Comic Book Heroes

I recently talked with SJA Turney, the author of Marius’ Mules, a series of historical novels set in Roman times.  I was delighted to read that one of his great influences was Asterix the Gaul.

Asterix the Gaul (film)

Asterix the Gaul (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This, and a very recent conversation I’ve had with Simon, Nick Britten, Alun Williams, Manda Scott and Kate has started me thinking about the influence of our earliest reading upon what authors write.  And here, I don’t mean the obvious influence of much loved writers.

I’m talking about comic books.

When I was young I was brought up on the Beano, Dandy, Beezer and Topper, those quintessentially British and timeless comics which are, I hope, still going strong.  Then I discovered Valiant with it’s mixture of comic strips and longer, full-prose stories.  I loved this and was a loyal fan for many years.

But then I discovered American comics and was hooked. I was never a fan of Superman or Batman but I loved Iron Man, the X Men and some of the creepy flesh-tingling comics whose names I’ve now forgotten.

My tip-top favourite, however, was Marvel Comics The Mighty Thor.

Thor (Marvel Comics)

Thor (Marvel Comics) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This combined my love of history, mythology,and Vikings with the story of an intellectual if puny man whose inner hero is unleashed for the good of others.  It had the added bonus of a rather fetching costume complete with armour, big boots, immense cloak which never seemed to hinder him in battle and a wonderful helmet with wings.  I could see myself kitted out in all this.

And best of all, of course, was his wonderful hammer Mjölnir.

Thor would whirl this round his head and then let fly, using it’s momentum to weep through the heavens in pursuit of ne’er do well’s and ever lasting glory( in the mind of one ten year old at least.)

I think that this early hero still informs my writing although I’m never consciously aware of it.  Thanks Stan LeeLarry Lieber and Jack Kirby.

I’m sure there could be a PhD thesis on how much Asterix and Obelix influenced SJA Turney and another on how Thor influenced my The Lost King novels.

The film was pretty good as well.


About Martin Lake

Martin Lake lives in the French Riviera with his wife. After studying at the University of East Anglia he worked as a teacher, trainer and company director. A serious accident shattered his arm and meant that he had to rein back his work. He decided to concentrate on writing and is now writing full-time. He writes a wide range of fiction. His main interests are historical fiction, short stories and fiction for young adults. Martin has a series of novels 'The Lost King' which are set in the years following the Norman Invasion of England. They concern Edgar Atheling, last representative of the ancient English royal dynasty and his fight to regain the throne from William the Conqueror. Martin has also published 'Artful' the further adventures of the Dodger and 'Outcasts' a novel about fall of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. His latest novel, 'A Love Most Dangerous' is about a maid of honour who becomes the lover of Henry VIII. Martin’s work has been broadcast on radio. He won first prize in the Kenneth Grahame Society competition to write a story based on 'The Wind in the Willows.' You can get the collection, 'The Wind in the Willows Short Stories' from Amazon.
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