by Ana Wolken
Heathen, Volume 1, is a comic created by Natasha Alterici. It not only queers comics but also, interestingly, it queers Norse mythology. Our heroine is Aydis, a Viking exiled after she is discovered kissing another woman. Aydis is a warrior. Setting out to challenge the god-king Odin, she teams up with a Valkyrie and gains favor with the concupiscent god Freyja.
Natasha Alterici has created an adventurous tale and paired it with beautiful, unique artwork. It is rare that an artist can both write and illustrate such a magnificent work of art. Heathen is something special for all fans of comic books. The fact that Alterici and her characters are queer is the proverbial icing on the cake.
These are uncertain times for queer folks and every bit of visibility matters. Mainstream comics didn’t embrace queer diversity fully until the 1990s. Instead, independent and underground comics led the way, incorporating queer characters and storylines as early as the 1970s. Alterici’s work continues the tradition of independent artists taking the lead, incorporating queer women into the pantheon of Norse mythology.
Heathen, Volume 1, is a collection of the first four issues of Heathen and was first published in 2015. Heathen, Volume 2, is eagerly anticipated and soon to be published by indie imprint Heavy Metal. If you’re not already a backer, I highly recommend you pre-order on Kickstarter. Volume 1 sold out quickly.