MOOMIN 3 reviewed by Newsarama

“Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip” / Newsarama / Michael C Lorah / November 3, 2008

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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