It's now exactly a week since Fan Expo started. As I type this it's 10:54 AM, and I remember distinctly driving down a long and winding ramp to the convention loading bay around this same time last Thursday. I felt like a tie fighter zipping down that bright, cavernous tunnel. Pew! Pew!
Anyhow, I'm still flying high off the release of our first trade. I'm well and truly proud of it, as you can tell. More than that, I like the book Fred and I are making. It's grown on me. Several times on this blog I've written about first hooking up with Fred. I think so, anyway--I start entries and delete them after 30 minutes of typing. I've written heart-breakingly beautiful things you'll never read because I suddenly decided to toast Eggo waffles and watch Dragon's Den, but I digress... When Fred first pitched me his idea I was just excited that a cool pseudo celebrity wanted to make comics with me, and would pay me to do it. I was saying yes no matter what. But he said "knights" and a part of me winced at the thought of drawing horses and armor. That shit can get complicated.
That's all to say that I liked it then, but I love it now. What's always impressed me with Fred and his script--and indeed, anyone who hears Fred talk about Teuton concedes--the guy did his homework when it came to researching the history and the obscure Lithuanian mythology that serves as Teuton's backdrop. There's nothing random or arbitrary about the places and names involved in the plot. It's interesting stuff. As we carry on with our story, I would like to give readers a chance to compare our comic with the history and mythology it borrows from.
If you've read the trade, you'll know it ends with the arrival of a new character: Perkunas.
A fearsome and courageous being, Perkunas can easily be described as the Lithuanian equivalent of Thor. His great strength and power are akin to mountains and thunder storms--in fact, he is deity to both, as well as to the rain, the sky, and oak trees. Indeed, everything about Perkunas is elemental and way over our heads. He reigns in the heavens above and commands the trees and mountains that rise up to him. He is bad ass. We hope that was made clear when he lands on the scene in our two-page spread.
Perkunas' name has been dropped several times before his arrival in our story. Issue one opens with the raid on a Pagan village, and it is there the fabled Axe of Perkunas lies hidden in a shrine, protected by Lithuanian worshipers Aras and his foxy apprentice Asura. Charged with retrieving the axe is the Teuton Komtur, who is secretly working for Maras, one of three death gods in the pantheon. It's important to note that Perkunas' Axe is the most devastating weapon in all creation. Imagine wielding an instrument capable of such destruction, it could level mountains with thunder and raise them up again with an earthquake. That is why it's kept hidden from other power hungry gods in a shrine where only mortals can enter.
After the Komtur is unexpectedly killed in the ensuing melee, Olbert assumes command and sends the axe to Konigsberg for political points with his superiors. Aras, however, believes the axe to be taken to the hill fortress of Pilenai, which the Teutons have assumed control of. Believing he is doing the bidding of Perkunas himself, Aras performs a ritual before the Stelmuze Oak (an actual tree in Lithuania where Perkunas was worshipped. It's estimated to be 1500 years old.) and transforms Olbert into one of Perkunas' fearsome Oaken Sentinels. Well, it gets nasty for everyone inside Pilenai, but we'll get more into the plot in later posts.
As for my vision of Perkunas, I modeled him after Tom Hardy in Bronson. My reasoning behind it was simple: I just didn't want him looking much like the Thor we all know. I wanted my thunder god to look blunt and heavy, like a polish butcher. I've debated putting a cape on him, but am leaning towards the negative. Vakiris, one of several antagonists in the first volume, was given a flowy cape. Although I modelled him from 80's wrestling costumes and Flash Gordon. I always intended him to be a bit of a doofus in appearance, but takes himself very seriously. Perkunas on the other hand is the real deal. I'm excited he's here in our new volume, and I think it'll make for fun storytelling.
Stay tuned for more as this story develops, more will be revealed!