Himlens Änglar, by Jan Romare
'Himlens Änglar'.

Jan Romare was a Swedish diplomat and artist of newspaper comics. His first tenure as a cartoonist lasted from the early 1950s until the early 1960s. He returned to the profession in the late 1980s. Most of Romare's creations were pantomime strips with animal characters. His best known features are the hedgehog 'Hubert' (1953), 'Pyton' (1987) and 'Himlens änglar'.

Early life and career
Jan Romare was born in 1936 in Stockholm and made his comics debut as a teenager. His first work appeared in the 1953 Christmas supplement Smällkaramellen of Folket i Bild, the cultural news magazine owned by the Swedish Social Democratic Party. It marked the first appearance of the hedgehog Hubert in the strip 'Ur Igelkotten Huberts Dagbok' ("From Hedgehog Hubert's Diary"). Hubert continued his career in the pages of the teen magazine Fickjournalen from 1955. Romare furthermore created other cartoon animals, such as 'Gorilla Gusten' ("Gusten the Gorilla", in Folket i Bild), 'Mullvaden Malte' ("Malte the Mole") and 'Ugglan Urban' ("Urban the Owl"). The latter appeared in the Swedish photo magazine Se from 1960 to 1962. Romare was also the author of the youth detective novel 'Mordet på Mamses' (1958).

Ugglan Urban, by Jan Romare
'Ugglan Urban' (Se #22, 1962).

Political interlude
Romare's cartooning career went on hiatus in the early 1960s, when he was employed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. He received his first foreign posting at the Swedish embassy in Paris in 1963. It was followed by several other postings, and he furthermore served as the head of the Swedish delegation to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Romare took a leave of absence from the Ministry in 1991 to focus on cartooning again. When he retired from politics altogether in 1998, he became a full-time cartoonist again.

Pyton, by Jan Romare

Already in 1987 he had created his best-known strip, 'Pyton'. It featured the escapades of a small but asocial and eccentric man and his pet python. The strip was originally a temporary "guest strip" in the daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter, but quickly became a favorite among the readers for its absurd humor. The python's main occupation is either eating everything on his way (which often gives him a revealing shape), or hiding out in every imaginable spot. The strip also appeared in the comic book Serie-Pressen by Formatic Press (1993-1994) and Lars Mortimer's comic magazine Hälge (2002-2008). 'Pyton' has been collected in three books by Alvglans during the 1990s.

Himlens Anglar
Another popular series was 'Himlens änglar' ("Heaven's Angels"), a comical portrayal of life after death in Dagens Nyheter. It stars a series of angels in night shirt, complete with wings and halo, who indulge in rather earthy activities like playing cards. God and Satan are also present. The latter regularly suffers from performance anxiety because he is not sufficiently evil. The strip has been collected in three books between 1993 and 2000.

Other comics
Romare subsequently created 'Råttan Robert' ("Robert the Rat"), a rodent who made it to Prime Minister, and some short-term characters, such as private investigator 'Slim Smart Privatdetektiv', and a moose modelled after Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata Salazar, who leads an animal revolution. 'Ugglan Urban' also returned under the title 'Kalles Uggla' between 1996 and 2002. 'Sommargubben' (2006) was a humorous comic strip about the average summer holiday. His strip 'En Sommarsaga' dealt with a tick called Figga who grows to enormous proportions. Many of these features have been collected in book format by Alvglans.

Jan Romare passed away on 31 August 2017, at the age of 81.

'Himlens änglar'.

Series and books by Jan Romare in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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