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Stand Still, Stay Silent: A Post Apocalyptic Scandinavian Comic

Stand Still, Stay Silent (SSSS) is a post-apocalyptic webcomic taking place in the Nordic countries, and mixing some usual post-apocalyptic topoi to unusual elements both from nordic mythology and magic.

Minna Sundberg, a young Finnish-Swedish artist,  started writing and illustrating Stand Still, Stay Silent (SSSS) in November 2013.

The webcomic, which has just passed 200 pages, is available to read for free at its official website, but you can also get a pdf or hardcover copy of Book 1 (the first 200 pages approx) contributing to the crowfunding campaign for Stand Still Stay Silent running on indiegogo till October 21, 2014.

The story takes place 90 years after a viral outbreak that ended of the old world.

Iceland is now the largest safe area still in existence, and it’s where most of the remaining population in the Known world live. Smaller safe settlements are in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.stand-still-stay-silent-ssss-postapocalyptic-norwegian-town

Outside the safe areas, the Silent world hosts mysterious and unspoken dangers, and is scarcely explored.stand-still-stay-silent-ssss-waterBecause of the fear of the outside and the lack of information, what was known of the old pre-apocalypse world got lost and slowly but relentlessly turned into ancient lore.

stand-still-stay-silent-ssss-characters-jollybunchThe plot develops about a research crew, sent into the great unknown world of the outside.

As Minna says, Stand Still, Stay Silent is a “mostly light-hearted story in a post apocalyptic Nordic setting.  It’s a story about friendship and a long journey to explore uncharted places in a forgotten world, sprinkled with some Finnish and Norse mythology, magic and a tiny dash of horror”.stand-still-stay-silent-ssss-charactersIf you are looking for a bloodily violent zombie post-apocalyptic story, this is not the right book. In Stand Still, Stay Silent “the focus is on people living in style”, not on the disease or its effects, as Larry Cruz explains in his review of Stand Still, Stay Silent.

Still, you will find in it enough action and tension, even if it takes a while for the book to build its climax. And the mix of nordic mythology, magic and horror contribute to that in an effective way.

Stand Still, Stay Silent has in fact a very original take on the post-apocalyptic theme. I love how it successfully mixes some of the usual post-apocalyptic topoi to original elements both from nordic mythology and magic,

The title itself of this webcomic comes from the First rule of survival outside the safe areas: “If you come across a Beast, a Troll or a Giant, do not run or call for help but stand still and stay silent. It might go away”.

The author of Stand Still, Stay Silent has a good knowledge of the nordic mythology, deeply explored in her previous webcomic, A Redtail’s dream. This is a 556 page tale built around some concepts of Finnish mythology, drawn between 2011 and 2013.

From a graphical point of view, Stand Still, Stay Silent‘s drawings are beautifully crafted.

I love the way she focuses on details, which reveal the amount of background technical work behind the scenes. The frequent maps are a good example.
Stand Still Stay Silent (SSSS) - maps

Coastlines, mountains and fjords typical of nordic landscapes are expressive, and the use of the color palette  is skilled, often colors play on grey or blue or red tones with a dramatic effect.Stand Still Stay Silent (SSSS) - landscapes
Minna is able to convey the sense of coziness and – at the same time – loneliness of the tiny small villages covered by snow in the great wild outdoor:

Stand Still, Stay Silent (SSSS) - snow

But I also love how she draws post-apocalyptic ruins of the old world, from structures to buildings and cities: stand-still-stay-silent-ssss-postapocalyptic-ruins-road

stand-still-stay-silent-ssss-postapocalyptic-ruins-bridge.jpg

Stand Still, Stay Silent is a great post-apocalyptic comic, a recommended reading that is really worthy your time. I’m looking forward to its next chapters.

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