The Norwegian comic book artist Jason (real name John Arne Sæterøy) has produced a series of acclaimed graphic novels that have proven amazingly versatile.
Jason (born in Molde 16 May 1965) is known for his sparse drawing style and silent, anthropomorphic animal characters. Even his name reflects his minimalist artistic style. In 1989, he was admitted to Norway’s National Academy of the Arts, where he studied graphic design and illustration.
The subject matter of Jason’s comics varies widely
Jason has created gag comedy (Meow, Baby!), romantic melodramas (Tell Me Something), dramas (Hey, Wait…) and genuine thrillers (The Iron Wagon).
Related: Meet Rocky in Stockholm
Acclaimed Norwegian comic book artist
The Norwegian comic book artist Jason won the Norwegian Comics Association award in 1991 for the short work Pervo.
He has been nominated for two Ignatz Awards, won the Norwegian “Sproeing” award twice for “Best Norwegian Comic Book”, in 1995 and 2000. He has received praise in Time and won the Harvey Award for best talent as well as several Eisner Awards. He is a master of the ligne claire style, which, as you may have surmised, means “clear line”.
Jason had his work published for the first time in 1981 in the Norwegian comics magazine KonK, to which he contributed several short stories during its lifespan. His scenes are stripped down and set against backgrounds that are often solid blocks. His colors are muted or turned off completely.
Related: The Many Masks of Damselfrau From Norway
The subject matter of Jason’s comics varies widely. For example, he writes about a man who travels through time to assassinate Hitler, about a thief who poses as a werewolf only to be hunted down by actual werewolves, and about the long-term ramifications of childhood tragedy.
“One of the medium’s finest storytellers,” wrote Publishers Weekly.
“The graphic novel’s cinematic qualities have rarely been so well wielded as they are by the artist known only as Jason,” wrote Bookslut.
Related: Oslo Goes Pop
An international audience
The simplicity of Jason’s comics allows for conceptual complexity that would be lost in busier presentations. His work is beautiful artistry that provides space for us to make it our own and to get a little closure while we’re at it.
His works has been translated into Swedish, Finnish, German, Italian and French in addition to English. Jason lives now in Montpellier, France, from where he regularly blogs at Cats Without Dogs.
Feature image (on top) From “Werewolves in Montoellier”
The Great Norwegian Comic Book Artist, written by Tor Kjolberg