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Swedish children's comic (aimed at the very youngest readers) created by Rune Andreasson, started off as a half-page weekly cartoon in 1966. Got its own comic-book in 1973. It has been translated to all the Nordic languages and had short publishing runs in Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as failed attempts to launch it in Great Britain.
The series details the adventures of various Funny Animal characters as they go about their lives. The series is known for having a strong moral stance, while at the same time often presenting rather dark issues or complex problems in a way suitable for very young children (A famous "Letter from the Editor"-page started with "Your parents don't want you to know about this just yet, but I think that it is important that you learn about this" and then moved on to explain the holocaust to children.)
The cast has gradually expanded as the series went on, the original Power Trio of Bamse the bear (mostly the Big Guy even though he's small... almost verging on a Cute Bruiser considering that most other adult characters are actually much larger and Gentle Giant) Skalman the turtle (Absent-Minded Professor sometimes bordering on Mad Scientist and also The Spock) and Lille Skutt the rabbit (Fragile Speedster and Cowardly Sidekick, although he has enough incidents of bravery that he approaches The So-Called Coward) and to some extent their friends and antagonists. The second Cast Herd is made up mainly of the triplets of the titular character (artistic Brum, Tomboy Nalle-Maja and Badass Bookworm Teddy) and to some extent their friends. But over the years the series has attracted Loads and Loads of Characters.
Bamse is made super-strong by eating dunderhonung ("thunder honey"), a dish (which, according to Word of God, is not just honey but includes a bunch of ingredients, including a secret plant and some pepper) that is brewed by his grandmother.
The series is somewhat (in)famous for it's status as an Author Tract (sometimes dropped into the narrative itself, sometimes in separate educational pages or on the letter column) Also, almost every villain is given a Freudian Excuse.
Now has a character page, but given the vast amount of characters, it could always use more work.
The characters have grown and developed as the series went on, both Bamse and Lille Skutt are married and have children, and for a while their kids aged almost in Real Time, although they stopped aging when they started school.
Bamse provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Vargen's stepfathers. Burre's dad initially had some traces of this as well, but is treated more sympathetically in his latter appearances, being not so much genuinely abusive as simply temperamental and suffering from a slight gambling addiction.
- A Day in Her Apron: Nowadays, Bamse and Brummelisa are both working parents, since the children have started school... but some years ago, when Brummelisa was a stay-at-home housewife with three children, she did occasionally express a wish to not only having to work at home, leading to one story where she and Bamse swapped jobs -- she substituted for him as a lumberjack while he stayed home with the kids. Of course, he made a huge mess of things (though it has to be said that he suffered from some bad luck; one of the kids got unexpectedly sick and needed extra care, which got his schedule a bit out of whack). Still, the trope wasn't played completely straight, as Bamse even after a catastrophe of a day still suggested to his wife that they occasionally switch jobs in the future as well, so that she could get out of the house more.
- All Deserts Have Cacti: In one comic, Bamse dug next to a cactus, hoping to find water. He instead found oil, which was spotted by bedouins, who then came to his aid.
- All Myths Are True: There are trolls, goblins, witches, giants, dragons and they have run into Rama and Sita a couple of times. Ghosts and other forms of undead are the only exception, it seems, as ghosts always turns out to be something else and the main characters are very insistant that there is no such things as ghosts.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Both Krösus and Vargen. Also, "Bamse och Kalle Svartskalle", which is explicitly about this trope.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Wolves were treated as this in the comic's early years, but with Vargen's Heel Face Turn and the growing anti-racism tone of the comic, their portrayal got more nuanced and the trope Subverted more than once. Eventually it was established that wolves on the whole are quite decent people, and that Bamse's home tracts was simply unlucky enough to have more bad ones than good ones living there. Similarly subverted for the voles, who become ruthless and greedy by working for Croesus, and examples of good vole characters show up occasionally.
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle: "Bamse's school".
- Badass Grandma: Bamse's grandmother. One time some of the strongest villains tried to prevent her from returning home from a trip so Bamse wouldn't have any dunderhonug before they could deal with him. Grandma responded by forcibly moving them out of the way.
- Well, she is an anthropomorphic she-bear. Brummelisa is also both stronger and more willing to kick bad guys around than her husband.
- Badass Pacifist: Of course.
- Berserk Button: Do not threaten Bamse's children. Ever.
- Dont EVER try to bully people weaker than you when Bamse is around. He will knock you around until you learn your lesson.
- Bilingual Bonus: Often overlaps with Parental Bonus one of the more complicated ones involves Vargen's Old Flame Virginia Varg. Varg=Wolf in Swedish...
- Bunny Ears Lawyer: Skalman.
- Bully Hunter: Many of the villains Bamse and his friends encounter think they can do whatever they want because they are stronger and bigger than the people they hurt. Bamse quickly shows them the error of their ways.
- Cannot Spit It Out: A good chunk of Skutt's courtship of Nina Rabbit.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Vargen even has a diploma, being the World Champion of Nastiness. He's changed a lot since those days, although he holds on to the title out of nostalgic pride.
