Eric de Noorman (Eric the Norseman)
Real Name: Eric
Identity/Class: Normal human
Occupation: King of Norway
Affiliations: His people and allies, Pum-Pum and the Vala (basically a Fate goddess). Others are Dzogolo (+), Yark the Stubborn (+), yarl Olaf (+), Heidrun (+), Thorkell (+),...
Enemies: Vagen, Baldon, the Millenarian, Kirasso, Sultan of Akkaiim, Hovin, Dzilah,Darga, Bor Khan, priests of the sun,...
Known Relatives: Winonah (wife, surviving Atlantean), Erwin (son), King Wogram (father, deceased), the Hualpin and wife (siblings-in-law), some Erics and Wograms (ancient ancestors).
Aliases: Leif (original name), Eric Vidfare (Danish), Erik der Wikinger (German), Eric de Noarman (Frisian), Eric, lHomme du Nord (Walloon), Eric le Brave (French), Erik El Hombre del Norte (Spanish), Son-of-the-Sun
Base of Operations: Norway
First Appearance: Het Laatste Nieuws (Brussels Newspaper, 5th July 1946)
Powers/Abilities: Eric the Norseman is a noble figure, a great warrior and a fighter for peace and justice. Eric is large and strong, a fine swordsman ("This is no man, this is a devil"-class), and rather smart. He can also pilot airplanes, which is rather remarkable for a Norseman living centuries before the Wright brothers. His world however is full of beings with superpowers (Pum-Pum for instance seems to have a superhuman life span and condition in his old age), and of magic weapons, some of which Eric uses himself, such as the magic bow and Wograms sword.
History: (Story 1) Eric was a youthful blond Norseman prince, who got lost with his ship and crew in a storm, and discovered an unknown land. In this strange land he fought hairy dwarves and giants. He escaped the cave dwelling giants, and found a place with giant vegetation, giant insects and a giant spider. After fighting those, he escaped into the caves and exited them to rescue two dwarves from a grizzly bear, using just a short spear to kill the beast. The dwarves brought him to a Native American-looking city, which possessed advanced technology. Eric befriended the dwarf Gajam who told him he was in the Empire of Atlantis. Eric was found to have some imperfections, and was sentenced to be euthanized, but Gajam switched the lethal injection for one which just anaesthetized the Norseman. With Gajams help Eric disguised himself as an Atlantean warrior, but was discovered and had to fight his way out. Hiding out, he learned the local language perfectly, and heard of the stone of Atlantis, which could heal, provide energy for machinery or cause untold destruction. Eric decided to try and steal the stone. He saved Olaf the Dane from attackers, who in gratitude brought him to the ship of Kirasso the Egyptian, who also planned to steal the stone and tried to enlist Eric to his cause.
The next morning the high priestess of the Stone was kidnapped. Eric swam to the ship of Kirasso, where he found the high priestess and Kirasso. The Norseman fought Kirasso until Kirassos armed guard interfered, but flying batmen, created by Atlantean scientists and slaves to the highest caste in Atlantis captured the ship. The priestess and Atlantean warriors (with ray guns of some sort) transported their prisoners Kirasso and Eric in a car-like vehicle, but were ambushed by Krassos Leopard men, armed with bows and arrows. Eric rescued the priestess, and fled with her, eventually reachings a dwarf village, where he met Pum Pum. They travelled to the plains, signalled a rocket plane down and returned to Atlantis, where Eric was allowed to live after being defended by the priestess he had saved.
The High Priestess, Winonah, told Eric about the Fortress of Stone. A servant spied on them, but was spotted by the alert foreigner, who followed him, then fought him. Eric was thrown off a high building, but was grabbed just in time by Winonah and Pum Pum. They followed the spy, then witnessed the Atlantean Airforce Attack on the Leopard-men and Egyptians working for Kirasso trying to conquer the fortress of the stone. When his men were defeated, Kirasso fled, but not before he abducted Winonah again. Eric pursued in a plane, and caught up as Kirasso and his Nubian allies were torturing Winonah. He fred her, and after a few more escapes and recaptures, Eric, Winonah and Pum-Pum gained possession of the Stone of Atlantis which the priestess used to slay some leopard-men following them.
In spite of this, the Leopard-Men conquered Atlantis, and the trio organised a resistance movement led by Winonah and Eric. Their battles in Atlantis came to an end when Kirasso caused an explosion (complete with nuclear-style mushroom cloud) that destroyed much of Atlantis. Eric, Winonah and Pum-Pum made their way to the neighbouring country of Hualpa, where the country's leader (and Winonah's brother-in-law), the Hualpin, saw them married and provided a ship to allow them to sale back to Norway.
(Story 2) Eric and Winonah were captured by pirates and sold as slaves. Eric befriended Dzogolo, a black giant in jail for unwilling slaves, while Winonah was placed in the harem of the Sultan. With Pum-Pums assistance Eric and Dzogolo escaped, and made an alliance with the desert people to attack the sultans fortress. After battling a sabre-toothed tiger and the giant Louah, Eric freed Winonah, and they, Pum-Pum and new ally Dzogolo returned to Norway.
