We all wonder what happens after we die. There are many theories going around depending on one's views, religion, and many other factors. Do we go to heaven? Do we reincarnate? Or do we just fade away into nothing? This comics artist named Jorgen Van Santen from Oslo, Norway tries to answer that question with his funny comics!
The main characters of the illustrations are a dead girl, who got hit by a bus while she was on the phone, and Death himself. They go on all kinds of adventures together, even visiting the land of the living. They meet all kinds of people in Death's realm, from animals to celebrities.
More info: Instagram
Here's what the artist told us about how he started creating these comics: "I came up with the idea for Death and the maiden back in 2016 because of a national comic contest. The contest gave me purpose and a deadline. I needed at least 15 episodes to participate. The comic made the top 5, so I kept making more episodes for fun.
After a while, I started posting on Tapas.io and gained some followers. In 2019, I was asked to publish in the weekend section of Aftenposten, which is the largest newspaper in Norway. I still publish two episodes every weekend here. The comics have also been published in other newspapers and comic magazines in Scandinavia. I think I came up with the idea of a comic about the afterlife because I’m terrified of death and not religious."
Jorgen told us what inspires him to create art: "I love to draw, and also enjoy writing and coming up with jokes and short stories. I find inspiration for my comic everywhere, but very often during conversations with friends and family. Very often I think: 'Ha! This topic would make a great episode.'
I have been drawing stuff and reading comics all my life, so my interest in comic art has always been there. Creating communication and education concepts is also my day job, so I work with illustrations, storyboards, and animations almost every day."
"I decided to create Death and the Maiden for a national comic contest in 2016. I have a fascination for the concept 'life after death' and all the possibilities in such a universe. Most of the established comics in Norway are typical 'Slice of life comics,' and I wanted to do something different to stand out in the contest. Death and the Maiden came in 4th.
I actually had other plans for the dead girl (a graphic novel), but never felt ready to start the process. So now I make simple comics instead. I started posting on Instagram in November 2019, and really enjoy the feedback and comments (No such thing in paper editions of newspapers), so I guess I’ll keep at it as long as people read them!"
Jorgen tells us more about his drawing style: "My style is what you’ll probably call 'old school.' I do classic newspaper comics with 3 or 4 panels and a punchline (or two) in the end. I try to use colors, light, and shadows to accentuate the atmosphere in the afterlife. I also always try to make the next episode a little better than the last, so I spend way too much time on every episode. But if you’re into illustration, you can hopefully see a progression from the first episode."
"I wanted to make a graphic novel about a girl in the afterlife, so she was already in the back of my mind. I don’t remember how the Grim Reaper came to life. It just appeared in my sketchbook," said the artist when asked how he came up with these characters.
Jorgen said that his favorite part about art is "sketching up the panels to seeing if the idea flies or not and doing the (digital) inking." And the hardest part is "finding the time between work, family, and other commitments. I’m always short of time!"
"I grew up with classic Belgian comics and American newspaper strips. Some of my favorite creators are Bill Watterson, André Franquin, Tome & Janry, René Goscinny & Albert Uderzo."
Jorgen tells us more about himself and his other hobbies: "I like skiing (both cross country and downhill), fishing/boating, and running. I also love to just chill and watch Netflix. I tried gardening for a while, but it turned out I sucked. Now I just grow raspberries.
I live just outside Oslo (in Norway) with my twin boys and an annoying cat called Sonic. I am probably what you may call a 'late bloomer,' and do everything late in life. Such as creating my first comic... That’s probably why I still feel like I’m a kid, though I’m definitely not anymore!
"I would love for anyone who finds this comic interesting to follow it on Instagram (@death_andthe_maiden), and I always try to answer every question and (serious) comment. I also wish for everyone to stay safe wherever you are."
Do you want to see more comics that have been featured on Bored Panda? How about some comics about a cat? Perhaps you're more of a dog person? Or maybe you want to see some quarantine struggles? We have a lot of comics here on Bored Panda!
What do you think about these comics? Tell us in the comments and don't forget to upvote your favorite one! Also, go show some love to the artist on his social media.