Why aren’t people talking about the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series???? We have a dark elf that appears as an African American man, a deaf elf, and a girl who is Arabic and Muslim who wears a hijab. Samirah talks about people attacking her for her religion and ethnicity. She explains the hijab.
With the huge increase in popularity in the Icelandic Children’s TV show Lazytown, I quickly noticed that the original drafts had some root into icelandic folklore, for instance, Sportacus was originally an elf. In the kid’s tv show, it seemed to have discarded those cultural roots in place of something more Americanized- making a trickster elf into a superhero. It seems that all trace of Iceland has been erased (except for Magnus Scheving’s accent), but there may be more down the rabbit hole.
I’m studying Anthropology, and have been a Storyteller for many years, with an emphasis in folklore from different parts of the world. When I noticed that the original Sportacus was an elf, I was quite intrigued. How much matched up with traditional Icelandic folklore? So, I looked it up.
The most common nordic/ Icelandic folk tale is about beings called huldufolk (hidden folk) which can be recognized as being fairies, elves, and trolls.
Sportacus matches up closely with the stories of the elves. In fact, he was one in the drafts that didn’t quite make it too far out of Iceland. However, Sportacus still has a lot of traits that match up with the elves from Icelandic folklore. One prominent story that comes to mind is a story about a town that loved to dance, and when the sheriff of the town banned dancing, the elves sided with the townsfolk who loved dancing to run the sheriff out of town. Does that sound familiar? An elf siding with someone who loves to dance to keep dancing and other activities alive in the town while stopping the person who gets in the way is essentially the plot of every single episode of Lazytown. While the original Sportacus was a lot more cruel in his tricks, the current Sportacus certainly bears resemblance to the original when it comes to motivation.
Now on to Robbie Rotten. Who is he? In the show he is a lazy, rude, disguise wearing, and antisocial man who looks very different from the majority of the citizens in Lazytown. He is also the tallest character, and has purposefully distorted features. Given these traits, we can compare them.
Trolls are creatures that are dim witted and easily outsmarted. They dislike most people and prefer to live in caves underground to avoid interaction. They are humanoid in nature, though often are shown as being larger than the average human. Their features are also distorted from humans, like having exceptionally long noses or chins. They are also considered to be clumsy, lazy, and poor mannered.
The hobbies of trolls are also quite telling- they enjoy kidnapping people (even if they do not know what to do with them afterwards) and disguising themselves to trick humans.
Robbie Rotten spends all of his time making poor schemes to trick the humans of Lazytown. Many of his plans involves kidnapping one of the citizens of Lazytown, though after they’re captured he often doesn’t know what to do next. He ultimately wants to be left alone in peace and quiet in his underground cavern. Most notably, he uses disguises to try and accomplish his goals, just like many trolls do in traditional Nordic tales.
The only Troll characteristic that Robbie does not possess is the aversion to sunlight, but hey, no theory is perfect.
An excerpt from a story that describes witch balls, similar to elf-shots, which are thrown at victims and cause them incredible pain, illness, misfortune or death. These are gifted to witches by the Devil, using ingredients they collect for him. If they fail to acquire their ingredients they are whipped viciously with a switch of rose thorns by the Devil.
“‘When we met at the crossroads down nigh the graveyard, the Devil fust drawed a big ring 'bout nine feet acrost. The witches rounded up some firewood and built a big fire in the middle of hit. When hit started burnin’ good, the Devil poured a mess of thing on hit to make the blue, green, red and yeller flames. Then, he put a pot on to bile, and threw into hit a bottle of weazel’s blood and a handful of dried baby’s flesh. Then, each witch throwed in the stuff she’d brung into the pot, and the Devil throwed in any stuff they failed to bring. Atter this, we all joined hands and danced 'round the fire while the Devil chanted:
A pair of dead spiders’ legs, Guts and bladder of a black cat, Dead baby’s toenails, buzzard’s eggs, Blud of a weazel and tail of a rat.
The eye of a big, fat sow, The whisker of a wildcat, A tit of a milk cow, And the brain of a bat.
The foot of a toadfrog, The hair from a murdered man’s wig, The dried turd of a feiss dog, The hair of a Poland-China pig.
To this mystic myrrh, To make a witchball, I, the Devil, doth stir, To place curses on one and all.
We let this brew bile for seven minutes then, whilst hit cooled, the Devil handed us candles made outten human grease. We lit the candles from the fire and marched 'round the ring till they were 'most burnt up, then threw them into the fire. Then the Devil took up blobs of the stuff from the pot and wrapped each one with hair each witch had cut from her haid, and this made the witchballs. Witches who’d brung what they'se supposed to got thirteen balls, and those who jest brung part got seven balls. This wuz all I got. Them that didn’t bring nuthin’ got only three balls. The Devil told us these balls ’d have to last us till anudder Friday the thirteenth when we could make some more. Effen a witch lost one ore let somebody steal one, the Devil would whup her with rose thorns. Thet’s why people don’t find witchballs: the witch slips back to git 'em so’s she can use 'em agin.’”
