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Comic Strip / Northern Overexposure

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"We live somewhere in between youth and adulthood, but my back can't take any more of this limboing. Something has to change."

Northern Overexposure (original title Villimpi Pohjola, Finnish for "Wilder North") is a Finnish Slice of Life Sunday Strip comic written and drawn by J. P. Ahonen, started in 2005. The comic follows the lives of a group of University stundents somewhere in Nothern Finland. The cast tries its best to balance between their carefree youth and the responsibilities of adulthood,each in their own way.

  • Ukko would rather just play his childhood Nintendo games instead of actually studying.
  • His girlfriend Muusa is nervous about the future, and at the same time she both despises and envies her cohabitants carefree attitude.
  • Rontti is the Campus Casanova who deals with women like with Pokemon .
  • Verneri is Ukko's best friend since their childhood days. Secretly jealous of Rontti's way with the ladies.
  • Anna is female counterpart of Rontti when it comes to aggressively hitting on people. Her results, however, are less than satisfactory.
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  • Otto is the resident bohemian and Jesus lookalike of the group. Constantly balancing on the line between getting kicked out of school and working towards his studies.
  • Minna is best described as a 16-year old nerd boy trapped in a body of a twentysomething woman.
  • Jouni joins the cast late as Minna's boyfriend. Tends to a bar named Pub-Niggurath.
  • Juhani feels like he's getting too old for College life and is ready to move away to his long distance sweetheart Kata. Others doubt such character even exists.
  • Topi is Juhani's best friend. Eager to share his wisdom, whether you wanted it or not.
  • Jaana seems to be the only one around the campus who actually contributes towards her studies.

The comic is notable not only for its clever and creative writing, but also for its well-developed cast and the heavy doses of Postmodernism.


The albums released so far:

  • "Villimpi Pohjola" (Self-published, 2007)
  • "Villimpi Pohjola 2" (Self-published, 2009)
  • "Kypsyyskoe" ("Trial of Maturity", Arktinen Banaani, 2011)
  • "Pelinavaus" ("Opening", Arktinen Banaani, 2013. An Updated Re-release consisting of material featured in the two originally self-published albums)
  • "Lapsus" ("Slip of the Tongue", see Double-Meaning Title below, Arktinen Banaani, 2014)
  • "Valomerkki" ("Last Call", Arktinen Banaani, 2015)

