As mentioned, in my introduction, the first title I’ll be looking at will be Thorgal: Child of the Stars; a colaboration between Belgian author Jean Van Hamme, and Polish artist Grzegorz Rosiński, in a post that better judgement (and an edict from the brass) has prevented me from calling “Norse to see you, to see you Norse”.
This first translated volume, published by Cinebooks, is actually the seventh in the original Belgian run, but, telling the story of the eponymous hero’s early childhood, works well as as introductory volume. Thorgal is a young child, found cast adrift by a band of migrating Norsemen. Their childless chieftain adpots him as their own but, upon his death, petender Gandalf the Mad denounces him as a bastard and forces him to live outside the villiage limits. What follows are the early adventures of Thorgal, in realms of typical sword and sworcery, mixed with a few hints of science fiction.
The first thing that obviously strikes me is the quality of the art-work, with intricately detailed inking that is quite often lacking in many modern comics, whose computer based inking techniques can often feel a little cold. There’s certainly no chance of that here. The worlds presented are fantastically beautiful and charming, I mean, how could anyone see the below panel and not smile. Just look at it.
The setting itself has some hints of Pat Mills’ Slaine series, but seems far less violent and obviously is focused on Norse, and not Celtic, mythology. This lack of gratuitous violence is actually very refreshing, and coupled with stories that are charming without ever being too twee, makes for one of those rare titles that should appeal to all ages. Part of me wonders if this will be maintained in the later volumes, in which Thorgal is fully grown, as I could certainly see the violence typical to sword and sorcery fitting in better as he gets older. I do hope it keeps up this peaceful leaning though, it’s quite refreshing.
In conclusion then, a good start to the journey. Beautiful artwork, and utterly charming writing. Hopefully the next volume will be delivered shortly.
Next time: Valerian: The City of Shifting Waters