Balladeer’s Blog recently got to interview Philip Lee McCall II, best-selling author, reviewer, publisher and imaginist about his latest book, Ing The Viking. McCall’s previous works include The Imaginist and Poisonous Prose: A Limited Collection of Dark Rhymes (2 volumes).
All of those books are available at Amazon.com, plus McCall has The Imaginist II coming out in just over two months. The time seemed right to try to ride Mr McCall’s coattails to some more blog hits for myself (I’m kidding!) so I sent my private jet to pick him up and fly him to my spacious villa overlooking Japan’s Inland Sea.
We passed the time trying to spot one of the thousand dragons of the Shinto god Kotohira swimming in the waters below while “PLMII” as he’s called, graciously answered my interview questions.
Balladeer’s Blog: For the uninitiated could you provide an overview of Ing the Viking’s setting and raison d’etre?
PLMII: Ing the Viking is an anthology which collects the stories of a fabled Viking’s adventures. I worked with a group of fantasy artists to render art for each tale. I was honored to have the great Larry Elmore not only excited about the project but also provide two images for the book. This book was definitely a labor of love and homage to both Norse mythology and the Pulp fiction era. There are no heroes that I am aware of like Conan, Beowulf or John Carter that you can pick up and read from new authors. So I saw a void and created Ing to fill that, and in the process sought to bring a new audience and life to Norse mythology. Most only know Norse myth through the Thor comic by Marvel which is great but pales in comparison to the mythos that was used to create it.
BB: What has the initial response to Ing been like?
PLMII: The response has been very positive and has allowed my work to crossover to many types of readers because most people have heard of the Vikings and Thor. The funny thing is most people who have read Ing are already wanting a movie and picking what actor should play (him). I think that is very cool. It means to me that Ing is a character that’s both believable and memorable.
BB: Do you think the success of books like Ing the Viking will help revive interest in the pulp magazine stories of the past?
PLMII: That was the overall intention of creating Ing and producing it in this format. Mythology itself is a series of stories told about the epic adventures of both gods and men. I would be lying if I did not point out that Ing is heavily influenced by Conan the Barbarian and Beowulf. I think that most readers today are looking for something that can be both quick and fulfilling. That was the beauty of pulp fiction from days past. I would be thrilled if my writing on Ing sends readers back to rediscover the works of CL Moore, Robert E Howard and many of the other greats from the pulp fiction era.
BB: Who is your favorite neglected Norse deity?
CLMII: I would have to say Heimdall. He is often written off as just a lone watchmen at the Bifrost Bridge. He is much more than that. This god has gold teeth and was born of nine mothers. Talk about original! As a writer I think he is just a wellspring of stories. Who else would know all the comings and goings of Asgard?
BB: What did you think of last year’s Thor movie?
PLMII: I loved it. I know it is Marvel’s rendition of Norse mythology so going in I took that stance toward the movie. It is not often Norse mythology is done with such flair and care. Most of the Norse myth movies are horrible and often fal lway short of the mythos itself. I think any movie that gets the public enthused about Norse mythology and is done well, is good by me.
BB: Are you a fan of the New Zealand progam The Almighty Johnsons? ( This program deals with the Norse gods and goddesses incarnating as young people )
CLMII: I probably soon will be. Even though I am not familiar with this series the themes in it are nothing new. Neil Gaiman and many others have crossed the whole gods in human flesh bridge before. What should make this series good is the fact that Norse mythology more than any other was filled with the adventures of the gods in human form travelling among us. I am not surprised that a writer picked up on that and spun a show out of it. I think if any gods could pull off living among mortals it would be the Norse gods.
BB: Aside from Norse what are your other favorite mythological pantheons?
PLMII: Like many I also enjoy the Graeco Roman gods though I have recently started getting into Asian mythos which is really cool.
BB: Do you think Norse myths will ever overtake Graeco Roman myths in pop culture?
PLMII: To be quite honest … no. I think the reason for this is quite simple. The Graeco Roman period is often is often touted as the Golden Age of mythology and is often romanticized and taught to many around the world. Norse mythology is often touted as a pagan religion that was squashed out by the rise of Christianity. I think the Norse sagas have great romance, intrigue and tales of valor that are far superior to the self-indulging tales about the gods of the Graeco Roman myths. However, Norse sagas do not end well and often are filled with death and loss, things that most do not wish to hear about. If anything Norse myth beats closer to the mortal vein than Graeco Roman myths.
BB: To end on a light note, if Ing and Conan fell for the same woman, who would win the romantic rivalry?
PLMII: Even though I am the creator of Ing I would have to give it to Conan. Ing is a heroic figure consumed with protecting the Viking people. While he would not turn from the passions of a beautiful woman I do not think a mortal could ever win his heart fully. You will have to read Ing the Viking to understand that previous comment. Conan is a much more earthly being who is driven by his desires and could one day be consumed by a woman who proves to be his mortal match, though he may lust after many in the search for this woman. In closing I want to tell the fans of Balladeer’s Blog as well as Norse mythology and fantasy fans in general, that Ing the Viking is worth the read and will not disappoint. I have already begun working on Ing the Viking, Volume II, which includes the entire original artist team plus several new illustrators as well. So far the stories are looking great and should make Ing II double the size of its predecessor.
I want to thank Balladeer for taking the time to speak with me about this exciting book and hope those who choose to journey with Ing find it both exciting and worth telling another about. For more information about Ing and all my other works you can visit my website at www.plmii.com or www.ingtheviking.com.