Warsaw illustrator’s delightful ‘Agent Fox’ becomes Icelandic hit
First born as little more than a workplace doodle in a Warsaw office, a cartoon fox has conquered Iceland and now has his sights set on Sweden and beyond.
Coined by illustrator Weronika Lis, the adventures of her alter ego, Agent Fox, have become cult reading in the northern hemisphere following the publication of Agent Fox in Iceland, a comic book inspired by her two-years living in the country.
Speaking to TFN, Lis says: “I created Agent Fox when I was working at a Warsaw advertising agency – the job was great fun, but also stressful, and I found myself sketching the very first Agent Fox in 2014 somewhere between reading a new brief and being overwhelmed with my tasks.”
Using Agent Fox as a way to de-stress from the pressures of her day job, Lis initially found herself drawing out scenes of agency life with Fox at the centre.
“I’d definitely agree that I see Agent Fox as my alter ego,” she says. “He expresses my feelings, plans, dreams and everything else that is inside my head. But practically everyone at the agency was also awarded their own character – I had great fun doing this!”
Eventually, however, Lis found herself hitting a wall in her professional life. “I felt that six years working in advertising was enough – I needed a break, which is why I chose to move to Iceland in 2017. I wanted something new and felt I had to have a break from the ‘seriousness’ of life.”
Inspired by her new and alien surroundings, Lis found herself reviving Agent Fox, only this time as an outlet through which she could express her experiences in a beautiful but baffling country.
“Iceland is so inspiring,” she says. “There’s just so many surprising things about the country that it was actually quite easy to come up with an idea for a comic book.”
Describing her alter ego as “a small fox with a big heart”, what transpired was a hand-drawn comic recording the challenges and adventures connected to her new life.
Tender, witty, playful and observant, the resulting book has captivated the natives and proved a big seller since first being published in 2021.
“Agent Fox always looks for the positives in any given situation,” says Lis. “He believes in taking risks and trying new things, but he also takes great pleasure from the little things in life.”
A celebration of the country’s many quirks and idiosyncrasies, Agent Fox in Iceland has met with rave reviews – not just for its humour and positivity but also for its depiction of this enigmatic nation.
“Even so,” admits Lis, “I’m totally shocked at the success he’s enjoyed – maybe people just recognise Agent Fox as a friendly guy that they want to spend some time with!”
Now based in Gothenburg, Lis is hopeful that Agent Fox in Sweden will debut this winter. And after that? “I think it’s a must that Agent Fox appears in Polish,” she says. “In fact, I’ve even started the first draft…”