Wednesday, May 09, 2007
The Suburban Satanists are back!
Since 1997 I've been writing and drawing the misadventures of a family of Satanists for the Swedish branch of Egmont publishing. The five page strip appears in the Swedish and Norwegian editions of Herman Hedning comic, under the name ForortsSatanisterna (Sweden) and ForstadsSatanistine (Norway), both meaning "Suburban Satanists".
For various reasons due to family bereavement and illnesses I had to put production on that strip on the back burner over the last year or more, but now it returns to the pages of the latest issue, Herman Hedning No.3 /2007. (A new volume starts every January. It's actually issue 67.) I've just received copies from Sweden and as usual the printing is crisp and Ulf Granberg (also the editor) has done a great colouring job on it.
In this episode, the DeVille family decide to take a holiday, but as ever things don't go to plan. I write the five pagers as a sit-com, but each tier of drawings is a gag in itself, yet moving the story along into a complete story. An unusual way to work but in Scandinavia comics collecting newspaper strips are very popular, so I've used that format because it's what the readers are familiar with. Coming up with four self-contained yet connected gags per page was a different rhythm of writing to what I was used to but it was an enjoyable challenge to adapt to that technique.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the strip and it's provoked some interesting reactions along the way. The first complaint the strip received was actually from a Satanist bemoaning that real Satanists don't conjure up the devil. The strip also caused Egmont to slap a "mature readers" advisory on the comic once or twice (an unusual occurrence for a Norwegian comic) and most bizarrely of all, some woman on an internet forum once confused fiction with reality, angrily claiming I lounged around in a hot tub with other "Satanist cartoonists"! (You'd have to pay a publicist a mint for that sort of cool rumour and I got it free! ;-))
Hopefully Suburban Satanists will now appear on a more frequent basis again, and the next issue it features in should be issue 5. Unfortunately the comic is still not available in English, (publishers being a bit too jittery about offending religion over here) but I hope to self-publish a Suburban Satanists small press comic later in the year, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the strip. Watch this space for details as and when. The official Herman Hedning website can be found HERE.