Now's Your Chance for More Norse Goodness!
Submitted by Linda Howard Valentine on March 14, 2007 - 13:10
Fans of the romping Norse epic Brat-Halla will be elated to know that its creators are considering increasing their update schedule to twice a week if they receive enough positive reader feedback about the idea. To test the waters, they've created a poll* to gauge the idea's popularity. Currently, the strip updates once a week on Wednesdays.
I'm personally thrilled about this prospective change in schedule. I've loved Brat-Halla since I first ran into it back on Kevin Smith's site, before it moved to its new home at Graphic Smash. The concept - Norse gods Thor, Hod, Balder and Loki as kids, watched over by parents Odin and Frigg and a host of sexy Valkyries - escapes the perils of clichÃ© by being incredibly funny, rich in mythological underpinnings twisted sideways, pleasing to look at and did I mention incredibly funny?
I'm a sucker for comics with a little thought behind them - if you want to take established themes and play with them, you have to understand the subject matter first, and its clear that strip writer Jeffery Stevenson has put a lot of thought, research and most likely ale into his plots. Loki is more lovable than malevolent here, with a secret hidden passion for dolls and tea sets. Stevenson's also taken one of the least-mentioned Aesir, Hod, and turned him into an unlikely all-in-one hero, poet and kung-fu master.
Artist Seth Damoose takes numerous liberties with appearances - Hod, traditionally Balder's twin brother, looks nothing like him - but uses his own creative, uniquely humorous style to animate these tales further. And his skill at subtly accenting critical subtexts to the plot, like a change in Hod's googly eyes, adds a second dimension to Stevenson's writing.
Damoose's simultaneously chaotically loose and highly detailed art can be a little hard-to-follow in black and white (e.g. his other joint venture with Stevenson, Steampunk Fairies), but Anthony Lee's coloring enhances and clarifies everything. It's a joy to look at - you can really see the comic's style develop as the art and coloring progresses with each strip - and a joy to read.
The only thing you could really wish for - other than a print collection of the strips - is easy first-comic/forward/backward/last-comic navigation buttons above or below the panel, to flip through the archives easily. But that's a small price to pay.
* Yes, it's a yes-no poll, so it's a little bit of a given that the schedule will change. The only way they probably won't change is if readers don't bother to vote. Plus, if you like Brat-Halla, it's a free and easy way to give a little love back to its hard-working comics creators.