- Cats Are Mean: Averted with Katten Jansson, who may occasionally be selfish and mischevious, but is genuinely kind and helpful in his role as Team Pet, and even has a mouse as a best friend. Played straight with the bigger alley cats he sometimes tries to impress, though.
- Chaste Toons: Completely averted; both Bamse and Lille Skutt have over the course of the comic married and had children.
- The Commissioner Gordon / Friend on the Force: Kommissarie Pontus Kask is happy to have Bamse around, and overlooks any misdemeanors that might occur when stopping worse crime and injustice - often by making people not wanting to be criminals in the first place.
- Cool Old Lady: Bamse's grandmother.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Krösus Sork. He's one of the few villains of the comic that has never had any kind of Heeö Face Turn.
- Expy: Some of the characters were taken from Rune Andreasson's earlier works and given minor changes.
- Freudian Excuse: Just about every villain qualifies.
- Friend to All Living Things: Bamse and Brummelisa's youngest child, Brumma. She even is a friend to all dead things, one of her best friends being a broom.
- Funny Animal
- Fun with Palindromes: Lille Skutt's wife is called "Nina Kanin" (meaning "Nina Rabbit").
- Furry Confusion: Kinda. There are anthro animals and non-anthro animals. To further confuse the issue many of the non-anthro animals are Non-Morphic Talking Animals, although most of them only talk among themselves -- the most notable example being Katten Jansson (Bamse's grandmother's pet cat) and his best friend Husmusen ("the House Mouse"), who on occasion play the roles as Team Pets and often engage in friendly banter among themselves.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Skalman has just about any convenient doohickey tucked away in his shell. A common favorite is the inflatable helicopter. Yes, an inflatable helicopter.
- In the early TV movies, it was explicitly stated that Skalman does not have transoceanic steamships or lunar rockets tucked away in his shell (but hinted that he might have pretty much anything up to that).
- His own favourite is the "Food-and-Sleep clock" which always rings at inconvenient times, see Holding Back the Phlebotinum below.
- G-Rated Drug: somewhat averted in The Wizard's Red Flower while the drug is never named, said red flower seems to imply that it is opium. The Sdrawkcab Names of both the wizard and his henchmen (the wizard's name is Eragord, which backwards is a word for "drug drealer," while the henchmen are called "Nioreh" and "Nifrom" -- backwards spellings of the Swedish words for "heroin" and "morphine") doesn't help.
- In fact,the Norwegian translator was so concerned about the implications that she changed the names to "Malonkus," "Milus" and "Nilus," which are pure fantasy names.
- G-Rated Sex: In an early Bamse comic, Bamse is shown making babies with his wife: They lie in bed, fully clothed in pajamas and under the sheets, hugging each other.
- The text even says "That night, they hug for extra long". Which has actually become a euphemism in Swedish.
- Heel Face Turn: Very common, Vargen is probably the most famous example. Although he occasionally relapses, though his conscience will constantly bother him.
- Holding Back the Phlebotinum: Skalman is intelligent, educated, has a lot of common sense, and access to tons of convenient gadgets, so technically he could solve any problem that comes along in a moment. To counter this, he also has an alarm clock that dictates when he'll eat and sleep, and which he'll obey obsessively; when it rings, he'll stop whatever he's doing (even stopping mid-sentence) and either eat or fall asleep, thus removing him from the situation and forcing the others to save the day (or at least have them deal with the situation until he wakes up again). To this troper's knowledge, Skalman has only ignored the alarm clock once; at the time, the others were in abject danger and would've died if he'd fallen asleep.
- Make that twice, he stayed awake for the birth of Bamse's kids too
- He's ignored the clock several times, actually, not just these. "I can't sleep at a time like this" would be his Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner if it wasn't as uncommon as it is.
- He has fallen asleep during the middle of a tournament in the Middle Ages. In full armour atop a charging horse. There is not neccessarily any great logic to when and how he will fall asleep or not.
- Seems he'll stay awake under very exceptional circumstances. His own life being in danger apparently doesn't count as such. (Though one story reveals that sleeping pills or knockout drops will keep him awake against his will.)
- In addition, dunderhonung has an irritating tendency to being unvailable at critical times, and Bamse cannot stay always powered up (it wears off with time, faster if he does strenous stuff).
- Happened literally in one storyline, when grandma had run out of the one special ingredient she needed. Bamse had to resort to non-strong solutions and ration what honey he had left when he really needed it. Several of his enemies eagerly awaited their opportunity. False alarm, she discovered that the other jars held a huge cache of the stuff.
- Make that twice, he stayed awake for the birth of Bamse's kids too
- Lighter and Softer: Back when Rune Andreasson (and Jan Magnusson after him) wrote the letter column, it would usually bring up serious issues like war and bullying, and handle them really well. Nowadays, the letter column is mostly about mundane things, like what kind of ice-cream the editor prefers. The stories themselves have always been very lighthearted however.
- Long Runner: Quite.
- Look Ma, No Plane: When Skalman's balloon outperforms a passenger jetplane, the pilot and co-pilot wonder why they are having the same hallucination.
