Miscellanea and Ephemeron
09/21/2004 Archived Entry: "Berserker: The Wild Hunt #1 (of 4)"
Reviewed by Kathy LaFollett
According to the originator of the Berserker character the history of this character and storyline goes as follows:
In the mid-1980s, a young man and his girlfriend went on vacation in Haiti, to see if they could salvage their relationship. They were entrapped by an evil Voodoo priest. The young man escaped, but his girlfriend was killed and turned into a zombie. Guided by Merlin (who used an alias), the young man found the Norse war-god's sword Tyrfing at an antiquities store. He got the sword, was afflicted with the curse of the Berserker, and went on to massivley trounce the evil Voodoo priest.
The opening salvo for the character and storyline is questionable at its inception. We have a couple with a goal to regain their relationship...in Haiti. That would be a first. The poorest nation in its hemisphere will not provide such an environment. A practicing Voodoo priest in Haiti. That's believable considering "Vodou" is considered their religion. A French derivative of Creole perspective, Haitians practice VooDoo (or HooDoo) derived from the supernatural, and proceed from the influence of the sun. Tribes that contributed to the VooDoo pantheon were the Nago, the Ibo, Congo, Dahomean, Senegalese, Haoussars, Capalaou, Mandinga, Mondongue, Angolese, Fons, Lybian, Ethiopian and the Malagache.
That being said, the introduction of Norse war gods and Merlin (most notabley recognized as a wizard) using an alias just plain pushes the envelope.
Mr Altmann continues:
Well there ya go, the idea is so jaded that it won't work for a "horror audio dramatization".
Mr. Altmann goes on:
Enter the Warren Ellis Forum. I had long abondoned the idea of writing for comics, focusing on prose writing instead. But posting on that message board brought back the old passion. I sat down and fleshed out several ideas.
Among them was Berserker, which I dusted off and updated. It was not exactly a surprise when I ended up discarding everything except the character and the sword. Instead of crossing cultures, I decided to stick to just the Berserker's own culture; the Norse/Celtic culture circle.
I can appreciate any artisan refining and reworking their art. As an artist myself I too sometimes reapproach what I thought was a good core idea. Obviously, Berserker could never be a superhero. He doesn't fit the genre in the least. As we read through the history of this character it is evident he is an orphan with no home and a niche idea with no playing field. Getting rid of the cross culture meld as a good idea.
Mr. Altmann finishes his history lesson:
As a personal aside, I really hope that Berserker will prove successful enough to warrant a sequel. Because I'm still itching to do the "Berserker vs. Zombies" story...
And herein lies the crux of the matter. Berserker is a personal project/hobby. Driven by love of the idea and the need to put it out there for the world. History has laid out the decision for Berserker. There's a reason why Jens Altmann is having trouble getting Berserker off the ground. The idea at its center is flawed and disjointed. The current artwork attached lends no help in uplifting the weakness of the writing and tale. As a commercial product it cannot stand the test of current market demands. Conversely, as a personal project for the "love of the game" I'm quite sure it stands strong as a testament to artist and writer alike. There is a sense of pride and accomplishment to take such a large undertaking to end result. But until our publishing duo takes the art and story up a few notches, Berserker will continue to be a simple personal publication.
Replies: 3 comments
That's a very interesting review of my little essay in the back of the comic.
I would be more interested, however, in what you think of the comic itself. All this review tells us are your thoughts about a text piece.
I would be more interested in what flaws you see in the comic itself, and why you think it fails as a commercial product. If only for practical reasons. ;)
Posted by Jens Altmann @ 10/01/2004 02:59 AM PST
It's a pleasure to meet you and see you here Mr. Altmann.
I apologize if my utilization of your bio and history of the comic wasn't explicit
Let's see if I can do a better job for you and your work.
Berserker: The Wild Hunt is presented in a linear manner. This in and of itself tends
Allow me to digress to another subject for explanation. In the 60s, the television
Taking this thought to your first comic, I would offer the suggestion of utilizing
Currently the comic stands as, here's a victim, here's the hunter, here's his nemisis,
Using a miltilinear storyline and timetable the reader can literally watch as life
As far as product marketability, I must admit that this is my opinion based only
These are only my thoughts, of course.
There is a way to bypass, and improve the character and storyline though. If you
Self-publishing directed by visitors who can share between themselves as well as with
All is not lost, but trying to parse out the growth and direction of this idea via
I hope you find something of value in this dissection. And I do want to state that
Posted by Kathy LaFollett @ 10/03/2004 07:53 AM PST
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Posted by Editor @ 01/13/2006 10:09 PM PST
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