Preview: The Concluding Volume Of ‘Karl The Viking’ From The Master Don Lawrence

by Richard Bruton

The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire was Don Lawrence’s painted masterpiece but Karl The Viking showed off the master’s artwork in its black and white perfection…

Don Lawrence painted art from The Ghost of the Tideless Sea, Lion Annual 1965

The reprinting of Don Lawrence’s The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire by the Treasury of British Comics has been one of those projects met with adoration from so many fans who never believed they’d ever see a complete, definitive collection of one of the touchstones of classic British comic art.

But to get both Trigan Empire AND Karl the Viking – Lawrence’ strip that ran in the early ’60s before Trigan Empire and the one that led on to Trigan Empire – well… that is a rare wonderful treat.

In fact, it’s one of the colour strips here, The Ghost of the Tideless Sea, from Lion Annual 1965, that led to the offer of colour work on Trigan Empire.


Born a Saxon but orphaned when his father died fighting the Viking raiders, Karl is adopted by Viking leader Eingar, so impressed by the fighting spirit of his foes, and raised to be a noble and great warrior.

In the first volume we saw, in all that gorgeous Lawrence artwork, Karl grow to lead his tribe of fantastical adventures across the world – to what would become America, to Egypt, even to fabled Atlantis, before returning to his native Britain and making valued allies of his old Saxon family.

Here, in the second and concluding volume, Karl and his Vikings venture forth once more, to battle the rival Viking Gefion One-Eye in Africa, to Russia where they become mercenaries in a violent dispute between tribes, and survive strange and dangerous encounters with all manner of men and monsters.

More Don Lawrence artwork – that perfect black & white line

Originally created by Lawrence and writers Ken Bulmer & Ted Cowan, this volume sees stories written by Ted Cowan and Michael Moorcock – written when the sci-fi and fantasy author was just beginning to create the adventures of Elric.

Art is mostly provided by Don Lawrence, including that full-colour Karl the Viking tale that acts as something of a precursor to Trigan Empire. But there’s also art in here from Ted Drury, Robert Forrest, and Ruggero Giovannini.

More Don Lawrence artwork from Karl the Viking

Karl The Viking: Volume 2 – The Voyage Of The Sea Raiders – Written by Ted Cowan and Michael Moorcock; art by Don Lawrence, Ted Drury, Robert Forrest, and Ruggero Giovannini

Originally serialised in Lion from 8th December 1962 to 26th September 1964 and Lion Annuals 1963-1966, 1969.

Published by Rebellion/ The Treasury of British Comics on Wednesday 6th December 2022.

And we’ll end with more looks at the perfect artwork of Don Lawrence, as well as art from Ted Drury, Robert Forrest, and Ruggero Giovannini…




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