tove Jansson’s second Moomin picture book gets a new English translation courtesy of Canadian publisher Drawn & Quarterly and English scripter/poet/writer Sophie Hannah. Like the Moomin comic strips and Jansson’s first children’s book, The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My, Who Will Comfort Toffle? brims with whimsy and wonder.

Lonely Toffle journeys through Moomin Valley, encountering the denizens of Jansson’s imaginative world. Every person she encounters, in addition to partaking in imaginative flights of fancy, has someone to share the moment with, yet Toffle remains alone, in search of a companion. It’s a direct and clear message for kids, that we all feel lonely and that we’re the only person without somebody, but of course, it all works out when you meet the right person. And you may have to persevere to meet that person, but doing so is worth the effort.


Without being able to read the original Swedish text, I can’t compare this version to Tove Jansson’s vision. However, I did find the English script, while clever and appropriately silly, struggled with an inconsistent cadence. The rhyming lines are often rhythmically out of sync, which isn’t really a huge deal, but does cause a few pauses and stutters when reading.

Jansson’s illustrations are simple and bright, full of patches of basic coloring surrounding Toffle’s simple grayness. The character designs, anthropomorphized beings and strange lumpy creature-persons, remain striking yet simple. Again, the simple lines and colors should keep the target audience engaged effectively.

Who Will Comfort Toffle? should entertain young readers eager for upbeat whimsy and colorful, odd creatures, and its core message about persevering through loneliness is important for readers of all ages. Famed in their homeland, it’s good to see Tove Jansson and her Moomins continuing to appear here on English-speaking shores. This book will absolutely go into the for-my-kids box.
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Featured artist

Tove Jansson

           Featured product

Who Will Comfort Toffle?




Vintage Kids' Books blog loves WHO WILL COMFORT TOFFLE?

Updated September 28, 2010


Quirky and way out-there for many an American sensibility, all the Moomin tales are filled with heart and deep soul sifting, something my child (for one) knows all about. The pursuit of home and love and purpose begins the moment we are born, and these books are a wonderful compendium for your child's search for self.
 
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Featured artist

Tove Jansson

           Featured product

Who Will Comfort Toffle?




  Publishers Weekly reviews THE BOOK ABOUT MOOMIN, MYMBLE AND LITTLE MY

Updated May 12, 2010



The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My

First published in 1952, the late Jansson's first picture book to feature the Moomins returns with its droll, rhyming text and singular characters intact. Bringing home a thermos of milk, Moomintroll, who resembles a small, white hippopotamus, meets Mymble, searching for her lost sister, along with other creatures. Throughout, die-cuts create a spooky, layered effect, offering a tantalizing peek at what's to come. Readers are repeatedly asked what might occur next in the story, drawing them in further. From the bold colors and oddball creatures to expressive variations in font and inventive die-cuts, the book remains a kid-friendly package and a wonderfully weird vision. All ages. (Nov.)

Featured artist

Tove Jansson

           Featured product

The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My




Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves blog is enchanted by THE BOOK ABOUT MOOMIN, MYMBLE AND LITTLE MY

Updated April 13, 2010


The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My

For years, I've been hearing about the Moomin. First from my Finnish-blooded Texas BFF, who loved them all as a child and has passed that passion down to her two lovely daughters. Then through design blogs and the wonderful world of the Internet. Except for brief glimpses of the books at my friend's house, we've never owned or fully read any of them until the Easter Bunny was kind enough to plop one in the boy's basket. (I hear he/she got it at The Twig, but I could be wrong.) Well, for all those readers who are not quite yet in the know, I think it's safe to say that the Moomin (Mumintroll) are the Finnish equivalent of Mickey Mouse. Beginning in 1945, first there were comic strips, then picture books and eventually televisions shows, merchandise, a theme park and finally MOVIES! (I have all fingers and toes crossed that this one will make it to Texas, but somehow I doubt it.)

That said, the Moomin are trolls that look sort of like hippos and there are loads of other characters who, if and when you become a die-hard fan, make up a fully-realized imaginary world of awesome. In this adventure, we find Moomin traveling home through the woods with a jug of milk for his Mum.

Here's little Moomintroll, none other,
Hurrying home with milk for Mother.
Quick, Moomintroll, it's nearly night.
Run home while there's a bit of light.
Don't hang around in WOODS like these.
Strange creatures lurk between the trees.
The wind begins to howl and hiss.
Now, guess what happens after THIS.

Each spread ends with a cliff hanger that is accented by a die-cut giving you a peek of the action on the next page. Really brilliant. By and by, the Moomintroll comes across his friend Mymble who is weeping over her lost sister Little My. The two take up the quest to locate her, meeting all sorts of beings and adventures along the way.

Seriously, everything about this book I love. The matte finish, the colors, the lyrics, the shapes of the characters, how the words are drawn. And to think this book is over fifty years old, really blows my mind. My son totally got it from the get go, and he's dragged the book around with him for the last few days. I'm not sure why after five years of cajoling by my friend it took us this long to get to Moomin, but now that we're here, I suspect the birthday bird is gonna be toting more than a few of these tomes come May.

(I'm particularly endeared to the die-cut on the back cover that offers a view out into the real world. Marvelous, I tell you!!!)
 
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Featured artist

Tove Jansson

           Featured product

The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My




  Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves blog is enchanted by THE BOOK ABOUT MOOMIN, MYMBLE AND LITTLE MY

Updated April 13, 2010


The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My

For years, I've been hearing about the Moomin. First from my Finnish-blooded Texas BFF, who loved them all as a child and has passed that passion down to her two lovely daughters. Then through design blogs and the wonderful world of the Internet. Except for brief glimpses of the books at my friend's house, we've never owned or fully read any of them until the Easter Bunny was kind enough to plop one in the boy's basket. (I hear he/she got it at The Twig, but I could be wrong.) Well, for all those readers who are not quite yet in the know, I think it's safe to say that the Moomin (Mumintroll) are the Finnish equivalent of Mickey Mouse. Beginning in 1945, first there were comic strips, then picture books and eventually televisions shows, merchandise, a theme park and finally MOVIES! (I have all fingers and toes crossed that this one will make it to Texas, but somehow I doubt it.)

That said, the Moomin are trolls that look sort of like hippos and there are loads of other characters who, if and when you become a die-hard fan, make up a fully-realized imaginary world of awesome. In this adventure, we find Moomin traveling home through the woods with a jug of milk for his Mum.

Here's little Moomintroll, none other,
Hurrying home with milk for Mother.
Quick, Moomintroll, it's nearly night.
Run home while there's a bit of light.
Don't hang around in WOODS like these.
Strange creatures lurk between the trees.
The wind begins to howl and hiss.
Now, guess what happens after THIS.

Each spread ends with a cliff hanger that is accented by a die-cut giving you a peek of the action on the next page. Really brilliant. By and by, the Moomintroll comes across his friend Mymble who is weeping over her lost sister Little My. The two take up the quest to locate her, meeting all sorts of beings and adventures along the way.

Seriously, everything about this book I love. The matte finish, the colors, the lyrics, the shapes of the characters, how the words are drawn. And to think this book is over fifty years old, really blows my mind. My son totally got it from the get go, and he's dragged the book around with him for the last few days. I'm not sure why after five years of cajoling by my friend it took us this long to get to Moomin, but now that we're here, I suspect the birthday bird is gonna be toting more than a few of these tomes come May.

(I'm particularly endeared to the die-cut on the back cover that offers a view out into the real world. Marvelous, I tell you!!!)
click here to read more


Featured artist

Tove Jansson

           Featured product

The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My




Comic Book Resources review NANCY and THE BOOK ABOUT MOOMIN, MYMBLE, AND LITTLE MY

Updated November 9, 2009


Robot reviews: Another kids' comics round-up

by Chris Mautner

When faced with the challenge of adapting Ernie Bushmiller's classic comic strip to longer comic book format, John Stanley's response was simple and economical: Turn her into Little Lulu.

That's the only conclusion I can come to after reading this collection of stories in D&Q's ongoing "John Stanley Library" project. Nancy is pretty much Lulu with frizzier hair, Sluggo is a thinner and slightly more benign Tubby. There's even a snotty rich kid and bratty little boy similar to Wilbur and Alvin. Stanley even repeats one of his Tubby stories involving a burglar almost note for note.

That doesn't make Nancy a bad book by any stretch of the imagination. Mediocre Stanley is still miles above most people's best work. The best stories here though are the ones involving Oona Goosepimple, an odd, Wednesday Addams-type girl who supernatural antics cause no end of anxiety for poor Nancy. It's those stories where Stanley -- freed of the Bushmiller formula -- really gets inventive and inspired. If the ratio of Oona stories increases as the volumes do, then I'll keep buying these books as long as D&Q are able to get them out.

Reviews of Moomin, Amulet and more can be found after the jump ...




The Book About Moomin

The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My
by Tove Jansson
Drawn and Quarterly, 20 pages, $16.95.

I'm a sucker for die-cut books -- anything that plays upon the whole "Oh, it looks like it's part of the page, but look closely and you'll see it's a window into the next one" thing gets extra points from me. And D&Q has already won me over on Jansson with the wonderful job they've done reprinting her Moomin strips, so it's not like I had to be won over with the company's first entry in their new kids Enfant line. The only real surprise here is Jansson's lovely use of limited color and composition on these expansive two-page spreads. So yeah, it's a great book that will be sure to please the young and old at heart. Buy it, read it, enjoy it.


 
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Featured artists

Tove Jansson
John Stanley

           Featured products

Nancy Volume One
The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My




  THE BOOK ABOUT MOOMIN, MYMBLE, AND LITTLE MY on Book By Its Cover!

Updated October 21, 2009


by Julia Rothman

Moomin fans rejoice! Drawn and Quarterly has added another Moomin book to their growing collection of reprints. This time it’s a classic gorgeous picture book that shows off the colorful illustration work of Tove Jansson. This book has a die cut on each page placed in such a smart way that characters from other pages can sometimes be found peeking in. The story follows Moomintroll through the woods on a journey to bring milk to Moominmamma. Moomintroll runs into Mymble who has just lost Little My, her sister. Lots of adventure ensues as they find their way home.
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Featured artist

Tove Jansson

           Featured product

The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My




MOOMIN 4 AND A DRIFTING LIFE reviewed by the School Library Journal

Updated September 1, 2009


TATSUMI, Yoshihiro A Drifting Life tr. from Japanese by Tara Nettleton. illus. by author. 840p. appendix. Drawn & Quarterly 2009. pap. $29.95. ISBN 978-1-897299-74-6. LC number unavailable.

Gr 10 Up–This is a masterfully drafted autobiographical work by the creator of Good-bye (2008) and Abandon the Old in Tokyo (2006, both Drawn & Quarterly). Referring to himself as Hiroshi, Tatsumi begins his story with the surrender of Japan after World War II, when he was 10 years of age, and details the following 15 years of his life. Deeply passionate about manga at a young age, he chronicles the time from his start as an enthusiast to his rise as an influential and celebrated author/illustrator of the format. Although this book centers primarily on Tatsumi’s writing career, the history of manga, influential writers and publications of the time, and the turbulent manga publishing industry, much more is revealed. Family life and dynamics influenced by his parents’ troubled marriage, his father’s financial difficulties, and his friendship and rivalry with his brother are explored, first sexual interests and experiences are considered, and relationships among fellow artists are skillfully portrayed. Historical political and cultural events are introduced throughout the story, giving readers a feel for Japan’s climate and social landscape during the period. Black-ink images in a combination of detailed/realistic panels mixed with cartoon-style artwork enhance the atmosphere and bring the characters to life. This is a captivating autobiography, and one that should have high appeal to those interested in the history of manga and Japanese culture, and followers of Tatsumi’s works.–Lara McAllister, Halifax Public Libraries, Nova Scotia



JANSSON, Tove Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip vol. 4. illus. by author. 110p. CIP. Drawn & Quarterly 2009. Tr $19.95. ISBN 978-1-897299-78-4. LC 2008396968.

Gr 10 Up–Generations of children have enjoyed Jansson’s books about Moomin and his family and friends. Lesser known were Jansson’s series of the comic strips for adults–until Drawn & Quarterly began reissuing them in 2006. This fourth volume is, alas, the last in the series chronicling the adventures and misadventures of the hippolike Scandinavian troll, his girlfriend, and his parents. In the first of the five stories in this volume, Moominpapa accidentally builds a time machine and takes his family back to the exciting days of the Wild West. To his dismay, he finds a population of peaceful and law-abiding citizens, corrupt lawmen, and Indians who keep forgetting that they are supposed to act like bloodthirsty savages. Another story has the denizens of Moominvalley giving up their peaceful and happy life to join the rat race, while a third showcases the perils of fame and fortune, including a kitchen full of intimidating appliances. As in the previous volumes, Jansson pokes gentle fun at human foibles while driving home the message that true happiness lies in being yourself. Teens will be attracted by the simple but expressive black-and-white drawings on yellow pages, and perhaps take to heart the precepts: that which glitters may be just glitter, and some dreams are best left as dreams. Libraries that already own the previous three volumes will want to complete their set, while those that have somehow missed purchasing the series will want to do so now.–Sandy Schmitz, Berkeley Public Library, CA

 

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Yoshihiro Tatsumi
Tove Jansson

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A Drifting Life
Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Four




  MOOMIN AND MELVIN MONSTER reviewed by High-Low Comics

Updated July 24, 2009


Monday, July 6, 2009
Digging Deeper: Melvin Monster and Moomin
Rob reviews two intriguing reprint projects from Drawn & Quarterly: MELVIN MONSTER VOL I and MOOMIN VOL IV.

In this, the Golden Age of Reprints, we've started to get all sorts of heretofore unlikely and obscure comics getting loving reissues. While Fantagraphics' reprinting of PEANUTS kicked things off and there have been other long-running and beloved series getting rereleases, this is also a time when publishers are taking chances and printing some less obvious choices. Drawn & Quarterly in particular has been issuing forgotten series or comics unfamiliar to American audiences for quite some time. Indeed, the Drawn & Quarterly anthology in years past reintroduced such classics as Gasoline Alley as well as the work of Doug Wright.

D&Q has really gone to another level by taking a risk and reprinting Tove Jansson's classic MOOMIN series, with great success, as well as starting the John Stanley Library. Seth's design for Stanley's shorter and lesser-known comics is not unlike a prestige children's line of forty years ago, complete with an embossed cover, a "John Stanley Library" seal on the back, playful endpapers, etc. Rather than reprinting the series on glossy paper (the bane of many reprint series, especially when originals can't be found), it's on paper that uncannily mimics the original pages. As a designer, Seth sets the emotional tone for his projects with the endpapers and repurposed images from the original art. For PEANUTS, he's reclaimed the strip's contemplative and melancholy aspects, using dark tones in the endpapers and stripping the characters away from familiar background shots. PEANUTS, partly through it being so thoroughly marketed over the years, had become shorthand for sentimentality as opposed to more complex emotions, and it felt as though Seth needed to correct for this.

In MELVIN MONSTER, on the other hand, Seth seems to be attempting to create an alternate reality where John Stanley's books have always been children's classics, read by millions in perpetuity. It's as though we've reached through a time machine to pluck out a newly-published volume from 1965. The first endpapers we see reinforce the "JSL" brand with lots of funny drawings of the title character; it's both slightly stuffy (indicating to parents the brand name) and endearing (letting children know the emotional tone of the book). The next few pages tell the reader that while this comic is funny, it also involves monsters and vaguely disturbing images--the way Seth has black-ink drawings on charcoal-gray backgrounds, with only the eyes colored bright white, creates an atmosphere that is somehow both goofy and slightly scary.

Getting to the stories themselves, the hook of the series is a young monster boy who is a constant disappointment to his parents because he wants to be good, go to school, not be destructive, etc. Stanley gets a lot of mileage out of this very simple shtick, as the indomitable Melvin has to find ways to outwit his parents and everyone around him. The situational gags are better than some of the cheaper visual gags. It's funny that his mother is "Mummy" and is dressed up in bandages and his father is "Baddy" and is a hulking Frankenstein-like monster; it's funnier to see him innocently outwit the parade of creatures (and people) trying to kill him. It's even funnier when he winds up in "human bean land" where "everybody is nice and kind", only to be tossed down into a manhole, chased by a car and whacked by a woman carrying a purse. The punchline layered on top of that betrayal is that Melvin interpreted these actions as people trying to make him feel at home!

