While not a villain in the fictional world of The Moomins, Moominpapa and the rest of his family really used to set me on edge when I was small. It’s hard to describe but something about their vacant, piercing eyes and their emotionless, mouthless faces used to get me extremely worried and paranoid about what their true intentions were. I remember not being able to look away from the TV because I didn’t know what they’d do when my back was turned. My mother took this behaviour to mean that I loved The Moomins and she’d put it on specially, trapping me in their blank gaze for the entirety of the episode.
I’m interested to see what the reaction will be to this choice of “villain”, some people I know were very suspicious or afraid of the Moomins, but others adored them. Which version of Tove Jansson’s stories it is I was petrified by at a very early age, I can’t be sure. I remember it being much more melancholy and surreal than the popular 1990′s Japanese animation. My best guess is that it was the Polish stop motion animation broadcast in the UK between 1983 and 1986 (so I would have been between 2 and 5 years old) which had an eerieness all of its own. In this episode Moominpapa reaches instinctively for his shotgun upon the arrival of the Groke.
The original comic strip and picture books by Tove Jansson remain a wonderful artistic achievement (Drawn & Quarterly’s archives of the comic are beautiful books) but I still get a chill every time I see a Moomin by surprise.
Next week: Judge Doom!
Tags: childhood villains