December 6, 2013

‘WuMo’ joins comics lineup

From Staff Reports

— Beginning today, The Daily Citizen is carrying a new comic strip with an odd name: “WuMo.”

The comic strip is the brainchild of writer Mikael Wulff and illustrator Anders Morgenthaler — hence the name “WuMo.” During the past eight years, the pair have nurtured their creation from “an underground sensation to one of the biggest and most popular strips in Europe.”

“‘WuMo’ celebrates life’s absurdity and bittersweet ironies, holding up a funhouse mirror to our modern world and those who live in it,” according to Universal Uclick, which distributes the comic strip.

“WuMo” replaces “Diamond ‘Lil.”

Get to know the creators of “WuMo” better through this interview with Wulff and Morgenthaler.

Q: How has the strip evolved through the years? What things have stayed the same?

A: The strip started out as a single panel, one gag-a-day kind of strip, and that’s what it has remained. When we started out, some jokes were just plain weird and outrageous. Now we aim to use the comedy to explore life and connect to the people who read the strip.

Q: What are some of your comedic influences?

A: In the comic strip department, we’re of course great admirers of the work of Gary Larson, as well as “Bizarro,” “Calvin & Hobbes” and “The Perry Bible Fellowship.” Other comedy influences include early Woody Allen movies, “Airplane!” (the movie from the ‘80s, which was a big thing when we grew up), “The Simpsons,” “South Park,” The Onion, Steve Martin, Tina Fey and, at the moment, everything that Louis C.K. is doing.

Q: Will we see any recurring characters in “WuMo”?

A: We don’t usually do recurring characters, but occasionally some do pop up from time to time. We specialize in recurring types of personalities and types of animals. Accountants, married couples, beavers, turtles, pandas, doctors, therapists. The classics.

Q: How do you feel about the enthusiastic response “WuMo” has received from American publications and readers?

A: All of our main comedy inspirations are American, so it’s something extremely special for us to be able to show our creative work here ... We’ve done the strip in Europe for 10 years now, and the goal from the beginning was to get it to America. Now that it’s happening, it’s very much a time of joy and excitement on our part.

Q: Will the humor in “WuMo” change now that it’s being featured in North America?

A: The humor in “WuMo” is universal, and we’ve always tried to do jokes that would work anywhere in the world. However, we’re spending more time in Los Angeles and other North American cities, so that will definitely be reflected in new “WuMo” strips. Even some of the existing artwork is being refreshed with new jokes and perspectives.

Q: What are some challenges you’ve faced in producing the comic strip? How is it different than your other comedic outlets?

A: The daily grind is to get the perfect drawing to fit the words, to cut away the superfluous language and make sure that it all seems effortless and pleasurable. We’ve worked for a long time to gain that kind of simplicity, but it can take a long time to master. When it comes to reading comics online or in newspapers, people’s attention spans are almost nonexistent, so you have to make your point really fast and simple to grasp.