Look away now if you think the work of dead authors shouldn’t be touched. But if you want to know what might have happened next to Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist then this new graphic novel from Titan Comics and Hard Case Crime is going to be worth checking out.
The Girl Who Danced with Death is a new story that continues Larsson’s Millennium series, featuring the same characters and themes. First published in comic book format, the graphic novel brings together three comics by French writer Sylvain Runberg and artist Bélen Ortega. Its genesis is fascinating, and you can find out more about it by watching this exclusive five-minute video.
Translated from the original French comics, the graphic novel follows on from the comic adaptations Runberg did of the three books in Stieg Larsson’s original series – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. However, when Larsson’s estate offered him the opportunity to adapt David Lagercrantz’s continuation of the series, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Runberg said he actually had his own ideas for how Salander and Blomqvist’s lives would pan out. They listened, and The Girl Who Danced with Death is that vision.
According to the writer, he has dedicated himself to an authentic and well-researched presentation of Stockholm and its environs, which is reflected in the story and the artwork. Runberg has lived and worked in the city on and off for several years. He’s also focused on themes Stieg Larsson held dear – the erosion of media independence, toxic masculinity and the rise of the far right. In fact, he even wanted to base one of the bad guys in the graphic novel on Alt-Right leader Steve Bannon. As Runberg says in the video, when working on the project he didn’t realise that Bannon would end up working for Trump in the White House.
The story explores what happens when Salander discovers a group of right-wing hackers who have their own ideas about how Swedish society should be run. There are attacks on refugee centres and Blomkvist is targeted, with a pig’s head nailed to his door. The plot looks intense, and the only criticism on first glance is a lack of big splashes of action – everything is in tight little panels, it seems.
It’s Scandinavian crime fiction, with a French twist, presented in bande desinée style. Let us know what you think in the comments, which are below these photos.