The best sequence of the book is where his parents send him to the cellar as punishment--a place where even they don't go. Stanley throws all sorts of sight gags in, like being told to watch out for a steep third step, only to find that there are no steps at all after the third one. Melvin wavers between being a scared little boy (calling for his guardian demon, whose help is dubious) and an invincible innocent, stumbling into adventure after adventure and inadvertently escaping harm. When his father winds up in the cellar later on, it's sweet (but unstated) revenge. The stories in this volume (reprinting the first three issues of the original comic book) vary from longer adventure stories to shorter bits that establish life in Melvin's house, like the furry arm in his wall that acts as his alarm clock but also plays checkers with Melvin during the night.

Stanley the writer is clever, but what sells the work is Stanley the artist. His line is simple and his figures are delightfully cartoony. His characters are remarkably expressive despite the simplicity of their design; like Schulz, Stanley, with just a squiggle or two, could completely change the mood of a page. In the Monsterville sequences, Stanley throws in eye pop after eye pop (Will Elder-style), punning on monster cliches with either funny drawings or funny labels. What I like best about his art is the way he propels Melvin from scene to scene, creating constant but seamless action. I'm really looking forward to future releases in the Stanley library, especially his teenager comics. There's a breeziness to his character design that I find irresistible, and such comics are really in his wheelhouse as a cartoonist. It's a tribute to his skill and ingenuity that he was able to pull off a slightly more visceral and wacky style in MELVIN MONSTER.

This was the first volume of the collected MOOMIN strips that I'd read, and as it turns out four of the five stories were written by Lars, as opposed to Tove, Jansson. Tove still drew the stories that were featured in a British daily newspaper, and they still possessed a remarkable amount of gentle charm and wit. Jansson's line is remarkable simple and graceful in creating her family of hippo-like Moomintrolls. She got more out of less than any cartoonist this side of Charles Schulz. Unlike Schulz, Jansson's work also had a number of clever decorative touches. In many of her strips, she used things like umbrellas, canes, flutes, pens and lamps to form the vertical interior panel borders, subtly reinforcing the story's themes. Jannson first gained fame as a children's book illustrator with her Moominfamily, but these strips were actually aimed at adults.

While restraint was certainly Tove's watchword as a cartoonist, the stories themselves had a surprising amount of bite. While "Moomin Goes Wild West" is the weakest of the five storylines in this book (due in part to the reliance on stereotypical western humor as the Moomins go back in time), it does wind up redeeming itself by revealing that the wild west adventures they experienced were all part of a cynical, money-making con. "Snorkmaiden Goes Rococo" is another slightly formulaic story spoofing the overromanticization of the age of enlightenment. The book really picks up with "The Conscientious Moomins", a hilarious spoof of manners and "duty" that felt like a direct blow to philosophers like Kant. Jansson depicts a great deal of chaotic bufoonery in her drawings, yet her strips were always clear and never cluttered. Like Schulz, Jansson rarely relied on funny drawings to get across her gags, preferring to let her art tell the story and the gags flow naturally from character and situation.

The book saves its best for last with "Moomin and the Comet" and "Moomin And the Golden Tail". The former is a surprisingly grim, apocalyptic tale of how the various denizens of Moominvalley deal with the arrival of a potentially deadly comet. The satire of parasites, opportunists and last-second religious converts is pointed but still gentle; even the biggest phonies in these stories tended to be treated more with pity than scorn. The latter story was written by Tove and is incredibly rich in characterization and acidic in tone. When Moomin accidentally acquires a golden tail and receives unexpected fame, he has to face the negative consequences such a life brings. It's obvious that this was a commentary on Jansson's own life as an unexpectedly huge international success; the cutting remarks on managers and worldwide merchandising rights sounded like they were coming from the voice of experience. Despite that success, it was obvious that Jansson related much more to the carefree, bohemian lifestyle of the Moomins and their friends rather than any attempts at "bettering" themselves or putting on aristrocratic airs.

Rescuing these strips from obscurity was truly a public service on D&Q's part. It's encouraging that this big risk has paid off so handsomely for the small publisher; the Moomin books have become their biggest sellers. It's interesting to see a boutique publisher like D&Q suddenly flourish in the book market, especially with collections aimed at children and old-time strip fans. It's only logical that the publisher will branch out and starting reprinting Jansson's actual children's picture books, which will be a departure of sorts since they've rarely strayed far from comics in their publishing history. I think the biggest reason why their reprints aimed at children have been so successful is that these have been labors of love that have paid off for both designer and publisher, rather than cynical money grabs. The care and detail in these projects shows and no doubt draws in the curious reader. With more Stanley volumes and Jansson reprints on the way, readers will have much to look forward to.

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Featured artists

Tove Jansson
John Stanley

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Melvin Monster Volume One
Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Four




MOOMIN BOOK 4 reviewed by PopMatters

Updated July 22, 2009


Moomin Book Four: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip
by Tove Jansson

Drawn and Quarterly

May 2009, Hardcover, 128 pages, $19.95
By Sarah Boslaugh

Moomin Book Four is the latest installment in Drawn and Quarterly’s collected edition of the comic strip which Tove Jansson created in the 1950s for the syndicate British Associated News. It offers readers a chance to visit a comforting cartoon universe populated by Moomins: trolls who look like anthropomorphized hippos and act like charmingly eccentric cousins. These are all-ages comics: simple enough to be enjoyed by kids, yet with enough philosophical depth to keep adults interested as well.

The Moomin tales are set in Moominvalley, the central characters are the family group Moominpappa, Moominmamma and their child Moomintroll, and they live in a Moominhouse. If you’re already starting to gag this might not be the series for you, because the cuteness factor can be pretty extreme. But if you can get past that, there’s something addictive about these comics: the Moomin universe is a nice place to visit (and remember, these strips were created in the 1950s) and a good antidote to the jangly modern world most of us live in today.

The characters don’t evolve so you can rest assured that Moominpappa will retain his misguided belief that he can repair anything (while his actions demonstrate the opposite, unless by “repair” you mean “render unrecognizable”), Moominmamma will remain unflappable, indulgent, and maternal, and Mummintroll will remain wide-eyed and open for adventure. But while they continue repeating their characteristic behaviors, they’re also self-aware enough to comment philosophically on their lives, and Jansson has a knack for treating serious topics with a light touch.

My favorite in this volume is the delightfully subversive “The Conscientious Moomins” in which a grim visitor from the League of Conscience and Duty tries to make the Moomins dissatisfied with themselves and their paradise on earth. They don’t have to work, life is not a struggle, they’re not wanting for anything—how did they ever get in such a fix? They don’t even seem to hear the menace in the stranger’s warning about money: maybe you think you don’t need money now, but “as soon as you earn some you will need it!” So pretty soon everyone is rushing around trying to find a job and Moominpappa even studies a self-improvement book entitled How to Be a Magnetic Personality—take that, Dale Carnegie! Fortunately they have enough of this pointless getting and spending before any real harm is done and soon return to enjoying the lives they have rather than chasing after some unending goal of “more”.

That’s the basic form of all the stories: they begin and end in the ordinary world and some kind of adventure occurs between, which often involves one or more characters chasing after some sort of false value. In “Moomin and the Golden Tail”, Moomintroll sprouts a tuft of golden hair on his tail which makes him the toast of the town: soon paparazzi are camping out under the bed and the Moomins are being invited to boring parties (best line of the comic: “Who are those strange individuals who are enjoying themselves at a cocktail party?”) with no time to go fishing with his pal, Snufkin. In “Moomin and the Comet” a threatened comet strike turns some people into hucksters and killjoys (“Dancing! When the earth may be doomed!”) rather than enjoying whatever time may be left. On the side of the angels is series regular Little My, who concludes that it was good that a search for buried treasure came to nothing because “sometimes it’s better to look at things than own them ... owning means anxiety and lots of bags to carry around”.

Two tales feature a time machine which the always enterprising Moominpappa inadvertently builds out of a clock and his wife’s sewing machine (he was supposed to be repairing them). In “Moomin Goes Wild West” the family visits the American Wild West, which they hope to be like the movies. It is, but not in the way they expect: it turns out that everything is fake and even the Indians are hired entertainers who present a bill for their services. In “Snorkmaiden Goes Rococo” they visit 18th-century France where for some strange reason everyone speaks modern English. Half the fun in this one is spotting the historical references, so here’s a few to watch for: Fragonard’s painting “The Swing”, the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, and culinary advice from the monarchy to the peasants.

Jansson’s art is nothing spectacular, but she has a distinctive style which is endearing in its clunkiness. The strips are well-presented in a beautifully-produced large-format (8.2” by 11.25”) volume with cream-colored pages and a one-page biography of Jansson by Alisia Grace Chase. All in all, if you have a high tolerance for whimsy you could do worse than to spend a few hours in Moominvalley where nothing really bad ever happens and everything is put to rights by the end of each story. Or as Snorkmaiden puts it after they survive in rapid succession a comet strike, earthquake, and
tidal wave:

“Didn’t I tell you nothing could happen to Moominvalley?”

Rating:
— 21 July 2009
 
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Tove Jansson

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  MOOMIN 4 reviewed by Booklist

Updated June 29, 2009


Issue: July 1, 2009


Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, v.4.
Jansson, Tove (Author) and Jansson, Lars (Author)
May 2009. 112 p. Drawn & Quarterly, hardcover, $19.95. (9781897299784). 741.5.
Tove Jansson believed in the spontaneity that her beloved creations, the Moomins, lived, and producing a
daily newspaper strip soon palled. Consigning scripting duties to her brother in 1959, she drew for two
more years before bowing out altogether. Four of the five continuities in this collection are collaborations,
but the siblings were very simpatico, and the gently wry humor that is Moomin’s great distinction
illuminates everything here. With the writing off her plate, Tove indulged a decorative impulse that shows
in the vertical panel borders of “The Conscientious Moomins,” in which they strive to “make something of
themselves”—fortunately, to no avail. Two other adventures stem from Moominpappa’s accidental
construction of a time machine; the Wild West and the Age of Reason become the time-travelers’
destinations and satiric targets. Apocalyptic hysteria is ridden firmly into the ground (and back out again)
in “Moomin and the Comet,” while in Tove’s final solo essay, “Moomin and the Golden Tail,” Moomin
learns the fleeting joys and much more enduring annoyances of celebrity. Jolly good stuff!

— Ray Olson

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Tove Jansson

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Moomin Book 4 reviewed by CBR

Updated June 10, 2009


Moomin: The Complete Tov Jansson Comic Strip Book. Book 4
by Tove Jansson
Drawn and Quarterly, 106 pages, $19.95.

By now the Moomin books have fallen into a recognizable pattern. The Moomin family is living a quiet and comfortable life until: a) outside forces either man-made or natural upend things or b) they grow dissatisfied with their lot and decide to embark on a self-improvement course of some nature. Sometimes it’s a combination of the two, but the conclusion is never in doubt. By the end the Moomins are back to square one with everything back to normal, as if nothing bad ever happened at all.

So it’s the in-between stuff that counts and makes the strip worth perusing. This time around the family accidentally invents a time machine and travel back to the wild west and the 18th century. Jansson gets quite a bit of amusing mileage out of contrasting the family’s romantic expectations with the reality of the times (everyone in the west is out to make a fast buck, even the Indians, and they’re more bemused by the father’s water pistol than anything else). Moomin also staves off a comet attack, gains unwanted fame thanks to a golden tail and decides to become conscientious before finally coming to his senses.

This sort of stuff either charms or annoys you. Myself, I continue to be charmed by Jansson’s low-key, gentle, but still wry antics. Far from entering into a rut, Jansson seems to continually spin gold out of the same formula time and again. Moomin remains a wistful paen to the joys of relazing and enjoying life and the importance of play. For nine-to-five slobs like me, it’s wish fulfillment at its finest.
 
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Tove Jansson

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Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Four




  MOOMIN featured in Publishers Weekly

Updated April 20, 2009


More Moomin Magic
By Karen Springen -- Publishers Weekly, 4/20/2009

Could a decades-old Scandinavian series about a family of hippo-shaped trolls become the next Winnie the Pooh? Maybe.

Publishers of the Moomin books, introduced by Finnish writer/illustrator Tove Jansson in 1945, are breathing new life into the franchise. Many Americans may well say, “Moomin who?” But the droll trolls enjoy a cult following in places like Scandinavia and Japan, and the books have been translated into 34 languages. Over the decades fans have avidly followed the humorous adventures—and misadventures—of a family that changes its last name to “de Moomin” when it visits the Riviera and that lives in a forest—but sometimes in a lighthouse and a theater.

For the Moomins' 65th anniversary next year, reissued and repackaged novels and comics are planned, as are brand-new pre-k board, lift-the-flap, picture and coloring books. “It's sort of a second generation of effort,” said Wesley Adams, executive editor at Macmillan's Farrar, Straus & Giroux, which has published the Moomin novels since 1989. (Macmillan’s Square Fish imprint will be issuing redesigned paperback editions next year.)

At last month's Bologna Children's Book Fair, Puffin U.K. showed a new preschool Moomin series, which will launch in Britain in July 2010. Also appearing at the fair was Tove Jansson's niece, Sophia Jansson, who is the artistic director of a company called Moomin Characters, founded by the Moomin estate. (All Moomin books and products must receive Moomin Characters' approval.) It was Sophia Jansson's idea to create the new preschool books. “They are aimed at the family's youngest readers, who might have a hard time starting with the original Moomin books,” she said. (Sophia's father, Lars, continued the Moomin newspaper comic strips after Tove Jansson, who died in 2001, stopped writing and drawing them in 1961.)

Puffin U.K. is talking to several dozen publishers in more than 20 countries about translation rights for the pre-k books. The new titles will use “exactly the same text and pictures” in the translations and in any U.S. editions, said Roleff Krakstrom, managing director of Moomin Characters. A U.S. publisher has not yet been decided on; “we first want to see how the program is doing internationally,” Krakstrom said. When the time comes for a U.S. contract, Moomin Characters could pick Puffin, FSG — or another publisher. "We are going to look at the best marketing and launch plans," he noted.

U.S. publishers are interested. “When I was in Bologna, and I saw this big white Moomin character walking around, I became smitten,” said Jean Feiwel, publishing director of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and publisher of Square Fish. She notes that the preschool books seem “carefully considered” rather than “oh, my gosh, I'm sure the original creator is just turning over” creations.

The Moomins remain steady sellers. FSG's edition of Finn Family Moomintroll, with more than 100,000 copies in print, is in its 20th printing. Next year the eight Moomin novels will be repackaged by Square Fish. Feiwel said they plan to keep the original drawings, but “will probably reset the entire book. It's going to look better.”

The Moomin family is also enjoying a resurgence in the comics arena. Canadian publisher Drawn & Quarterly, which has already printed three volumes of the Moomin comic strips, which started appearing in the London Evening News in 1954, will publish a fourth in June. “I didn't want to make a 500-page book, with all the strips in one book,” said Tom Devlin, creative director at Drawn & Quarterly. The literary comics publisher will also put out four picture books—The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My this fall, Who Will Comfort Toffle? in 2010 and Dangerous Journey and The Moomins and the Great Flood, most likely in 2011 and 2012—as well as an English translation of a Tove Jansson biography.

Moomin fans are cautiously optimistic about the pre-k books. in the pipeline “[It] could be a good way to bring the Moomins to a wider American audience, with the caveat that everything is taken from the original illustrations and text to remain true to Jansson's intent,” said Amy Graham, a customer of DDG Booksellers in Farmington, Maine, who reads the stories with her two daughters.

While Puffin used Jansson's original drawings for the pre-k line, the books do feature new text, “in complete collaboration and with the blessing of Tove's niece,” said Zosia Knopp, Puffin U.K.'s rights director, who believes that the text and art succeed in capturing the tone and spirit of the original stories.

