Minorities in cartoons: “Scandinavia and the World”

Scandinavia and the World
From left to right: America, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.

This week’s “minorities in cartoons” entry is “Scandinavia and the World,” a webcomic written and drawn by a Danish cartoonist named Humon.

Background

The strip portrays the countries of the world as represented by Uncle Sam-like national figures. Their personalities resemble the prevailing stereotypes/history of each country. The strip’s main characters are:

  • Norway, who’s into nature and perpetually carries a fish around with him.
  • Denmark, who’s an irresponsible, sex-crazed drunk (and occasionally is clueless about race, in a reference to controversial Danish comic strips about Islam’s Muhammad).
  • Sweden, who’s usually fairly straight laced and plays “straight man” to the group.
  • Iceland, who seems to mix Bjork with “fun-loving daredevil” aspects.
  • Finland, a perpetually-scowling guy who doesn’t talk. He’s always seen carrying a knife or beer bottle.

As noted above, the stereotypes about each country stem from a Scandinavian point of view. Thus, America in the strip is basically Homer Simpson-like (or at his worst, Biff Tannen-like). Earlier strips would show him often carrying a firearm. Oddly, America also has a desire for mild-mannered Canada to sit on his head as his “hat.” Sister America, America’s sister, is basically Paris Hilton.

An early running gag (and what makes this strip qualify for this entry) was Sweden being in heavy denial about his sexuality. Eventually, Sweden came out as gay. His boyfriend revealed to be Åland (in real life, a group of Finnish islands near Sweden, with close relations to the latter). Other characters in the strip (particularly Denmark) are also implied or outright shown to engage in same-sex relations (exclusively or occasionally).

“Scandinavia” has a fair amount of “blue” humor, which I suppose isn’t surprising for a webcomic. Sex as a topic comes up somewhat often, especially with Denmark. There’s also Sweden’s sister, Sister Sweden, who resembles the “voluptuous blonde” stereotype of Swedish women (and is apparently as sex obsessed as Denmark). For whatever reason, Sister Sweden actually likes Finland (and vice-versa).

Less often seen is Sister Finland also liking Sweden. (She resembles Finland, but without the beer bottle/knife.) This is despite Sweden being gay, and obviously not wanting her attention.

(Updated 11/15/16)

One comment

  1. Thanks for blogging this webcomic. I never knew about it before. I have half Estonian heritage, so I’m glad to see there are a few strips about Estonia in their archives.

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