Funny stuff

1 April 2009 | In the news

The hedgehog that swears by Milla Paloniemi.

Milla Paloniemi's swearing hedgehog

For the first time, comic books rule the latest bestsellers list of Finnish fiction.

A cartoon series called Fingerpori by Pertti Jarla evidently tickles the Finnish funny bone, as three of his collections occupy the second, sixth and eighth places on the February top ten list, compiled by the Booksellers’ Association of Finland.

At his best, Jarla brings to mind the American Gary Larson and his truly original, crazy The Far Side cartoons – although Larson features animals in a multitude of human situations, while Fingerpori (published by Arktinen Banaani) features various people living in the town of ‘Fingerborg’. Jarla usually plays with language, giving words and expressions double, often slightly ‘naughty’ meanings. Below, a map of the town; west of Russia and east of Capitalism, north of the Vatican and south of Mordor, it was in olden times called Carl-Barks-Stadt. Heimo Vesa is one of the characters, and his house is marked on the map.


Here’s a sample of Fingerpori strips; as they are seldom wordless, you’ll need the following translation in order to get the point: ’Recommended to be enjoyed with pork and chicken’.

Maisa & KaarinaAnd two more cartoon books appear on the February list: Milla Palomäki’s Kiroileva siili (‘The cursing hedgehog’, Sammakko), see, for example, and Maisa & Kaarina. Naisten lajit (‘Maisa & Kaarina. Womens sports’, Otava) by Sari Luhtanen and Tiina Paju. One of their Maisa & Kaarina albums, Pyöreät vuodet (‘Happy returns’) was featured in Books from Finland, issue 1/2008). Are you having a larf, then?