zine, [zeen] noun. 1. abbr. of fanzine; 2. any amateurly-published periodical. Oxford Reference


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Läskimooses - year #1 (2012)

Läskimooses - year #1 (2012)
Matti Hagelberg 
23cm x 17cm, black and white, colour covers.
9 issues variable page count (24 pages - 32 pages). 
€60.00 (Euros - price per year)
As I've said before, zine makers are currently reaping the advantages in printing technologies and new distribution channels. Allowing independent writers and outsider artists to create work that are still zines, but also overlap with other forms and formats. 
Läskimooses straddles experimental comics, diy culture, punk aesthetics, and graphic art.  With 42 issues already published, it is the longest single comic book story ever produced in Finland. I've been sent the entire back catalogue for review - but rather than a torrent of single issue reviews, or a huge full series review, I'm going to break it down into years - the same way the subscription is sold. 
Läskimooses contains elements of pulp sci-fi & pop culture, and the history of the universe. But in essence Läskimooses is a parody of conspiracy theory, you know the kind that underpins TV shows like Ancient Aliens - theories that begin at the fringes of reality and quickly veer off into unhinged absurdity. 
Yes, I know what you're thinking - what exactly is Läskimooses? You'll have to read as far as Issue 5 before you can start connecting dots, and the story with the title. The narrative is plotted in an intriguing way. Largely its a conversation between two people - one is unseen (the reader is given their vantage point within the conversation) - while the other person constantly interrupts with counter stories and theories, and frustratingly often wanders off to make coffee. Everything that happens is part of what they are telling each other, and as you begin to piece together details you realise perhaps it isn't as straightforward as that. 
The art is completely suited to the content - abstract frames alternate with fantastical creatures, clearly drawn with an obsessive line. It's that obsessive line grid, combined with a scratch technique to create white on black, that gives Matti's work a distinctive quality.  
Läskimooses is written entirely in Finnish but thankfully, for the non-Finnish speakers, each issue comes complete with an A4 sheet containing English translations. My initial concern was that reading the translations would disrupt the experience, but really it's no different than watching a film or TV show with subtitles. In effect, for me, the Finnish text only helps create a dislocating effect that adds to the strangeness of the story. 
I think you can genuinely compare Läskimooses to the epic TV series phenomenon - the world it creates is huge, the characters intriguing, and its not afraid to push and pull you in directions you think you don't want to go.  So far I've only read to the end of Issue 9, and I genuinely can't guess where we're heading, all I know is I want to stay on the ride. 

Here's a short documentary of Matti working on the series:
You can check out some samples of Läskimooses here, along with the international ordering info. Most of the sold-out issues have just been reprinted, so it's a rare occasion that all the issues are available - so get in quickly

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