Beorn is one tiny viking, but what he lacks in stature he makes up for in heart. He’s quite a brave little fellow who seeks out perilous adventure in unknown lands, evil monsters to slay, and delicious food to eat. He’s also the star of his own saga, aptly named Beorn: The Littlest Viking Saga. Created by Ben Bender, Beorn’s saga was recently released by Red 5 Comics as a four-part series. The series is a ton of fun—sort of like if you transported Bill Watterson’s famous Calvin character to a fantasy medieval world inspired by the Norse myths and let him run loose.
Beorn’s adventure begins when a stranger wearing a dark robe and wide-brimmed hat approaches him in a tavern. Bored and deep into multiple pints of chocolate milk, Beorn is only too happy to receive a mysterious map from this stranger. He soon sets sail with the map in hand and his adventure leads him to encounters with trolls, wise Mimir, and some of the creatures who inhabit Yggdrasil. There’s a lot of good humor along the way, too, and it works on multiple levels. Some of the jokes are self-evident and poke fun at Beorn himself; others require a basic knowledge of Norse mythology to appreciate (the interactions between Ratatosk and Nidhogg were among my favorite extra little tidbits). And the illustrations are super slick, too.
The saga of Beorn got its start as a Kickstarter success and was released as a limited edition hardback volume in 2020. It was a hit and generated interest among the comic publishing industry and subsequently Ben and Red 5 Comics worked out a deal to serialize the chapters of the original hardback into single comic book issues. This is happening now, actually, with the fourth and final issue being released this month. An additional, stand-alone issue titled The Huldra’s Kiss was also released earlier this year in conjunction with Free Comic Book Day.
So, where will Beorn’s adventures take him next? Ben has woven the thread of Beorn’s fate like a norn, so the story arc of his life is preordained—Ben knows where the adventure is going. There will be new characters and new side-adventures along the way, and a second Kickstarter project for a follow-up hardback book, too. We’ve only just seen the beginning; there’s a lot more of Beorn’s story to be told, and that’s something to look forward to. Oh, and it should probably go without saying that all the images here are Ben’s work and property.
Finally, if you’re the type of person who likes viking-inspired comics, which is probable given the nature of this website, check out the two previous artists/comics I’ve featured too: Matt Smith’s Barbarian Lord and Simon Dickie’s The Hogback Saga.