And Then I Read: MOOMIN Volume 4


This is the fourth and I think final volume collecting the complete MOOMIN comic strip by writer/artist Tove Jansson from the pages of the London Evening News in the years 1953-1959. It’s just as charming and funny as the previous volumes, and in some ways even better. Jansson seemed to be getting a bit tired of the grind of producing a comic strip here, but her skills had developed to the point where the writing and art are the best in the series, in my opinion. There are five stories, in which the Moomins use a time travel machine to visit the Old West, the Snorkmaiden enters high society, the Moomins try to live a very conscientious life (with predictably hilarious results), a comet appears in the skies of Moominland, and finally Moomin grows a golden tail that has all the world’s amazed interest.


Here’s four strips from the Conscientious storyline. Note how Jansson is getting playful with the panel dividers. Nearly every strip used different ones in this story. Lots of funny social commentary in all these episodes.


The Comet storyline was also used in one of the Moomin prose books for children. I can’t tell which came first, both may have been created around the same time in the late 1950s. It makes sense that Jansson recycled the idea, and I suspect the prose books were a better fit for her talents in the long run. Plus they were constantly in print for decades, unlike the comic strip which vanished as soon as it saw print.

The strip is still well worth your time, though, and I think this is my favorite volume. Highly recommended.

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