July 13, 2008

Meet the Cast: THE VIKING TYR



Over the next few weeks I'll be introducing you to the cast of "The Wolves of Odin," and offering some insight into what went into the creation of these characters. First up is Tyr, which is a name some of you fans of Norse mythology are sure to recognize... "Wait a minute.. Isn't Tyr one of the gods?"

In most versions of the mythology, he is, yes. And this is something that's addressed and actually sort of set the stage for where I wanted to go with the story. While I was preparing to write "Wolves," I did a lot of research on the Norse pantheon. I'd always been somewhat familiar with it, but I wanted to really dig in and work the various tales into my own... Turns out, there are about twenty variations of every tale, about twenty variations of every personality... Ultimately, I realized there is no definitive Norse legend. There are different versions, and really, it's about picking and choosing the parts that you enjoy and that make the most sense.

So I made Tyr the central character, and part of his journey is that he's being guided and manipulated by the gods, and faces a great destiny. I took parts of the mythologies, such as Tyr's fateful encounter with the wolf Fenrir, and made them my own. This comic isn't about me translating a Norse tale -- It's about me telling my own version of a Norse tale.

Tyr is a bold warrior who cautiously follows (and seems to trust) Thor, the God of Thunder. He has a special connection to the deity, and literally speaks to him. Which is another thing I wanted to do a little differently with "The Wolves of Odin." We always see Thor and the other Nordic figures as these mighty human type of characters, but I started to think... If these gods were real, and they were appearing to their followers and speaking to them... What if they appear more as ghosts than people? That idea appealed to me, so when Tyr sees Thor, he's seeing a spirit that's only vaguely humanoid. As if to suggest that maybe the gods were once human, and now they're something more.

I wanted Tyr's helmet to be very true to what viking helmets really looked like (as many people know by now, the whole "horned helm" thing is completely inaccurate). I wanted his armor and his outfit to look pretty close to what real vikings wore. I wanted to give him a big fluffy iconic wolfskin cloak, which is both practical (gotta keep warm in those blizzards) and symbolic of the showdown to come. I also wanted him to wield two weapons -- and since I couldn't decide between swords or axes, I just went with one of each.

And, I'll leave you with one last nerdy little fun fact: I gave Tyr a topknot as a little shout-out to Cutter, the lead character in "ElfQuest" (which is 30 years old this year). I discovered ElfQuest in the early '80s and it essentially introduced me to comic books and the fantasy genre, and it's always been one of my great loves and inspirations. So how could I not pay tribute in some small way? :)

That's it for now. Thanks for reading -- I hope you're all getting excited for the book! Come back soon for another inside look at one of the other cast members of "The Wolves of Odin."

~ Grant

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5 Comments:

Blogger ........... said...

Hey Grant,

Love the character intros . . . mighty fine idea. I like the idea of Thor being Tyr's own "head six." Very cool.

Peace,
J. J.

July 13, 2008 at 2:18 PM  
OpenID mrl24 said...

Sounds awesome sir - enjoying the character intros and I'm looking forward to the series.

July 14, 2008 at 7:11 AM  
Blogger Checkmark said...

Hey Grant, this is really awesome! Creating characters is something I consider to be the most interesting thing about comic-book artwork. This is really cool to hear you talk about you process and how you make your own characters!

July 14, 2008 at 1:35 PM  
OpenID Alive30 said...

Grant,

Very cool stuff. I'm eager to see the final product and see what else you have in store for us. Good luck with the project!!

You know I want to meet the girl next.

July 14, 2008 at 7:22 PM  
Blogger Grizzly Kaz said...

Grant,

really love your twist on Tyr (both moving away from the myths and his look - he's perfect).

Pre-ordered Wolves of Odin: can't wait to read the whole thing.

The book looks like a great deal of fun.

October 27, 2008 at 8:14 PM  

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