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The gods and goddesses of Norse mythology are well represented in comic books, but don’t expect Thor to pal around with the Avengers in an upcoming comic from sci-fi and fantasy magazine Heavy Metal. Dylan Sprouse will write the as-yet-untitled series, making this the actor’s comic debut, although one he’s very well equipped for.
“This is a very deeply personal, familial story to me,” Sprouse tells SYFY WIRE. Sprouse is best known for starring in the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, but in the years since that series ended, he’s pursued plenty of other projects, including opening a meadery. That choice of ancient beverage is telling, as Sprouse says he's very interested in Norse culture and is a practicing Heathen.
“[The comic] largely takes inspiration from the sagas that my own Scandinavian-American grandparents were reading both my brother and I while we were younger,” he continues.
Although he’s not ready to give away too many details, Sprouse teases that the series will be set in Norway in the 800s, and that, compared to Thor, “the relation to the gods of proto-Germanic myth and mythology are much more true to history.
“This is much more along the lines of Neil Gaiman's American Gods,” he continues. “I’m writing from a Pagan perspective, [exploring] what these gods and goddesses represent, both in metaphorical ways and also how they might have literally interacted with people.”
Sprouse describes the series, which will primarily focus on a mortal protagonist and antagonist rather than the gods themselves, as being very dark in tone but operating on “rule of cool.”
The series sounds like a natural fit for Heavy Metal, which is making a big push for new series, launching a creator-owned imprint, and attracting some exciting talent, like Fantastic Beasts actor Dan Fogler. Sprouse’s series is also the first title to emerge from the magazine’s collaboration with DIGA Studios. Tommy Coriale, the head of DIGA, tells SYFY WIRE that he thinks the series has the ability to live beyond the pages of a comic book, perhaps one day gracing the big screen.
Sprouse, though, is a lifelong comics fan, and he’s excited to create the story for the comic medium first — especially for Heavy Metal. He recalls working in a comic book store in Hollywood when he was 15 and noticing the section of shelves devoted to the iconic magazine.
“It was kind of a forbidden section. It had these really sexy women on pterodactyls,” Sprouse says. “Like, I shouldn’t be there, but I was always sneaking a peek at the magazine anyway. I learned to have a major appreciation of that magazine through it. I found a lot of artists that I still love today.”
Additional details about Sprouse’s series are forthcoming, including a title, art, and any sense of when to expect the first issue.