I already have the original Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman, so, as much as I love graphic novels and Gaiman’s graphic novels in particular, I wasn’t sure if the graphic novel version of something I already had would be worth a purchase. But then I saw the list of artists (led by the legendary P. Craig Russell) and I knew that this was definitely a book I needed to look into.
As can only be expected out of anything Gaiman’s involved in, and from having read his interpretation of the Norse myths already, it wasn’t a surprise that the book was a pleasure to read, the artwork working in tandem with Gaiman’s script to bring to vibrant life stories I already know quite well and giving me something new to glean from them.
Gaiman has an excellent grasp of the characters, their foibles as well as their heroic qualities. Even Odin, often driven by fears and nightmares, is occasionally foolish and takes actions that will only harm the Aesir in the long run. While we see little of the women, where they do appear, they are characterized as strong and intelligent, even when they are made pawns within the story, their agency and choice stripped away by vote of the masses.
As the graphic novel kept to the more child-friendly versions of the tales (despite some brutality and violence, but of the sort you would expect in fairy tales and fables), I could see myself reading these to a kid or recommending the comics to an older child with an interest in norse myth or, perhaps, wanting to see some of the original tales their favorite superheroes were (however loosely) based upon.
I would kind of love to see Gaiman write for Marvel’s version of Loki, because his grasp of the antihero is, as always, superb. But this is the Loki of the Eddas, all cunning and wile and often a good bit harder to like, even when he thinks he is being helpful.
Gaiman’s sense of humor is a thread throughout all of the stories, which do not shy away from the occasional ridiculousness in the myths. These are stories to be told around a fire, with a bellyful of mead, to be laughed at, and to learn from.
Norse Mythology Volume 1 (Graphic Novel)
Gaiman’s sense of humor is a thread throughout all of the stories, which do not shy away from the occasional ridiculousness in the myths. These are stories to be told around a fire, with a …