Kronblom by Gunnar Persson

Gunnar Persson was a Swedish comics artist, and a longtime contributor to the comics magazine 91:an. He is best-known for taking over his father's iconic comics series 'Kronblom' (1967-2010), but he has also worked on other comics like 'Gus', 'Herr Larsson', 'Flygsoldat 113 Bom' and '91:an'. He came from a true dynasty of comics authors. Besides his father, Elov Persson, his brother Ingvar Persson also worked in the industry, while his son Jonas Persson, nephew Lasse Persson and niece Bia Melin also stepped in their fathers' footsteps.

Gunnar Verner Persson was born in 1933 in Storvik, a town west of Sandviken. Both Gunnar and his brother Ingvar grew up with the joys of having a famous father. Both boys were given nicknames based on their father Elov's creations, 'Kronblom' (1927) and 'Agust och Lotta' (1928). The short Gunnar was called "Agust", while the taller Ingvar became "Kronblom". Ironically enough, both brothers would eventually continue their father's comics, but then the other way around! It was Ingvar "Kronblom" who continued 'Agust och Lotta', while Gunnar "August" took over 'Kronblom!'

Gunnar Persson showed an early artistic talent, and attended drawing courses at the Bergh school in Stockholm between 1952 and 1954. He then became a freelance journalist in Stockholm. He worked for Dagens Nyheter and Stockholmstidningen and developed a specialism in cartooning, which he did for several papers from the late 1950s.

Herr Larsson by Gunnar Persson
Herr Larsson

In 1961 his pantomime comic strip 'Gus' first appeared in Sydsvenska Dagbladet. It was later distributed to about 30 newspapers throughout Sweden, Norway and Finland. By 1965 he began an association with the leading Swedish comics magazine 91:an, based on the eponymous soldier by Rudolf Petersson. Persson's first creation for the magazine was 'Herr Larsson'. He abandoned this character after two years, when he was asked to take over his father's comic about the ever-lazy 'Kronblom'. He had big shoes to fill. Elov Persson's lanky sexagenarian from the fictional country village Vinkelboda was already firmly rooted in Swedish pop culture. His name and image have become synonymous with a laid-back life.

Kronblom

Gunnar Persson expanded the 'Kronblom' universe with new characters like neighbor Svängrot, and a foster son called Boris. He dropped most of the original philosophical elements, and focused more on humor. Both Rolf Geschwind and Jonas Persson wrote some of the series' scripts in the 1980s. Gunnar Persson continued 'Kronblom' for over forty years, eventually surpassing his father in terms of production. He not only provided the bi-weekly 91:an with episodes, but from 1987 on also the weekly magazine Allers. An attempt to give Kronblom his own magazine in 1997 stranded after only four issues, however. Kronblom also became the mascot of the Swedish association football team Örebro SK in 1987. At a rough estimate, Persson has drawn about 7,000 'Kronblom' pages. This didn't keep him from helping out Nils Egerbrandt with 91:an's title comic. Nowadays the strip is produced by a team of artists and writers, but in 1969 Egerbrandt was solely responsible for its production, yet the editors demanded a steady supply of stories. Persson helped out with the plots and sketching of the adventures of 91:an and the other recruits in the Klackamo base during the 1970s and 1980s. Between 1984 and 2000 he also drew the spin-off strip 'Ur Klackamo Dagbok' ('Klackamo's Diary'). This comic strip version was also syndicated to Swedish newspapers like Hallandsposten through Bulls Press.


91:an and Kronblom swap clothes for the occasion of the magazine's 50th anniversary in 2006

Persson furthermore served as a scriptwriter for 91:an's funny air force strip 'Flygsoldat 113 Bom', after the departure of its creator Torsten Bjarre in 1971. New artists for the comic were Lasse Persson, Bertil Wilhelmsson and Anders Persson. Gunnar Persson also wrote the scripts for the humorous comic about police officer 'Konstapel Knut' (1971), which was drawn by Leif Rosenqvist for Kul med Åsa-Nisse. Between 1982 and 1987 he was one of the scriptwriters for the Nils Egerbrandt creation 'Frisk och Rask' in 91:an, at the time drawn by Bertil Wilhelmsson. During the 1990s Persson dropped most of his work for Egerbrandt and concentrated fully on 'Kronblom'. His son Jonas Persson joined his father in the production of the strip in 2006, and took over completely in 2010.

Gunnar Persson had lived in the Swedish city Örebro since 1964. He passed away on Sunday 8 April 2018 as a result of injuries sustained from a fall a couple of weeks earlier. He was 84 years old.

Series en boeken door Gunnar Persson op voorraad in de Lambiek Webshop:

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