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Comic Book / Vei

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Vei is a Swedish Sword and Sorcery comic book series written and drawn by Karl Johnsson with Sara Bergmark Elfgren as co-creator.

The story opens with a group of Vikings in search of Jotunheim — the legendary home of the giants. All of a sudden the happen upon the lifeless body of a young girl in the water. Some of the crew members who have been driven mad from starvation, discuss whether to kill and eat her but are taken by surprise as the girl lashes out, killing one of the men. Turns out the girl's name is Vei and she claims she can show the men the way to Jotunheim. An "arrangement" is thus made: Vei will lead the way or she will be killed as a sacrifice to Odin. When they arrive in the alleged Jotunheim, the men first think themselves betrayed and prepare to perform the sacrifice - until a giant blue creature emerges from the mountains, kidnapping all of the Vikings except Vei and Dal, Prince Eidyr's right hand man.

What follows is and adventure that will pit Man against God and God against God.

Vei was serialised in Utopi a Swedish Anthology Magazine for Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Erotica and later released in hardcover album form.

This comic provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Vei.
  • The Alcoholic: Freyr is depicted as such, constantly drinking throughout all of his appearances.
  • Adaptational Heroism: The jötnar, who are usually destructive giants and awful monsters in Norse mythology, turn out here to be former gods victim of the tyrannical bloodthirst of Odin, and who hope to free their suffering at the hands of the gods by regaining power over the world once more.
    • Loki gets a big one here. He is still a cunning and manipulative trickster, but now he is a victim of the gods discrimination and opposes their maniacal and brutal ways in an attempt to establish a new balance, providing all the help he can to the heroine. He stays however very ambiguous, especially when it turns out that his plan to restore "balance" in the world is to destroy both the Aesir and the jötnar through Ragnarök.
  • Adaptational Species Change: In Norse mythology, Loki is usually considered half-Aesir and half-jötunn. Here, Loki is noted to be the only half-human of the Aesir gods, born of Odin's affair with a mortal woman.
    • In the final chapter, Heimdall and Skadi are revealed as Vanir gods who were absorbed among the Aesir, like Freyja and her brother. In the original legends, both were somewhere between the Aesir and the jötnar. Loki is also revealed to actually not be half-human, but half-Vanir on his mother's side.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The very basis of the comic book. Here we follow humans who live in Jötunheim and worship the jötnar as their benevolent gods, while perceiving the humans and their gods as invaders and monsters (when of course, in the original Norse mythology, it is the reverse). When we do get to meet both sides personally, this is confirmed. The gods are all either violent jerkasses or power-hungry sadists, while the jötnar are primal forces deprived of their powers and rights by Odin, gods that care about their human population and who only seek to re-establish balance by vanquishing the gods.
    • In a similar way, Loki, who is usually depicted as an evil agent of chaos and destruction, is here painted in a much more positive light due to opposing the Jerkass Gods and helping the titulat hero.
    • Subverted later. Not all the gods are as awful or negative as it first seems, Odin has a justification for his awful behavior, and the jötnar turn out to be not as different from their divine rivals as they proclaim to be...
  • Barbarian Hero: Many, but Dal comes the closest, actually being barechested and in a loincloth most of the time.
  • Badass Boast:
    Hild: "I'm Hild the Valkyrie, the shield of Asgard. You killed my sister."
    Vei: "I've killed many. I split the skull of Asp with a single strike. I tore out the poisonous fangs of Lofthryl and slit his squirming throat. Your sister, Skögul the Valkyrie i impaled on her own Spear. Gorgas the Pale feared the sun. I burnt him with my bright steel. Bodvar the Berserker was a real peice of shit but i rid the world of his stench, forever. I tore out the heart of Skyter and it kept beating in my hand. I butchered Kurag-Bal the boar from the desert of salt. Larka the Ancient. Her ashes were scattered to the wind. I've killed many Hild the Valkyrie, shield of Asgard. So many."
  • Big Beautiful Woman: What Freyja is depicted as. Similarly, her twin Freyr is a Big Beautiful Man.
  • Composite Character: Skadi takes the role of Odin as leader of the Wild Hunt.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Vei belongs to the people of the Ran, who are humans with the blood of Jotún in them and thus, technically Giants.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: What the Vikings (except Dal and Eidyr) wanted to do to Vei when they first found her.
  • Mythology Gag: The comic is full of it.
    • There is a certain confusion in Norse mythology about Frigg and Freyja, as both share similar attributes and both were described as the only wife of Odin - leading scholars to theorize they were originally one same goddess. Here, Frigg and Freyja are the two wives and two "queens" of Odin.
    • Most of Norse mythology came to us through poems. Here, Bragi, the god of poetry, is seen constantly writing down the events of the comic as they happen around him - of course, twisting things in favor of the Aesir. Yep, the Poetic Edda is all just Aesir propaganda.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: The jötnar, or "giants", are indeed very tall humanoids (even taller than the gods). Their skin is blue, they have horns and animal facial features, and they have four main chest muscles instead of the usual two (four pectorals for male, four breasts for female). They are treated as gods by the humans of Jötunheim (each jötunn ruling over a specific human tribe as their "god/sheperd"). Turns out, they actually used to be gods, but the Aesir stripped them away of their divine status during an ancient war.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Idunn. As the goddess of youth she acts in a very child-like manner, constantly singing and smiling, laughing at everything and juggling with her apples... But she inherited the bloodthirsty and cruel ways of the Aesir. She gleefully cheers at the idea of brutally killing humans, and the "game" she wishes to play with human servants are actually awful physical tortures.
  • Related Differently in the Adaptation: In Norse mythology, Loki is Odin's brother (either his true brother, or a "blood-brother" adopted by the Aesir despite his jötunn inheritage). Here Loki is rather Odin's bastard son.
  • The Old Gods: Turn out the jötnar are this. They used to be equally as powerful as the Aesir, but the latter waged a war against them, took their power away and gained sole authority over Midgard, where they are now the only gods receiving worship. The jötnar still seek to find back their lost power and to regain their status of gods.
    • Also invoked with the Vanir. Odin conquered them and assimilated them among the Aesir, destroying all those that refused to be part of his tribe. Freyja still laments that people forgot all about her people. It is revealed that most of the events of the comic were planned by her to wrestle power away from Odin. In the end, the Ragnarök destroys the Aesir or deprive the few that survived of their powers, condemning them to decrepitude and death. But the Vanir, due to their "deeper" and more ancient roots, still survive and thrive - thanks to being connected to nature itself, they will survive for as long as the world exists.
  • Tournament Arc: Mestarileikir.