søndag 19. mars 2017


A Norwegian superhero comic is not unique. One that’s played completely straight is more unusual, and a superhero comic with ambitions of universe building is even more so.

The graphic novel 7: Trusselen Fra Dypet – “The threat from the depths” is the culmination of a comics project that has been is development for several years. Authors Ole Bernt Tollefsen and Kristian Landmark, both from the city of Kristiansand, Norway, first wanted to publish the give out the story of "7" as novel (or a series of novels), but were told by the publisher that it would make a better comic. Thus they came in contact with artist Kenneth Iversen from Kristiansand’s cartoon workshop. We are talking about a project that has had plenty of time to grow large and ambitious. For a Norwegian comics series, this can easily become a problem. In a country with a limited market and a shortage of professional comics artists for hire, it can be difficult to produce a sufficiently ambitious comic book - Especially if it’s intended to run for several volumes.

The obligatory "let me tell you why I have summoned you all here" scene
The first 7 graphic novel has roughly 100 pages. It's a good start, but the most impressive thing is that creators are taking their time with the story, and still manage to effectively introduce the readers to the 7 universe before the end of volume one. The readers’ identification figure is supposed to be Oscar from Kristiansand, but the comic is not particularly provincial in its nature. Very quickly, the story changes to an international focus, and several of the other characters have become as well developed as him in the course of the first 100 pages.

The foundation of a "7" toyline has already been laid, it would seem
Oscar is one of "The Chosen Ones" a small group of children aged 12 from around the world, all of whom are granted special abilities (i.e. super powers). The powers originated from the so-called Star People (the creators have suggested that they may not necessarily be aliens, but from the context it is difficult to see how they can be anything else) who visited Earth almost a thousand years ago. But the The Chosen Ones can only use their abilities between the aged 12 and 19 years, which according to the Star People is the age when young people have the right balance between a sense of responsibility and a sense of idealism - and therefore is the age when they are at least likely to abuse their abilities. When the Chosen Ones is about to reach 20, they must transfer their abilities to the next kid in line, or it will be lost forever. And of course there's an evil brotherhood, a terrorist organization that the Chosen Ones will have to fight. 

When a guy is both bald, scarred and a cyborg, you know he has to be bad.
Adolescents as heroes, an international group of heroes, superpowers of extraterrestrial origin and secret organizations ... all this is well-known tropes of the superhero genre. It can be very difficult to think of something original. But in Norwegian comics culture, which has such an ambivalent attitude towards superheroes, it is refreshing to see, not just an example a comic that’s being faithful of the genre, but also one that simply is very well made. The team behind 7 has clearly put a lot of time and effort into creating a series with a solid foundation, and with a history that is both engaging and has some root in our own world.