Thirsting for a new high fantasy series fortified with Vikings, trolls, giants, and centaurs? London-based Titan Comics' euro imprint Statix Press is delivering a stampede of epic action with its latest comic book saga, Konungar: War of Crowns #1 this June.
Invading comic shops on June 13, Konungar is a strikingly rendered epic fantasy presented in the grand style of Warcraft, Game of Thrones, and Lord of The Rings, steeped in all the passions and perils of early Scandinavian Viking culture and generously sprinkled with Celtic and Greek mythological monsters. The bloody-good skirmish was originally published in France by Éditions Glénat in 2011.
Written by Frenchman Sylvain Runberg (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Orbital) and adorned with gorgeous painted artwork by Juzhen, this alarmingly beautiful European series matches heroic storytelling with some of the most absorbing and resonating illustrations seen in a comic this year.
Konungar comes rampaging into our realm as a deluxe three-part title, kicking off the spectacular struggle with a special 56-page oversized issue.
Its stimulating saga centers around two noble Viking sons in a brutal battle for the throne that has torn their beloved country apart. When the savage Centaurs, centuries-old sworn enemies of the Vikings, declare war, these two opposing brothers must set aside their differences for the benefit and survival of their people.
SYFY WIRE spoke with Runberg on how this majestic translated project originated, what he hoped to accomplish in his storytelling, and what English-speaking readers can expect when mad Vikings clash with cool Centaurs in a conflict for the ages.
Afrer the chat, check out our 7-page exclusive preview for Konungar: War of Crowns #1 in the gallery below.
What was the genesis of the Konungar project and its epic mythological odyssey?
Sylvain Runberg: As for the birth of Konungar several years ago, I wrote a series taking place in the eighth century in Scandinavia, Hammerfall, with Boris Talijancic, where I had committed myself to creating maximum realism about the Viking culture and civilization. This was to get rid of worn-out clichés of barbaric bloodthirsty barbarians, which they absolutely were not.
When Hammerfall finished, I thought that it would have been interesting to take the opposite of this approach, both from a graphic point of view and script, not by using these clichés, but creating a dark fantasy world based on Scandinavian mythology, and to realize a free interpretation of it by associating elements of other mythologies, Greek and Celtic, in an epic storytelling. And this became Konungar, with Juzhen illustrating this story in a magnificent way.
What was most important to you in depicting this brutal world and what can readers expect from your intriguing tale?
I do like epic stories, realistic and uncompromising, and even if Konungar also has its share of fantasy, I want the characters’ lives to be felt by the reader. Sigvald, Rildrig and Elfi have extraordinary destinies, in the sense that they are extra-ordinary, but they are above all human beings, like you and me, and showing what are the different aspects of their psychology is also an important aspect of this story. They have their weaknesses, their faults, their doubts, they suffer, they try to survive, and anything can happen to them, even the worst.
This family is violently torn apart and their action drives a whole kingdom into violence, a real civil war, and face several enemies attacking them, the Centaur army and Celtic warriors. They must choose between two priorities: their own attempts to rule this kingdom or the defense of their own people. It's a royal saga, but it's about showing the consequences of such conflicts.
When the powerful confront each other, it is above all their people who are suffering too. The acts and decisions of these kings and queens often have abominable consequences for their own population, not only on their enemies but also on those who support them. This is one of the main aspects of this story and I'm looking forward to U.S. and English speaking readers all over the world to be able to discover this universe.