Northlanders and Black Road writer Brian Wood further establishes himself as the foremost authority on comic-book Vikings with this exclusive announcement of Sword Daughter, an ongoing Viking-era series from Dark Horse Comics. Inspired by samurai cinema and co-created with Wood’s Briggs Land collaborator Mack Chater, Sword Daughter introduces young, nearly mute Elsbeth and her grief-stricken father, Dag, the only two survivors of a village massacre perpetrated by the Forty Swords gang. Sword Daughter features colors by Jose Villarubia, letters by Nate Piekos and evocative covers from Greg Smallwood as it tackles parental grief, loss and the cycle of violence in a sweeping revenge saga that spans most of Europe.
“I find endless inspiration in history, and specifically Norse history, the struggle of men and women to survive amidst violence and forbidding landscapes,” said Wood in a statement. “In Sword Daughter, Mack and I are bringing in very relatable themes of protecting your kids, preparing them for survival in an uncaring world and the guilt that comes with knowing there’s only so much you can do. The father, Dag, has effectively abandoned his infant daughter for 10 years, and now that he’s back he’s realizing that his daughter had gotten along without him, despite him. Having a place in her life and in her heart is not automatic. He has to atone for his past and earn her trust.”
“I’ve always loved European comics, Bande Dessinee,” said Chater, a former videogame art director and contributor to Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s Lazarus series. “I grew up reading them and loved how they used the visual narrative of a book to tell a story. The color palette could reflect both the landscape and the tonal feel of the book, to elicit an emotional response from the reader. As soon as Brian and I started talking about Sword Daughter, we both realized that we had similar loves, from those classic Bande Dessinee to the old samurai movies like Sanjuro or Harakiri, and that this would be the perfect book to show these influences and loves visually.”
“The influence of samurai cinema is evident in the structure of the story, the classic revenge-quest narrative, and the overt nods to things like Lone Wolf & Cub, Red Sun and Lady Snowblood,” Wood added. “And each issue is eight pages longer than the standard monthly comic, so we can linger on locations and let moments land properly.”
Sword Daughter #1 hits stores June 6, 2018, with 28 story pages. Paste has an exclusive look at Smallwood’s main cover and Chater’s variant cover below.
Sword Daughter #1 Main Cover Art by Greg Smallwood
Sword Daughter #1 Variant Cover Art by Mack Chater