Nov. 04--For the past 10 years, comedic writer Mikael Wulff and illustrator Anders Morgenthaler have grown their comic strip, WuMo, from an underground sensation to one of the biggest and most popular strips in Europe.
Now, the two artists hope to become a sensation in the U.S. as well.
WuMo debuts today in more than 200 U.S. newspapers and media outlets, including the News & Record.
"Here, in the secrecy of the hidden corners of the Internet, we developed it slowly, and after two years it was picked up by a national newspaper in Denmark and then Sweden, Norway, Germany, Finland, and other European countries followed and now the U.S.," Wulff said.
Named after the pair's last names, WuMo celebrates life's absurdity and bittersweet ironies, holding up a fun house mirror to the modern world and those who live in it. The comic appears in the largest papers in northern Europe, including Germany's Die Welt, Denmark's Politiken and Norway's Dagbladet.
The duo started creating WuMo themselves and posting it online.
"One thing we're never missing is ideas," Wulff said. "They seem to come to us fairly easily, and as a two-person team, we can rely on each other. If one has an off day, the other might have an inspired one."
Their ideas stem primarily from observing life and how people interact.
"We hope that the strip, in addition to being funny, also conveys some sense of what it means to exist in the world."
As for whether Americans will enjoy their comic as much as Europeans, Wulff and Morgenthaler are not worried. Their jokes, they said, are universal.
"From the get-go we've tried to do jokes that, in theory, work all over the world," Wulff said. "Our main inspirations for the comedy we do are American, so in many ways we feel very connected to the U.S. in terms of humor."
They plan to do some new comics with jokes about American pop culture and ways of life.
"We're spending more time in Los Angeles, so that will definitely be reflected in new WuMo strips," Wulff said. "Even some of the existing artwork is being refreshed with new jokes and perspectives."
A stand-up comedian, Wulff has done several live one-man shows, released DVDs of his stand-up and done his own TV and radio shows.
In addition to his illustration work, Morgenthaler is also a movie director whose films range from children's movies about talking fruit to avant-garde art-house fare.
Wulff and Morgenthaler also have developed and run Scandinavia's biggest comedy website, which attracts 200,000 daily users, and they created the animated sitcom "The Pandas," which is in the vein of "South Park" and "The Family Guy."
Looking back to their childhoods, both agreed they were a bit nerdy back in school, doing their own things.
"Most comedians feel that they're in the position of the outsider, standing on the sidelines of the action and making remarks while all the others are actually up to something," Wulff said. "That's probably how we felt back then, and still do, in a way."
The two said they are excited to see Americans' reactions to WuMo.
"Everybody wants good, fresh, original jokes drawn in funny ways," Wulff said. "And, the plan is to supply plenty of that."
Contact Jennifer Atkins Brown at 574-5582.
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