DDG Booksellers owner Kenny Brechner, who called Tove Jansson's work “timeless,” isn't completely convinced about the idea of “writing down to a younger audience.” Still, between last year's New York Review of Books reissue of Tove Jansson's adult novel, The Summer Book, and the popularity of D&Q's comics editions, he has seen “a definite resurgence of influence” in things Moomin.

Ellen Richmond, owner of Children's Book Cellar in Waterville, Maine, says she will "certainly carry" the new preschool books when they become available. She believes the added color and the lift-the-flap idea will be “eye-catching for kids,” though she does wonder how some of the humor will “translate to little guys.”

Ten years ago, FSG's Adams's now 14-year-old daughter dressed up as the Moomin Little My for Halloween. “Nobody knew who she was,” said the editor, who fell in love with Finn Family Moomintroll himself at age 10. Next year, he predicts, a kid dressed up as a Moomin should have better luck.

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Featured artist

Tove Jansson

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Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book One
Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Two
Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Three




MOOMIN 3, AYA OF YOP CITY, JAMILTI and more reviewed by The Boston Phoenix

Updated January 16, 2009


RED COLORED ELEGY
MOOMIN 3
BURMA CHRONICLES
BERLIN: CITY OF SMOKE
JAMILTI
AYA OF YOP CITY
Mike Millard
December 2, 2008
THE BOSTON PHOENIX

...Meanwhile, Seiichi Hayashi's RED COLORED ELEGY (Drawn and Quarterly, $25), drawn in 1970 and 1971 in all spare lines and stark minimalism, uses techniques derived from anime for a story exploring the tension between the personal and the political.

Elegy is just one of many globe-hopping books (each of them $20) put out this year from Montrűal's consistently excellent Drawn and Quarterly. MOOMIN: BOOK THREE is the latest compilation of Finnish cartoonist Tove Jansson's charmingly peculiar Moomin comic strips, which took her hugely popular Scandinavian hippopotamus-esque trolls and syndicated them first in London's Evening News in the '50s and later across Europe and the world.

Guy Delisle's BURMA CHRONICLES finds the Quűbűcois cartoonist traveling to another part of the planet few outsiders have seen. In his previous books, Pyongyang and Shenzhen, Delisle experienced the walled-off worlds of authoritarianism by himself. This time, having his wife (a worker with Műdecins Sans Frontičres) and child in tow makes for a slightly different perspective on life behind the curtain of a censorious, soul-crushing regime. Delisle deals with serious subjects, but his cartoony, workmanlike style is well-suited to his genial observations of the good-hearted people in this profoundly damaged nation.

Jason Lutes's BERLIN: CITY OF SMOKE, the second volume in his fiction trilogy chronicling the gloaming of the Weimar Republic, is drawn in a detailed and assured ligne claire style — one that's all the more remarkable for the vastness and exactitude of Lutes's scope: communists and national socialists, Jews and American jazz men, all interacting in a city fraught with tension as fascism and war gather on the horizon.

Israel's Rutu Modan, introduced to North America last year with the excellent graphic novel Exit Wounds, quickly established herself as one of the most humane and creative artists around — one whose bold sense of color and composition is as refined as her feeling for the subtle undercurrents of her characters' emotions. JAMILTI AND OTHER STORIES, a collection of her shorter pieces, continues to cement that reputation.

Finally, Côte d'Ivoirian Marguerite Abouet and Frenchman Clement Oubrerie's AYA OF YOP CITY (a continuation of last year's Aya) is drawn with happy, vibrant strokes: perfect for these warmhearted tales of an earthy cast of characters living together in 1970s Abidjan. It's nice to see, as Abouet puts it, a continent not defined by "war and famine, an Africa that endures despite everything because, as we say back home, life goes on."

 
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Guy Delisle
Tove Jansson
Rutu Modan

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Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Three
Jamilti and Other Stories




  MOOMIN 3 and BERLIN BOOK TWO reviewed by Booklist

Updated January 16, 2009


Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, v.3. By Tove Jansson. 2008. 104p. illus. Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95 (9781897299555). 741.5.
First published December 1, 2008 (Booklist).

The third collection of Moomintroll family comic strips contains five stories. Although they proceed in tripartitioned rectangles (stacked four on a page), reflecting their original newspaper format, their narrative flow doesn’t stutter a bit. It’s as if they were conceived as wholes, despite their story lines’ essential capriciousness. In them, the family faces flood, Martians, lighthouse-keeping, and club life (clubs were big in the newly leisured 1950s, the strip’s era, to which it otherwise gives scant notice), and Moomin, the young male character, falls briefly for a siren. They’re keenly delightful, like Wind in the Willows for adults, especially those who aren’t too adult. —Ray Olson

Berlin: v.2, City of Smoke. By Jason Lutes. 2008. 200p. illus. Drawn & Quarterly, paper, $19.95 (9781897299531). 741.5.
First published December 15, 2008 (Booklist).

The second volume of Lutes’ historical epic about Weimar-era Berlin opens amid the aftermath of the May Day riots of 1929, as the relationship between the central figures, journalist Kurt Severing and artist Marthe Muller, grows strained while the battle between fascism and communism escalates in the streets. Kurt becomes more involved with the political situation, and Marthe descends into the city’s demimonde. Outstanding among the rest of the sprawling tale’s cast are young Silvia Braun, orphaned by the riots and taken in by Pavel the scavenger, and the Cocoa Kids, a black jazz band from America, who find heady but dangerous freedom in hedonistic Berlin. Lutes deftly limns the period’s epochal events by focusing not on history-makers but on writers, artists, homosexuals, and Jews, whose freedom will soon be trampled. Using a straightforward visual approach reminiscent of the clear-line school of European cartoonists, Lutes dispassionately depicts horrific events as well as the tender moments that circumstances—the volume ends with the September 1930 elections, in which the Nazis saw huge gains—will make increasingly precious. —Gordon Flagg

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Jason Lutes
Tove Jansson

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Berlin, Book Two: City of Smoke




MOOMIN 3 reviewed by Time Out London

Updated January 16, 2009


Books - Reviews - Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip (Vol 3)
Joe Luscombe
30 October 2008
Time Out


When Tove Jansson started producing 'Moomin' cartoon strips in the mid-1950s, she did so with the readers of the London Evening News in mind. Although she had been writing prose about the 'Moomins' for nearly a decade, the tone was just settling into its distinctive humane melancholy.

Jansson's UK exposure helped her break into the international market, but what '50s Londoners made of her vision of Snorks, Mymbles and Hattifatteners is hard to imagine. There are a few minor concessions to the readership - policemen wear pointy helmets, there are even references to being English - but commuters must have been charmed by the exotic difference of Moominvalley from their own lives, while perhaps identifying with the overwhelming spirit of acceptance and love for friends and family.

The five stories in this volume each unfold with a whimsical rhythm in book form, but the final panel of each line is rarely a gag, or even a stopping point in the narrative. Reading them a strip at a time in newspaper form must have been a brain-scrambling experience.

Although recent editions have brought attention to Jansson's prose writing, she was a renowned and successful artist by the time of the 'Moomins'. She brought an expert sense of space and balance to her strips. She used the balloons of empty page that formed her eponymous heroes artfully, juxtaposing their shape and skintone with the dark and spiky things of their world, and the boxes of the strips themselves, to produce an extraordinarily satisfying result.

These are great days for fans of classic comic strips, with 'Krazy Kat', 'Peanuts' and 'Popeye' all receiving the sumptuous reprint treatment. But Canadian publishers Drawn and Quarterly are serving Jansson's particular vision well with these weighty, cloth-bound editions.
 

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  MOOMIN 3 reviewed by Newsarama

Updated November 28, 2008


Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip
Written & Illustrated by Tove Jansson
Reviewed by Michael C Lorah
03 November 2008
NEWSARAMA

The third hardcover volume reprinting Tove Jansson’s beloved children’s comic strip finds Moomin and family discovering love (and jealousy), the exoticism of jungle life, the paranoia of alien incursion and more.

Filled with gentle humor and common emotions, Moomin follows the Moomin crew through a panoply of scenarios that serve to underscore the bonds of family and the security of home. Finnish cartoonist Tove Jansson created the Moomin characters in 1945 as a children’s book series, before transitioning to comic strips in the mid-1950s.

Jansson’s warm, gentle humor is probably not en vogue among mainstream comics readers today, but the character play between the characters – such as when Moomin inadvertently sends Stinky on a plot to populate their newly grown jungle – is a delight. The free-spirited inquisitive nature of Moomin and Snorkmaiden and Moominmama gives readers an upbeat, curious insight into the workings of the world. Plus, gags such as a zookeeper referring to the Moomins as hippopotamuses and attempting to herd them into cages entertain on a more prurient level.

Artistically, Jansson uses the comic strip form effectively. The lines are strong and clear, sequences easy to follow and the character acting simply sublime. Just a few lines so effortlessly emote the curiosity or confusion, or the disappointment, of each player in this little melodrama. Her simple two- or three-panel strips rarely have cliffhangers or jokes – the strip is designed to be read in sequence as a long-form story.

Moomin is, in many ways, a relic of a different time, a different world, but it’s still a very effectively drawn and written cartoon strip. Charming and upbeat, filled with curiosity and warmth, it’s a fine strip that few readers will find fault with.
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MOOMIN 3 reviewed by The Syracuse Herald Journal

Updated November 26, 2008


"Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip" Volume 3,Drawn & Quarterly; $19.95.
SYRACUSE HERALD JOURNAL
October 31, 2008

"Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip" Volume 3,Drawn & Quarterly; $19.95.

What is for kids of all ages is "Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip" Volume 3. Once again we visit the magical land of the Moomintrolls, where the power of love is tested against vanity, ecological disaster, Martian invasion and good, old-fashioned ghosts.

Kids can take these furious flights of imagination at face value and enjoy them for what they are: good stories, nicely told. Adults can delight at the deadpan delivery of some of the most unlikely dialogue ever to come out of the mouths of talking hippolike creatures: "Do you like me less or more now since I've become invisible?" "More! (pause) Wasn't it the right answer? Darling, don't you see that I'm idealizing your memory?"

Deceptively simple, the stories (originally appearing in daily comic strip form in the 1950s) are an engaging addiction. I can't wait for Volume 4.
 

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Tove Jansson

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  MOOMIN 3 reviewed by Comics Reporter

Updated November 26, 2008


MOOMIN 3
Creator: Tove Jansson
October 23, 2008
COMICS REPORTER

I'm a little too in love with the Moomin strips to craft a credible review, but sometime it's worth talking about the objects of one's affections in order to that someone else might learn to love that thing, too. Drawn and Quarterly's ongoing efforts to reprint all of Tove Jansson's strips featuring her durable Moomin characters reaches the halfway point in fine form, with five adventures that show off various strengths of the strip. The first two serials are the best: in "Moomin Falls In Love," our lead becomes infatuated with the beautiful Miss La Goona (she's beautiful as a kind of declarative point rather than automatically impressing this upon anyone) which in turn leads to several funny back and forth moments between Moomin and Snorkmaiden and then a series of mishaps with at least three comedic confrontations before the serial's end. "Moominvalley Turns Jungle" gives Jansson the opportunity to draw several lovely animals and allows her another shot at the always fruitful Moomin themes of the impact of immediate environment and the illusion of drastic change. It's hard to be as fond of "Moomin and the Martians," "Moomin and the Sea" and "Club Life in Moominvalley." "Moomin in the Sea" in particularl proves to be something of a rambling mess whose satisfying comedic conclusion fails to redeem the general, limp nature of its various narrative threads. The final story proves interesting mostly in that you realize how much of the humor is dependent on a surface familiarity with many of the characters; a dozen short serials in, and Jansson has a mature strip on her hands and can do things that American strip cartoonists won't dare until year 11 or 12.

One of the reasons I find it difficult to write about the Moomins is that I don't know yet how the art works. At times the figure drawing depends on the cartoonist's ability to manipulate the thin lines with which she builds her lead to communicative effect: they bend and scowl and flounce and throw tantrum with much more drama than any bean-shaped figures should be able to muster. Yet there's also this powerful secondary effect Jansson realizes with these suddenly solid shapes: trees and nighttime air, the rocks and mines of the sea-side episode, even many of the smaller, more twee character designs. It's like watching someone write with her art but then also put in bold moments of decoration around that writing. It's incredibly appealing if you can stand the bohemian milieu and the general emotional tone. I think I shall ask it to go steady.
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MOOMIN 3 reviewed by Quartier Libre

Updated November 26, 2008


Volume 16 – Numéro 4 – Culture
Bande dessinée : Moomin, the complete Tove Jansson comic strip
Dans la vallée des Moomins
Julie Delporte
QUARTIER LIBRE
15 octobre 2008

Ils ont de gros nez ronds, mais il ne faut pas les confondre avec des hippopotames. Ils sont blancs et poilus. Ils vivent en famille dans une tour au bord de la mer, au rythme de ce qui ressemble ŕ une douce utopie – imaginée alors que montait le fascisme en Europe. Ce sont les Moomins : des trolls (quel affreux mot pour de si jolis personnages) créés par la finlandaise Tove Jansson et apparus pour la premičre fois dans des livres illustrés de langue suédoise en 1945. Depuis, dans leur pays d’origine, ils sont adulés et respectés. Les enfants scandinaves les trimbalent sur leurs sacs et leurs bobettes et se rendent tous une fois dans leur vie au parc d’attractions qui leur est dédié : Moomin World.

Jusqu’en 2006, ŕ l’exception de quelques diffusions télévisées de l’adaptation japonaise de leurs aventures en dessin animé, les Moomins ne couraient pas nos contrées nordaméricaines. Étrange, car la finesse des réflexions de ces bipčdes attachants n’a rien ŕ envier ŕ Peanuts ou ŕ Calvin et Hobbes. Un exemple : alors que Snork Maiden, la blonde de Moomin (le Moomin qui s’appelle Moomin), est jalouse d’une lady ŕ qui son amoureux fait des courbettes, une amie lui glisse une devinette ironique. « Quelle est la différence entre le premier et le dernier amour ? » Réponse : « On pense toujours que le premier est le dernier, et que le dernier est le premier. » Quant au trait de crayon de leur dessinatrice, il exprime par d’infimes variations de sourcils une multitude de réactions humaines. La méconnaissance de cette śuvre ne pouvait provenir d’un problčme de traduction. La maison d’édition montréalaise Drawn & Quarterly publie depuis deux ans les recueils de strips mettant en scčne la famille Moomin. Le troisičme des cinq volumes prévus est paru cet été. Ces strips ont été publié pour la premičre fois en anglais par le quotidien londonien The Evening News ŕ partir de 1954. Tove Jansson les dessina jusqu’ŕ l’épuisement de son inspiration en 1959, puis laissa la série aux mains de son frčre Lars Jansson, capable de copier son style avec précision.

Si vous tenez ŕ lire Moomin en français, la męme série de comic strip existe chez un éditeur jeunesse français, Le petit lézard, qui a démarré ses publications en męme temps que ses comparses anglophones. La version française en est rendue au deuxičme tome, Moomin et la mer. Cependant, sachez qu’il vous en coűtera, au Québec, le double du prix pour la version française (environ 40 $), mais c’est le lot de beaucoup de bandes dessinées importées d’Europe. Sachez surtout que vous subirez un massacre typographique : la maničre dont sont moulées les lettres est toute impersonnelle et grasse. Que c’est laid. C’est que Moomin constitue un héritage ŕ ne pas traiter ŕ la légčre. Le petit monde de la BD ne s’y est pas trompé. La publication anglophone des strips a reçu le distingué Harvey Award, tandis que la version française s’est vue remettre le prix Essentiel patrimoine au Festival international de la bande dessinée d’Angoulęme en janvier dernier.
 
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  MOOMIN on The Rabbit Hutch

Updated June 11, 2008


What I'm Reading - Moomin Comics!
THE RABBIT HUTCH
May 28, 2008

There are Moomintroll comics! And you can get them in hardcover (if you're like me, they're at your local library)!

