On the Ninth Day of his holiday residency with 13th Dimension, Si Spurrier brings Óttar the Simple, a pivotal character in his series Cry Havoc, launching with Image in January.
Click links for previous Days of Myth-mas:
On the First Day of Myth-mas, Si Spurrier gave to us… THE ZOMBIE.
On the Second Day of Myth-mas, Si Spurrier gave to us … THE HORRIFYING PENANGGALAN.
On the Fourth Day of Myth-mas, Si Spurrier gave to us … THE LITTLE PEOPLE.
On the Sixth Day of Myth-mas, Si Spurrier gave to us … THE BLACK HOUND.
On the Seventh Day of Myth-mas, Si Spurrier gave to us … THE ANGELS OF MONS.
On the Eighth Day of Myth-mas, Si Spurrier gave to us … THE KAPPA.
Si Spurrier’s new series, Cry Havoc, is awash in characters pulled from myth and repurposed for the modern world. Today’s myth, Óttar the Simple, is one of those stories.
By SI SPURRIER
Another Norse myth here – like I said, they’re a reliably saucy bunch – with the added bonus of this particular chap being one of the main characters in Cry Havoc. In the comic he appears as a beautiful Scandinavian man, part of the squad of mercenaries with whom our heroine is travelling, constantly horny, with a neat line in transforming into a rampaging porcine abomination.
His “real” story – which I’m aware is a ridiculous way of putting it, but you know what I mean – derives from the Hyndluljóõ, the “Lay of Hyndla” from the Poetic Edda; one of the even racier-than-usual parts of the canon.
The hero of the piece, Óttar the Simple, pleads with his patron Goddess Freyja to help him learn the secrets of his own ancestry, something she achieves by smuggling him into the lair of the giantess Hyndla; a seeress. This being a Norse legend (and at this point I invite you to recall Loki’s solution to the whole Master Builder thing), she does this by turning Óttar into an animal, in this case “Hildisvini”: literally, “battle pig”. Best band name ever. Likewise, this being a Norse legend, when we’re told Freyja rode her battle pig wherever she went, it doesn’t necessarily mean As A Means Of Transport.
I’m not even reaching, with that one. In his Essays on Eddic Poetry John McKinnell makes a strong case for Ottar and Freyja being lovers (in fact he argues the whole Hyndluljóõ is sopping with sexy rivalry between Freyja and Hyndla, both of them presumably after a good hard oinking. Sorry).
Freyja certainly has a reputation for being, in metaphysical terms, a bit of a goer, having bedded four lusty dwarfs in the Sörla þáttr, and been accused by Loki (in the Lokasenna) of being basically an Asgardian bicycle. (Which is a bit rich coming from Loki, given the whole superpowered stallion episode describe earlier.) Like I said: racy stuff.
What’s really great about Freyja is that she wears her reputation for eroticism without shame, and indeed all the Eddic canon seems quite pleased to let her. In the Loki-being-a-dick episode described above even Njörðr, Freyja’s dad, just shrugs and says it’s perfectly normal for a hot-blooded lass with her pig of the boys – sorry, pick, pick – to take lovers.
NEXT: THE UNICORN.