Neil Gaiman’s love of Norse myth has roots deeper than Yggdrasil, the World Tree, and he’s just announced that his next book will be a non-fiction retelling of those myths—but done in an “almost novelistic” style—inventively titled Norse Mythology.
The New York Times reports the source of Gaiman’s love of Norse myth wasn’t exactly academic.
When he was about 7, he read Jack Kirby’s comic “The Mighty Thor,” about the hammer-wielding Nordic god. He moved on to Roger Lancelyn Green’s “Myths of the Norsemen,” which he read it over and over until the book fell apart.
Indeed, Gaiman has often worked Norse myth into his work. The gods Loki and Odin the All-Father make appearances in his novel American Gods, as well as his groundbreaking comic series Sandman. Gaiman also contributed the screenplay to the 2007 Robert Zemeckis animated version of Beowulf, but never took public responsibility for a nude Angelina Jolie with built-in high heels as Grendel’s mother. The Brian Fuller-produced television series based on American Gods is set to air next year.
His 2008 children’s novel, Odd and the Frost Giants, tells the tale of a young Norse woodsman who takes on the task of saving Odin, Loki, and Thor.
“Those Norse tales have accompanied me through pretty much everything I’ve done,” he told The New York Times. “They ran like a vein of silver through Sandman, they were the bedrock of American Gods.”