I don't know why I'm so excited about this. I mean, growing up, I only read one of the books (Finn Family Moomintroll), and I never saw the cartoons or anything. But from what I've read, the comics are very charming, with an interesting sense of humor.
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Tove Jansson

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MOOMIN 1 and 2 reviewed by SHUFFLEBOIL

Updated April 10, 2008


Review - “Moomin,” Volumes 1 and 2
SHUFFLEBOIL
March 31, 2008

Here’s a little something you don’t see mixed often enough and you certainly don’t expect to find it in a comic strip half a century old: sweetness and biting wit. That’s just not a typical combination, but “Moomins” are not typical creatures — nor is Tove Jansson a typical cartoonist. The “Moomin” comic strips present light-hearted and lovable characters amidst an absurdist fantasy of social commentary. In fact, after reading them, you’ll wonder how you ever did without them.

The title refers to a family of bouncy looking creatures — kind of like hippos, but not nearly as dangerous — who live a life that is idyllic and easy going. They’re the ultimate bohemians, but without the gratuitous cynicism — that is reserved for the sharp wit of their creator, Swedish writer and artist Tove Jansson, who steers her characters into playful confrontations with authority figures of all types. Many of the stories contained in these collections have to do with some dictatorial idiot — whether it’s domineering athletes or vacationing famous millionaires coming along and institutionalizing something that interferes with the Moomin way, which is one of easygoing improvisation. As the father proclaims, “I only want to live in peace and plant potatoes and dream,” which is also etched into the back cover of the first volume as a manifesto.

By the end of the two volumes, Jansson turns the tables and introduces a religious cult that out-Moomins the Moomins and puts them into the role of authority figure — and manages to meld this turn with their natural tendency to happy chaos. That’s the power of Jansson’s clever humor.

In some ways, the Moomin tales are the classic Beverly Hillbillies scenario — there are certain people in the world who just cannot tolerate disorder on any level, especially as presented through something they see as lacking in refinement. The audience, however, always sides with simplicity, largely because no one likes a pretentious boob. The Moomin are anything but that, and their large, bulbous appearances are physical illustrations of their facile souls and the larger than life bombast that lurk within.

The series began not as a comic strip at all, but as children’s books, with the character of Moomintroll first appearing in the 1945 book “The Little Trolls and the Great Flood.” At some point, Jansson had released a cartoon adventure for a Swedish-Finnish newspaper and, in 1953, began the comic strip presented in these volumes for the Associated Press in England. It ran for five years until Jansson gave it up, essentially realizing that there was a lot of Moomin in her and she just couldn’t keep up with the schedule any longer. It’s no wonder — Jansson was raised in a family of eccentrics who kept a pet monkey and served as inspiration for the Moomin characters. She became a beloved and thoroughly decorated writer in Sweden and Finland.

Sadly, the Moomins were never well-known in our country, but Drawn and Quarterly has done a remarkably beautiful job in collecting the comic strips — and an important one as well. These are great comics for kids — intelligent and whimsical, they offer much to laugh about, as well as plenty to consider. Jansson’s writing — and the characters who benefit — are playful, but wise, and each story offers something profound underneath the silliness.

In this manner, Jansson has much in common with the best of children’s works — the best comparison I can think of with Russell Hoban’s tender and worldly book “The Mouse and His Child” — but with an absurdist comic turn that is distinctly Scandanavian. Jansson’s work holds up just as well next to the best of Charles Schulz and fans of his early work will, I think, be delighted by what these volumes of Jansson reveal.

The phrase “hidden treasure” is bandied around about as much as the word genius. As overused as that, they are the two words most appropriate to Jansson’s work.
 
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Tove Jansson

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  Moomin 2 reviewed by Booklist

Updated December 21, 2007


Adult: GRAPIC NOVELS IN BRIEF
Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, v.2
Olson, Ray
1 December 2007
Booklist

Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, v.2. By Tove Jansson. 2007. 96p. illus. Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95 (1-894937-80-5). 741.5.

When she accepted the London Evening News' early-1950s proposal that she put her hippolike children's book characters, the Moomintrolls, into a comic strip, Jansson had become so used to writing long, leisurely stories that that's what she naturally did for the newspaper. There were four stories in the first volume collecting the strip, and there are four in the second, which drolly satirize winter sports, middle-class tidiness, building one's own home, and the folly of following secular saviors. A deep-rooted decency rather than any kind of humanitarianism undergirds Jansson's humor and makes it as wisely risible today as it was half a century ago. -Ray Olson

YA/S: This should pull more interest beyond just teens who remember the Moomintrolls from their childhoods. RO.

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Tove Jansson

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EXIT WOUNDS and MOOMIN 2 in The VIllage Voice

Updated December 21, 2007


A Year in Comics and Graphic Novels
Criminal masterminds, shoehorn worshippers, President McCain
by R.C. Baker
December 18th, 2007

Rutu Modan's Exit Wounds (D&Q, 168 pp., $19.95) is a quieter take on Middle East carnage. A ne'er-do-well father may or may not have died in a suicide bombing; his younger girlfriend and his son traverse Israel seeking clues, fall in love, and find that the missing old man looms between them. Deft artwork and the theme of loss partially regained make this one of the most poignant books of the year.
...
Seemingly gentler, but pungent in their own right, are Tove Jansson's 1950s Moomin strips, gathered into a beautiful, oversize volume (D&Q, 96 pp., $19.95). The happy family of hippo-like Moomins outwits self-absorbed jocks and uptight neighbors with aplomb; what gives the strip edge are its insouciant figures, expressive areas of rich black, and judicious sweeps of Zip-a-tone.

 
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Tove Jansson
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  WHITE RAPIDS, MOOMIN 2 and SHORTCOMINGS reviewed by The School Library Journal

Updated December 21, 2007


Drawn & Quarterly – School Library Journal Reviews – January, 2008
School Library Journal

BLANCHET, Pascal. White Rapids. tr. from French by Helge Dascher. illus. by author. 156p. discography. Drawn & Quarterly. 2007. pap. $27.95. ISBN 978-1-897299-24-1. LC number unavailable.
Gr 10 Up–In a tour de force exhibiting both style and substance, a graphic artist recounts the creation, populating, daily life, and eventual planned destruction of a Canadian town. White Rapids came into being as part of a private power company’s need for manpower at a site rich with potential hydroelectricity. Fifty years later, after the boom years immediately following World War II, that power source was no longer needed by the now-state-owned company. Blanchet’s retro artwork depicts not only the town’s emergence and eventual abandonment, but also the power of capitalism to create a social organism and then destroy it. The book includes facts and figures as well as views of daily life on the river during construction, habitation, recreation, and final human departure; a discography suggests auditory complements to the images for a truly dynamic realization. An excellent resource for social science research as well as inspiring to nascent artists and graphic novelists.–Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA

JANSSON, Tove. Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip. Bk. 2. illus. by author. 88p. Drawn & Quarterly. 2007. Tr $19.95. ISBN 978-1-897299-19-7. LC number unavailable.
Gr 10 Up–A collection of comic strips that Jansson wrote during the 1950s for adults, based on the characters from her children’s books. In this volume, the cute hippolike Moomins stay in their Scandinavian home and let the follies of the world–a self-glorifying athlete, snobbish new neighbors, or competing prophets–come to them. But folly can also be home-grown, as Moominpapa one winter decides that his family will eat pine needles and sleep on a pile of hay, because that is how their ancestors lived. Whatever the challenge, though, good sense always triumphs and all ends well. Jansson’s gentle skewering of human foibles is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. Teens will readily identify modern-day incarnations of Jansson’s characters and appreciate her message that the path to happiness lies in being true to who you are and trusting in the support of caring friends and family. The whimsical black-and-white artwork conveys both the characters’ emotions and the informality of life in Moominvalley.–Sandy Schmitz, Berkeley Public Library, CA

TOMINE, Adrian. Shortcomings. illus. by author. 112p. Drawn & Quarterly. 2007. Tr $19.95. ISBN 978-1-897299-16-6. LC number unavailable.
Gr 10 Up–Ben Tanaka is a Japanese American in his late 20s, living in Berkeley and working in a movie theater. His confusion and frustration with his girlfriend, Miko, are compounded when she moves to New York for a four-month internship at a film institute, leaving him to have some “time off” from their relationship. The women in his life now include his best friend, Alice, a Korean lesbian; a beautiful, white bisexual who chooses her ex-girlfriend over him; and a performance artist who delights in photographing her own urine and having sexually explicit musical stage shows, but finds kissing icky because of germs. When Ben goes to New York with Alice, he finds that Miko has hooked up with a photographer and isn’t in the city for an internship at all. Tomine uses an understated drawing style that is simple yet effective, and fits well with characters who are intelligent, reflective, and honest. In addition to tackling modern relationships and racial politics, pop culture, art, and cinema are also discussed. Ben acts as an Everyman, standing in for all Americans of mixed ethnicity and the confusion that often surrounds a person divided between two worlds. The wordless final frames speak volumes for his quiet contemplation, and many readers will identify with his struggle.–Jennifer Waters, Red Deer Public Library, Alberta, Canada


Featured artists

Adrian Tomine
Tove Jansson
Pascal Blanchet

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Shortcomings (HC)
Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Two
White Rapids




MOOMIN 2 mentioned by Graphic Fiction

Updated December 12, 2007


Moomin 2
Van Jensen
GRAPHIC FICTION
December 10, 2007

For those unfamiliar with the Moomins, the inevitable mental connection you will make is the infamous Barney. After all, like Barney the Moomins are cartoonish rounded creatures always caught up in silly activities. Luckily, the similarities end there.

The brainchild of Finnish illustrator Tove Jansson, the Moomins were a family of mildly anarchistic and wildly fun loving creatures living in Scandinavia. They were long featured in children’s cartoon strips until Jansson unleashed a long series intended for adults. Dozens of those strips are reprinted here in Moomin: Book Two (Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95) in nicely repackaged form.

Much like Jansson’s family, the Moomins are always caught up in some whimsical affair, always questioning the logic of what’s come before. In the first series, they decide hibernation is pointless and stay up through winter. Jansson used silly premises to explore serious material. An over-competitive winter athlete serves to skewer male ego in one of the better segments. Jansson even turns the satirical light on herself (through the Moomins) by questioning the logic of anarchistic living.

The art is distinct and elegant, never as stark as the stereotypes of Scandinavia. These are some of the best cartoons ever printed.
 
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Tove Jansson

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Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Two




  Moomin 2 reviewed by New World Finn

Updated December 6, 2007


MOOMIN: THE COMPLETE TOVE JANSSON COMIC STRIP, Vol.2
K.A. Laity
NEW WORLD FINN

“We are not going to hibernate. We shall create new traditions!”

You could hear the sighs of pleasure around the world when the second volume of Moomin comics was issued by the talented folks at Drawn & Quarterly. Like the first one, this second book is gorgeously produced, the sturdy cover a mix of forest green and wintergreen pink, the creamy interior pages hefty enough for constant re-reading. Moomin frolics in various poses across the textured white on blue endpapers, which seemed designed to provide models for drawing him yourself. The illustration on the front already thrusts us into the heady mix of drama with a serious looking Moomin clasping pinchers, Little My feeding a giant snake into a tower and an anxious Fillyjonk (is there any other kind?) on the telephone spreading word of disaster. Even Moomin Mamma and the Mymble dancing in the mid-summer bonfire take on an ominous look when juxtaposed with those furrowed brows.

The four stories in this volume continue the delightful adventures of the Moomin family. Once again Jansson allows her beloved to roam freely in search of adventures. Of course as soon as wild escapades are really underway, we can count on the troll family inevitably abandoning them to search for peace and quiet. Jansson continues to begin the stories with the iconic image of Moomintroll’s behind, that whimsical circle that she adapts to the needs of the tale. In “Moomin’s Midwinter Follies” we get a glimpse of Moomin laboriously working his way into swimming trunks, only to discover their pond to be frozen over. Moomin Pappa decides the family will not follow their ancestral habit of hibernating for the winter and instead “create new traditions.” The shivering trolls immediately run into Mr. Brisk, the keen winter sport competitor. Of course the mix of plump Moomin bodies and breakneck winter sports lead to delightfully silly antics, but there’s also a darker undercurrent as the Mymble falls hypnotically in love with the “manly” athlete. Moomin Mamma’s simple “well, hm,” speaks volumes along with her arched brows, but the family’s kindly tolerance of eccentricities gives her patience for the foolish romantic. Jansson seems to share her befuddlement with Mymble’s headlong pursuit of the uber-competetive (and oblivious) Mr. Brisk.

That tolerant attitude occasionally leads the Moomins away from their normal happiness. In the second adventure, “Moomin Mamma’s Maid,” they are shamed into hiring a maid by the fussy Fillyjonk who moves in next door. Naturally, they retain the services of the saddest little maid ever, Misabel who arrives with her frightened dog, Pimple, who himself worries about the family discovering “the tragic secret of my life.” Both cower before the rambunctious frolicking of the Moomin clan, trying in their iconoclastic way to help the tightly-wound pair to relax. They only get more agitated, however, leaving Moomin Mamma to cluck over their need to “take everything so tracigally.” It is Pimple who first says wistfully, “I wish I was more Moomin-minded.” So might we all.

“Moomin Builds a House” introduces that irrepressible force of nature, Little My. She and her horde of siblings descend on the Moomin household to create more chaos than their tiny size would suggest. While both the smallest and the worst of the children (always ready to bite), Little My proves to also be a kind of catalyst for Moomin and as likely to use her mischievous habits to help as to frustrate. Her unbridled nature speaks to our secret desire to ignore rules, but for Jansson there are some limits to chaos. Things truly fall apart when even Moomin Mamma decides to take up the hedonistic life preaches by the new prophet in “Moomin Begins a New Life.” Although she dismisses his teachings, observing, “Free! Free? I’ve always felt free,” Moomin Mamma finally gets irked enough by her family’s selfishness to go float in the water and collect seashells, leaving her apron and handbag on the shore. It’s a tribute to the unflappable comfort she provides that the sight of those two items abandoned appears so shocking. The true freedom of the Moomin home relies not on selfish indulgence, but loving compassion and acceptance.

A delightful sense of imagination suffuses every line of the comics. The panel borders arise easily out of the objects on display, as if they are found art objects that also move the narrative forward, like the match unstruck on one side and burned and spent on the other. The wealth of facial expressions, simply rendered but wonderfully realized (just look at page 71 for a terrific range of examples), will bring a smile to anyone’s face. The unconventional world of the Moomins easily conveys the power of imagination and the joy of whimsical invention, but it also shows how easily people are frightened away from these simple pleasures. We should all be so lucky as to become Moomin-minded.



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Tove Jansson

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Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Two




MOOMIN, EXIT WOUNDS and SHORTCOMINGS in The St Louis Post-Dispatch

Updated December 4, 2007


The Fun Never Stops!
12/02/2007
ST LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

Exit Wounds

By Rutu Modan

(Drawn and Quarterly, 172 pages, $19.95)

An Israeli, Modan tells a story that initially appears political in nature — identifying a man killed in a suicide bombing — but quickly mutates into something more personal: an account of a severed family bond and a growing romantic connection.



King-Cat Classix

By John Porcellino

(Drawn and Quarterly, 384 pages, $29.95)

This beefy collection of Porcellino's mini-comics provides a revealing sampler of his work, which deftly mixes whimsy and biography, sharp observation and poetic musing.



Shortcomings

By Adrian Tomine

(Drawn and Quarterly, 108 pages, $19.95)

Graphic literature's most gifted realist, Tomine pointedly explores ethnic identity in a fiercely honest story of a relationship undone by the toxic combination of too much self-obsession and too little self-awareness.
 
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Adrian Tomine
Tove Jansson
Rutu Modan

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Exit Wounds
Shortcomings (HC)
Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Two




  MOOMIN 2 mentioned by Daily Camera

Updated December 4, 2007


The Hot 5 - Dec. 2
DAILY CAMERA

"Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip — Book Two." The sweet, surreal 1950s comic strip drawn by Finnish artist Jannson for a London newspaper gets a second high-quality compilation from comics publisher Drawn and Quarterly. Whether competing in whimsical winter sports, feuding with anal-retentive neighbors (by inviting them to a surprise party, natch) or trying to enjoy the pleasures of nature, Jansson's oddly appealing characters take on life's travails with sensitivity and good humor, in lush panels that rival the best of children's illustration.
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Tove Jansson

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Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Two




MOOMIN in the Telegraph

Updated December 4, 2007


Christmas books: Humour
24/11/2007
TELEGRAPH UK

Perhaps to find the true spirit of Christmas fun, we have to seek it through the eyes of a child. Tove Jansson's comic strips, which ran in the London Evening News from 1953 to 1960, are collected in the first two volumes of Moomin: the Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip (Drawn & Quarterly, Ł12.99, T Ł11.99). They are a delight.
 
