Linnéa Johansson strikes again: Super Soft Heroes and Strong Princesses

Josefina Maria Bentz

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Swedish cartoonist Linnéa Johansson, known for her ‘Super Soft Heroes’ colouring book for children, is currently working on a new batch of ten strong princesses.

The acclaimed illustrator and her gender norm challenging cartoons have received plenty of positive reactions from people and news outlets from all over the world. Her work portrays known superheroes like Superman, Batman and Spiderman in every day situations such as baking with their kids, grocery shopping or sitting on the toilet.

Batman is baking with his batkids
“Batman baking with his kids” – Image Credit: Linnéa Johansson
 "Beauty prefers Brains"
“Beauty prefers Brains” – Image Credit: Linnéa Johansson

Johansson is now producing a new colouring book that will contain ten strong princesses. We will see Cinderella playing video games with her stepmother and stepsisters, Ariel sitting on the toilet and having second thoughts about becoming a human and Belle doing scientific experiments.

Cinderella is playing video games
Cinderella is playing video games with her stepsister – Image Credit: Linnéa Johansson
Ariel is having second though about becoming a human
Ariel is having second though about becoming a human – Image Credit: Linnéa Johansson

The idea was created when Johansson’s three-year-old son came home from kinder garden visibly upset but refusing to cry because he claimed Spiderman does not cry. The cartoonist then decided to take action and started drawing an alternative side of well known superheroes – a more human, emotional and complex side. “Children need to relate to real and emotional role models,” Johansson explains in an interview with The Huffington Post.

A drawing Johansson named 'Hug' portraying Spiderman and his daughter - Image Credit: Linnéa Johansson
A drawing Johansson named ‘Hug’ portraying Spiderman and his daughter – Image Credit: Linnéa Johansson

As a cartoonist and a big comic book-fan myself I know that superheroes are emotional and complex characters, the problem is that in the kids editions they show only aggression and violence.

– Linnea Johansson

Superman, his daughter and their cats
“Boys learn from their role models to act tough and aggressive and that showing vulnerability or emotion is equivalent to being weak” – Image Credit: Linnéa Johansson

“Boys learn from their role models to act tough and aggressive and that showing vulnerability or emotion is equivalent to being weak or ”being a girl” (which is considered an insult in today’s society). […] Girls on the other hand learn early on that their greatest asset is to be beautiful,” Johansson writes on her website Limpan.org. With her cartoons, Johansson is not only challenging  gender norms, but also encourages diversity in terms of untraditional family constellations.

Maleficent and her beautiful family
Maleficent and her beautiful family – Image Credit: Linnéa Johansson

The Super Soft Heroes colouring book is free to download, since Johansson expresses that she will get in trouble with Marvel or DC Comics because of copy rights. She also hopes that by distributing them for free, her cartoons and the message they carry will reach as many kids as possible.

Aurora is not happy to be kissed
“No means no” – Image Credit: Linnéa Johansson

To read more: Cartoonist Linnéa Johansson: Even Superheroes brush their teeth!

 

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Josefina Maria Bentz