Varjomaailma – Shadow World

Hi, I promised this post a bit earlier than how long it has taken now, but I have a reason for that

I only hit her once! that bitch! and being drunk is not an excuse oh please..

I only hit her once! that bitch! and "being drunk is not an excuse" oh please..

So it will be quite fitting for me to dissect a comic about the dark sides of alcohol right now. Sit back and learn people, this is important.

Even not drinking makes you see unicorns

Even not drinking makes you see unicorns

Varjomaailma is this far the only finnmanga I’ve read that I actually like. It is drawn by Maaria Laurinen, written by Tomi Kontio and funded by Mannerheimin Lastensuojeluliitto(a child protection union founded by Marshal Mannerheim) A-klinikkasäätiö(Provides help to drug and alcohol-addicted people) and Elämä On Parasta Huumetta ry.(Also helps with drugs, as their name “Life Is The Best Drug” indicates)

Now what I really like about this is that it’s completely free, non-profit comic and you can read it in 3 different languages here:


English is in the bottom, and I encourage you all to read it and e-mail the link to your friends. Even if this wouldn’t be a delighteful “Please think about the chiwldruun!”-comic, it would still be a great read. In this dissection I try not to post alot of pictures from the comic because I’m doing my darnderst to make people go and read it.

Aren’t I such a bleeding heart human rights hippie?



In this comic a good cause has found a good writer AND a good cartoonist. Why the obvious wapanese style of the artist didn’t throw me into a frothing, insane dispise and utter disgust is because her style actually fits where it is used, and she can use it well.

You see, the previous cartoonists who’s work I’ve dissected were some nobodies who FINALLY got their chance to get on top because of their style. The publishers are thirsty for the bloo.. er.. money of the stupid teenage masses who spend all their pocket money like rabid monkeys to every anime-styled thing that might pop up, but all those anime-style things come from foreign publishers so the finnish ones had to take the first losers who just could poop out 100-pagers for their money-making machines.

Anime rabies is a scary sight to behold

Anime rabies is a scary sight to behold

Varjomaailma uses the style in a bit different manner. Yes, they chose an artist who has an appropriate “popular” style to appeal to the kids, but this time they hit an actual growing talent, because this artist does something what others just don’t do.


I mean, holy moley! She’s actually studying horses instead of tracing Sailor Moon! look!

And THAT if something is remarkable and deserves million asskisses and not this “BAWWW! Someone commented to me on deviantart and said my style is copied! Give me pity and praise, not critique because I don’t want to grow as an artist!”-bullshit that I keep seeing around ALL manga and comic artists alike. It’s like cancer that’s killing the comics.

Oh god why is he naked oh my god why

Oh god why is he naked oh my god why

I see alot of potential with Maaria, and what I read from her blog she seems very eager to draw a published comic of her own. She has started a project called Phantomland(finnish only, I’m afraid) and it looks pretty good this far. you can check it out at this link: http://amph.nipponfever.net/phantomland/

I first saw her comics at Finnmanga vol. 2  and because her storytelling is down-to-earth and there’s no fighting and big explosions and muscular men kissing their slave women I found it to be pretty disinteresting. It relied heavily on human relationships and mystery. But it was pretty.

..but I really cant forgive the anatomy of that boy on the ground. Is he crushed by a steamroller or mangled by a bear??

..but I really can't forgive the anatomy and angle of that boy on the ground. Is he crushed by a steamroller or mangled by a bear??

Which brings us back to the topic I have hardly touched and what this entry SHOULD be about – the Varjomaailma comic. The story for it was written by a person who seems to have quite similar style to her so everything seems to click. It seems like the style that comes from her naturally.

Aww :(

Aww 😦

Relationship drama or relationships anyway don’t really interest me in comics or movies, but this does not take away from the message. The comic is about how children could talk to reliable adults about their parent’s drug problems.. unless you didn’t already catch that from “Mannerheim’s child protection” and “Life Is The Best Drug”-sponsors and didn’t already read this and send to all your friends even that I told you dammit! No one listens to me here!

The visual image of her style also reminded me of my old teacher’s words about comic art “The most important thing is the character, then the plot, you don’t even need dialogue for a good comic and THEN comes the background. You don’t really need the background for anything else than showing where the characters are and what is happening with the plot, but someone who really wants to go trough some trouble to make the comic look good will draw alot background.. but not too much, and sit straight you fucking slouch! You will never be a cartoonist! NEVERRRRRR!!” so with my old, dear teacher’s wise words I can say that Maaria does alot idle background and it actually looks good!

Look all that shit and stuff! whoa man

Look all that shit and stuff! whoa man!

The background really sets the tone and makes this thing realistic and almost touchable. I don’t think anyone else could’ve done this project any better. It just works.

Also her use of expressions is remarkable and out of the range of cookie-cutter. They are really fitting and I didn’t see her using any of the stupidest clisches that the weeaboos usually do like animesweatdrop or the angryvein.

Never draw real expressions again!

Never draw real expressions again!

But yes indeed I really need to applaud her for the expressions. They are very lively and realistic. Usually people make their “anime” characters have this one basic face, like their face cannot be drawn without the expression they are known for and my god is it annoying.

I just love the face of the hungover mother. Her face just screams I dont care

I just love the face of the hungover mother. Her face just screams "I don't care"

I don’t really have any gripes about the anatomy. The previous hideous jokes of comics had EVERY PAGE full of dislocated joints and broken bones but quess what the worst frames of this comic looked like?

They might be a bit awkward.. I think.

