• Sweden edition
 
Swede of the Week
Forty years in comics for 'leftie bear' Bamse

Forty years in comics for 'leftie bear' Bamse

Published: 10 Jan 2013 14:45 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Jan 2013 14:45 GMT+01:00

Swedish writer Rune Andréasson invented Bamse in 1966, but the little bear got his own series of comic books a few years later, in January 1973. Publishers Egmont are therefore celebrating Bamse’s 40th birthday this year, starting with the first issue of 2013, which was released on Tuesday.

”It’s marvellous that the comic book is read every week by 100,000 children 40 years later,” Bamse editor-in-chief Charlotta Borelius said in a statement.

Bamse is the world’s strongest bear, but only when he eats his grandma’s special honey, a bit like French comic book hero Asterix and his druid potion.

SEE A GALLERY OF BAMSE: THE WORLD'S STRONGEST, AND KINDEST, BEAR

The kind bear, who wears a little blue hat that looks suspiciously similar to a night cap, is constantly out and about on various adventures, when not raising his family of four – triplets and their baby sister – with his wife Brummelisa.

The triplets are non-identical and as different as different can be. Brum is a boys-will-be-boys kind of cub, while Teddy, who is near-sighted and wears glasses, steps in as the classic nerd.

Their sister, Nalle-Maja, is a bit of tough cookie, who in one story punches a schoolyard bully on the nose.

Kid sister Brumma battles with developmental issues when she is young and is later diagnosed with autism.

Bamse’s posse of friends is as intriguing as his family.

Creator Andréasson believed it was courageous to be honest about being scared. If that motto had a poster child, it would be the ever-nervous rabbit Lille Skutt ('Little Hop'), one of Bamse's trusted friends.

More often than not, however, despite the comic book pages almost vibrating with Lille Skutt’s anxiety, the white bunny will give his all for his friends. He’s married to a journalist and has one son.

LISTEN TO A RENDITION OF THE BAMSE THEME SONG

The second of Bamse’s two wingmen is the lanky turtle Skalman ('Shell Man'), who unsurprisingly is a mentor and idol to Bamse’s studious son Teddy. And Skalman can build any device and solve any problem.

Yet Skalman’s dogmatic dedication to a healthy lifestyle routine often endangers the trio’s undertakings. Come hell or high water, if his antique alarm clock goes off, he will either tuck into a snack or fall right to sleep.

The colourful gallery of characters often engages with hot-button topics.

Andréasson never shied away from difficult topics, including racism, gender equality and addiction.

“You have to be nice to people who do bad things, because they need it the most, and it might make them kinder,” reads one of the mottos in the comic book.

It is widely accepted that Bamse originally stood for left-of-centre views on society and politics, although the youth wing of the conservative Moderate Party once went as far as dubbing him a communist.

A celebratory description of Mao Zedong in an issue of Bamse published in 1983 raised more than a few hackles:

“The country was liberated from war lords, businessmen and foreigners who used to be in charge. Before the liberation, many millions of people starved to death. After 1949, food is shared equally and nobody starves,” one issue read.

Bamse fails to mention the several tens of millions of people who died in the Chinese famines.

The last time Bamse made headlines was in 2011, following a special edition produced for the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) to help explain the asylum process to young children.

The special issue featured a rabbit family allowed to stay while a badger family has their asylum application turned down.

As the badgers are sent home, happy relatives wait to welcome them as their aircraft touches down.

The story outraged several commentators who thought it played down the complexity of deporting children and the potentially real threat of persecutions and abuse upon return.

In response to the backlash, Bamse’s publishers said they acknowledged the complexities surrounding asylum cases involving children, but instead said the comic had been meant to ease their anxiety.

“In some cases, the scenario in the comic book could be true, in others it would be significantly more difficult for returning children. But we didn’t want a traumatic ending to the story, but instead to give the children hope,” Ola Andréasson told Skånska Dagbladet at the time.

Since Andréasson’s death in 1999, many observers, not all of them happy, have noted that the comic books have become more mainstream.

Not least because Bamse over the years has found his way into endless commercial tie-ups, with his furry face adorning everything from toothpaste tubes to bed linen.

Had Bamse become a turn-coat capitalist? Or, at least, had his publisher?

In an opinion piece in 2003, entitled ”Bamse is no longer the leftie bear,” Dagens Nyheter (DN) reporter Mats J. Larsson wrote:

“The three-decade transformation of Sweden from a successful welfare state to a society that has adopted many of Margaret Thatcher’s market liberal ideas, albeit in light versions, has also rubbed off on the stories about the super-duper strong bear.”