- Meaningful Name and Species Surname: These are the most common naming conventions. Often combined in various ways. The oddest case is probably Vargen ("The Wolf"), the original villain, who has retained precisely that name, even as most others have gained more "full" names (although usually including some reference to their species). His origin story tries to explain this by claiming that his stepfathers simply never cared enough to bother giving him a proper name.
- Never Say That Again: Skalman really, really hates it when people tells him to hurry or hurry up and considers hurry to be the foulest word there is.
- Never Say "Die": Played straight and averted. One time grandma mentions to Bamse that it's important to say die so the children will understand. The bad guys seems to be reluctant of ever saying the word 'die' though.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Subverted, a lot of characters claimed this when Reinard appeared. Things are still pretty much the same, though.
- Omniglot: Skalman can speak lots of languages. Including fish.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Skalman almost never shows emotion, and always obeys a strict schedule. When he stops obeying that schedule for a bit, or snaps at his friends, you know it's serious.
- Parental Abandonment and Parental Substitute: The titular character's parents got lost during an adventure at sea, so he was raised by his grandmother. (The origin story about this explains that this is why she lives on that ridiculously high mountain — she wants to be as far away from the sea as possible, since the sea had taken all of her family, save Bamse.) Bamse's parents were later found to be alive and well, although on a Deserted Island, where they preferred to stay, helping the local populace with various medical issues.
- Oh god, Vargen, full stop. One story that deals with his childhood reveals that His parents died in a forest fire but managed to save him by putting him in a basket and sending it down a river, where he was found by a trio of criminals, that reluctantly raised him, though they werent exactly ideal parents. Aside from being abusive, they also taught him to steal.
- Parental Bonus: Rather common.
- Parental Favouritism: Krösus is The Unfavourite.
- Pirate Girl: Sjörövar-Jenny seems to be this, being a young woman in piratical garb who is a skilled cutlass fencer and sailor, but she is merely the daughter of a rather eccentric scholar obsessed with pirates and pirate treasure, and takes after him.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Captain Buster and his three-man crew would very much like to be a subversion of this, but any time they try actual piracy they are stopped by Bamse. So for the most part, they unwillingly play the trope straight.
- Power of Friendship
- Power Trio: Bamse is the ego, Skalman is the superego and Lille Skutt is the id.
- Bamse's triplets form a somewhat different Power Trio, with Teddy as the superego, Brum as the ego, and Nalle-Maja as the id.
- Power-Up Food: Dunderhonung, naturally.
- Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Skalman's age is unknown, but he has probably been alive for much, much longer than the rest of the main cast. In one throwaway line he mentioned that he taught The Three Musketeers to fence.
- In another story, they briefly visit some of his relatives. Their reactions would suggest that a period of ten years are like a weekend to them.
- Series Continuity Error: Despite establishing previously that there is no way to go further into the future from the starting point with Skalman's time machine, there was recently a comic where they did just that.
- Slap Slap Kiss: Burre & Nalle-Maja would fit this trope (they are a bit young, but she *has* kissed him...) although Nalle-Maja doesn't slap people. She punches them in the face.
- It runs in the family. First time their parents met, Brummelisa slapped Bamse (he accidentally insulted her).
- "Ah, I must've mistaken you for your great-great-great-great-great grandmother". Oh Bamse...
- To clarify, Bamse had just returned from a time-travel trip during which he had met Brummelisa's medieval doppelganger.
- It runs in the family. First time their parents met, Brummelisa slapped Bamse (he accidentally insulted her).
- Smart People Play Chess: Skalman plays chess, generally against himself, since other people aren't much of a challenge.
- Team Pet: Katten Jansson and Husmusen often tag along on Bamse's journeys. Strangely enough, Lille Skutt's dog Lurvas hardly ever does.
- Technical Pacifist: Bamse never hits people. He's okay with throwing them up in a pine tree.
- He hits people occasionally, it just takes a LOT to tick him off.
- He doesn't need to use much force to make people dazed or scared enough to stop being physically threatening. "I just poked you with one finger. Now play nice, or I will poke you with two fingers."
- Fridge Brilliance: Grandma has stated that she made sure that if Bamse had an intention of doing something nasty, the dunderhonung would lose it's effect. Bamse has to be a Technical Pacifist for it to work.
- To Be a Master: Reinard, the smart, charismatic, daring new villain wants to be the World Champion of Nastiness, a title previously (and still) held by Vargen.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Vargen is this.
- Vague Age: Bamse has always been shown as living in his own house, and going on various adventures, in a way that suggests adulthood. But in the early comics, he would also frequently play with friends (outside the main trio, e.g. Mickelina Fox and later Brumelisa) who were depicted as being Bamse's own age (and height), yet living together with their twice as tall parents. Similarly, Bamse's grandmother being twice the height of him suggested that he was still a child. His age stabilised at adupthood around 1980 though, with his marriage and getting children.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Krösus retains a veneer of legality, despite being head of The Syndicate. As this is a children's comic, though, it borders on The Family for the Whole Family.