Gods Just Want to Have Fun In JOE CASEY'S VALHALLA MAD

Page from "Valhalla Mad #1"
Credit: Image Comics
Credit: Image Comics

The heroes of old are in New York City– and they’re about to give new meaning to the phrase, “The Gods Must Be Crazy.”

Valhalla Mad, the new Image series from Joe Casey and Paul Maybury, who previously collaborated on Dark Horse’s Catalyst, launches this Wednesday, and Earth might not survive the experience. You know those parts of the Thor stories where he’s more into drunken reveling than preventing Ragnarok? Imagine it’s that Thor who came to Earth, and there’s three of him, and there’s no Comics Code holding him back.

Three warriors of the glorious realm of Viken have returned to Earth after many years, ready to use their powers to help those in need…but mostly to engage in a ritual that involves an awful lot of drinking and property damage, all while spouting as much faux-Shakespearean dialogue as can fit into a comic book panel. And that’s before things get really crazy.

We talked to Casey and Maybury about what readers can expect from these hedonistic “heroes.”

Credit: Image Comics

Newsarama: Joe, how did the concept for Valhalla Mad cometh about?

Joe Casey: Well, it's kinda my job to keep coming up with these things. For this project specifically, I had a certain style of comic book I wanted to do, and I wanted to collaborate again with Paul on something... hopefully something that you wouldn't immediately think would work with his style.

As it turns out, the exact opposite occurred, and it feels to me like it's working like crazy.

Nrama: You two worked together before on Catalyst -- what do you enjoy about each other’s creative style?  

Credit: Image Comics

Casey: Paul's an original. He just doesn't draw like anyone else I can think of. That, in itself, is a rare thing in this industry.

Paul Maybury: In both instances Joe’s written stories that riff of classic methods that are dear to him. I love the challenge of stretching my own abilitie,s and I get to develop all sorts of new storytelling muscles on these projects.

Joe’s known for packing a cosmic punch with his stories, but I can’t wait for people to find out how down to earth Valhalla Mad is in contrast.

Nrama: Tell our readers about the trio at the heart of this book and how their looks were designed. First up: Knox.

Credit: Image Comics

Casey:  Technically, it's the Glorious Knox. Which, I think, speaks volumes when it comes to the legendary status of this cosmic god-hero. And let's not forget about his god-sized ego. Hubris is a big thing in this comic book.

Maybury: Glorious Knox’s costume design came pretty easy, but I think the true labor went into figuring out his color palette. Don’t ask me how his boots work.

Nrama: Second up: Greghorn the Battlebjorn.

Casey: He's got his own brand of hubris, no doubt about it. But, of the three, Greghorn might have the most complex inner life. A warrior with a conscience.

Credit: Image Comics

Maybury: I tried to think of good trios that I liked when I was coming up with their looks. Greghorn is a little bit of Moe mixed with Spock through a Kirby lens.

Nrama: Last and not least: Jhago the Irritator.

Casey: Well, I think in this case, the name says it all…

Maybury: Jhago wears a beast glove on one hand and has a cybernetic wrecking ball for his other. Neither hinder him from knocking back drinks.

Nrama: So, what will be unfolding with their story?

Credit: Image Comics

Casey: These three have come to Earth to celebrate in a grand tradition of drinking and partying called the Gluttonalia. Think of it as a cosmic pub crawl. It's been decades since they've visited this realm, but Earth -- and its denizens -- holds a warm place in their hearts.

Nrama: What’s your collaborative process like?

Casey: We knew going in exactly what kind of comic book this was meant to be. Ultimately, it's just been about maintaining the discipline to stay on the course we originally set out on.

Maybury: There is a rhythm to the storytelling, but aside from that Valhalla Mad is free to be whatever it needs to be.

Credit: Image Comics

Nrama: From what classic influences have you drawn the greatest influence in creating this comic?  Also, could thou tellest this humble journo what art so grandiose about speaketh yon parlance of a booming quasi-Shakespearean argot?

Casey: Obviously, when you read the comic, its influences should be pretty obvious. Hopefully, we're taking it someplace beyond its influences, but we set out to use a specific set of storytelling tools to get our story across.

In terms of the vernacular... I can tell you that it ain't easy coming up with that stuff and making it sound authentic. Even in its pomposity, there's an authenticity that has to be there, otherwise it's just too ridiculous.

As it is, it's still ridiculous, but in the best possible way.

Credit: Image Comics

Nrama: What would you do with incredible cosmic/Nordic powers? Aside from enjoying one's increased capacity for the imbibing of fine ales and mead, of course.

Casey: C'mon, what else is there?

Maybury: Make comics from a Nordic perspective with cosmic sensibilities.

Nrama: Give our readers the Hardest of Sells on this.

Casey: This book actually cures dread diseases.

Maybury: This book pairs well with Hoch Ybrig cheese and sliced apples.

Credit: Image Comics

Nrama: What’s next for you?

Casey: Well, the first issue of Valhalla Mad isn't even out yet, so there's that. And then, more issues of Valhalla Mad. This story is just beginning to unfold.

There's cool stuff to come. And more drunken revelry.

Maybury: More comics, of course.

Nrama: And hast we not spoken of any words thou wishest bestowed upon our readers before they headest to yon comments section?

Casey: What else could I possibly say in this venue except: Buy this book.

Maybury: Buy two copies to get both covers.

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