The Moomins are the central characters in a series of books and a comic strip by Finnish illustrator and writer Tove Jansson, originally published in Swedish by Schildts (and later in Finnish by WSOY) in Finland. They are a family of trolls who are white and roundish, with large snouts that make them resemble hippopotamuses. The carefree and adventurous family live in their house in Moominvalley, in the forests of Finland, though in the past their temporary residences have included a lighthouse and a theatre. They have many adventures along with their various friends.
In all, nine books were released in the series, with five picture books and a comic strip also written by Jansson being released between 1945 and 1993.
The Moomins have since been the basis for numerous television series, films and even a permanent museum exhibition and a theme park in Finland.
The Moomin stories concern several eccentric and oddly-shaped characters, some of whom are related to each other. The characters’ differences are accepted and their needs are accommodated. The central family consists of Moominpappa, Moominmamma and Moomintroll. Other characters, such as Hemulens, Sniff, The Snork maiden, Snufkin and Little My are accepted into or attach themselves into the family group from time to time.
The series is set in the fictional Moominvalley. It is here that the Moomin family decide to live at the end of The Moomins and the Great Flood, where they live in the Moominhouse.
The books in the series, in order, are:
- The Moomins and the Great Flood – 1945.
- Comet in Moominland – 1946.
- Finn Family Moomintroll – 1948.
- The Exploits of Moominpappa – 1950.
- Moominsummer Madness – 1954.
- Moominland Midwinter – 1957.
- Tales from Moominvalley – 1962 (Short stories).
- Moominpappa at Sea – 1965.
- Moominvalley in November – 1971
There are also five Moomin picture books by Tove Jansson:
- The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My – 1952.
- Who Will Comfort Toffle? – 1960.
- The Dangerous Journey – 1977.
- An Unwanted Guest – 1980
- Songs from Moominvalley – 1993
The Moomins also appeared in the form of comic strips; their first appearance to a big audience was in the popular London newspaper The Evening News in 1954, in English. Tove Jansson drew and wrote all the strips until 1959. She shared the work load with her brother Lars Jansson until 1961; after that he took over the job until 1975 when the last strip was released.
Drawn and Quarterly, a Canadian graphic novel publisher, is releasing a new reprint series of The Evening News strips, beginning in October 2006. The first three volumes of Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip are currently available, with two more volumes planned to follow.
In the 1990s, a comic book version of Moomin was produced in Scandinavia after Dennis Livson and Lars Jansson’s animated series was shown on television. Neither Tove nor Lars Jansson had any involvement in these comic books; however, in the wake of the series, two new Moomin comic strips were launched under the artistic and content oversight of Lars and his daughter, Sophia Jansson-Zambra. Sophia now provides sole oversight for the strips.