22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Moa Romanova

Portrait Moa Romanova
© David Möller

Moa Romanova, born in 1992 and raised in Ångermanland, is a Swedish musician, artist, and comic author. She studied classical painting at the University of Fine Arts in Gothenburg and completed a training program at the Comic Art School in Malmö.

For years, Romanova maintained a blog in which she provided personal insights into her everyday life and thoughts, before she debuted her autobiographical comic »Alltid Fucka Upp« (2018; Eng. »Goblin Girl«, 2020). Based on her diary entries, the comic tells the story of a twenty-something woman and her crisis-filled life. The main character Moa spends her time at techno parties, lounging in her apartment, experimenting with drugs, and going on Tinder dates. Through it all, she regularly experiences panic attacks, which she tries to cope with in therapy. The comic describes the millennial attitude towards life in a realistic and at the same time contemporary language, characterized by emoticons, omissions, and sociolect in order to deliver a clear and expressive visual language. The focus is on the vulnerability that psychological instability and power imbalances bring to relationships, and the serious question of how such experiences can be handled with humor. With authentic dialogue and their raw presentation, Romanova’s characters seem to be taken from real life, yet are anything but realistic. They speak their very own body language – disproportionately small heads with stylized, sometimes undetailed, sometimes manga-like faces sit on broad, slumped shoulders and strong bodies that, on the one hand are reminiscent of the comic traditions that gave rise to Popeye. On the other hand, the uniquely drawn figures embody the dynamics between body images, gender, and power that underscore the dialogue. Romanova’s work is one of several comics by young Swedish authors published in recent years that use autobiographical experiences to tell the story of their generation. However, »Alltid Fucka Upp« stands out from the others in a more abstract, European style. Her role models include Erlend Peder Kvam, Brie Moreno, Per Åhlin, and Heinz Edelmann, who drew for the Beatles. »Alltid Fucka Upp« has been translated into seven languages shortly after its release and was internationally praised by critics.

Romanova also publishes her work in Swedish newspapers and comic magazines such as »Dagens Nyheter«, »Vice«, »Bang«, and »Galago« as well as on Instagram. The author lives in Stockholm.


Watch Katharina Erben – German translator of Moa Romanovs IdentiKid – at the 20th ilb on our YouTube-Channel: https://youtu.be/3VWip04dHyk