Kid Beowulf: and the Blood-Bound Oath
By Alexis E. Fajardo
Bowler Hat Comics
Originally self-published under the imprint Lexpress in 2005, Kid Beowulf was recently picked up by Bowler Hat Comics and then redone and re-imagined. While the original Kid Beowulf was good, the newer is really good. Alexis Fajardo, writes and draws a fun and whimsical “what if?” comic inspired by the epic poem Beowulf which is studied in most high school literature classes.
The comics starts off with a modern translation of the epic poem, but the rest of the tale focuses on who Grendel and Beowulf really are and much of the story seems to stem from this this one stanza: Then Grendel saw this “Beowulf,” he looked different from the others, something odd… something amiss… in a another life, they could be brothers.
While many readers struggle with the poem in their high school literature classes, there is nothing difficult about following the story of Kid Beowulf and the Blood-Bound Oath, which is filled with magic, intrigue, betrayal, and all the other good stuff that makes for a good story.
Hrothgar nearly drowns on his way to propose marriage to a woman from the waring Heathobard clan. He is saved by a dragon and given a second chance at life if he promises to serve and protect his people when he becomes king. Upon his return, Hrothgar discovers he has been gone for 3 years and that his father is long dead. He assumes the throne, but instead of fulfilling his oath, Hrothgar seeks wealth and power, and takes what isn’t his. His actions result difficult consequences that he and his people must live with for years to come.
Classroom teachers can pair this story with Gareth Hind’s Beowulf. It could fuel a lot of disucssion as students compare the artwork. Hind’s stark and life like drawings, to Fajardo’s fun cartoonish style. But best of all, younger children who may have just heard the name Beowulf (there was a movie not long ago), might be curious enough and pick it up on their own and they won’t be disappointed.
This review is based on a complimentary advanced reading copy supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © Bowler Hat Comics.