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Finnish Nightmares comic goes viral in matter of days

Graphic designer Karoliina Korhonen's new English-language comic strip Finnish Nightmares gained more than 70,000 fans around the world in a very short time. Her comic highlights Finnish etiquette and plays on perceived Finnish awkwardness.

Kuopiolaislähtöisen Karoliina Korhosen luoma Finnish Nightmares -sarjakuva.
One of Korhonen's "Finnish Nightmares" panels. Image: Karoliina Korhonen

A simply drawn figure called Matti with a blue and white hat is the protagonist of a new Finnish comic whose popularity has soared in a matter of days. Finnish Nightmares is a strip by Kuopio-born Karoliina Korhonen who pokes fun at Finnish stereotypes and etiquette with English captions. Likers can be found across the globe.

"I'm sure many identify with Matti and his brand of awkwardness," Korhonen says.

The 26-year-old says she is a female "Matti" herself, and that the situations she depicts are largely from her own experiences.

Among the things that make Matti anxious are receiving compliments, sitting next to a stranger on a bus and replying to small talk with lengthy descriptions of his day.

The creator says the comic was born by accident.

Kuvakaappaus Finnish Nightmares -sarjakuvista.
Image: Karoliina Korhonen

"I didn't plan it at all or look for influences. I just thought I'd make some of my friends laugh with drawings of awkward situations. I had no idea people would take to it so well," Korhonen says.

Finnish Nightmares may have been an accident, but its popularity has grown exponentially. Korhonen says she is not sure about the direction she will take Matti in next.

"My goal is to publish something on Facebook about once a week starting next week. I don't have any finished strips yet but I've written down ideas as they have come to me," Korhonen describes.

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