Mythoi Birth: Wiglaf & Mythoi Birth: Vito
Story by James Michael Ninness
Art by Jed Soriano
Published by Semantink (Nov.-Dec. 2009)
Using public domain franchises or tales of old for new creations is not new. It’s been done in cinema since the days of silent films and new prose books continued the adventures of characters whose creators been long dead saw print over the years. Obviously, visual mediums (like the aforementioned movies) usually serve the best format to expand those worlds of literature, and comics are not different.
Coming from the mind of writer James Michael Ninness through independent publisher Semantink is a series about a group of characters from various mythologies acting in our modern world. Mythoi #1 and #2 already saw publication in recent months but I’ve yet to read them. However, Semantink offers on its website a free mini-series named Mythoi: Birth with each issue exploring the origin of the main characters. The first issue stars Wiglaf, a warrior whose origin begins in the time of Cain and Abel, right hand to king Beowulf. I didn’t know much about the Beowulf (yeah, haven’t watched the movie) so I had to check if Wiglaf is based on a character from the original tale – and it is. Other events from this issue are based on events from Beowulf’s adventures, so kudos to Ninness for knowing his source material and making me learning new stuff.
The second issue focuses on Vito, a young boy that his story starts during the time of Abraham Van Helsing facing his greatest nemesis (you know, Dracula) for the last time. From the information I gathered Vito is not based on actual character from Bram Stoker’s original novel, yet Ninness makes the kid a nice way to continue the original story in his own world.
Soriano’s art is a good mix of clean lines and digital coloring, using lighting and shadows to their best (at least in the case of issue #2). Unfortunately, the PDF format doesn’t do it justice, at least on my big screen. PDF is the common format used by most comic publishers nowadays to send preview copies, but obviously PDF readers were not developed with comics in mind. On the other hand, there’s not really a good and cheap variant. Alternatively, there’s on option to read the issues on the website via a digital reader, but I haven’t tried it yet. If you decide to read the books, better try the reader. Another thing I think could be done better production-wise is the lettering. The fonts and balloons here are styled very differently from mainstream lettering, but to me the fonts were too big and the balloons… I can’t really explain it, but I didn’t like them.
To conclude, the first issues are well-written and interesting enough to make come back for the rest (issue #3 of Mythoi: Birth comes out in February) and hopefully read the main series. Both issues get each 4 out of 5 six-eyed monsters.
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