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Tove Jansson

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Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book One
Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Two




  MOOMIN 2 reviewed by Stars

Updated November 8, 2007


COMICS
"CAPTAIN CARROT' IS BACK IN A THREE-ISSUE MINISERIES
JEFF KAPALKA CONTRIBUTING WRITER
4 November 2007
The Post Standard/Herald-Journal

"Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip Volume 2," Drawn and Quarterly; $19.95

Saving the best until last, Drawn and Quarterly has just brought out volume two in their "Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip" series.

"Moomin" is a delirious treat, combining childlike innocence and sophisticated situations. In the wrong hands, the fanciful characters could become cloyingly sweet, but Jansson adds a dark edge to the proceedings that makes them even more magical. It is unique. Would, say, the Smurfs tackle topics such as religious intolerance, persecution complexes or unrequited love? I think not.

It's not too early to think about holiday gifts. This impressive hardback collection would make a fine one for the comic strip collector in your life.

Featured artist

Tove Jansson

           Featured product

Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Two




MOOMIN 2 reviewed by Barnes & Noble blog

Updated October 26, 2007


Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Books One and Two
By TOVE JANSSON
Reviewed by Amy Benfer
BARNES & NOBLE

Pimple, a small dog, wears a muzzle at all times to hide his tragic secret. "He daren't show himself," explains his owner, Misabel, a maid. "He isn't very well turned out." When the two are hired to work at the freewheeling Moomin household, Pimple removes his muzzle and admits the truth: He only likes cats, not other dogs. Moominmama, the matriarch, is nonplussed. "Why does he take everything so tragically?" she wonders. "Cats or dogs…all that matters is that one like something." After being scolded by his mistress for his indiscretion, the dog that really prefers cats looks out at the big Nordic moon and thinks. "I wish I were more Moomin-minded…"

Would that we all were. In many parts of the world, Tove Jansson's Moomins -- a family of rounded, vaguely hippo-like creatures, with plump bellies and long snouts -- are as familiar as Mickey Mouse. There is a Moomin Museum in her native Finland and a Moomin World theme park in Japan. Her illustrated chapter books for young readers featuring the Moomin family and a motley assortment of creatures both real and imaginary, written between 1945 and 1970, have been translated into 34 languages. She found an adult audience as well when the now-defunct London Evening News began to syndicate a daily Moomin comic strip that she wrote and illustrated from 1953 through 1959; her brother Lars continued the strip through 1973.

The United States has been long overdue for a Tove Jansson renaissance, and with the publication of Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, we may well get one. This series from Drawn & Quarterly -- Book One was released last fall; Book Two was released last week -- collects the entire Tove Jansson comic strips for the first time in North America. Presented in oversized hardcover editions, with brightly colored cloth covers, they are a magnificent introduction to one of the wittiest, most generous, most gleeful artists of the 20th century.

Readers who are totally unfamiliar with Moominland will get a thorough introduction over the course of the first two volumes, with four stories each. Moomintroll, the only character often referred to as just plain Moomin, is a melancholy adolescent -- or perhaps young man -- who mostly lives with his parents (it may be interesting to note that Jansson lived with her parents until the age of 28). His sort-of girlfriend, the Snorkmaiden -- who looks pretty much like the Moomin, with a fringe of bangs -- is obsessed with jewels and often ditches him, albeit temporarily, for various swashbuckling characters. Moominmama wears an apron, sculpts the daily bread into fanciful shapes, and deems housecleaning less important than throwing a party, complete with fireworks and fancy hats. Moominpapa wears a top hat, drinks a lot of cider, and occasionally ditches the family for various artistic and philosophical pursuits, though, like the Snorkmaiden, he always returns at the end of the story. Little My is a tiny, topknotted thing whose physical attributes most closely resemble those of a human girl. Like the Snorkmaiden, Little My is obsessed with "manliness," which leads the two to both bond and compete with each other.

The Moomins' adventures provide a rambunctious portrait and parody of midcentury bohemian family life, a world that Jansson, the daughter of a sculptor and an illustrator, knew well. Neither rich (like the "millionairess" Aunt Jane, to whom the Moomins send a box of walking, talking "bad language") nor poor (like the "poor relations" who show up from time to time and at one point literally grow out of the ground), the Moomins subsist almost entirely on their capacity to play, invent, and imagine.

Readers who are well acquainted with the Moomins through Jansson's tales for older children, such as Finn Family Moomintroll (which have been in continuous publication through FSG), will recognize the same Moomin-minded spirit and sophistication in the comics. But here, Jansson's canvas is the adult world and she overtly and gleefully takes aim at real-world targets: religion, class, politics, and all forms of pretension, authority, and orthodoxy.

Often, Jansson manages to satire both sides of any situation. In "Moomin's Winter Follies," the Moomins defy their ancestors' tradition of hibernating each winter, only to fall prey to an overzealous winter games athletic director. In "Moomin Begins a New Life," a naturalist prophet comes to town, preaching free love and releasing the prisoners, only to be replaced by a competing moralist who wants to inflict guilt, sin, and punishment. The glorious "Moomin on the Rivera" begins with the family talking their way into a fancy private beach hotel, where they change their name to "de Moomin," hobnob with Audrey Glamour (whose thick lashes and slicked-back ponytail resemble that of Ms. Hepburn), and are admired for their "eccentricity." While skewering the pretensions of the elite, the same story also provides a cautionary tale about the silliness of romanticizing poverty, in the form of the faux-hemian Marquis Mongaga, who claims he would give up his vast wealth for " a little hut and a glass of sour wine" and is convinced that his art would improve if only he were "without food and warmth and happy, happy, happy!" (The Marquis's theory is disproved after a few nights living on the beach under the Moomins' leaky boat).

Jansson provides sly commentary on the art world she inhabits in "Moomin and the Brigands," when Moomin -- after discarding fortune telling and the selling of miracle elixir as money-making schemes -- is urged by his friend Sniff to make "something baffling! Bewildering!" Rejecting art as a path to fame and fortune, Moomin replies, "I only want to live in peace, plant potatoes and dream."

That is, presumably, exactly what Jansson herself had in mind when she gave up writing the daily strip after five years, claiming that the deadlines involved in producing it had become less of a joy and more of a burden. In her later years, she moved to a small island with her lifelong partner, the Finnish graphic artist Tuulikki Pietilä. The two women collaborated on an illustrated version of Jansson's autobiography and, with their mothers, a series of Moomin portraits now in the Moomin Museum. Jansson's relationship with Pietilä lends a particularly resonant reading to Moominmama's sympathetic treatment of the dog who really loves cats (though her solution -- find a dog and paint it with stripes -- can suggest any number of interpretations). "You just pretend and pretend!" scolds Misabel, the maid whose life at the beck and call of others has led her to believe that persecution and danger are the only things one can count on. Moominmama replies, "That's why we have such a good time!" As a prescription for a Moomin-minded world, it's as good as any we have.
 
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Tove Jansson

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Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Two




  MOOMIN 2, WALT AND SKEEZIX reviewed by The Onion A.V.

Updated October 26, 2007


WALT AND SKEEZIX 3

After the breakneck drama of Drawn & Quarterly's second Gasoline Alley collection—which saw the orphan Skeezix kidnapped by the mysterious Mme. Octave, and his adoptive father Walt engaging in a cross-country race—Walt & Skeezix: 1925 & 1926 slows back down to the rhythm of day-to-day life, playing to the real strengths of creator Frank King. The strip's biggest development in the mid-'20s involved Walt's long-delayed engagement to Phyllis Blossom, and the wedding that followed. Once Walt finally musters the courage to propose, Gasoline Alley becomes about the many sweet, awkward ways a confirmed bachelor tries to express affection. (Walt: "Phyllis, I like you awfully well." Phyllis: "I'm glad Walt, because I've heard you say as much for french-fried potatoes.") King also begins to experiment more with his art, working with silhouettes, shadows, and close-ups as his characters gradually begin to outgrow the dusty alley garages that used to be the strip's reason for being. Also available now, for the more hardcore fan: Sunday Press' Sundays With Walt And Skeezix, which collects nearly 200 Gasoline Alley Sunday strips at full 16"-by-21" newspaper-page size. As with the D&Q series, Chris Ware's design of the Sundays package presents King's work sensitively and stylishly. But the work itself is the real attraction, especially on the many Sundays when King would have Walt and Skeezix take a walk or a drive through a colorful, magical everyday world. It's hard to call any $100 book a must-own, but it's sure hard to imagine a happy life without Sundays With Walt And Skeezix… Both: A

MOOMIN 2

Drawn & Quarterly resumes another of its welcome archival projects with Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Volume Two. Jansson's near-stream-of-consciousness adventures involving various single-minded woodland creatures is pitched to a narrower sensibility—those with a yen for the outrageously fanciful, basically—but the precisely designed, kid-friendly art is marvelous, and the extended storylines have a steady rhythm that becomes pleasantly lulling the more they're read. This book is perfect for perusing right before bedtime, to ensure unusual dreams… B+
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Featured artists

Frank King
Tove Jansson

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Walt and Skeezix: 1925-1926 (Volume Three)
Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Two




Robert Murray reviews D+Q books bought at SPX

Updated October 19, 2007


SPX 2007: A to Z Reviews
By Robert Murray

The Small Press Expo has now completed its 13th show, revealing once again that the independent comic is still alive and kicking. This year’s show was among the best I have attended, with big guests aplenty: Jeff Smith, Bill Griffith, Gilbert Hernandez, Matt Wagner, and Kim Deitch, just to name a few. Also, I was introduced to some major league talents I was unfamiliar with, such as Rutu Modan and Joshua Cotter. Yes, the Marriott Bethesda North was bursting with comic creativity this weekend, and it’s my sworn duty to present some of that magic to you. I came to the show this weekend with $400 and a mission: To buy as representative a sampling as I could of the show’s best comics. So, as I did last year, I’m pointing out SPX highlights from A to Z, only this year I’m including my personal review of each item. I will have much more detailed reviews for some of these books later. Right now, I want to give you a sampling of the show as well as an approximation of the excitement and wonder of this fast and furious convention. And now, it is my pleasure to present SPX A to Z.

A - Aya by Marguerite Abouet & Clement Oubrerie:
This was an entertaining slice of African life that we rarely see in our American fiction, one filled with positive energy versus the militias and famine we’re used to viewing. The colorful world of the Ivory Coast circa 1978 is brought to vivid life thanks to the lively writing of Abouet and the cartoon-like artwork of Oubrerie (who writes children’s books for a living). In an almost Western fashion, Aya, with her friends Adjoua and Bintou, experience teenage romance, family conflicts, and goofy hi-jinks that would put a CW show to shame. The warmth of the entire package is well worth the price of admission, as is Abouet’s energy in detailing this peaceful period in the Ivory Coast’s history. Great first graphic novel by this team!

B - Big Questions #10 by Anders Nilsen:
This 41-page tale looks simple enough, but it is a complex blend of elements set within infuriating vagueness and a basically blank stage. It’s an easy enough plot at first glance: Two men are marooned near a fighter plane crash, one looking like some escaped mental patient, the other obviously the pilot of the plane. Crows watch as tensions build among the group of birds, mainly over a pile of doughnuts and loyalty to the group. Violence erupts. Yet, like much of Nilsen’s work, this description of Big Questions #10 does no justice, missing his fine panel constructions, the moments of quiet tension, and his ability to challenge readers using the simplest of lines and settings.

H - Laurence Hyde:
His woodcut graphic novel Southern Cross is presented in a fine facsimile edition by Drawn & Quarterly. This is a work of art originally published in 1951, featuring a tale completely told with 118 wordless woodcuts. It is a bold, powerful statement on war, life, and the effects of atomic bomb testing on South Pacific residents. These panels should be in an art museum somewhere!

M - Moomin: Book Two by Tove Jansson:
This is a collection of Tove Jansson’s comic strip that ran in the London Evening News during the 1950s, and are they visually clever! Moomin is a strange world that reminds me of “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends” in regards to style. The simple emotions displayed on the wildly cartoonish characters are wildly expressive and affecting, carrying a mood that compares favorably with great comic strips such as Peanuts. Child-like innocence and intellectual sophistication combine to provide a witty comic that will warm your heart.

R - Rutu Modan (Exit Wounds):
Her first graphic novel is a spectacular accomplishment worthy of this high rating. Influenced by Windsor McCay and her own experiences of Tel Aviv, Modan tells a story of heartbreaking loss, redemption, and the never-ending mystery of life. The level of humanity present in the characters of Koby and Numi is staggering. This is the way you should make a dramatic graphic novel, and Modan proves here that she is an artist we will be hearing about for years to come.

X - As in x-factor, or a book that blew me away with its power and ingenuity.
This year, it was Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow by Anders Nilsen. I think this is one of the few graphic novels that has brought me to tears. Nilsen gets really personal in this book, combining real letters, photographs, and shocking illustrated pages to tell a tale of love and tragedy that has to be real. I don’t know how he gathered the strength to put this book together, but I’m glad he did, because this is probably the best memorial to Cheryl Weaver’s life that he could put together. This was, without a doubt, the most emotionally moving graphic work I have seen in a long time.
 
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Featured artists

Tove Jansson
Rutu Modan
Laurence Hyde

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Exit Wounds
Southern Cross
Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Two




  EXIT WOUNDS, MOOMIN 2 reviewed by the NY Press

Updated October 18, 2007


COMIC TIMING
Graphic picks: from suicide bombings to Finnish hippo beasts
By Brian Heater
NEW YORK PRESS

Whether you’re into heartfelt autobiography or silly plotlines and sarcastic one-liners, the guys and gals putting out graphic novels and comic strips continue to astound in their visual versatility and intelligent insight. We check in with a few recent and upcoming releases to make sure you didn’t miss the latest and greatest the genre has to offer.

Exit Wounds
By Rutu Modan, Drawn & Quarterly
Israeli artist Rutu Modan is no Joe Sacco—and thankfully she never tries to be. Exit Wounds is more of a frank examination of human life during wartime than a frontline, bullet-dodging adrenaline rush of a book. While suicide bombings are a fact of life in Tel Aviv—as well as the catalyst that first brings the book’s protagonists together—they become just another daily challenge amongst characters dealing with life, love, abandonment and any number of other emotions that cut across national boundaries. In the end, Modan’s Exit Wounds is less concerned with ways to die than it is with what it really means to be alive.
Oct. 21, Rutu Modan will be at JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave. (at 76th St.), 646-505-4444; 6, free.

Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip - Book Two
By Tove Jansson, Drawn & Quarterly
The most unfortunate aspect of this second volume in the collected output of Tove Jansson’s beloved Moomin strip is the knowledge of the magic that we’ve been missing out on for decades. Following the adventures of a family of hippo-like trolls, Moomin has near-Disney status in its home of Finland, with theme parks, TV shows, museums and passenger planes erected in its image. A cursory glance at this whimsical 1954-75 strip shows why. Jansson’s opus possesses all of the warmth, wonder and whimsy of the best children’s literature. Drawn & Quarterly does the series right, with a hardbound collection that might be worthy of framing, were one not so tempted to share it with kids and adults alike.
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Featured artists

Tove Jansson
Rutu Modan

           Featured products

Exit Wounds
Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Two




MOOMIN 2 reviewed by Barnes & Noble

Updated October 11, 2007


Moomin Book Two by Tove Jansson
BARNES & NOBLE
October 11, 2007

The Moomins -- melancholic, vaguely hippo-like creatures – debuted in the London Evening News in 1954. In volume two of the first series to reprint the Finnish artist’s complete comic strip in North America, the Moomins defy tradition and resist hibernation, and more.
 
