Earlier this month Z2 Comics released Lore of the Hávamál, a new graphic novel that reimagines the legendary characters of Norse mythology as they deal with the aftermath of the epic twilight of the gods. The graphic novel comes from the creative team of co-writers Cat Mihos & Ethan McQuerrey, artist & co-plotter Jouni Koponen, colorist Dee Cunniffe, letterer Justin Birch, and editor Rantz Hoseley. Today The Beat is pleased to offer an exclusive look at interior pages from the graphic novel, as well as a short interview with co-writer Cat Mihos about the origins of the project.
Here’s how Z2 Comics describes Lore of the Hávamál:
Hávamál ‘Sayings of the high one’: a collection of old Norse poems containing advice for living, proper conduct and wisdom. Ragnarök, The Twilight of the Gods is over, but something went wrong. Instead of dying heroically in the final battle, Odin One-Eye finds himself working as a bartender, reflecting on past losses and the death of his loved ones. If this truly was Ragnarök, why didn’t the old world end and a new better world emerge?
Cat Mihos is the co-founder and vice president of The Blank Corporation with acclaimed writer Neil Gaiman, for whom Mihos was also once a personal assistant. In her role with The Blank Corp. Mihos has helped bring Gaiman projects like American Gods and the upcoming Sandman TV adaptation to screens.
Check out our conversation with Mihos, as well as the rest of the exclusive preview of Lore of the Hávamál, below. The 120-page graphic novel is available in stores now.
Joe Grunenwald: The characters and lore of Norse mythology have been reinterpreted and remixed numerous times. How did you go about ensuring that your take on the characters and events was unique?
Cat Mihos: I have always felt that ideas are up in the air for all writers to take a crack at, so we can only hope that our take will hit at the right time, as we started writing this book almost five years ago—I personally had never heard of a Norse god as a bartender with his watchful ghost ravens above and was inspired to tell that story.
Grunenwald: How much liberty did you take your versions of the characters, and were there things about them that you felt like you had to make sure you didn’t change in order to capture who they are?
Mihos: I read Neil Gaiman’s Sandman as a young kitten long ago, and remember being absolutely floored by his use of mythology and familiarity with the pantheon of gods. The personalities he was able to paint them with to make them real to this reader never left me, it made me feel like I was eavesdropping on a chatty Lucifer at the beach. Remarkable to me how stories can be passed down and modified without losing the message.
Grunenwald: What have your collaborators Ethan McQuerrey, Jouni Koponen, and Dee Cunniffe brought to Lore of the Hávamál?
Mihos: We had a hell of a timezone challenge across the board, with Dee in UK and Jouni in Finland, while Eth and I are in LA. However, I shall never complain as I have heard all the stories about how collaborations on comics used to be—fax machine or mail service. We are spoiled now with the internet, Dropbox, etc. Dee’s super-rich colors brought Jouni’s delicate and well-thought-out pencils to even higher levels. I was lucky to have such a talented team to work with on this title. Loki has never looked so good.
Grunenwald: What about the stories of Norse mythology do you think have made them endure for as long as they have?
Mihos: I believe that the stories of Loki, Thor, Odin, and all the rest continue to dazzle us because the gods are fallible and hilarious, while also being vain and vicious. We can relate to their stories, and now more than ever, we need the connections to those that have gone before us, gods or mortals!
Published by Z2 Comics, Lore of the Hávamál is available in stores now.