History of Danish Comics
– a shorter version
For a proportionally small landmass that has only 5.789,957 million people, and a comic strip/book history that starts at around mid-1800 – and they weren’t even Danish, until Storm P‘s “De tre smaa Mænd og Nummermanden” (The 3 Little Men and the Number Mand). From those humble beginnings in 1913 Denmark has created their fair share of Comic Strips and Comic Books.
We will not talk or mention a certain country – across the waters, has and will always dominate the comic strip/book scene, because of course this is the history of Danish comic strips and books, so to start we will begin at the beginning:
Robert Storm Petersen (aka Storm P) was a Danish cartoonist, writer, animator, illustrator, painter and humorist (1882-1949). Not all are fans of the father of Danish comic strips as his humor is an acquired taste and a certain type of satire. His early work is as mentioned”De tre smaa Mænd og Nummermanden“, followed by “En underlig Mand” (A Strange Man), most successful of his many works “Peter og Ping” (Peter and Ping) and then “Dagens Flue” (The Daily Fly). The Storm P Museum is certainly worth a visit and is situated at the entrance to the Frederiksberg Gardens.
Then we can hop right over to Henning Dahl Mikkelsen, a cartoonist best known for a comic strip called “Ferd’nand” and signed his work as just “MIK”, the success of this strip was the fact that there was no need for translation, as it didn’t have any speech balloons! It was first seen in 1937 in Denmark, and went as far as – that land which will not be mentioned over the water, and it ended its run there in 2012.
When talking about comic strips and comic books, we can’t, without doubt, forget the first children’s comic strip which had its debut in 1951, “Rasmus Klump” by the collaborative couple Carla and Vilhelm Hansen. This much loved comic strip has had many names from Bamse Bjørn in Norway, Rasmus Klumpur in Iceland, Rasmus Nalle in Sweden/Finland, Rasmus Tøppur in Faroe Islands, Petzi in Germany/France/Italy/Portugal, Barnaby Bear or Bruin or Bundle in England – to Pechi in Spain and Pol in Holland. I personally think that the Rasmus Klump fame culminated when that little bear got his own playground plus a pancake house in Tivoli, the adventure park in CPH.
Last but not least, my personal favourite, Morten Ingemann, a satirical and somewhat scandalous comic strip cartoonist best known for his “Og det var Danmark” (And that was Denmark) which portrays Denmark at its best and worst. His breakthrough came when he won a newspaper comic competition (held by Ekstra Bladet in cooperation with Bassema (Beetle Bailey magazine). in 2004, since then he has entertained one and all with his somewhat twisted and spot on caricatures of the Danish people and their everyday lives, as not been without scandal. Ingemann has unfortunately come under scrutiny and accused of plagiarism – in his defense he has said that he has found inspiration in a joke or two, and from other sources. However much controversy there is about his works, we, in Denmark, certainly like to buy the books and calendars that are published every year since 2005.
Even though there are more examples of the prolific Danes and their Comic Strips and Books e.g. Valhalla and Nofret – far more than I can write about, there are even more fantastic comic books from across the waters which have been translated into Danish, and only served to enrich the minds of both young and old alike.