Why did nobody tell me how great Thorgal is? (Ok, Trey Causey tried back in 2013, but I wasn’t reading his blog back then, and made the mistake of not crawling through all the archives when I added it to my list of must-reads. Mea culpa.)
Despite the name, Thorgal is not about Marvel’s new female version of Thor, but a Belgian fantasy comic that’s been produced since 1977, by the team of Jean Van Hamme (writer) and Grzegorz Rosiński (artist). It’s definitely in the science-fantasy mold, as Thorgal is an orphan from outer-space plopped down among the Vikings. Not too much is made of that, actually, except him having a great destiny. The first volume of the English translation goes into it, but apparently it was originally volume 7. I think for the English editions they moved it up to its chronological position, because they wanted to start with an “origin”?. This gives it a slightly odd feeling, since it originally served as a flashback and doesn’t have any of the foreshadowing devices you might expect if it was really the beginning of the story, but if you just let it flow I promise you’ll be richly rewarded.
I’m particularly taken with Aaricia, the cleverest princess of them all (not her actual billing, just my reaction to her). Whether it’s rescuing Thorgal, rescuing a god, or solving an ancient riddle Aaricia can always figure it out. Unfortunately I’m only three volumes in and she’s currently sidelined, but I’m hoping to see a lot more of her in the future.
Thorgal is more than just a viking slab of beef, particularly in terms of conscience, but it’s Aaricia, pictured above, that I really like.
update just finished volume three, and Aaricia saves the day as usual. Go Aaricia!
You can get the first book here (Amazon associates link, so conceivably I could get some money if you choose to order it via the link)