Wednesday 28 November 2007


When I was a child, some of my favourite books were Tove Jansson's Moomin books. They tell the tale of the residents of Moominvalley, a gleefully, good-humouredly anarchic place somewhere in Scandinavia, inhabited by a vast array of peculiar but appealing creatures.

These books are a delight: there's no more appropriate word. So you can imagine my joy when Drawn & Quarterly, a Montreal-based comics publisher, last year began reprinting Jansson's Moomin comic strips. She drew these for five years in the 1950s for a British newspaper, and as far as I know they've not been collected in English before.

The second volume just came out, and I devoured it yesterday. They're beautifully produced over-sized books, with colourful cloth covers and thick, creamy pages.

As ever, click on an image for more detail.

These comics are just as wonderful as the novels and stories Jansson wrote (and while we're on the topic, seek out her for-adults work too: The Summer Book, A Winter Book and Fair Play have all been republished by Sort Of Books).

I've put up some individual panels here to give you the idea of the style and tone of the comics.

I apologise that the quality of reproduction is not quite as good as it could be: these come from photographs of the pages, as there was no way I was going to risk mauling these books' spines in my scanner.

Here's Moominmama explaining her family's domestic cleaning habits to the next-door neighbour...

And here's Moomintroll himself, having been driven into a short-lived rage when his girlfriend, the Snork Maiden, is drawn to another man (who is also a sports-obsessed lunatic)...


Readymade said...

I thought the art in the second volume deteriorated. Not Drawn and Quarterly's fault I know, but still... What did you think?

JRSM said...

Hmm--not sure about that. I'll be interested to see, when the third volume comes out, how it compares with the first. Any changes should be more obvious then.