They might be a bit awkward.. I think. Maybe.

Not bad.

The half-tones used don’t cause dot-disease either

Compare these two and youll see what dot-disease means.

Compare these two and you'll see what dot-disease means.

She reminds me a bit of a friend I have. She has set great standards to her art and is determined to meet them. It’s something that will burn artists out and usually make them especially vulnerable to critique – they tried their best after all and met their quality starndards so why is it not enough for others? I do not know this person at all but all artists who have put this much effort to something and I’ve known them have been exactly like I explained, so I could imagine that the greatest problem Maaria may have is her self-critique. This will cause alot of lag and wait for her audience and that will always cause problems.

But I’m eagerly waiting for her next projects and she’ll definately get my money.  Apparently she is on her way of making 50 pages of Phantomland for desucon. I will be there.

No pressure

No pressure

I think that’s it. Don’t let your drinking go overboard, take care of your kids and read good comics. This will be the end of my finnmanga-theme and I’ll go pick something fitting for my mood for the next entry.

Booga booga

Booga booga


10 Responses to “Varjomaailma – Shadow World”

  1. March 17, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Hahaha! Don’t praise me so much, I’m getting a big head at this rate 😀
    I feel like replying with a couple of sentences about “well I didn’t really study the horses that much” and “oh if only you knew how hurried that comic was drawn” so yeah, you’re pretty much right about the self-critique part. It’s been a year since Varjis and I’m already amazed by how bad some of the drawings are!

    But hey, being perfectly satisfied with my stuff would only stop me from developing – aside from brief moments of self-contentment, I think it’s more interesting to have crazy big ambitions and try to reach for one’s full potential. I have to admit, though, that 100% independent & personal works like Phantomland are especially tough on me because I place lots of sentimental value on it thus will definitely want to make it as good as possible; so naturally I’m in constant fear of negative criticism because I’m not sure how well I can handle it. I’m not a good writer at all, but here’s hoping people will appreciate the technical effort at the very least…

    See you at Desucon! Now that you’ve put a little bit of that extra pressure on me I’ll be sure to pull some epic allnighters to finish the damn comic on time :F

    • 2 finnishcomicsdissected
      March 17, 2009 at 8:17 pm

      Don’t worry, if you get a big head out of this, I’ll just critique you harshly to negate the effect!
      It’s interesting to see what and how you have actually improved from Varjis. The backgrounds caught my attention again and I think those were the best indicators of progress. But you know what would make you different from all other “finnmangakas”? Draw a HUGELY obese person. Honestly, no one has done that yet.

      I agree with this with all the strings of my existence. As long as you can produce even badly but learn from your mistakes, it’ll be worth it.. which reminds me that I will have to dissect my own comic here some day. Though I have to do it all sneakily tee hee. I do shitty art but like to tell stories, we should like team up or something. Can you draw giant squids fighting off sunfishes in outer space, by the way? ..just asking.

      Good luck with Phantomland! It can be hard to do freelance work because no one’s kicking you in the butt to do it except you yourself. I hope it can be ordered trough the internets if it proves impossible for me to get to Desucon.

  2. March 19, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    One of the baddies in Phantomland is quite round… still not fat enough?
    Dissecting your own comic could be interesting. I haven’t seen much of your works at all so I’m looking forward to that :>
    Also it could be fun to team up for shorter projects but right now I’m being plain stubborn and want to tell my own stories even if they turn out bad, haha.

    • 4 finnishcomicsdissected
      March 19, 2009 at 8:26 pm

      Never fat enough! ..okay, let’s say he’s fat enough 😀
      It’s good you’re doing something of your own. Even if it will be complete and utter shit, it will let you breathe and learn. I speak from bitter, bitter experience. Oh the horror of my first comic, I don’t even want to see it ever again. If it would be a person I would hire an assasin to take him down and if it would be a cat it would be so malformed and ugly no one would never even laugh at it because it’s just that bad.
      BUT! Yeah, even I have moved forward and learned and I seriously think you are on to something. I’m also sure you’ll see my comics because you stalked me to my art-LJ you sly dog ❤

  3. March 21, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    True, true… I’m so glad I quit my old webcomic that I’d started back in 2003. It’s nostalgic but GOD is it awful on the other hand, I can hardly read it without feeling suicidal. It had a small fanbase for some reason though.

    Hehe, I stalk people much more than I care to admit. Nothing can stop me ❤

  4. March 24, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    Well well, this one was a positive surprise. Those story was down-to-earth and surely touches a whole lot of Finns considering how common drinking-related problems are around here. I’m pretty impressed by the art. It retains a nice touch of manga without going into the blatant HAY GAIS IM DRAWIN ANIMU. And it’s free too! Thumbs up from me.

    • 7 finnishcomicsdissected
      March 25, 2009 at 9:41 pm

      It’s rare to see a comic with flying unicorns that manages to be down-to-earth! And also equally rare is to see an anime artist who does not fall to the cliche’s of “I’m holing two fingers up cutely while winking”-type of overused bs. Let’s see if we will see more comics like this from the sub-genre of finnmanga.

  5. June 17, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    You enrage me! I love your blog, I downloaded all the pages so I can read them offline, not a post since march? Damn all! xD
    But seriously man, I love it, hope you update soon, I really look forward to it!

    • 9 finnishcomicsdissected
      August 19, 2009 at 7:11 pm

      Worry not, all is explained in my newest entry, maybe to even TMI-level of detail. I should at least warn people when I am too busy. But hey, thank you!

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