Take a look at our past Swedes of the Week.

Ann Törnkvist

Follow Ann on Twitter here

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

21:31 January 10, 2013 by intrepidfox
TL get a life. It´s a childrens comic. Kids do not care about politics. It´s got great stories and i think that TL should in future with their news be neutral and not far left. Better still get proper journalists or will you just delete this post as you do to others
Today's headlines
Boy receives cancer vaccine by mistake
Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Boy receives cancer vaccine by mistake

A boy scheduled to be vaccinated against mumps, measles, and rubella instead received a vaccine against cervical cancer. His family has now reported the blunder for inspection. READ  

Sweden grants additional funds to jobs agency
Photo: Bertil Enevåg Ericson/TT

Sweden grants additional funds to jobs agency

The Swedish government has announced that it will increase funding to the jobs agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) in 2015, primarily to cover personnel costs but also to prevent long-term unemployment. READ  

Police 'powerless' against street racers
Police on E4 highway. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police 'powerless' against street racers

Stockholm police said they were powerless to react when streetracers took over at "insane speeds" on a large highway on Friday night. READ  

Saab carmaker wins receivership
Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Saab carmaker wins receivership

After initial rejection, a Chinese-owned company set up to take over Saab's assets after the troubled Swedish carmaker's bankruptcy said on Friday it had succeeded in being placed in receivership. READ  

Woman suffers cardiac arrest while giving birth
Photo: Tomas Oneborg/TT

Woman suffers cardiac arrest while giving birth

A 30-year-old woman went into cardiac arrest while giving birth at a Stockholm clinic - without hospital staff noticing that anything was wrong. She remains in a critical condition on Friday. READ  

Champions League
History repeats for Malmö fifty years later
Striker Magnus Eriksson during Malmö's 3-0 win over Salzburg in a Champions League qualifier. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

History repeats for Malmö fifty years later

Malmö's entry into the Champions League serves as a reminder of times gone by in European football. With Spain's champions bound for Sweden things just couldn't be better, writes contributor Lee Roden. READ  

Elections 2014
Löfven promises jobs to 50,000 young Swedes
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Löfven promises jobs to 50,000 young Swedes

Social Democrat party leader Stefan Löfven announced on Friday his "most important election promise", a 90-day job guarantee programme for young Swedes. READ  

 Sweden to buy fighter jets despite Swiss pullout
The Jas Gripen fighter aircraft. File photo: Wikimedia

Sweden to buy fighter jets despite Swiss pullout

Sweden said Friday it would go ahead with the purchase of a new generation of Saab Gripen fighter jets, despite Switzerland pulling out of a major co-financing deal. READ  

Three hurt after northern knife attack

Three hurt after northern knife attack

Three people are in hospital after they were stabbed during what police suspect was a gang-related attack in Umeå. READ  

Stockholm 'thief' turns out to be trainee ninja

Stockholm 'thief' turns out to be trainee ninja

Stockholm police rushed to the scene when a worried Swede reported that their neighbours were the victim of a break-in - but when officers arrived, they found nothing but a ninja in the middle of practice. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching August 27
Gallery
Top ten false friends in Swedish
National
Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize
Society
Meet the man who made a Swedish store recall its high heels for kids
Business & Money
'How I came to run my own business in Sweden'
Blog updates

25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

 

25 August

The Dollar Store (Blogweiser) »

"A dollar store in Sweden. Blog post: http://t.co/tNuuvcP1q0 #USD #greenbacks #sweden #sverige pic.twitter.com/RHFAYf7U1k — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) August 23, 2014 There’s a chain here in Sweden called The DollarStore. This name always stood out to me in a country where they don’t use dollars. I went there for the first time this weekend. They actually accepted greenbacks..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
Expert explains why Sweden's election oozes uncertainty
National
City plays Schindler's List theme at Nazi rally
Society
For Stockholm Fashion Week, here's the A-Z of Swedish fashion
National
'Amnesiac' man avoids deportation for ten years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Gallery
People-watching August 22-24
National
Armed royal guards caught (very) drunk on the job
National
Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination
Gallery
Violent anti-Nazi demonstrations in Malmö
Society
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Gallery
See the destruction from the southern Sweden floods
Politics
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Society
Swedes celebrate first day of smelly fish season
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching August 20th
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

759
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se