Frequently asked questions, or preemptive answers. If you have a question for me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post it on my Formspring account.
When does the comic update?
TMK updates every Thursday, since Thursday is a very special day for a very special god (Thor).
Will it ever update more often?
I can’t say for certain, but it’s unlikely. Once a week is an update schedule I can handle without too much additional stress. I won’t say I’ll never update more often, but with a full-time job it’ll be difficult. And I like having a full-time job.
How long will the comic be?
Pretty dang long, around forty chapters, give or take a few. There’s at least four bonus chapters I’d also like to make that aren’t necessary to understand the main plot but certainly add more substance. I know that this will take a long time going just one update a week, but slow and steady wins the race. Right?
Where/When does the comic take place?
For most of the early parts of the story it’s a general sense of Scandinavia. For much of the inspiration I looked at pictures of Norway, but I also took some from Sweden too. Loki’s island in Chapter 2 is loosely based on Svalbard, and Coal’s home village is loosely inspired by Birka, an old viking town in Sweden. More specific locations will be shown in later chapters, like the town of Hedeby in Denmark (now Germany) and visits to Iceland, Ireland, and North America. There’ll also be chapters set in Moorish Spain, Constantinople, and Britain.
As for when, well, just about any time in the Viking Age. That’s from the late 8th to 11th centuries. There’s no set year in the story, so I don’t have to worry about going too far forward or being too far behind.
What does ‘thistil mistil kistil’ mean? Where does it come from?
Literally translated it means “thistle”, like the plant, “mistletoe”, also like the plant, and “casket”, like a small box. In my earlier internet research I came across the Ledberg stone, an image stone in Sweden that tells the story of a warrior who dies in battle. The very last bit of the inscription includes the ‘thistil mistil kistil’ runes. They’re written in a different, special way, so scholars think it has some magical connotations. I thought it was extraordinarily fitting for my comic’s atmosphere, and each of the words actually has some meaning for the story.
What happened to Coal’s eyes? They changed from green to gray.
This will be explored more fully over the course of the story, but in short, Odin’s beer changed them.
What does _______ mean?
I try my best to explain with each page if I use any weird words, but sometimes I forget! I like to use their Norse equivalents to keep the flavor of the mythology. Read on to see some translations of commonly used words in TMK.
Einherjar: Warriors of Odin who dwell in Valhalla, his hall. Singular form is “einherji”.
Jotnar: The race of giants, to which Loki and his family belong. Singular form is “jotun”.
Vanir: A separate race of gods, to which Frey and Freyja belong. Singular form is “Vanr”.
Aesir: The rest of the gods, including Odin and Thor. Singular form is “As”.
Have you seen The Secret of Kells?
I have! The style used for TMK was heavily influenced and inspired by that film, not only because we both looked at illuminated manuscripts for artistic inspiration, but because it blew my mind when it came to design. Before that I’d really only had manga and Disney as style inspirations, but Kells really broadened my outlook. I’d already started to become attracted to smooth, simple, more graphic designs, but never saw it used beyond cartoon shows (Samurai Jack is another inspiration), and at the time I’d never seen it in a comic. Kells inspired me and even kind of reassured me that a style like that isn’t any less serious or good than Disney. If you haven’t seen The Secret of Kells, I highly recommend it. It’s one of the most gorgeous movies ever made.
You show Sigyn as a jotun. Isn’t she one of the Aesir?
From what I’ve read, Sigyn is not described much anywhere. The only instance I can think of where she was listed as a goddess is in the Prose Edda. In the Skaldskaparmal chapter, the first section describes a feast attended by several very important people. “The Aesir then went to their feast, and the twelve Aesir who were to be judges sat in their high seats. They were named Thor, Njord, Frey, Tyr, Heimdall, Bragi, Vidar, Vali, Ull, Hoenir, Forseti and Loki. The goddesses, who did likewise, were Frigg, Freyja, Gefjun, Idunn, Gerd, Sigyn, Fulla and Nanna.” This is the only place I have read from one of the original sources of Norse mythology that Sigyn is listed as a “goddess.”
But see, Loki is listed as a god. He was not really a god, he was definitely a Jotun. In the myths it’s that basic Jotun tendency toward evil and chaos that brought about Ragnarok. Gerd is also listed as a goddess, and she was a jotun (perhaps half-jotun, but still) who became Freyr’s wife. Just because a character is listed as a god or goddess doesn’t mean he or she really was. In this case, it could even be a matter of translation. Regardless, in most places Sigyn is listed only as “Loki’s wife.” For all we know, she really was a member of the Aesir. Maybe she was a jotun, maybe a Vanr like Freyr and Freyja, or maybe she was even human. There’s not enough evidence. We just don’t know who she was, and probably never will.
In case you’re wondering, the version of the Prose Edda that I have is this one.