Collected by Gertrude Blair, Roanoke, Virginia, June 10, 1939. Told to her by Aunt Lucy Skinner, who lived in Montgomery County, not far from Christiansburg, Virginia. This story has been handed down through at least four generations.
–Taken here from Hubert J. Davis’ The Silver Bullet and other American Witch Stories
Would you recommend comic style diaries to other people?
I would recommend making them, if that’s what you’re asking. Or if you’re looking for comic diaries to read, @sleepsucks and @muggyebes are my favorites. I believe they were both inspired by Kolchaka’s American Elf, which ran for some 15 years. I can’t find it online anymore.
(and I run my own @dogstomp, but you probably know that)
So… 16 years ago, back in 1999, I wrote this letter to a 9-year-old fan of my comics who I had never met but who was a relative of a family friend and undergoing a series of brain surgeries. Now he’s 25 years old, and he came to visit me in Vermont yesterday and take me out to lunch. And he turned out to be a pretty awesome guy, it was fun and we got along great.
Back then I hadn’t yet drawn the kids comics I’m currently known for (Johnny Boo, Glorkian Warrior, Dragon Puncher). But I was doing my Impy & Wormer strips in Nickelodeon magazine (see Impy in the lower right-hand corner of the letter).
Anyhow, he saved the letter. So here it is! I’m glad I wrote it, because it obviously meant a lot to him. And… It’s amazing how small gestures can make ripples far into the future.
This is a comic diary. I record and draw a memorable event from each day. I started on January 1, 2015.
Who are you?
My name is Eric Bowser. Just another artist who doesn’t know how to give up.
Why is the date at the bottom of the new comic so long ago?
At the end of each day, I write down the day’s notable happenings in my notebook. It will often take me a week or two to get to any specific date, unless I choose to ditch continuity to get to an unusually important event early, or if I’m just not very far behind.
What does Dogstomp mean?
Why are you doing this?
Keeping a record of the events in a year helps prevent “It felt like just yesterday” which I think is a very negative thing to say. You say it because you forgot everything between now and then and that’s a huge shame. My life feels significantly more full when I can look back at a year and remember literally every day of it.
Why did you start?
I was inspired by other artists who run similar comics. @thekuto and @muggyebes specifically. (and I believe they were in turn inspired by James Kolchaka’s American Elf comics) Getting a peek into someone else’s life really makes me feel good about living. It was my New Years Resolution for 2015 to keep it up for the year, and like those other artists, I don’t see any reason to stop.
Why do you draw yourself that way?
Convenience. Since I’m drawing these every day, it helps to make them less time-consuming and this pony-dog happens to be the easiest form for me to draw.
You wear Glasses and clothes daily, right? Why don’t you draw them on yourself?
Both glasses and clothes are rarely relevant to the memory and I tend to leave out details that aren’t relevant.
Bug Boys: Volume 1
Laura Knetzger Bug Boys: Volume 1 follows the adventures of two young beetles, Rhino-B and Stag-B, in their home of Bug Village and beyond. Along the way, they meet new bug friends, face their fears, and see their friendship grow stronger while they grow as individuals. Bug Boys is a truly all-ages comic - appealing to kids and adults alike. Knetzger perfectly captures the emotions of growing up with the right touch of candor, affection and light-heartedness. Including a brand new twelfth issue, this collection will contain every issue of Bug Boys to date - some in print for the first time.
“Bug Boys gives me what I missed from the best all-ages books: warmth and friendship up against danger and high stakes, and a vibrant imagination at play. Burrow in.” – Annie Mok, Rookie Mag
“Bug Boys is a true delight.” – Kris Mukai, Commuter
"I love the Bug Boys comic because it vibrates with the pulse of life. It is a joy to marvel at the vital living soul that these drawings possess. Bug Boys forever!” – James Kochalka, American Elf and Johnny Boo
"Knetzger is a great cartoonist. I enjoy how she spaces words on the page. It’s breezy and bold, like a combination of comics and picture books. Bug Boys reminds me of how much fun it is to go camping and climb trees. Let’s all go do that after we read this book.” – Dash Shaw, Bodyworld and New School
About the Author
Laura Knetzger is the author of numerous mini-comics, including Sea Urchin. She has been self-publishing Bug Boys for four years. Her illustration work has been featured by the Society of Illustrators, Buzzfeed, and ComicsAlliance. She graduated from School of VIsual Arts in 2012.
Bug Boys: Volume 1 - Laura Knetzger
Publication Date: September 19, 2015
Details: 5.5” x 8.5” softcover, 360 pages, B/W
Price: $12.99 USD