The Moomins

The Moomins

Tove Jansson: Moomins on the Riviera (Drawn and Quarterly 2014)

Many thanks to Nimue Kiadó for sending me the book!

Tove Jansson, one of the best-known Scandinavian writers and illustrators, was born in Finland in 1914 to Swedish parents. She published her drawings and comics from the age of 15, but her first book was not published until 1945. The first version of The Moomins and the Great Flood had been put on paper in the shadow of war when she needed a tale without princes and princesses. This is how she created the lovely, surreal world of Moomin Valley with its inhabitants, who are able to see the positive side of every situation.

The first comic strip appeared in the children’s section of a Finnish-Swedish newspaper in sequels between 1947 and 1948 and was mainly an adaptation of Comet in Moominland. The main series of Moomin comic strips was made directly for the British market, first with illustrations only by Tove and later with her brother Lars. The series was originally published between 1954 and 1975, culminating in its distribution in more than 40 countries, in 120 newspapers, reaching more than 20 million readers a day, making it the most successful Finnish comic strip ever published. Tove and Lars Jansson won the Finnish Comic Book Association Award in 1980.

In total, more than 70 comics have been published in 10 volumes. The Moomin on the Riviera was one of the first volumes and includes only the Moomin family. The characters represent human types and qualities: Moomin is sincere and brave, Moomimama is caring and rock solid, while Moominpapa is adventurous and often irresponsible, and Snork Maiden is kind and naive. In this story, too, Moominpapa and Snork Maiden are the ones who persuade the others to travel on vacation. There they get involved in impossible situations, but the people there forgive them for their peculiarity because they think they are rich. The story shows me how easy it is to go after the others and how hard it is to find real friends who stay with us in trouble. But when it comes to Moomines, we can be sure the story will have happy ending.

The Moomins on the Riviera were published under the care of the recently established Nimue Publishing House, in a very nice edition. The cover recalls the pop-art style with Ben-Day dots, which were previously applied in print to create areas of color and shadow but were later used by great artists like Roy Lichtenstein in their creations.

You may have read about Tove Jansson before on BogiWrites, you can check out that previous post here.