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Tove Jansson

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Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Two




  Moomin 2 reviewed by the Daily Crosshatch

Updated September 28, 2007


Moomin [Volume 2] by Tove Jansson
September 26, 2007
by Brian Heater
THE DAILY CROSSHATCH

In his native Scandinavia, Moomin is the subject of several animated series. His hippo-like face can be found gracing t-shirts and coffee mugs and the side of a full-sized McDonnell Douglas passenger plane in Finnair’s fleet. A Finnish themepark and separate museum have been erected in his name. Mention him to any Finn or Swede, and you’ll likely be greeted with the flood of memories generally attributed to characters on the level of a Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse.

Try the same trick in the States, and you’ll almost certainly find yourself on the receiving end of little more than a baffled stare or furrowed brow.

The lack of success on the part of Tove Jansson’s titular troll can’t be chalked up to cultural differences, however. For their part, Moomin and his family possess all of the universe charm of fellow European exports Babar and Tin-tin. Rather, the absence of recognition can be entirely attributed to the fact that, until Drawn & Quarterly stepped up to the plate last year with the first part of this series, Moomin had never seen the light of day in North America, despite the fact that a number of the strips were originally published in English.

This stunningly packaged second installment is another unmistakable reminder of exactly what we’ve been missing all of these years. Beautifully drawn and wonderfully scripted, Jansson’s masterwork follows the chapter length adventures of the Moominvalley residents, which play out like Pogo minus the political bent or Peanuts without the crippling depression. The Moomin clan are naturally curious, charmingly daft, occasionally nervous, and above all, ultimately happy.

That Moomin has been previously unavailable in our neck of the woods should be considered a crime. Fortunately, D&Q’s collection does the work justice, with books that would sit happily on any shelf next to Fantagraphics’ Krazy Kat, Peanuts, and Popeye collections—company with which Jansson’s work has every right to stand, a sentiment echoed by the quotes from Jeff Smith and Neil Gaiman that grace the book’s back cover.

However, this collection should be regarded as more than just quote fodder amongst the comics elite. Moomin deserves to be shared with anyone—adults and children alike—who have love for a beautifully crafted story.
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Tove Jansson

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Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Two




The Independent reviews MOOMIN BOOK ONE

Updated August 6, 2007


Moomin: The Complete Comic Strip, Volume 1, by Tove Jansson & Fair Play, by Tove Jansson, trans. Thomas Teal
Finely drawn tales of enduring love
Reviewed by Paul Gravett
03 August 2007


To write fiction well for children and for the child in all adults takes a variety of gifts, among them directness and lucidity with words and emotions, and the courage to keep them clean of pretence. This becomes especially true when crafting illustrated stories, where pictures as well as words do the telling and both need to enhance each other. For those who have delighted in the depths which Tove Jansson achieved through her beloved Moomin tales, these two books reveal how, throughout her life, she refined her narrative skills, first for her comics, and then for her adult novels.

In 1952, the Helsinki-born author, then 37, jumped at a rewarding contract to create "an interesting strip cartoon, and not necessarily for children" that would use her upright, mouthless, hippo-like clan "to satirise the so-called civilised way of life". Jansson's dream that the money from crafting "only six comic strips in a week" for the London Evening News would leave her free enough to pursue painting was soon replaced by the time-consuming challenges of devising Moomin serials in daily episodes of two to five panels. A relative novice to the medium, she brought to it a sense of discovery, growing to revel in the playful possibilities of the form, such as vertically dividing pictures with trees, doors or a spider-web. In contrast to her Moomin books until that time, she pared the text down to succinct dialogue in balloons, multiplying pictures to animate the foibles and charms of her eccentric cast.

Far from some sideline, her strips, more than 800 in five years, stand as perennial classics of children's literature across the Nordic lands. Yet in Britain they were compiled into only one collection in 1957, leaving a treasure-trove of her art and writing unjustly unknown. Their belated recovery from crumbling newsprint into five eventual volumes seems almost as fantastical and life-affirming as the Moomin fables themselves.

After Jansson handed over the strip to her brother Lars, she turned to writing specifically for adults from 1968. She brought to her novel Fair Play, published in 1989 when she was 75, all the economy and bell-like clarity she perfected in her Moomin books and comics. These 17 interwoven vignettes unfold "a life of work, delight and consternation" shared by two women, partners and companions.

Though rooted in Jansson's own relationship with the graphic artist Tuulikki Pietilä, this portrait of a couple transcends autobiography to disclose the creativity of living and loving day by day, weathering irritations, jealousies and artistic struggles through a blend of fairness and playfulness.

Fittingly, in what would be her final novel, Fair Play gently celebrates that same patience, accommodation and understanding which were always at the heart of her extended, alternative Moomintroll family, and culminates her lifelong theme of enduring love
 
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Tove Jansson

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Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book One




  Moomin Book One in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Updated July 17, 2007


Tove Jansson, "Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip," (Drawn & Quarterly): Legendary Finnish children's book author, Ms. Jansson, is best known for creating the Moomins, a family of trolls. Ms. Jansson was posthumously nominated for two awards, Best Publication for a Younger Audience and Best Archival Collection, for this anthology from Canadian publisher Drawn & Quarterly.
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Featured artist

Tove Jansson

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Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book One




Dogs & Water and Moomin in the Contra Costa Times

Updated June 1, 2007


"Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip," written and illustrated
by Jansson (Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95, 95 pages). Charm tends to be missing
in comics these days. What a treat, then, to be introduced to the late
Jansson's overly accommodating and wide-eyed hippo-like character. In these
four captivating adventures, the Helsinki-born artist offers gentle
commentary about relatives, wealth and appearances, but what truly wins us
over is her endearing, huggable hippo family and friends. They waddle their
way right into our hearts. Suitable for all ages and deserving of its two
Eisner nominations, the Oscars for comics. Book 2 arrives in September.
Can't wait. A


"Dogs & Water," written and illustrated by Anders Nilsen (Drawn &
Quarterly, $19.95, 96 pages). Every page in this spare, minimalistic story
creates a heavy, desolate sense of sadness. A man we know nothing about goes
on a long, otherworldly pilgrimage (quite the road trip to take in graphic
novels, eh?). It sends him on a path littered with death, wildlife and
occasionally, another person. Nearly everything he encounters poses a real
or imagined threat. Nielsen is a wickedly good master at creating mood; his
stark, simple and almost childlike drawings make the spontaneous violence
all the more disturbing and powerful. It's still messing with my head two
weeks later. A-

Randy Myers' Graphics Detail runs the fourth Sunday of every month. Reach
him at rmyers@cctimes.com or at 925-977-8419.



 
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Featured artists

Anders Nilsen
Tove Jansson

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Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book One
Dogs & Water (hardcover edition)




  MOOMIN, LUCKY, CURSES and AYA in Punk Planet

Updated May 25, 2007


PUNK PLANET

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Featured artists

Gabrielle Bell
Tove Jansson
Abouet & Oubrerie

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Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book One
Lucky (hardcover)
Aya




MOOMIN in The Library Journal

Updated May 22, 2007


Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip
Jansson, Tove
THE LIBRARY JOURNAL


Whimsical and charming, Moomin's (mis)adventures suggest an Alice in Wonderland dream world with odd beings, unexplained connections, and events that freewheel out of control—almost. Moomin and his family are hippopotamus-like trolls, and this strip from the late Finnish artist appeared in the London Evening News from 1953 to 1959 and was syndicated in 40 countries. She always resolves matters with happy endings, but like the best all-ages comics, her gentle humor can be read on multiple levels. Moomin is beset by freeloading guests (which he attempts to drive off in increasingly ludicrous ways), endeavors to win the love of a girl troll, and journeys to the Riviera with his parents. Throughout, foxlike opportunistic sidekick Sniff supplies a slightly edgier counterpoint to Moomin's bewilderment in the face of life's challenges and his joy in ordinary pleasures of nature and family. The deceptively simple black-and-white art invites readers to try drawing their own imaginings. The Moomin saga began as Swedish-language books, then became wildly popular internationally in the 1990s, especially in Japan, and inspired animated and theatrical adaptations—even a theme park and museum. Jansson won numerous prizes for her work. For all ages.—M.C.
 
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Tove Jansson

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Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book One




  MOOMIN in Comic Book Resources

Updated May 10, 2007


Eisner Nominated Reviews (I Love Led Zeppelin, Hotwire, Moomin, Woodsman Pete)
Posted by MarkAndrew
Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

Moomin: The complete Tove Janson Comic Strip

So, Wow! I’m Wikipediaing these Moomin critters are they’re apparently HUGEly popular in Finland. And Denmark. And Russia. And Japan. And the UK. And most of Not-America. There are books about them, a movie, a freaking Moomintroll theme park, even. Strange, then, that I’d never heard of Moomin.

Well, until now. Here’s the first four-complete-stories-worth of the long running Moomin strip, translated into English, an’ stuck in a spiffy looking oversize hardcover. These early fifties srips aren’t the first to feature the Moomins and their literary roots date back even further, to The Moomins and the Great Flood from 1945. But they were certainly one of the driving forces that imbeded these Hippo-lookin’ heroes in European popular consciousness. (Sez Wikipedia.) So. Moomins. Been around a while, very popular. But that doesn’t mean that these strips are any good. And I’m not sure that in this case even “Very well executed” makes it good. At least to my 30 year old and deeply cynical eyes.

The stories, which are definitely intended for all-ages, are ’bout equal parts comedy and adventure. The hero is the Hippo-esque Moomin, pictured above…

Who I guess is supposed to be a troll, and not to be nationalistic or anything, but our good old hairy American trolls are VASTLY superior to your damn junky hippopotamus-resembling foreigner trolls.

Anyway, where was I… family comedy… Oh yeah. Each of the four stories contain one specific adventure. In this book they excise Moomins unwanted guests, fend off the Moomin’s harsh (but very rich) Aunt Jane, take a holiday on the Riviera, and get marooned on a dessert island with pirates. There’s certainly a lot of content in these 95 pages.

The Moomins engaging personalities shine through nicely, but the real star of the show is cartoonist Tove Jansson’s narrative skills. The strips are short; only three to four panels long, with none of ‘em running longer, ala American Sunday Comics. (And in a cute Watchmen-esque touch, each strip begins with Moomin’s plump, plump rumpus, just as pictured above.) But in each and every one of the well over 300 strips Jansen sets up the scene, introduces and spotlights some characteristics of her cast AND advances the overall meta-plot of the big, big story. And THEN the last panel ties it all up with a cliffhanger or punchline. Honestly, I’ve never seen an American comic DO that. The continuitized strips on this side of the pond tend to end weakly and move glacially, and even Real-Time strips like for Better or for Worse often offer up simple character pieces that don’t really tie into any on-going plots.

OK, since it’s a crappy scan, I’ll fill you in on the plot. The Moomins (not pictured) are in hiding, and their rich (and EVIL) Aunt Jane is askin’ Moomin’s buddy Sniff where they are. The relevant points are (A) the beginning of the first strips neatly reprise the beginning of the next strips while every panel advances the narrative, and (B) the especially cool cliffhanger, with Moomin and friends heading towards Aunt Jane with a roll of barbed wire.

So what’s with the discontented tone up above if the cartooning is so top notch? Two things: Some of the language feels a little off. Now this ain’t a UNIQUE problem… The economy of language needed for successful strip cartooning means that every word has to be perfectly chosen in order to maintain the rhythm of the piece. And when translated, y’tend to end up with some linguistic clunkiness. This might be unavoidable, really, but it but it felt particularly noticeable here.

The second problem is the presentation. Like I said, these are VERY good daily comic strips. And this is a problem in itself. Moomin is almost perfectly designed to fit in the daily paper.. And suffers when removed from that environment. Constant re-introduction of the characters and re-setting the scene is needed to keep the daily audience up to speed, but the collected edition reader doesn’t need it, and might find it downright annoying. (Well, he does if the reader is me.) I’d hope that for the next collection Drawn and Quarterly would go with a squatter format, maybe displaying a nice, Garfield-esque two strips per page. This might comes closer to recreating the feeling of reading them in the dailies, and give the page-turning cliffhangers some Oomph.

But all that’s forgiven, ’cause, Hey! Pirates! Awwwww Yeah. Ain’t nothin’ awesomer than Pirates.

So Moomin earns my highest possible recommendation. Of course “Has Pirates in it” *IS* my highest possible recommendation. But kids and comic craft aficionados should eat this up with a spoon. Overall, the sheer mastery of craft overcomes the format an’ translation flubs. And just look at those cute l’il pirates!

(Moomin is nominated for best Collection of Foreign Material and Best Kid’s Comic.)
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Tove Jansson

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Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book One




ICV2.com spotlights Drawn and Quarterly

Updated April 24, 2007


D&Q Announces Fall Releases
ICV2.com
April 20, 2007


ACME Novelty Library #18
Drawn and Quarterly has announced its fall releases, which include the next installment of Chris Ware's award winning series, ACME Novelty Library #18 and ACME Novelty Datebook: Volume Two (1995-99), both in November. Other offerings include Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine in September, and 365 Days: A Diary by Julie Doucet and the second volume collecting Tove Jansson's Moomin, both in October.

ACME Novelty Library #18 collects pages set in Chicago in about 2000 and comes in an uncharacteristically conventional vertical trim (7" x 9-1/4"). The book is 96 full-color pages and lists for $17.95. Ware's ACME Novelty Datebook: Volume Two is a follow-up to the Datebook produced in 2003 and continues in the same manner, collecting miscellaneous watercolor, pen, ink (and white out) images circa 1995-1999. The Datebook is 208 pages, hardcover and sells for $39.95

Shortcomings first appeared in Tomine's Optic Nerve series. It follows Ben Tanaka through his struggles as a Japanese-American Gen X-er. Shortcomings is B&W, 104 pages and lists for $19.95.


Moomin Book Two
365 Days is a diary presented in Julie Doucet's unique style. It's B&W, 360 pages and sells for $29.95 MSRP.

The first volume collecting Tove Jansson's Moomin strips was just nominated for an Eisner Award (see "Eisner Nominations Announced"), and Book Two contains four new story lines for the hippo-esque star. Moomin Book Two is 88 B&W pages and has a $19.95 cover price.
 
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Adrian Tomine
Chris Ware
Tove Jansson

          



  MOOMIN in the Roanoke Times

Updated April 16, 2007


STILL FUNNY
Reviewed by Mason Adams.
18 March 2007
Roanoke Times & World News


It's a golden age for fans of some of the great newspaper comic strips of the 20th century. Several publishers are reissuing albums of classic strips formerly available only in rare and expensive out- of-print versions.

Yet another '50s strip with a completely different feel is "Moomin." It's unlike any comic I've ever read, yet it hooked me from the first. "Moomin" was a creation of Finnish artist Tove Jansson. She created Moomin, a sort of hippopotamus-looking troll, for children's books that were released around the world. She wrote the Moomin comic strip for publication in a British newspaper, but only continued for five years before burning out. Apparently this is the first of what will be six volumes to collect the entire run.

The Moomin world is whimsical, with characters rapidly moving from one situation to another. The strip's charm underscores its satirical side, which takes on targets such as the art world and the idle rich.

By Gene Deitch

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Tove Jansson

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Moomin Book One in New World Finn

Updated March 2, 2007


NEW WORLD FINN
Autumn 2006
Moomin Book One: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip
Drawn & Quarterly ISBN 1-894937 $14.95 / $19.95 CND

The world of Moomin Valley has won fans around the world for its tales of gently eccentric folks, from the sweet Moomintroll family to the persnickety Hemulens and the enigmatic Groke. Author Tove Jansson spun stories of the singular world where lessons of sympathy and thoughtfulness arise effortlessly from the events without moralizing or finger-pointing. Her characters lead by example, and their tales have found fans in many countries. The Moomins proved so popular in England that a newspaper publisher commissioned a comic strip to delight readers. Unlike the books, these comic strips have not been available to fans in the United States and Canada.

It was with great delight that I heard Drawn & Quarterly (drawnandquaterly.com) would be publishing Tove Jansson’s comic strips featuring her beloved Moomins. Although held in high esteem among comics fans, D&Q doesn’t have the high profile of mainstream publishers like HarperCollins or Random House. What they do have is design sense and a recognition of rare talent. Their books are always exquisite, beautiful works of art with gorgeous coloring. They publish artists whose work has won fans and prizes across the world, from Julie Doucet and Debbie Dreschler to David B. and Chris Ware. If anyone could capture the beauty of Jansson’s comics work, it’s the folks at D&Q.

