Moomin made his newspaper debut in The Evening Times on 20th September 1954. One year later, the paper celebrated his first birthday with an exclusive interview with Moomin himself. And who better to interview him than Tove Jansson?

The Moomins as presented in the comic strips were very different to the characters in the books. Moomin is frequently unhappy, Snorkmaiden chases after any male in sight, and Moominpappa’s flights of fancy are often in conflict with the family unit. This interview, unseen for over sixty years, gives a rare insight into the Tove’s direction for the characters, and also reveals the original working title for Moomin’s Winter Follies – originally called The Dangerous Winter. This title would be partially re-used twenty years later for The Dangerous Journey.

Also interesting is the first mention of Misabel, who appeared in the then-current Moominsummer Madness, and months later in a much-altered form in the strip Moominmamma’s Maid. It’s clear that at this stage, Tove was developing her characters for dual use, writing them with one facet for the novels and another for the comic strips.

The illustration that Tove penned for this article would be used over and over again in the future for story books and greetings cards, but in a much truncated form, with only the Moomin family and Snorkmaiden present. The full picture includes characters from all of the strips up to that date. Speaking of dates, it has been pointed out to me by a few readers that some of the dates I’ve given are in conflict with the canonical listing on Wikipedia. It’s actually Wikipedia that’s wrong in this instance. I’m working on an accurate chronology of the strips to be published in the future.

But, that’s still to come. Without further ado – here’s the interview.