MOOMIN in the NJ Record

“The hippos of Finland have aged well” / NJ Record / Evelyn Shih / December 21, 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.

Share on Facebook
Share on Tumblr
Share via Email