Sure enough, the book itself proves to be a beautiful object—one of which Jansson would surely approve. The wrap-around illustration on the cover introduces us to a good number of the Moomin folk, including Moomintroll himself looking characteristically apprehensive. The first volume reprints the stories “Brigands,” “Family Life,” Moomin on the Riviera” and “Moomin’s Desert Island.” For folks like me who have seen, at most, an occasional strip here and there, the collection is a real treasure trove of stories with the Moomins and their friends that will supplement the dog-eared story books sitting on the shelves of so many Finnish-Americans.

In the strips we’re treated to much more of Jansson’s visual storytelling. While the chapter books feature a good bit of artwork (and wouldn’t be the same without it!), the comics allow her pen to soar imaginatively across the page and the delight is evident in every panel. Jansson has been celebrated so long as a writer, it’s almost a shock to remember what an amazing artist she is. Each of these stories starts with the same circular image—Moomintroll’s behind! In the first story the caption reads “What’s this?” A dizzy looking Moomin explains in the next panel that he has been attempting to stand on his head. In the fourth story, the same impish figure features a balloon asking “Heads or tails?” While we’re clearly seeing Moomin’s tail, we find he’s also tossing a coin to decide whether the family would picnic that day.

This playfulness fills the panels, where picture elements—whether trees, bones or flags—often become the lines between panels, giving a wholeness to each row of panels even as the sequence of events unfold. The stories veer from the homey problems like too many houseguests and the complications of Sniff’s plans to get rich, to truly exotic situations like the family vacationing with movie stars along the Riviera or meeting pirates on a desert island. Yet the Moomins remain our familiar figures—Papa still dreams of adventure and the Snorkmaiden of glamour, while Moomin Mama tries to make even the strangest places feel like home, and Snufkin grumbles and goes his own way.

The inventiveness of Jansson’s imagination is clear. Consider the first story: we begin with Moomintroll overwhelmed by houseguests. Sniff’s crazy suggestions for getting the relations to move on include everything from flooding the house to bringing in the voracious Stinky. He lands Moomintroll in jail, then they make an elixir of life that has many surprising effects on small creatures and old women. After forays through fortune-telling and modern art (with a sly commentary from art school veteran Jansson), the two end up just about back where they started—yet almost everything has changed! The simple yet expressive drawings charm the reader every step of the way.

These beautiful collections from D&Q will bring the Moomins to a new audience. First commissioned for the London Evening News in 1954, the strips quickly gained fans and publication in forty countries around the world—but not here! It’s hard to believe that we have been deprived so long. But the long drought is over at last—and there’s always room for more friends at the house in Moomin Valley.

Reviewed by K. A. Laity (kalaity.com)

 

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Tove Jansson

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  The Beat reviews Moomin Book One

Updated March 2, 2007


Moomin Book One: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip
Tove Jansson
Drawn & Quarterly
$19.95
BY MICHAEL BROWN

According to the potentially accurate Wikipedia entry on Tove Jansson, World World II left the Finnish artist feeling depressed, so she wanted to create something “naďve and innocent.” Enter the Moomins, adventurous trolls who actually look quite a bit like hippopotamuses. The first Moomin book, The Moomins in the Great Flood, appeared in 1945 to a less-than-enthusiastic public, but the sequels and iterations that followed became hugely popular everywhere but America. It appears – again according to Wikipedia – that there have been twelve books, eight television series, one film, and two comic strips. Drawn & Quarterly’s new series, Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, collects the second of these strips, which debuted in 1954 in London’s Evening Standard. Never before available in America, Moomin proves to be incredibly odd but ultimately rewarding.

As the comic strip begins, Moomin is complaining to Sniff, his rodent friend, that there are over a dozen guests in his house and he doesn’t know what to do. Moomin is too nice to kick them out and too naive to realize he’s being taken advantage of: he wants them to want to leave. After a series of increasingly desperate strategies, he finally does latch on to a solution that works – but then the solution eats his house. When Moomin is arrested and put in jail, he’s touched that the nice policeman went out of his way to find him a home.

Moomin is naive and innocent, which is funny, but the situations he finds himself in are surprisingly dark. Shortly after Moomin is reunited with the parents who abandoned him, for instance, his parents get bored and abandon him again. There’s nothing funny about that, but Jansson has a talent for wrapping adult themes, like attempted suicide (again: not funny) in whimsy. It’s a hard circle to square, but somehow Jansson pulls it together into something that’s funny, sad, and sweet. At last, the Moomins have arrived in America. It was worth the wait.
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Time Picks Moomin for Ten Best of 2006

Updated February 19, 2007


TIME.com
Sunday, Dec. 17, 2006

Tove Jansson, Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip
Finland's Jansson started writing books about the hippo-like Moomins in 1946, but their first appearance in English was as a comic strip that ran in the London Evening News between 1953 and 1958. It was syndicated then, but has never been published since — until now. In the comic strip, the Moomin family strays far from the tranquil charms of Moominvalley: on the French Riviera, Moominpappa gets drunk and Moomin's sweetheart, the Snork Maiden, is seduced by a toothy film star. But then the hattifatteners appear — mute, sock-like animals that grow from seeds and chase after electric storms. There's the discovery of a chestful of swearwords (they have legs) and, at one point, the gentle Moomin is forced by hunger to kill and roast a wild pig. Here is where Jansson's weird but true world begins; where fear, loneliness and insecurity are banished by love and the force of imagination. — By Michael Brunton
 
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  Moomin reviewed on Bookslut

Updated February 7, 2007


February 2007
Jeff VanderMeer
comicbookslut
MOOMIN MOOMIN MOOMIN (and Little Lit)

Moomin

Among the many pleasures of visiting Helsinki, Finland, last year -- sauna, island restaurants, choppy boat rides, great people -- was discovering the multi-faceted work of the late Tove Jansson. You couldn’t go anywhere without discovering Moomin books, picture books, cartoon collections, stuffed toys, erasers, stationery, and a thousand other things. At first, before we knew the context, Moomin was a mysterious creature. We even thought that perhaps Moomin was a cartoon character created by the Finland tourism board to facilitate communication with visitors. But slowly, as we walked through Helsinki, everything became clear…

Utterly delightful for children and adults, Moomin is a hippopotamus-looking creature who, along with cohorts like giant rats, white finger-looking creatures, and others, has strange and wonderful adventures. Moomin and the other creatures Jannson drew are rendered in an appropriately simple style, while the backgrounds are often nuanced and complex.

In less skillful hands, this would be fodder for sticking one’s finger down one’s throat in revulsion at the treacly whimsy of it all. However, Tove Jansson was a pragmatist and also, if her work is any indication, a wise person. Beneath the gentle surface of Moomin there is a sly, wicked wit and much non-didactic commentary about the world and people’s place in it.

Moomin: The Complete Tove Jannson Comic Strip from Drawn & Quarterly finally collects the Moomin comics for U.S. readers. First run in the 1950s in the London Evening News and syndicated around the world, Moomin has a timeless quality. The fantasy element and the emphasis on universal themes like love and friendship -- combined with eccentric quests (sometimes with a slapstick quality to them) -- allows modern readers to appreciate these classics all over again. A typical storyline might include Moomin having to house unexpected relatives and thus seek out extra money to cover the expense, leading to a series of misadventures from which he emerges unscathed but none the richer.

Something must be said about the effortlessness of these comic strips. There isn’t a word or image out of place. I cannot think of another comic strip that gives me as much pleasure as this one. There is also something uniquely calming and stress-relieving about reading Moomin that I can’t quite put into words but has something to do with the effortlessness I mention above.

Jannson also wrote books for adults, and I highly recommend her The Summer Book, a funny, sometimes sad, and always wise series of vignettes about a grandmother and granddaughter living on one of Finland’s outlying islands.

For more information on Moomin generally, visit the Moomin site.

Moomin: The Complete Tove Jannson Comic Strip, Tove Jannson
Drawn & Quarterly
ISBN 1894937085
96 Pages
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MOOMIN reviewed in the Toronto Star

Updated January 26, 2007


It's back to Moominland

SMALL PRINT | Despite the decades, Finnish tales and Beatrix Potter still delight, finds Deirdre Baker

January 21, 2007
Deirdre Baker

Oh, to be a Moomin and to dance in the waves while the sun gets up!" writes Finnish artist and writer Tove Jansson in the middle of Finn Family Moomintroll (Puffin, 151 pages, $9.99, ages 6 to 10). This has to be one of my favourite lines from children's literature, with its joyful exuberance at the glories of midsummer, holiday time and the sea. Maybe because Jansson's so good at expressing this kind of childhood feeling, the Moomin books are still doing well after more than 50 years, even on the shelves of those big box bookstores.

No doubt because of that, we have another manifestation of Moominland to celebrate: Montreal publisher Drawn and Quarterly's Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip (96 pages, $21.95, ages 7+), a collection of the daily Moomin comic strips that ran in newspapers from 1953-59.

"Moomin and the Brigands," "Moomin and Family Life," "Moomin on the Riviera" and "Moomin's Desert Island" – the very titles hint at the comically grandiose plots of these hare-brained stories. The Elixir of Life (honey, pepper and hot water) turns old ladies into old men on the lookout for can-can girls, and Moomintroll into a balloon that is punctured just before he and his friend Sniff have a chance to become "rich and famous."

"Is it always so difficult to become rich and famous?" Moomintroll asks. "If so let's give it up and have a nice time instead!" But thanks to a couple of brigands and the enterprising Snork Maiden, the love of Moomintroll's life, Moomintroll breaks free of his parasitic relations – at least momentarily – plus gets his half-eaten house back and becomes noteworthy too. All in one story.

The eccentric twists of Jansson's imagination are wonderful in their weirdness. A box salvaged at sea proves to hold not whisky, but oaths: "Must be some sailor who's stopped swearing and tossed all his swear words overboard," Moominpappa muses, as the torrid little creatures have the Moomins covering their ears. In another story Moominmamma, decorously clutching her handbag, captures and roasts a wild boar. "Please, can't you forgive us for eating your husband?" she pleads when the boar's mate turns up.

It's such quirky, deadpan scenarios and dialogue that make this volume a delight. While Jansson mocks artistic and social pretension with carefree humour and urbanity, she is also tapping into the emotions of childhood that make all the Moomin stories memorable – desire for home, family love and adventure. These strips were written for adults, but there's plenty here to amuse kids as well.


Deirdre Baker is co-author of A Guide to Canadian Children's Books (M&S). Her Small Print appears every two weeks.
 
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  MOOMIN reviewed in the Las Vegas Weekly

Updated January 5, 2007


Art & Culture

COMICS: From Children To Slackers

Comics that operate on dream logic and arcade logic
By J. Caleb Mozzocco


Moomin Book One
Drawn and Quarterly

Finnish artist Tove Jansson's beloved creation Moomintroll made the jump from children's books to daily comic strips in a 1953 strip for the London Evening News. The strip ended in 1960, but Moomin's fame has long since conquered the world. He's always been particularly popular in Scandinavia and Europe, but also, of late, in Japan.

Despite his renown, Moomin's strip adventures have long been absent from American book shelves, an unfortunate state of affairs that Drawn and Quarterly rectifies with this gorgeous, oversized collection, the first in a series that will eventually reprint the entire half-decade of Moomin strips.

In temperament, Moomin is an innocent, idealistic child, one given to runs of bad luck and Byronic melancholy. He's sort of like a mix of Charlie Brown and Eeyore, in a cute little pygmy hippopotamus' body.

When we first meet Moomin, he's fretting over the number of unwanted houseguests he has crowding his home, and his unwillingness to tell them to leave, which would be "ill-mannered." An attempt to surreptitiously drive them out, egged on by his friend Sniff, leads to a bizarre series of events.

Of course, Moomin's entire life is seemingly a bizarre series of events, as Jansson's plots operate on a sort of random dream logic, zigging and zagging on new, wholly random plot points. The first of the four loose storylines in this volume, for example, is about Moomin and Sniff's quest for fame and fortune, and it involves brief stints as snake oil salesmen, convicts, modern artists, sideshow freaks, big-game trappers and fortune-tellers. There's also a magic plant that turns people into balloons, a beauty contest, a ghost, some brigands, a gigantic sea monster and magic seeds that grow demanding relatives.

It must have made for a strange read in a daily paper, given how the story spills from strip to strip. It's nothing at all like the formulaic two panels of set-up, one panel of punch line gag strips that dominate our newspapers today. In fact, the late Jansson's innovative use of panels and understanding of the medium make her Moomin strips seem far more modern than many 2006 comic strips.
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Jog the Blog reviews MOOMIN BOOK ONE

Updated January 5, 2007


Dec. 16th, 2006

[excerpt]

It’s gorgeously casual, whimsical work, with a great appreciation for slapstick and gags, but an obvious sophistication to its characterizations and themes. Moomin himself is generally a very sweet fellow, but Jansson realizes that sweet fellows can be taken advantage of, and are prone to jealousy and anger when their personal buttons are pushed. Moominpapa loves adventures and distractions, but there’s an obvious irresponsibility to his actions that Jansson is thoughtful enough to bring up, though you can tell her heart’s behind him.

Though it all there’s gentle parodies of art and aristocracy (an acclaimed painter by her 20’s, Jansson doubtlessly had some experience with both), clingy relatives and the ecstasy of materialism.... Through it all, the gentle surrealism of the world affords a type of chaos that nevertheless fails to crush the feeling that life can be sweet.
 
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  MOOMIN in the NJ Record

Updated December 21, 2006


ENTERTAINMENT
The hippos of Finland have aged well
EVELYN SHIH, STAFF WRITER
235 words

3 December 2006
The Record, E03

MOOMIN: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, by Tove Jansson; Drawn & Quarterly, 95 pages, $19.95.

From 1954 to 1960, Finnish cartoonist Tove Jansson drew a comic strip for the London Evening News. The strip featured characters already famous in her celebrated children's books: the Moomins, a family of creatures that resemble hippopotamuses and inhabit a world very much like the modern middle-class existence complete with ennui, delusions of grandeur and too many poor relatives.

The first of five volumes collecting Jansson's strip is now making its North American debut. Readers unfamiliar with the Moomin family will meet the homespun Moominmamma, the top-hat donning Moominpappa, the vain girlfriend Snorkmaiden and the sneaky fox friend Sniff. Several mystical creatures make cameos during the whimsical journeys.

Protagonist Moomintroll, usually referred to as Moomin, is a shy and retiring little guy who gets caught up in the schemes of his friends and family, whether they are trying to get rich quick, break into modern art or gab with celebrities.

Jansson's spare, deliberate style in prose and drawing makes the collection a swift read, but her timeless themes linger. The story lines tend to travel far from their beginnings due to the serial nature of the strip, but the arcs always circle around for, let us say, a rather rounded end.

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Tove Jansson

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MOOMIN in the Patriot-News

Updated December 21, 2006


Patriot-News
8 December 2006

GRAPHIC LIT
Life

Reprints not so shocking as in '50s
CHRIS MAUTNER

Other recent treasuries

"Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Vol. 1," Drawn and Quarterly, 96 pages, $19.95.

Though beloved around the globe, Jansson's "Moomin" books aren't well known in the U.S. Hopefully, this book, collecting the initial run of the comic strip spin-off, will fix that.

Like "Peanuts," Jansson's strip combines melancholy and whimsy to delightful effect. It's a wonderful, delicate little strip that parents should share with their children whenever possible.
 

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Tove Jansson

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Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book One




  MOOMIN reviewed in the Syracuse Post Standard/Herald-Journal

Updated December 21, 2006


COMICS
Stars

GIVE THE GIFT OF COMICS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
JEFF KAPALKA CONTRIBUTING WRITER

3 December 2006
The Post Standard/Herald-Journal


"Moomin: The Complete Tove Jannson Comic Strip Book One," Drawn & Quarterly; $19.95.

[D+Q excerpt:]

"If you want something a little more exotic, Drawn & Quarterly is starting to reprint Finnish cartoonist's Tove Jansson's gentle fantasy strip "Moomin" in a series of handsome hardcover volumes.

