The English translations of Tove Jansson’s first Moomin books were a massive success and opened a new chapter in Jansson’s rising career as she was offered a chance to create a Moomin comic strip for the London Evening News.
The first of May celebrations in 1952 was a turning point for Tove Jansson as she signed a seven-year contract with Charles Sutton, syndication director of Associated Newspapers. The first Moomin comic strip was released two years later on September 20, 1954. A woman with numerous talents, Tove Jansson also made history as a female cartoonist with her own daily strip.
#1 Moomin and the Brigands, 1954-1955
The first strip of Tove Jansson’s first Moomin comic
Tove’s brother Lars Jansson helped Tove with the translations and texts from the beginning. He started to assist her with the scrips in 1957 as Tove struggled to allocate time for the numerous ongoing projects she had at the time. Lars Jansson who was an author with no drawing experience soon took the role of a Moomin cartoonist and by practice, he found his place. By the guidance of Tove, and after two years of sibling collaboration, Lars continued the comic book legacy independently. The first Moomin comic by Lars Jansson was published in 1960 and he continued the comic book legacy until 1975.
#22 Moomin’s lamp, 1960
The first strip of Lars Jansson’s first Moomin comic
By the end of its run in 1975, Moomin was syndicated in more than forty newspapers worldwide, reaching more than 20 million readers daily, and charming both adults and children. The comics were revived in 2005 by Drawn & Quarterly, Canada, the master publisher of the Moomin Comics in English. The comics have been translated into 20 languages to date.
Jansson’s ability to address various difficult topics and uncomfortable feelings with compassion and warmth while shedding light make her comics timeless and demonstrate her endless creativity and innovation. Especially in these somewhat strange times, readers can relate to them and the magical touch of the comics remain. This has also been acknowledged by Drawn & Quarterly, who reported that Moomin sales increased by an astonishing 30 % last year for the comics.
Peggy Burns, Publisher at Drawn & Quarterly says: “COVID silver lining of people needing Moomin magic and perhaps due in part to our marketing department starting #MoominMondays on our IG that has 90,000 followers. We have sold over 400,000 units of all of our editions to date.”