‘Sláine: The Horned God’ Gets A Collector’s Edition – It’s Axe-Kissing Time Again

by Richard Bruton

When it comes to the most influential strips in the long history of 2000 AD, there are many contenders, but ask 100 fans to name their 10 favourites and there’s a good possibility that a hell of a lot of them are going to mention Sláine: The Horned God, Pat Mills and Simon Bisley’s epic tale of Celtic mythology and warp-spasm ultra-violence. And now, with a new collector’s edition, it’s back and bigger and better than ever…
The new collector’s edition restores the artwork to as close to its originally published size as possible, giving Bisley’s artwork all the more chance to impress. All the bloodshed, all the action, all the eye-popping colours and lush effects of Bisley‘s painted art to go along with Mills‘ epic storytelling.
So, it’s a return to the Celtic warrior’s greatest adventure, taking us all back to the mist-wreathed realm of Tír na nÓg, where the land is under the yoke of the Drunes; strange druids who have poisoned the land with their magic. Into this comes Sláine, whose Earth Goddess connections send him on a quest to unite the four kings of Tír na nÓg and prepare for war.

Reading it again after many, many years, it’s still everything I remember. The sense of Mills telling a mythological epic in the ancient sense is all there as we follow Sláine‘s ascent to become the first King of Ireland, all told in flashback through the writings of Ukko, suitably venal, nauseating, and vile in these, his later years.
But there’s also so much more to it than that. There’s a load of comedy and, of course, spectacular action sequences, all done quite wonderfully well by Bisley.

But it was such a delight to revisit this, what I still feel is his best work. The over the top stuff is what you might remember, but here in these pages there’s the chance to see how good he was with character, with facial expressions, and how good his comedic timing was…

Oh, that look… so good.
Or this little sequence with Ukko…

And then there are those moments when he almost breaks out of his style to get even more detailed in what he puts into a panel, adding so much to the entire story.

Yes, Sláine: The Horned God may well be 30 years old now, but style and class, along with epic storytelling and career-defining artwork really never go out of style.
It was meant to come out in print and digital in May to coincide with the 30th anniversary of its first publication, but things have changed in this Covid-19 lockdown world and we’re now going to see the digital and webshop-exclusive hardcover edition on 28 May with a standard print version coming out later in the year, 3 September, to a comic shop near you.
Now… a preview of that glorious Bisley artwork… Sláine awaits…
And now the first few pages of the first part of Sláine: The Horned God

And we’ll end with a couple of the original covers…

Foe more on Sláine: The Horned God, what not catch-up on our interview with co-creator Pat Mills here.

%d bloggers like this: