elcome to the first installment of our three-part translation and adaptation of the Old English poem Beowulf. This book, with large, full-color illustrations, was self-published in an edition of 250 and is available for purchase.

Beowulf tells the story of an ancient Danish kingdom haunted by a monster called Grendel. The hero of the story, a stranger eager to prove himself, sails from across the sea to fight Grendel. This dark, fateful tale was passed on through song until it was eventually written down in the earliest form of our English language.

Our original translation of Beowulf comes directly from that Old English text, but ours is also influenced by the mythology and by the historical artifacts of Anglo-Saxon England and ancient Scandanavia.

Making the poem into a graphic novel has been attempted before, but our goal here was to be as faithful as possible to the original language and to do something
more than just putting pictures to the words--we have attempted to combine images with text such that neither can stand alone. This is essentially what all good "comic books " do, and the result is not nearly as anachronistic as it may seem.

In this first part of the poem, one begins to get a sense of the poet's nostalgia for those pagan days of glory. Beowulf 's battle with Grendel shows the hero at his most aggressive and most powerful, in the full strength of his youth. Here he is also at his most brutal, forgoing the weapons of human artifice for the ferocity of his bare hands. At the same time, Grendel is often likened to a man, and often it seems like he and Beowulf are strangely alike. Both are superhuman, both are outsiders, yet there is never any question that Beowulf is meant to be the victor. Subsequent battles will take their toll on the Geat warrior, but for now we leave Beowulf victorious, awaiting the treasure and glory of his legendary deed.

© 2007 Two Fine Chaps