Walt Simonson is one of the undisputed heavyweights in the comics industry, with revered runs as a writer and artist on DC and Marvel titles ranging from Thor, Detective Comics, and Star Wars to The Fantastic Four, X-Factor, and Orion. His exceptional storytelling skills and bold linework have earned him awards and accolades, not to mention a diverse and devoted fanbase.
This esteemed creator's latest project thrusts him back into the cosmic reaches of Viking mythology with an epic six-issue miniseries from IDW titled Ragnarok: The Breaking of Helheim — and SYFY WIRE has an exclusive look at the interior art and revealing comments from the master himself.
This is the third stirring chapter in Simonson’s sweeping Ragnarok saga, which began in 2014 with his creator-owned series for IDW featuring iconic deities and classic Norse tales adorned with his powerfully charged pencils.
Ragnarok's plotline follows the aftermath of a devastating battle between the gods and their foes on the Battle Plain of Vigrid. The cataclysmic encounter caused the stars to fall from the sky as Midgard sank into the vast ocean and the Nine Worlds were destroyed. Ragnarok: The Breaking of Helheim picks up with Thor hearing a haunting voice from the past to learn that not all those old myths were true.
Simonson has relished the heroic stories from Norse mythology ever since he read a book about them when he was 10 years old.
"Maybe it’s genetic," he tells SYFY WIRE. "My grandparents emigrated from Norway to the U.S. Or maybe it’s just that the mythology was so cool, and that the old poetry relating the death of the gods at Ragnarok is, to me, one of the most powerful stories in literature. In any case, I’m thrilled to be telling tales about the gods of the Vikings once again, and once again challenging myself to try to create stories about them that will seem new and fresh, stories that readers haven’t encountered before."
The name Ragnarok, or Twilight of the Gods, refers to the climactic clash between the Aesir — the gods of the Vikings — and their ancient arch enemies.
"With this issue, I have reached the point in my story where I finally get to draw the battle itself and tell its story," he adds. "And I begin to explore what happened afterwards. I’ve always wanted to draw that great confrontation of the gods and their foes, and now with this issue, I have! I couldn’t be more delighted."
It's a journey that he hopes fans will be raring for. "I am hoping readers will be swept along by the epic tale of the death of the gods, and carried into the land of the dead, along with Thor, as he learns the fate of Aesir as well as the nature of some of the unanswered questions that remain, even after the story of the battle is told," Simonson notes. "These are the questions that will drive Thor to descend into Helheim in search of Hel, daughter of Loki, and ruler of the dead."
Check out our exclusive five-page preview for IDW's Ragnarok: The Breaking of Helheim #1 in the gallery below, with a killer Stan Sakai variant cover, then tell us if you'll join the furious fray when the premiere issue arrives on July 17.