New Siegfried Comix — No, Not That Siegfried

Alex Alice has written and illustrated a hardcover comic titled “Siegfried,” recently released in an English language version  While the story notes in certain ways the incidents and characters of Wagner’s drama, “the preferred universe is clearly Northern European, Iceland, etc.” (p. 115)  The first half of the book is a sequential telling of the story of Siegfried’s parents, birth, and discovery of the sword.  The remainder of the book is a series of articles and interviews, along with storyboard illustrations from Alice’s film-in-progress.

Alice notes, as he must, the extraordinary achievement of P. Craig Russell in adapting the Ring of the Nibelung to comix narrative, referring to it as “an almost perfect adaptation; Russell adjusted the dialogue for comics.”  (p. 93).  Alice’s intentions are distinct — he turned to the Volsung Saga and the German Niebelungenlied.  At heart, though, he tells his own story of Siegfried, rather than illustrating someone else’s. 

The style of the comic is conventional in a modern sense — irregular panels, varied colors, frequent “silent” passages, DC-esque sound effects (“GRRR,” “CRAC,” “TCHAC,” etc.).  And Alice notes his affinity for Disney films such as The Dark Crystal and Jungle Book, and well as the remarkable world of John Boorman’s savage Excalibur

Taken on its own, the book is certainly an entertaining read, though it amounts more to a tantalizing preview of the intended film than a comic in its own right.  The second volume, “Siegfried II: Die Walküre,” is available only in French at this time, and one wonders where this whole project is going.

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