book review: lars the last viking goes to the end of the world

Matt Taylor’s comic Lars the Last Viking Goes to the End of the World is about a Viking named Lars in the year 1065. He is not the most realistic of comic book Vikings – he has horns on his helmet, a talking pig as his foil, uses a Nokia and does death-metal jams with Norwegian pines – but not the most unrealistic either. The story is told in rhyming couplets as all Norse epics should be, right? That’s a thing isn’t it?

Anyway the story is about the end of a youth bulge, and having everyone you know grow up and settle down. If that’s tough for 21st century round-about-30-year-olds, imagine how crappy it would be when your lifestyle was based on unsustainable partying(/raping/pillaging) as Lars’ was. The story kind of comes full circle though and while it doesn’t really resolve Lars’ tensions with the world around him, does give him an outlet for the future that doesn’t involve babies and Ikea.

I got to see Matt Wilson perform a live reading of the book at Graphic 2011 at the Sydney Opera House. The live reading included a practically unrehearsed heavy metal guitar accompaniment performed by a friend of Taylor’s who’d just flown in from Sweden(?). It was an excellent performance. I can’t get the rhythm of the couplets right when I try to perform it at home.

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