One of the most prolific of the Jippi artists, Ronny Haugeland (b. 1976) has been working with us since the beginning in 1997. He published his first stories in the underground fanzine Fantazine when he was 16. By then he had already developed his characteristic drawing style and storytelling. The most recognizable influences on Haugeland’s comics have always been the elegant storytelling of Carl Barks and the rawness of Robert Crumb. To this mix he adds his own unique imagination and slightly naive sense of humour.
Among Haugeland's most well-known characters are the outrageously dysfunctional Cheese Family (Familien Ost), made in collaboration well-known Norwegian comic group Duplex, and the space-/anti-hero Torden Gorgon.
Maybe the most popular of Haugeland's creations is Downs Duck, who is a duck with, well, Down syndrome. Upon hearing the name Downs Duck, some people think it's about making fun of people with mental disabilities. On the contrary, these comics are actually quite heartwarming tales about a little guy dealing with everyday problems. Haugeland is currently working on a solo Downs Duck magazine called Downs DeLuxe due for release sometime in 2003.
While still publishing so-called alternative comics through Jippi, lately Haugeland has also branched out into the mainstream. Macho, a friendly satire about the modern male, has been a regular in Bladkompaniet's magazine Smult this last year. Smult has a circulation of about 35.000 copies each month, which has undoubtably helped raise Haugeland's profile in the Norwegian comics community. This summer Haugeland also made newspaper headlines with his controversial comics for the Quart festival's web-pages, in which he showed no respect for neither other festivals, politicians, gays nor political correctness.
Making a living as a comic book artist in Norway is certainly not easy, but Ronny Haugeland manages to avoid taking a job at McDonald's by also doing illustrations for various magazines and book publishers. Limiting his nutritional intake to just chocolate milk also helps.
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