MOOMIN 3 reviewed by Time Out London

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

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.

Share on Facebook
Share on Tumblr
Share via Email