This comic strip provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Jouni coasted through school with apparently very little effort before opening a successful bar with his friends, all of this while still younger than the rest of the cast - something the other men are silently envious of upon hearing of it. He's cheerful and kind, has a sense of humor, no character flaws to speak of, and compared to the constant ordeals and hurdles the other couples in the strip have to go through, his own relationship with Minna has so far had no cracks whatsoever. Even the narration describes him as "perfect in every way".
  • All Just a Dream: One strip does this thrice with Rontti. the last one is a subversion.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Interesting variation: When the summer vacation starts, the actual cast is replaced by "summer stand-ins". Rontti is played by Mrs. Virtanen, Ukko by Phantom Blot, Otto by Jesus Christ and Muusa by a pigeon.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: When Rontti learns that he's the father of Anna's child, he slowly grows out of his casanova tendencies and eventually they become a couple.
  • Brick Joke: Halfway the second self-published album there's a moment when Minna confuses WWE with WWF. The final page of the album depicts the host and a panda beating each other Professional Wrestling style in a broadcast by WWF.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Verneri tries to learn from Rontti.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Topi disappeared mysteriously in the original storyline between Villimpi Pohjola 2 and Kypsyyskoe. The new strips in Pelinavaus Retcon his fate and show how he eventually gets fed up with the cold North and leaves to study in Santiago.
  • Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: Rontti takes up on celibacy to try and set his mind straight about soon becoming a father. This only leads to women everywhere wanting him all the more, even besieging his apartment.
  • Comic Sutra: As Rontti tries to rehabilitate himself of his Casanova tendencies, a woman hits on him by drawing a sex position into frosted glass. His friends can't recognize it but he does: Polynesian 97.
  • Creator Provincialism: The author J.P. Ahonen studied in the University of Lapland himself, which shows.
  • Deathbringer the Adorable: Kuolema (Finnish for "Death"), Minna's kitten.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Jouni's regular tattooist throws a highly suspect tantrum upon finding an unfamiliar tattoo taken on vacation.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Otto towards Minna.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "Lapsus" is a play on both the word's actual meaning, "mistake" or "slip of the tongue", as well as the word's similarity to Finnish word for a child ("lapsi"). Most of the book deals with the unplanned child of Anna.
  • Dumb Blonde: Rontti. Apparently he got in the University by sleeping with someone on the staff.
  • Experimented in College: Verneri's father and godfather, as admitted by the former.
  • Handsome Lech: Rontti takes this to its logical extreme.
  • Homage: Several strips.
    • Ukko's childhood escapades are drawn in the style of Peanuts.
    • A short story of Otto looking for his student card is drawn in the style of Finnish comic Rieku Ja Raiku, complete with rhymes.
    • Rontti is takes the role of Goldilocks in an interesting retelling of the fairy tale.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Minna is usually the Snark Knight, but she decides to take Otto to live with her when he loses his apartment.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: When Ukko tells Verneri about his plans to propose to Muusa, he goes nearly insane from trying not to spill the beans.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Ukko and Muusa have many failed attempts at having a child, while Anna ends up with one entirely by accident. When it looks like Minna might be pregnant as well, Muusa's sanity begins to erode.
  • MacGyvering: Ukko uses his pocket knife to carve a corkscrew out of a chair leg.
  • Manchild: Both Ukko and Minna are described as these.
  • Mood Whiplash: One particularly dark strip goes from a laugh out hilarious anecdote about a drunken Santa who made his face explode with vomit to Anna's Troubled Childhood with a drunk dad between panels.
  • Mr. Exposition: Certain strips have Topi to explain certain plot points and oddities to the audience, usually complete with white lab coat and flowcharts.
  • My Biological Clock Is Ticking: Muusa literally hears hers start ringing shortly after Rontti and Anna have their own child.
  • Official Couple: Ukko and Muusa at the beginning, then later Minna and Jouni, as well as Rontti and Anna.
  • One Degree of Separation: Becomes a problem for Rontti when he starts to look for work. More than once he meets someone that he used to be involved with, one way or the other. Needless to say, he does not have easy time finding a job.
  • Only Six Faces: Played with. There's a subplot where Verneri uses this to disguise as Rontti. What he does is simply pierce his eyebrow and bleach his hair, and the result is too identical people.
  • Postmodernism: A lot. There's often some sort of nonsensical element or Framing Device that doesn't really make sense within the universe of comic. For example, there's a strip where Muusa and Otto host a cooking show, where they cook their Master's Thesis using other books as ingredients. Many of these comics actually are part of the canonical storyline despite the weirdness. There's See Homage above and Shout-Out below.
  • Put on a Bus: Jaana actually finishes her studies at the University and moves away, while Topi leaves to study abroad.
  • Shout-Out: The cover art of each album is a direct Shout-Out towards a certain piece of art. For example, the first album cover is a reference to Edwards Hopper's "Nighthawks"
    • The name itself is a reference to Northern Exposure
    • One strip puts the characters competing in The Apprentice. The show stops once Donald Trump fires the cartoonist.
    • One of Ukko's Imagine Spots has him depicted as He-Man.
    • Because of an accident on the way to a costume party Verneri turns into Ghost Rider.
    • When thinking a name for her cat, Minna raises the kitten with his straight arms declaring: "SIMBAAA!"
    • Ukko comes across The One Ring while looking for a fitting engagement ring.
    • There's a rather Calvinesque running gag where a character - Otto is the most common offender, but far from the only one - literally lets his mind wander off during a lecture, or while trying to work with his or her studies. It once caused a "Freaky Friday" Flip.
  • Slice of Life: With heavy doses of Coming-of-Age Story.
  • Status Quo Is God: Averted, despite what the initial impression might be.
  • The Straight Man: Jaana. After she completed her studies her place has somewhat been taken over by Juhani.
  • Surreal Humour
  • Updated Re-release: Pelinavaus combines the strips from the two self-published albums together, adding also some new material. The old strips have been rearranged from order by release date to the in-universe chronological order, and the new strips provide more depth to certain storylines such as Topi's disappearance and Foreshadowing for the eventual relationship of Anna and Rontti.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: When Anna finds out that she is pregnant, she has no idea who the father is. It's Rontti, as if there ever was any other option.


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