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WuMo brings world humor to comic pages

Comic strip touted for ‘celebrating life’s absurdity and bittersweet ironies’

A European comic strip making news around the world will be introduced to readers in our region beginning Tuesday, March 11.

WuMo is one of five new comics that will now be seen daily in our newspaper.

The name, if you’re curious, comes from a blend of the strip’s creators: writer Mikael Wulff and illustrator Anders Morgenthaler. Both are from Denmark.

They’re a versatile pair: Wulff and Morgenthaler have developed and run Scandinavia´s biggest comedy website, have created the animated sitcom, “The Pandas” — think “South Park” and “The Family Guy.” They’re in negotiations to bring the show to North America. And the prolific comedy duo won an award for the “Best Illustrated Cookbook” at the 2013 Gourmand Awards in Paris.

Wulff is a stand-up comedian and has done several live one-man shows, has released DVDs with his stand-up and has had his own TV and radio shows. In addition to his illustration work, Morgenthaler is also a movie director whose films range from children’s movies about talking fruit to avant-garde art-house fare.

Their strip, which has grown from an underground sensation to one of the most popular strips in Europe, is touted for “celebrating life’s absurdity and bittersweet ironies, holding up a fun-house mirror to our modern world and those who live in it.”

We asked Mikael Wulff how he and his partner manage to find subjects that will work for readers around the world.

“Actually we work very pragmatic about this,” he responded. “We do our strips bilingually, so they work in both Danish and English, and when they work in these two languages there’s a great possibility they’ll work all over the place.”

They steer away, he adds, from local references, like celebrities or politicians, and only use “really established pop cultural references,” like “Star Wars”, “Lord of The Rings”, “Batman,” Michael Jackson, the Pope.

“And the same goes with customs and figures of speech,” Wulff said. “We rarely do jokes that refer to something very specific to one region. Sometimes it can be frustrating not to make fun of something that goes on the news, but now it´s become so integrated in how we work when doing the strip that we don’t even think about it.”

What they love about their profession, he says, is the simplicity of the process.

” You get an idea, and can rapidly make it into a piece of work, and get a sense of whether it works or not,” he explains. “And then on to a new idea. We get at a lot of ideas, so it’s great to be able realize them without, as you do when making TV or movies or other creative endeavors, needing a lot of other people and money. Making comic strips is pretty much unfiltered creativity.”

His advice to parents whose kids are interested in comedy and cartooning?

“Set them free!!!”

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