The strip, begun in 1953, is a surreal mixture of mirth and melancholy, following the exploits of the hippo-like Moomin and his various friends, foes and acquaintances, as they venture forth in search of fame, fortune, love and adequate housing."

"The strip can get quite dark at times. What other comic strip would begin a light-hearted adventure with the main character contemplating suicide? Or have a character suffer pangs of conscience after feasting on a dinner of roast pig? ('I wonder if he had a wife,' thinks Moomin's mamma. Of course, he had, and mom meets up with the missus. 'Can't you forgive us for eating your husband?' she asks. Mrs. Pig replies, 'Yes. In fact he was an awful bore.')"

"Weird."

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Tove Jansson

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Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book One




MOOMIN reviewed in the Austin Chronicle

Updated December 18, 2006


DECEMBER 8, 2006
BOOKS

Readings

BY WAYNE ALAN BRENNER


Moomin
by Tove Jansson

Drawn & Quarterly; 96pp., $19.95

Whimsy. Whimsy of the gentlest, cleverest sort from Finland in the 1950s, in the form of daily comic strips (originally for the London Evening News) by Tove Jansson, chronicling the adventures of a friendly, troll-like creature called Moomin and his delightful (and sometimes delightfully barbed) friends. All these strips lovingly reprinted in a large, hardcover volume by Drawn & Quarterly and perfect for presenting to someone whimsical during this year-end holiday season. "Why, it's like Pogo without the politics!" your friend might exclaim, or "If you think what Dr. Seuss did best seemed done by someone tripping on acid, this is like what he would've done on mushrooms instead." And that friend of yours, especially if he or she has young kids with whom to share this handsome collection, will thank you sincerely and offer you some tea.
 
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  Moomin listed in TIME OUT NY gift guide

Updated November 28, 2006


Time Out New York
Features

Gift Guide

Boerum Hill/Carroll Gardens

This Brooklyn route leads to some nicely affordable purchases, plus boutiques with a friendly, less-frantic vibe.

For the comics geek
Moomin, $20, at comics store Rocketship
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Tove Jansson

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MOOMIN and ABANDON THE OLD IN TOKYO in the LA Times

Updated October 20, 2006


October 15, 2006

Opposites attract

By Richard Rayner, Richard Rayner is the author of several books, most recently the novel "The Devil's Wind."


Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book One
Tove Jansson
Drawn & Quarterly: 96 pp., $19.95

Abandon the Old in Tokyo
Yoshihiro Tatsumi
Drawn & Quarterly: 194 pp., $19.95


TOVE JANSSON, the Finnish writer, died five years ago at the age of 86. Her best-known creations are the Moomins, a family of hippo-shaped creatures — trolls, she called them — that live in a wooden tower beside a lake in Moominvalley and, with their eccentric friends, have adventures, often involving planet-threatening ecological disasters like floods or comets. Jansson was in some ways the Rachel Carson of the kids-book world, always hip to the big issues. That said, her work is intimate and, though sometimes frightening, finally unthreatening. "Life is like a river. Some sail on it slowly, some quickly, and some capsize," she writes in "Moominvalley in November," one of the eight Moomin novels, which enchant every kid I know who has come in contact with them; her cool, nonchalant wisdom and her alert eye for darkness and danger delight (not to mention educate) adults too.

In Finland, Jansson is a legend, as much a part of daily culture as Nokia, Sibelius and the idlers who congregate outside the state-run liquor stores before the shutters come down on a Saturday afternoon. In Japan, theme parks derive from her fiction. This global fame began not in 1948 with the publication of her breakthrough book, "Finn Family Moomintroll," but in 1953, when a tabloid newspaper, the London Evening News, invited her to create an all-ages Moomin comic strip. This took off immediately and was syndicated worldwide — though not, for some reason, in America. Now, it finally appears here with "Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip — Book One."

That Jansson should have produced a comic is no surprise. She trained as an artist, did her first work as an artist, came from a family of artists. Her mother illustrated books and magazines; her father was the famous sculptor Victor Jansson. She wrote about them in her "adult" book, the wonderful (and ripe for reprinting) "Sculptor's Daughter." Her family was liberal bohemian, but her father's whims ruled the household, leaving her mother to steady a perpetually unstable domestic boat. This dynamic transposes itself into Moominvalley, where Moominpappa, the dilettante, wears a top hat, engages in the never-ending task of writing his memoirs and thinks life "would be even more wonderful if something exciting and awful happened"; Moominmamma sports an apron, is never without her handbag and responds serenely when those exciting, awful things indeed occur.

The four long stories in this volume (which is the first in a series of five books that will eventually collect the strip's entire run) fill in the gaps in the novels' fertile soil. We see the character Moomintroll's friendship with the loyal but occasionally insufferable Sniff, who, Jansson writes in the novel "Comet in Moominland," forever dreams of money and "shiny things that I can hold and stroke and call my own." We see Moomintroll's attempt to drown himself, resulting in a happy reunion with his father and mother, who, years before, thought they'd lost him forever. We see flocks of tiny and threatening Hattifatteners, milling about aimlessly (a chilling and brilliantly funny metaphor for anxiety) — uninvited houseguests that grow, it turns out, from seeds planted by Snufkin, the heroic wanderer.

Snufkin is a much beloved and charismatic figure, but in Jansson's universe, charisma has unexpected consequences. Good deeds might get punished. Bad ones can likewise have unexpected results. This feels true, doesn't it? There's optimism, sure, but always with complexity. Jansson knew the ugly score and yet creates gorgeous butterflies to fly in its face. Her work soars with lightness and speed, and her drawings only echo her writing: delicate but precise, observant yet suggestive. She always knew what to leave unsaid, what to leave to the reader's imagination. In one episode, Moominpappa transplants the family to the French Riviera, in search of gambling and parties through the night. "Do you think there will be a lot of nobility? How about changing our name to De Moomin?" he wonders. What follows is gorgeous, funny, wise and fast — 20 pages that offer more than most full-length Hollywood features.

Jansson was exceptional, an exuberant explorer of emotional independence and interdependence, a liberating force. After all, the traditional Finnish genius is different. Remember Esa-Pekka Salonen's great gag: "A Finnish introvert stares at his own shoes. A Finnish extrovert stares at yours." Shame is important. Embarrassment and repression too. Ritual. It's why Finns feel at home in Japan; the two societies are in many ways similar. When these people get out there, they really get out there, and when they don't, when the steam builds and builds, watch out. You get the melancholy Moominpappa, excited only by the latest disaster and eagerly taking his family to watch. The situation is reminiscent of the bittersweet world of Jansson's compatriots, the renegade filmmakers Aki and Mika Kaurismaki — or the indelible pages of Japanese gekiga artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi.

Born in Osaka, Tatsumi grew up in depressed and desolate postwar Japan, and started working in comics while still a teenager in the early 1950s. He coined the term gekiga, literally meaning "dramatic pictures," to distinguish the stark and realistic work he published throughout the 1960s and 1970s from the more commercial aesthetic of manga. "Abandon the Old in Tokyo," edited and designed by graphic novelist Adrian Tomine, is the second collection of Tatsumi gekiga to find its way into English. Like its predecessor, "The Push Man and Other Stories," this new collection should come with a health warning: Prepare to be disturbed and blown away. The stuff is remarkable, amazing. Drawing on crime reports and other newspaper stories, Tatsumi deals with life's sour taste when blue-collar guys fail and find themselves in traps. A factory worker loses his arm. A sewer worker's wife has a miscarriage and leaves him. A man abandons his shrewish and sick mother so his girlfriend can move into his apartment. Repression's violent release only makes life worse.

Most of these disasters happen in a superbly realized urban throng and racket (noise actually seems to shake and thunder through many of the frames), although in "The Hole," one of Tatsumi's moon-faced and seemingly passive protagonists makes a rare excursion to the countryside — where he falls into a deep pit and is kept prisoner by a noseless woman with a grudge against men. This tale smacks of a horror that feels both gothic and very contemporary, though on the whole the stories are placed firmly in the underbelly of late 1960s-early 1970s Japanese prosperity. They exude failure and alienation like the stink of cooking oil in a tiny apartment. The style is spare, elliptical and it's sometimes necessary to read two or three times to appreciate the full nightmarish power. But given a richness of visual texture that can at first elude the eye, this is only to the good.

Certain images from Tatsumi's gloomy milieus — a man emerging from the subway, a train roaring through the night, a character walking, alone and seen from the rear, through a darkened alley — inevitably recall the grammar of noir. Still, the overall tone is at once more real and much more desperate. For a literary comparison, think of Georges Simenon at his toughest, or Raymond Carver describing the slow strangulation of dreams and hope. Tatsumi's work is that good, and, like Simenon or Carver, he has immense sympathy for his poor Joes as they go through fate's wringer.

Jansson and Tatsumi: two masters, one from the far north, one from the east; the first joyously focused on life's defiant radiance, the other spelling out the bad luck and grinding cruelty with which that machine otherwise known as the world so often seems to operate. They are, really, flip sides of the same sensibility, point-of-view yin and yang. I like to think that they would have passed each other with a thrilled shock of recognition in the street in Helsinki or Osaka.

The comic book is a genre whose trendy merits are sometimes acclaimed a little too strenuously these days. But not here. Jansson and Tatsumi are the real deal. •
 
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Yoshihiro Tatsumi
Tove Jansson

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Abandon The Old In Tokyo




  MOOMIN reviewed in Publisher's Weekly

Updated August 29, 2006


Publishers Weekly
Starred Review

From 1953 to 1960, the late Finnish artist Jansson drew a comic strip about her creation Moomin for the London Evening News. Though the strip was an enormous success around the world, this is the first North American edition of an expressive and endearing classic. Moomin's stories begin simply (he needs to rid his home of freeloaders, or goes on a family vacation) and snowball into a series of amusing, whimsical misadventures, which can involve elements of the fantastic, like magic, monsters and ghosts. Although Moomin, his parents and his girlfriend, Snorkmaiden, are trolls, they look like friendly hippopotamuses. Moomin is reminiscent of a big, chubby baby; there is something of Charlie Brown in him: Moomin is like a child beset by life's troubles and usually (but not always) too passive to get angry and fight back. Adults should appreciate Jansson's satire-although she always provides happy endings, dark undercurrents are at play: one episode opens with Moomin attempting suicide; reunited with his missing parents, he's abandoned by them again. Jansson's deceptively childlike style masterfully conveys her characters' personalities. Moomin's mouth rarely appears, but his eyes, his brows and his gestures are expressive and endearing. (Oct.)

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MOOMIN BOOK ONE reviewed in Booklist

Updated August 17, 2006


Jansson, Tove. Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, v.1.
Sept. 2006. 96p. illus. Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95 (1-894937-80-5). 741.5.

In the 1950s Jansson (1914–2001) was world famous for her children’s books about Moomin when the Associated Press contracted with her for an all-ages Moomin comic strip. Wide-eyed, sweetly thick headed Moomin has the body of a hippo, the soul of a puppy. Unlike his friend Sniff, a sort of kangaroo-rat hybrid, Moomin cares naught for fame or fortune, though he isn’t averse to mild adventure. The strip’s story arcs are lengthy and complex but not confusing, develop the characters well, and hold up nicely after 50 years. In the first, “Brigands,” Moomin is the only creature of his kind, but in the later “Family Life” and “Moomin on the Riviera,” he has parents and a partner, Snork Maiden. Jansson’s black-and-white images are most expressive; the characters arch brows and roll eyes tellingly, and settings glow with sunshine, glower with storm. The gentle ribbing Jansson gives mid-century Western culture—Moomin makes modern art, deals with a banker, is bested by a picnic pig’s widow—delighted sophisticates then and should charm their progeny now. ––Francisca Goldsmith
 

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Tove Jansson

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  MOOMIN in Publisher's Weekly

Updated January 19, 2006


D&Q to Collect Jansson's Beloved Moomin Strip

This story originally appeared in PW Comics Week on January 17, 2006

by Calvin Reid -- 1/17/2006

Beginning in September, Drawn & Quarterly will publish the initial book of a five-volume series of Moomin: the Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, the first North American English translation of the late Finnish cartoonist's internationally acclaimed comics strip.

"The quality and quantity of what Tove created in the comics strip is nothing short of astounding," says D&Q publisher Chris Oliveros. Tom Devlin, former publisher of Highwater Books, will edit the series and oversee its production and design.

Devlin says he discovered the Moomin comics strip through Tove Jansson's Moomin children's books. "I liked the chapter books and I started looking into the comics strips," he says. He eventually edited a tribute to Jansson that was published in the comics trade and critical periodical the Comics Journal in 2001, the year she died. While the Moomin comics strip has a cult status among North American cartoonists, Devlin says the Moomin characters are best known in the U.S. from the children's books published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, which will also distribute the D&Q comics strip collection to the book trade.

Jansson's Moomin stories first appeared as children's books in 1945 and grew quickly into a popular series of novels and picture books. The Moomin strip tells the story of a family of easy-going but adventurous hippo-shaped creatures and their friends. Although aimed at children, the strip's combination of gentle humor and topical observations have made it just as popular among adults.

In 1954 Jansson was commissioned to create a Moomin comics strip for adults; the English-language strip was launched in the London Evening News that same year. The strip eventually went into syndication in newspapers in 40 countries and attracted millions of readers. Tove began collaborating on the Moomin strip with her brother Lars, who started drawing the strip in 1969. The newspaper comics strip ended in 1974 and this new D&Q book series will collect all the comics strips created by Tove.

The official Moomin website is located at http://www.moomin.fi/moomin.htm.

Devlin expects the book to raise Tove Jansson's reputation as a world-class cartoonist among North American comics readers. "[The strip] hasn't been seen in North America. This is the first time it's been in a complete book, and her drawings are fantastic."
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Tove Jansson

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Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book One




D+Q to publish MOOMIN THE COMPLETE TOVE JANSSON COMIC STRIP in September 2006

Updated January 19, 2006


D+Q ANNOUNCES PLANS TO PUBLISH MOOMIN: THE COMPLETE TOVE JANSSON COMIC STRIP IN SEPTEMBER 2006

Drawn & Quarterly will publish the first of a five-volume series of MOOMIN: THE COMPLETE TOVE JANSSON COMIC STRIP in September 2006, it was announced today by Chris Oliveros, President & Publisher of the Montreal-based graphic novel and arts publishing house. This is the first time the strip will be published in any form in North America and will deservedly place cartoonist and author Tove Jansson among the international cartooning greats of the last century.

“All of us at D+Q are huge fans of Jansson’s Moomin children's books, especially the editor of the series, Tom Devlin, who brought the Moomin comic strips to our attention,” said Oliveros. “The quality and quantity of what Tove created in the MOOMIN comic strip is nothing short of astounding.”

“To comic strip fans, there are few surprises or unknown strips out there that have yet to be published in North America,” said Tom Devlin, Editor and Production Designer. “To be the editor of a five-volume series that will bring the comic strip of one the most internationally renowned children’s authors and her creations to a whole new audience is thrilling. Comic strip fans as well as fans of the MOOMIN chapter books will be fascinated by the caliber of Tove’s cartooning skills.”

Jansson is revered around the world as one of the foremost children’s authors of the twentieth century for her illustrated chapter books regarding the magical worlds of her creation, the Moomins. The Moomins saw life in many forms but debuted to its biggest audience ever on the pages of world’s largest newspaper the "London Evening News", in 1954. The strip was syndicated in newspapers around the world with millions of readers in 40 countries. MOOMIN: THE COMPLETE TOVE JANSSON COMIC STRIP; BOOK ONE is the first volume of Drawn & Quarterly publishing plan to reprint the entire strip drawn by Jansson before she handed over the reins to her brother Lars in 1960.

The Moomins are a tight-knit family – hippo-shaped creatures with easygoing and adventurous outlooks. Jansson's art is pared down and precise, yet able to compose beautiful portraits of ambling creatures in fields of flowers or rock-strewn beaches that recall Jansson’s Nordic roots. The comic strip reached out to adults with its gentle and droll sense of humor. Whimsical but with biting undertones, Jansson’s observations of everyday life, including guests who overstay their welcome, modern art, movie stars, and high society, easily caught the attention of an international audience and still resonate today.


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Tove Jansson

          




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