Saturday, 1 December 2012

Pearls from Finland - creepy graphic novels

This post is about two graphic novels from my home country, which I think should be translated but probably never will. I thought it would be nice to talk about artwork, which normally would be left unnoticed outside the linguistic area (meaning Finnish speakers). The stories are creepy, despairing and beautiful. These novels deal with jealousy,  fear, greed and fear, so the themes are quite sinister so they should fit to a blog with gothic aesthetics.

First one is Alinka, Stories from the town of Sleepy Crane (a rough translation) by Ville Pynnönen. It was published 2004 and it tells about art school, it's pupils and headmaster. The world is slightly twisted reality with a hinch of fantasy. The story could be described as a psychological thriller. I consider all the characters to be borderline  insane, because the world the live in starts to turn into a creepy and dark place. On the other hand, the darkness seems to flow from some characters personalities, but it can also be seen as something alien that intrudes their minds.

Alinka also deals with the question what is an artist, or what it is to be an artist. I think that is a very interesting question, since these days we have so much celebrity novelists and visual artists, for example Andy Warhol or Salvador Dalí though they are kind of old but still a good example of modern society and its heroes.

The second graphic novel I'd like to introduce is something I got as a birthday present two weeks ago. Lauri and Jaakko Ahonen's Pikku Närhi, which can be translated as The Little Jaybird, was published 2012 and it is literally a graphic novel. I am too lazy to actually count, but in 150 pages there are about 15 speech bubbles. The words are simple yet very powerful, the pictures do the storytelling so it would not be hard to translate.

The Little Jaybird is a claustrophobic story about a little bird who lives with his mom in a creepy old house full of old portraits of dead relatives. The mother is paranoid, she believes the outside world is full of evil others, so she has nailed all windows shut and barricaded doors. Her son has never seen the outside of the house and now the mother is old and sickly, unable to get out of a bed. She has raised her son to be as fearful towards others and poor little jaybird is alone, trying to take care of his mother and the big old house. Here is a little sample of the novel.


  1. I saw Pikku Närh at the Helsinki comic fair and quite liked it. But I still need a translation since I don't speak finnish at al. For example I was not sure if it was his mother and didn't get some parts about the fear of the outside.

    Now I think I should have bought it, but I didn't...

    1. Well if you some day see it somewhere again and decide to get it, I'd be more than happy to translate it to you. :)

      How did you end up to the comic fare, was there something else in Helsinki too, that you were participating?