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New Tribune cartoon: Get ready for some 'Wumo'

Published November 4, 2013 9:05 am

Comic strip • Offbeat — and very funny — Danish import joins Tribune's lineup.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

And now, straight from Denmark to The Salt Lake Tribune's comics pages, it's "Wumo."

Really. From Denmark.

The comic strip, which starts its run (replacing "Brevity") on Monday, is somewhat reminiscent of "The Far Side." Offbeat. A little bit warped, even. It's grown from an underground sensation to one of the most popular strips in Europe.

And, while some might argue that American and Danish humor is different, "Wumo" certainly translates well.

"There might be a difference between some American humor and some European humor, but what we strive to do is to create a particular sense of humor that transcends the local aspect," said Mikael Wulff, the standup comedian who partnered with illustrator Anders Morgenthaler to create the strip. "We have fans from all over the world — Europe, the U.S., Asia, Brazil, all sorts of places. So we wouldn't call our strip something that is bound to a specific geographical location or culture.

" 'Wumo' is that one thing in the world that speaks across nations and politics. We're bringing everybody together in a giant cosmic embrace!"

The strip's syndicator describes it as "reminiscent of their countryman Hans Christian Andersen — if Andersen's fairy tales had been populated by sadistic pandas, disgruntled office workers, crazy beavers, Albert Einstein, Snoop Dogg and Darth Vader."

The title "Wumo" is drawn from the first two letters of each of the creators' last names. Together, they've built a bit of a comedy empire in Denmark. They operate Scandinavia's biggest comedy website. They created the animated sitcom "The Pandas," which is sort of a Scandinavian "South Park," They're in negotiations to bring it to this side of the Atlantic.

And they recently won an award for the best illustrated cookbook at the 2013 Gourmand Awards in Paris.

Really. A cookbook.

They both bring something to the table — Wulff his comedy background; Morgenthaler his experience as an illustrator and a director.

"Of course, these specialties have been an advantage because we can [maintain] strong focus on the text and, at the same time, the look and composition of the strip should always feel fresh, surprising and an attraction in itself," said Wulff, who answered The Tribune's questions via email. "So this is a very important part of working together. We both bring something to the table."

"Wumo" is full of funny stuff. Imagine a pair of depressed-looking lions reading a copy of Vogue that declares, "Big hair is out!"

Or competitive swimmers nonplussed by a shark in the pool as the TV guy says, "I understand your concerns, but we really need the ratings. …"

Or a submarine balanced on a mountain top with the caption: "Never text and sub."

Despite their success on the other side of the Atlantic, Wulff and Morgenthaler are excited about the challenge of building a fan base in North America.

"Almost all our inspiration when we started out was American comedy," Wulff said, "and we have always wanted to get our stuff to the U.S. So, needless to say, we are just very excited about this happening now. We'll work hard to make sure that we're worthy!"

spierce@sltrib.com

Twitter: @ScottDPierce