Publishers Weekly | Calvin Reid | January 17, 2006
MOOMIN in Publisher’s Weekly
Beginning in September, Drawn & Quarterly will publish the initial book of a five-volume series of Moomin: the Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, the first North American English translation of the late Finnish cartoonist's internationally acclaimed comics strip.
"The quality and quantity of what Tove created in the comics strip is nothing short of astounding," says D&Q publisher Chris Oliveros. Tom Devlin, former publisher of Highwater Books, will edit the series and oversee its production and design.
Devlin says he discovered the Moomin comics strip through Tove Jansson's Moomin children's books. "I liked the chapter books and I started looking into the comics strips," he says. He eventually edited a tribute to Jansson that was published in the comics trade and critical periodical the Comics Journal in 2001, the year she died. While the Moomin comics strip has a cult status among North American cartoonists, Devlin says the Moomin characters are best known in the U.S. from the children's books published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, which will also distribute the D&Q comics strip collection to the book trade.
Jansson's Moomin stories first appeared as children's books in 1945 and grew quickly into a popular series of novels and picture books. The Moomin strip tells the story of a family of easy-going but adventurous hippo-shaped creatures and their friends. Although aimed at children, the strip's combination of gentle humor and topical observations have made it just as popular among adults.
In 1954 Jansson was commissioned to create a Moomin comics strip for adults; the English-language strip was launched in the London Evening News that same year. The strip eventually went into syndication in newspapers in 40 countries and attracted millions of readers. Tove began collaborating on the Moomin strip with her brother Lars, who started drawing the strip in 1969. The newspaper comics strip ended in 1974 and this new D&Q book series will collect all the comics strips created by Tove.
Devlin expects the book to raise Tove Jansson's reputation as a world-class cartoonist among North American comics readers. "[The strip] hasn't been seen in North America. This is the first time it's been in a complete book, and her drawings are fantastic."