It seems like virtually every comic book on the stands is being optioned for a film in a bid to make the next Avengers: Infinity War. Heathen - a 2017 series published by Vault Comics - has become the latest critically-acclaimed graphic novel to be picked up for adaption to the silver screen.
Written and drawn by comic creator Natasha Alterici, Heathen tells the epic tale of Aydis - a young woman who is cast out of her Viking village after she kisses another young woman. Her banishment, coupled with the mistreatment she experienced for daring to be as good a hunter and warrior as any man, inspires Aydis to declare war on Odin himself. The original print run of the series sold out quickly. and a second volume is due to be released in July. The original series was widely acclaimed by critics, and was selected for the Young Adult Library Service Association's list of Good Graphic Novels For Teens.
Deadline was the first to report on the upcoming film adaptation. Constantin Film and Prime Universe will be partnering on the production. The screenplay will be written by Kerry Williamson, whose previous works include Alex Cross and Sandman Slim.
While Heathen might seem to be the latest in a long line of series based around strong female protagonists with braided-hair to follow in the footsteps of The Hunger Games and Tomb Raider, it is set apart by a story that is steeped within Norse mythology. Aydis' first adventure in the series is based upon The Völsunga Saga and the tale of Brynhild - the Valkyrie leader whom Odin set as a prize for the warrior brave enough to risk many challenges to claim her as a bride. This, coupled with an uncompromising look at homosexuality and feminism in a culture that values neither and the violent encroachment of Christian cultures from the south of Europe, gives Heathen an edge unlike anything found in Marvel's Thor movies - even with the inclusion of the bisexual Valkyrie.
It remains to be seen how much of Heathen's more risque elements - including Aydis' abduction and attempted seduction at the hands of the Norse love goddess Freya - will make it into the final film. For her part, Heathen creator Natasha Alterici is excited about the adaptation and confident it will retain the spirit of the original comic:
"The entire Heathen team and I are incredibly excited about adapting my little lesbian viking comic for film, especially with a kindred spirit like Kerry writing it. I’ve been a film fanatic for longer than I’ve been a comics fans, and that my working in one format would lead to another is nothing less than a dream come true."