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, plus where to go next. If not, well, you are in for a triple 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/
And the second one here: https://manaburnt.wordpress.com/2017/10/13/my-comics-about-the-vikings-one-step-further/
Today, however, I will be discussing comics that talk about the Vikings and that perhaps fall under the radar for various issues – mostly the language barrier.
Saxo Grammaticus History of the Danes – Graphic Novel
If you didn’t know that there was a comic book version of the History of the Danes written by Saxo Grammaticus, do not be alarmed – I didn’t either until I stumbled across it at Kronenborg Castle in Denmark! It is two volumes, emulating the original source. The sad news is that it is, indeed, all in Danish. However, for a Danish noob like me, I found that with a little help from a dictionary, and due to the fact that there is not a ridiculous amount of text, the images really help you understand what is happening so you can follow the narrative fairly well.
Now, one thing I must let you know, is that the format follows a very classic comic strip vignette style, so you are not in for grand artistic depictions, and it is all black and white. However, it is a great way of approaching the historical subject from an actual chroniclers perspective, and from a Danish point of view. There are multitude of characters and themes that are touched upon, so it is very much worth your while if you can get over the language barrier. Supply may be another issue though, but the internet is your friend. And for what you are getting, the expenditure is actually bearable – I think I paid just around 30 quid total for both volumes (in Denmark though).
La Sangre de las Valkirias
A fantastic Spanish comic by one of my favourites – the man and legend, Victor Santos. This is a very quick read, with very relatable characters, and cool art work. However, I will warn you it is very graphic in terms of violence and sex scenes. Nonetheless, if you want a very rich story regarding Viking society and their tensions in less than an hour, this is your comic. You will understand social hierarchies, family issues, feuds, the role of women, the differences in religion, and how varied were the backgrounds and intentions of the people during the Viking Age.
Erik Le Rouge
This one is tricky because there is actually two different comics with the same name and you can be mislead. But if you need a hand, you are looking for the french publication of 2013. Once again, language issues may stop you from enjoying this piece in full, but I insist, you should try. First of all, French BD always provides with a coherent narrative and good art style. But the thing that makes this comic golden is the fact that it is all actually based on the saga about Erik the Red, the Icelandic outlaw that went on to settle in Greenland and who son, Leif Erikson is best known for being the man who settled in the Americas, even if briefly. So once again, if you want to enjoy the comic for actual historical value, you should get this.
There are, of course, more, but I wanted to make this as a series on how to get started and enhance your knowledge depending on your needs and wants. Therefore, I think if you have made it this far, you can probably go find yourself the classics (Asterix, Thorgal, Prince Valiant, Valhal, etc) on your own. And this way you should be able to appreciate the changes in he narrative from the mid 20th century, to the very recent 2010s.
Any queries that come up, do not hesitate to give us a shout 🙂