Please note: All files marked with a copyright notice are subject to normal copyright restrictions. These files may, however, be downloaded for personal use. Electronically distributed texts may easily be corrupted, deliberately or by technical causes. When you base other works on such texts, double-check with a printed source if possible.

"Manmade Karlsson" ("Konstgjorda Karlsson")

"Manmade Karlsson" was only one of many comic strips published in Sweden's first weekly magazine in color, the "Brokiga Blad", meaning appr. "colorful/motley papers".

The evening paper Aftonbladet, founded in 1830 by Lars Johan Hierta, started this special Sunday supplement in 1907 - and it was in color, at least the front and back pages were. "Brokiga Blad" was published until 1930, very much modelled after French magazines like "Petit Journal" or "Petit Parisien". The front page usually displayed some spectacular drawing of a situation from recent news events. This was especially frequent during WW I. The cover here to the left (April 21st, 1918) shows an Italian airplane spreading leaflets over Milan with propaganda for the latest war bonds.

The magazine did not offer serious reading only, but also features for pleasure, popular science articles about new inventions, the nature of electricity etc. There were also pure pastimes like games and tricks and riddles. And on the back page, the other colored page, there were comics. These were mostly very innocent, not to say naive, jollifications like "Nisse the Sneezer", "Pelle and Putte", "Mommy's and daddy's first baby", and - "Manmade Karlsson", which was introduced to the readers in issue no 49, December 8th, 1918. The competing publication, Allers magazine, had published a similar comic strip in 1908, about the inventor "Archimedes Blom" - originally a German strip. New technology was a good subject for satire back then, as it is today. "Manmade Karlsson" always ended in the same way. In the concluding frame he pointed out the limitation of all machines - even anthropomorphous robots: they may be strong, but they don't possess two cents worth of a brain.

"Manmade Karlsson" is probably not from the beginning a Swedish comic strip, but rather of American or British origin. Readers with more info on this are welcome to write to the Art Bin editor at

Manmade Karlsson 1. (JPEG, 261 K)

Frame 1: "At last my big invention is finished! Manmade Karlsson, a mechanical servant. No more trouble with maids! No strikes! Hooray!"
Frame 2: "Now, let's try him out, by letting him sweep the floor. All I need to do is push the sweeping button."
Frame 3: "There, Karlsson. Sweep the floor properly now!"
Frame 4: "Good heavens, what kind of a dohickey is that?" "It is my mechanical servant - he is a better worker than any real human."
Frame 5: "Oh, so you are going to take the bread out of the mouths of decent people, you horrible creature!" "For God's sake, Hilda, don't! Karlsson is a bit delicate!"
Frame 6: "No, naughty Karlsson! I won't have you sweeping away Hilda!"
Frame 7: "Karlsson, Karlsson, stop! How on earth shall I reach the stop button?"
Frame 8: The sign says "GOD BLESS OUR HOME".
Frame 9: "Come back, Hilda, don't be afraid. Karlsson has stopped now. He is a good worker but he has no brains."

Manmade Karlsson 2. (JPEG, 263 K)

Frame 1: "Karlsson, today we will go rowing. At least in the water you can't do any mischief."
Frame 2: "Now I press the rowing button. Look out, Karlsson!"
Frame 3: "Your rowing is pretty good, Karlsson! Oh, what an invention!"
Frame 4: "Look out, Karlsson! There is a sailboat ahead."
Frame 5: "You are rowing us straight through the sailboat, Karlsson!"
Frame 6: "This will be an expensive affair! The sailboat will sink, of course." "Pirates!"
Frame 7: "Karlsson doesn't know any better. He is a mechanical invention." "Look out over there! We have a cargo of dynamite!"
Frame 8: Boom!
Frame 9: "We got away alive through a heavenly miracle, Karlsson! You are strong, but you don't possess two cents worth of a brain.

(Compare with another early comic strip , "The man who does whatever he fancies"! Also OA (Oskar Andersson) commented on the wonders of technology.)

[English Homepage]
[Svensk bassida]
[Origo menu]