Guben og Katten, by Soren Axen
'Guben og Katten' (Norwegian translation of 'Pettson och Findus').

Sören Axén was a Swedish comic artist, who spent most of his career working on licensed comic book properties for publishers like Atlantic Förlag, Semic Press and Egmont. He created comic stories with the Rune Andréasson creations 'Pellefanten' and most notably 'Bamse', of which he was one of the most productive scriptwriters between 1991 and 2008. He also worked on comic book stories with the Swedish TV puppet 'Televinken', Kenneth Hamberg's 'Goliat' and Sven Nordqvist's popular children's book characters 'Pettson och Findus'. Among his own creations were 'Lille Gnom', 'Vigge Viking' and 'Rubb & Stubb' (2011).

Early life
Sören Jan Ivar Axén was born in 1940 in Lidköping, a town on the southern shore of Lake Vänern. Before turning to comics, Axén tried his hand at a wide variety of jobs, including porcelain painter at Rörstrand ceramic tableware, sailor, farm laborer, potato grower, mailman and decorator.

Work in the 1960s and 1970s
In 1968, Sören Axén debuted in the magazine Televinken, where he drew the title comic - based on the Swedish puppet TV series - and stories of 'Pellefanten', the blue elephant comic character originally created by Rune Andréasson. He additionally worked on various handicraft books featuring Hergé's 'Tintin' and Astrid Lindgren's 'Emil of Lönneberga', and illustrated game, riddle and coloring books for Kärnan/Egmont.

Cover for Goliat #8, 1984, possibly by Sören Axén.

Work in the 1980s
Between 1980 and 1983, Axén worked for Atlantic Förlag on the funny animal comic magazine Vilde, Ville & Co, drawing stories with the title character. From 1985 until the cancellation in 1990, he was a regular contributor to Goliat magazine at Semic Press. Goliat was based on Kenneth Hamberg's comic series of the same name, about a caveman boy with a magical axe. Axén drew not only episodes of 'Goliat', but also stories with his own creations 'Lille Gnom' and 'Vigge Viking'. In 1986, Carlsen released the 'Little Gnom' book 'Skatten i djupet: Lille Gnoms äventyr'.

When Goliat magazine folded in 1990, Axén joined the Danish publishing house Gutenberghus - since 1992 operating under the name Egmont - known for its magazines with licensed properties. Axén wrote a handful of Disney comics with characters like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy, but was mainly assigned to the Bamse character, of which the company had just acquired the rights from the original creator Rune Andréasson. A studio production of new stories with "The World's Strongest Bear" was set up with its editorial homebase in Malmö, Sweden (Egmont Kärnan AB).

Between 1991 and 2008, Axén was one of the main contributors to the magazines Bamse, Bamse-Extra and Bamses äventyr, first as a cartoonist but later only as scriptwriter. By 1993, he was the series' most productive writer, with his sketched out storyboard scripts turned into finished art by Egmont's many freelance comic artists, most notably Francisco Torá, Tony Cronstam, Juan Aparici, Kenneth Hamberg and Kerstin Forstberg. In Norway, the 'Bamse' story 'Handsken är kastad' by Sören Axén and Francisco Torá was nominated for the 1999 Sproing Award in the category "Best Foreign Series", but lost to '1 side i Larsons gale verden nr. 4', a translated work by the Argentinean cartoonist Quino.

Final years and death
From 2000 on, Sören Axén drew Egmont's comic book series based on Sven Nordqvist's popular children's book series 'Pettson och Findus', about an elderly farmer and his clever cat. It was also published abroad, for instance in Norway under the title 'Gubben og Katten'. At age 70, Axén developed the comic series 'Rubb & Stubb' (2011), about a duo that enjoys taking walks in nature. It ran in Bamses äventyr. Sören Axén passed away in 2014 at age 74.

Sören Axén, photographed by Stieg Eldh in his studio in November 1974.

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