Thursday, July 21, 2011

Here Comes Pippi Longstocking!

It's been a while since I posted anything new, as I've been busy moving to another part of Richmond. Progress is going well, and to get me back into drawing, I just did this movie-style teaser poster of one of my favorite characters, Pippi Longstocking!

In both Swedish:
...and English:
This was done entirely in Flash. I drew Pippi in my own Mighty B!-esque cartoony style (similar to what I'm doing for Lily Merriweather) with my Bamboo Fun tablet, and I had painstakingly designed the logos in both Swedish and English. In fact, I did one for each of the three book titles (Pippi Longstocking, Pippi Goes on Board, and Pippi in the South Seas); I added "The Strongest in the World" for the first, as I thought it was cool to have a subtitle. Plus, that's what everyone calls Pippi!

I do admit that the 1988 film, The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking, was my first exposure to the character, and I found her to be quite appealing. I saw the film on cable in 2004 or so, and really enjoyed it! (I was already aware of the 1969 Swedish TV series between then; as my older sister remembered them upon looking at VHS covers for them at Suncoast, and I was intrigued.) I saw it again on Netflix in early Spring of last year, and my interest in the character was rekindled, so much that I bought all three of the original books by Astrid Lindgren. I have to say personally that the original books are the best versions of the story, hands down. They're just as compelling as any comic-book, and possibly the most extreme version of the character. (If it were up to me, I'd do a movie trilogy!) But as far as adaptations go, the aforementioned 1969 Swedish TV series with Inger Nilsson in the title role is the best adaptation (because of Astrid Lindgren's actual involvement)! Despite the major changes, it was very well thought out and conceived. Other adaptations I enjoy are the 1961 episode adaptation in The Shirley Temple Show (with Mousketeer Gina Gillespie as Pippi) and the aforementioned 1988 movie (with Tami Erin as Pippi). I'll present reviews of these adaptations later.

But whereas Ultra Seven, Underdog and others are among my favorite superheroes, my most favorite superheroine is Pippi Longstocking.

So why do I love Pippi so much? In a way, I saw Pippi as an inspiration for Bessie Higgenbottom from The Mighty B!; just as wacky and silly, but very lovable. Pippi is also super-strong, like Superman! (And possibly invulnerable! She can jump from tremendous heights, and land on the ground with not even so much as a scratch!) Some adaptations give Pippi magic powers, though, but in the books, she's really just super-strong, and super-imaginative, always telling tall tales. And another great thing is that she lives all by herself at her father's cottage Villa Villekulla (with her pet monkey Mr. Nilsson, and her nameless pet horse, who had several names in adaptations, the most popular being "Lilla Gubben," the Swedish word for "Little Old Man," a name given to the horse in the 1969 series), has an obscene supply of gold coins (with which she buys things), and does whatever she wants! (Who wouldn't want to do that?) But most of all, she loves her best friends, Tommy and his little sister Annika, and she looks after them as they all go out doing fun things, going on adventures and such. She's nice to well-meaning adults, but reserves her worst behavior for bad adults (bullies, crooks, pirates, etc.). And for a children's character, Pippi is also pretty brutal; she wrestles a bull (which almost tried to kill Tommy), but while she doesn't kill it (she already knows the value of life, as a hero should), she breaks its horns off, and basically wrestles the animal down to complete exhaustion! Mas Oyama would be proud of her. Unlike most adaptations, the books truly show Pippi's emotional side, my favorite of those moments being in Pippi in the South Seas, where, on Kurrekurredutt Island (where her father ruled as the natives' king), she saved Tommy from almost being eaten by a shark, and when realizing that he had a bloody scratch on his leg (from the nick of the shark's tooth), Pippi hugged him dearly (almost squeezing him), and she wept, as she thought she was going to lose him. It was a very touching moment.

I may discuss Pippi more in future posts, and you'll be seeing more fanart from me as well!