Review: Sagas of the Shield Maiden #1
Publisher: Asa Wheatley Comics
Writer: Asa Wheatley, Ayoola Solarin
Artist: Michelle Marham, Kay Baird, Kevin Keane, Sammy Ward, Daniel Coloma (art), Ken Reynolds (Letters & Design), Sweeney Boo (Cover Art)
Price: £12 from Asa’s Big Cartel Store
Kickstarter Live: Book 2
Sagas of the Shield Maiden is an oversized, Viking western, perfect bound comics anthology that recounts the legends, or sagas, of the titular Shield Maiden as she traverses Scandinavia and beyond the North Sea.
There is an incredible team of artists working on the five stories throughout the book. Daniel Coloma, Kay Baird, Kevin Keane, Michelle Marham and Sammy Ward provide the interiors with an amazing wraparound cover by Sweeney Boo. Each of the stories is lettered by Ken Reynolds, who also did the brilliant title design.
Each tale takes place at a different point in the Shield Maiden’s life. From her first raid in England to a spate of bloody vengeance and her eventual death. As well as obviously being heavily influenced by Viking history and Norse mythology the stories all draw upon traits and themes commonly found in the western genre.
With 40+ pages of comics and an amazing pin up gallery from artists Raquel Kusiak, Amanda Stewart, Elena Gogou, Jon Slater and Artyom Topilin, Sagas of the Shield Maiden is presented in an oversized perfect bound format totalling 64 pages including cover.
Sagas of the Shield Maiden Book 1 was funded via Kickstarter by 607 backers. Book 2 Kickstarter went live on 3rd June and has already smashed its £3000 goal in four hours and has pledges in excess of £6,384 when we went to print. This has unlocked new stretch goals so be sure to keep an eye on it.
Asa Wheatley is a writer whose work ranges from indie comics to prose to TTRPG supplements. He’s published multiple comics and anthologies including Tails of Mystery, Sprouting & Other Tales of the Curious and Campfire Stories. More often than not his writing tends to lean towards horror, mystery and Norse mythology. After an incredible campaign for Book One, with over 600 backers and hitting over 580% of the goal there is high demand for more from Asa’s heroine.
He’s done an amazing job creating a timeless character in the nameless Shield Maiden. each Vignette adds just a little to her personality, backstory or scars leaving the reader keen for more. The tales will delight those that enjoyed Hellboy, Slaine, The Witcher or Skyrim. The Maiden is stony and silent using her weapons and skills to answer those that challenge her. As a female heroic figure, she will inspire many to stand their ground and fight for what they believe.
The first hit the highest note with the Maiden training a young girl to fight against a cruel Christian bully. With just one night to train her will the girl and the maiden survive?
The stories skip back in forth through her life story with each artist stamping their mark against the script. Sweeney Boo’s cover set’s the tone immediately and draws your eye in enticing you to open the cover and read on.
I can’t fault any of the artists the pages are works of art with love in every pen stroke or colour. The full-page panels as well as the artwork for fights are onomatopoeic heavy splats, slices and shunks as axes break heads and spears skewer enemies. The maiden glides around enemies as she goes in for the kill leaving her fighting looking more like a dance.
600 backers for book 1 can’t be wrong, and it’s easy to see the parallels to Spaghetti Westerns, Kurosawa Samurai or Tarantino vignettes in this book. If you want to get book 1 what not pledge for book 2 and get it free from as little as £7? You can thank me later. Five stars for writing and artwork.
Thanks to Asa for a free preview copy to allow BGCP to review Sagas of the Shield Maiden #1
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