Njálla

Njálla (2016) is an original comic story, based around the myths and legends of the Sámi people, indigenous to northern Europe’s Arctic Circle; which today includes parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. Lieđđi, a young Sámi girl, and her reindeer Unni end up on an unexpected adventure after coming face to face with the ‘guovssahasat’, the northern lights. Njálla is an atmospheric and magical comic for all ages, unearthing the legends of the Sámi through friendship, mystery and adventure.

Njálla is an obvious labour of love, respectfully crafted and diligently researched. It also embodies everything I have come to admire and enjoy about Rozi Hathaway’s comics over the last couple of years – their humanity, their empathy and their pure visual splendour. A stunning synthesis of unearthly mystery and endearing innocence, Njálla underlines once again the subtle potency at the heart of Hathaway’s craft.

Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier – Njálla – Rozi Hathaway Brings the Legends of the Sámi to Magical Life in a Spectacular All-Ages Offering

There’s an image early on of two people sitting around a stove in a lavvu, the tents used by the Sámi, and the way Hathaway’s watercolours cast light and shadow is so effective. A heavily repeated motif is the use of circles. They are everywhere – in the lighting, the movement, the sky, the land, the interiors. They convey so many different things – the excitable energy of a child, the rough forces of nature, the Northern Lights, the enclosed space of a lavvu. It’s this natural, restrained quality that really stands out here – the minimal dialogue allows the images to tell the story, about a child, myths of the Sámi and the Northern Lights. Njálla is a confident, assured book, well worth tracking down.

Pete Redrup, The Quietus – Behold! July’s Quietus Comics Round Up Column 

Njálla is available to buy online through my store, in both print and digital formats.

For more information about the research that went into this project, please visit my dedicated page here: rozihathaway.com/njalla-research/

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