If you are reading this, chances are that you have come seeking further knowledge from my previous post regarding comics about the Vikings and where to begin. If not, well, you are in for a double bill and you can find the first part of this here: https://manaburnt.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/my-comics-about-the-vikings-where-to-begin/
So, you have gone around reading about Thorsfinn, Sven the Badass, the reckless Siegfried and our daring Valkyrie and you have thought to yourself: I need more. I need that extra layer. Then, you are now part of the brotherhood and I shall guide you throughout this process. The next three pieces I present you with provide different looks on to Early Scandinavian society and the Viking Age. The vary in tone and style. But I think, above all, what they provide us with is a further degree of immersion. Now I appreciate Northlanders is pretty good for that…but I never said it was about better quality: this is just about the extra bits.
Gods of Asgard
I am lucky enough to know Erik Evensen and have exchanged words regarding his work. And it was really his kindness that made my MA dissertation a success – So thank Erik! Now, without wanting to sound like his PA doing some marketing, if you are into the Vikings but you want more this is where the narrative expands. What Gods of Asgard does great is compiling in just one volume some of the most important myths in Norse culture and puts them down in the shape of a comic book that is both pretty to look at yet easy to follow and enjoyable. From Odin, to Freyja and Loki, all the big bads and all the big conquests appear in this work. And once again, these are credible Vikings. There is nothing silly about their depictions, they are composed with a clear vision and a desire to engage with the modern audience as well. It is actually a very hip design and not old-fashioned which could have been a mistake very easy to make – however not the case at all. Another thing I really like of Gods of Asgard is that, in a similar fashion to Siegfried, the author gives his piece of mind as to where have these stories come from, his background, his choices, and where is the knowledge. I find that a lot of people find Norse myths very interesting but struggle to read the Eddas because of their nature and writing style. Well, if you are one of those people and actually want to know why on earth does Odin ride an 8-legged horse…Here is your chance to find out more.
This is the very lovely and recent enterprise of a Spanish team that has decided to go over the French BD format to get their comic published. This actually started through crowd funding, and let me tell you something – I couldn’t be happier. The backup received was significant and it goes a great deal to show that this type of stories is relevant for our society, and that people like you and I are interested in this. Plus, Hel’ Blar mixes the Vikings either another popular theme in fantasy and sci-fi comics: zombies. Cause the thing is, zombies are not a new thing (as you can see from our previous blog post…). So, these Draugr are here to cause trouble in the village of our protagonists. What you get to learn about is how this party of 13 members goes out into the wilderness to find out what is happening and kick some Draugr ass, only to find the end could be nearer than expected. From warriors to wizards, the action is, like street kids would say, “pretty sick”. Once again, the art work is exceptional and the character creation is incredibly thorough which is not only recognisable throughout the comic, but confirmed at the end where the authors dedicate some words to explain the back ground of the comic, the setting and the protagonists. They use Viking-friendly words, and actually take time to explain them in their right context, which personally I think it is a very nice touch (for a nerd like me, at least). However, I believe that for the time being the series – which is now heading into its second volume – is only available in French and Spanish.
Viking: The Long Cold Fire
This one volume published by Image comics will give you a good run for your money. Inadvertently, Viking gives you insight into the life of many members of early medieval society: from the political tensions of the royal court, to the outcasts. And I think this is perhaps my favourite aspect of the comic, that the two main characters are outlaws trying to get higher up in the social ladder, proving the difficulties ad cruelties of life in the way. This is a very graphic comic, so if you are looking for a jolly read, stay away. But the art work is rather interesting, and the narrative, although easy to follow, has several layers and story arcs that really wrap you in.
If you are liking what you are reading, stay tune for the third past of this blogging series as I step into some darker and more obscure comics that will show you Viking might in a different light.