From a comic strip to a legacy – Moomin comics released in softcover!

Drawn & Quarterly releases the first book of a new five-volume softcover series and introduces the timeless Moomin comics by Tove and Lars Jansson to a new generation of readers. Moomin Adventures: Book One will be available in the US on 9 July 2024 - scroll down to read about the release and delve into the history of Moomin comics!

The Moomin comics debuted internationally in the London Evening News in 1954. By then, Tove Jansson had already published six different Moomin novels.

Since the British newspaper debut in the ‘50s, the comics were next published in English by Drawn & Quarterly in 2005, when they introduced a series of ten books compiling all Moomin comics. The series has since sold over 500,000 volumes.

Moomin Adventures comic

The new Moomin Adventures: Book One reintroduces the popular comic stories in softcover. It starts with the well-known story Moomin on the Riviera, which has also been adapted into an animated film. The Moomin family, along with Snorkmaiden and Little My, sail to the Riviera for a holiday and find themselves in a multitude of adventures. 

The book continues with the comic Moomin’s Desert Island, in which the family gets stranded on a desert island and meets their ancestors, and Mymble!

Available in the United States from 9 July 2024, the new softcover makes the comics more accessible for different readers. You can buy the new series directly through D&Q or in Barnes & Noble stores across the country (or online)! The book isn’t available outside the US and Canada for now – but you can jump into the fascinating history of Moomin comics below!

Moomin on the Riviera comic
Moomin on the Riviera
Moomin comic
Moomin’s Desert Island

The history of Moomin comics

Tove Jansson’s very-first Moomin comic was published in Ny Tid, a Swedish-speaking newspaper in Finland, in 1947. The comic strip was commissioned by Tove’s good friend and partner at the time, Atos Wirtanen, who worked as an editor at the paper. 

Mumintrollet och jordens undergång (“Moomintroll and the end of the world”) was inspired by the novel Comet in Moominland (published a year before) and ran in the paper weekly for less than half a year.

In 1952, Charles Sutton, the head of a British news conglomerate, contacted Tove about making the Moomin stories into a regular comic strip. Finn Family Moomintroll was published in the UK in 1950, so the Moomins were already known in the country.

Sutton’s wish was for the daily comics to build an ongoing story, leaving readers in suspense. 

Two years later, the London Evening News with a circulation of 12 million at the time became a long-term home for the Moomin comics. The first episode released was Moomin and the Brigands, in which Moomintroll and Sniff embark on a journey to seek fame and fortune. 

The Moomin comics relay the life musings of the Moomin family and their friends in fun and engaging ways, suitable for many ages. 

The comics partly got their inspiration from the already-written Moomin books, but also built independent stories that were influenced by Tove Jansson’s own life experiences. Moomin on the Riviera, for example, includes several real holiday memories Tove had of her mother, Signe Hammarsten Jansson

The comics also gave birth to some popular characters, such as Stinky, who was introduced for the first time in the comic Moomin and the Brigands (1954)!

The comic siblings

The Moomin comics ran in the London Evening News for 21 years and became the most successful Finnish comic ever created.

Tove and Lars Jansson 1963
Siblings Tove and Lars Jansson in Helsinki in December 1963. Photo: Finnish Heritage Agency

From the beginning, Tove’s brother Lars Jansson helped her translate Swedish comic texts into English. Over time, he started also helping with scripts as the volume of different projects on Tove’s table grew. 

The first full comic strip the siblings created together was Moomin Goes Wild West in 1957. By 1960, Lars completely took over the creation of the comics and continued making them until 1975 – which means that there are actually more Moomin comics by Lars than Tove.

Do you know how to recognise which sibling created which comic strip?

From a comic strip to a legacy

Though it all started from Tove Jansson’s Moomin novels and picture books, the adventures in the Moomin comics have served as inspiration for a variety of productions and products.

The ‘90s TV animation and global phenomenon Moomin is a mix of stories and adventures from the novels as well as the comics.

In 2022, the Moomin comics entered the theatre stage for the first time when the play Kris och katastrof i Mumindalen (“Crisis and catastrophe in Moominvalley”) premiered in Lilla Teatern in Helsinki, Finland. To honour the comics, the puppet theatre play was created in black and white.

The majority of Moomin Arabia’s classic Moomin mug illustrations are also adapted from the comics. The very first Moomin mug release included mugs with full comic frames on them, whereas the majority of the mugs since are adaptations of specific scenes or characters from various comic frames.