(Story 3) Eric was kidnapped by two men (dressed like Native Americans), and taken to the palace of Dzilah the wise. She reunited him with his friends, then impressed them with her control over man and beast alike. Dzilah sent Eric on a quest to steal the water of life from a man thousands of years old, the Millenarian, armed with a magic set of bow and arrows.. Eric successfully stole the water, but fell victim to the hypnotic gaze of the Millenarian, and became part of his collection of amnesiacs. Winonah and Pum-Pum came to the rescue and by chance discovered the ancient's weakness: fire. Winonah ordered Pum-Pum to throw a burning branch at the Millenarian, killing him. Eric's memory returned, and his friends warned him that Dzilah was an evil witch.
(Story 4) Dzilah changes Winonah in an old lady and enchants Eric so he falls in love with her instead, but Pum-Pum and Winonah succeeded in finding the true wizard lord of her castle, who had been changed into a stone statue. Winonah was de-aged and the wizard changed back into human form by the co-operation of the three, after whichWinonah and Eric defeated Dezilah in battle. On Eric's suggestion, the wizard spared Dezilah's life, but made her a kitchen maid.
(Story 5) Tired of trying to return to Norway and failing, Winonah asked Eric if they could return to Atlantis. Back on the lost continent Dzogolo was killed in battle, and they learned that the war with Kirasso and the Leopard-Men continued. Captured, the three surviving friends decided to help General Tubalah against the Egyptian. Eric escaped his execution and the coup changed into a chaotic revolution. Seeing his cause was lost, Kirasso decided to take it all with him, unleashing the full power of the Stone of Atlantis. As Eric and his friends escaped in an aircraft, they witnessed the sea engulf the continent of Atlantis.
(Story 6) Crashing near the African coast, the three friends were captured and sold as slaves to Rome.Eric was sent the the arena to be a gladiator, but his brief stay in Rome brought an end to the reigns of two Emperors (Commodus and Pertinax), before he, Pum-Pum and Winonah managed to regain their freedom and head for Norway once more.
(Story 7) Finally making it to the southern coasts of Norway, where they saw the remains of plundering by Vikings. Eric was shocked by that, as his father would never allow that. He was even more shocked when he discovered that his father had died, and that all believed that Eric the Norseman reigned and had commanded the plundering. Eric organized a defense and realized that his look-a-like cousin Omon had impersonated him to claim the throne. Many vikings recognized the true Eric as their true king, and with the assistance of Erics friend, King Langha, Eric conquered his own throne, becoming King of Norway.
(Story 8) Eric next avenged his father's death, killing the member of Baldon's gang who slew his father; with the assistance of the wizard Lauri, who made Wogram's magic sword, Eric regained the magic sword of his father.
(Story 9) Eric travelled with Baldon to the Goldland to bring a load of gold to Lauri. Winonah decided not to tell him that she was pregnant before they parted, later giving birth to Erwin. Eric was captured by some native Americans, and freed by the Ozmecs, who mistook him with his blond hair and blue eyes for a son of the sun. Luckily for Eric, they speak Nualti, a language very closely related to Atlantean. Neither the priests and the king didn't believe that Eric was a celestial being, but the king asked Eric to play that role so that he could remove the power of the priests of the sun, in exchange for a ships load of gold. The power of the priests was broken, but Erics ship and crew had been destroyed by a hurricane....
(more than 50 further stories followed) Synopses not available.
Comments: Eric was thought up by Hans G. Kresse, while he was hiding from the Germans in the Toonder Studios. Kresses first name for the Norseman was Leif, but that was changed to Eric on the advice of Marten Toonder himself. Toonder accepted the blame for the unrealistic aspects of the Norsemans first adventure - the stone of Atlantis is clearly comic book nuclear power, as opposed to real nuclear power featured in a comic, for instance. This unrealistic aspect is especially of interest as the "Eric de Noorrnan"-series is widely considered as one of the most realistic comics.
In a way Eric is more or less an attack on the national socialist ideology of the time. He is the blond, intelligent, cool headed noble ideal man of the Nazis, yes, but hes Norwegian (Norway was one of the countries the Germans had conquered), feels compassion, is as "supergerman" too noble to think in a racist manner. In a way, Eric seems a bit of a softy, compared to the image of a Viking hero, with care and goodness of heart among his main strengths. This makes sense: Eric is a Norseman, not a Viking. He is all for discovery and adventures, but against plundering. Thor, except for the thundering bit, a fertility god, seems to be the highest god to Eric and his people. That a lot of the "foreigners" have more or less native American looks, even if they have to be Eurasian, fits well with the other work of Kresse.
His creator is listed among his enemies as that is the way H.G.Kresse depicted their relationship, more than once. The series had more or less enslaved Kresse, and Eric had no reason to like a "god" giving him all kinds of boring adventures, destroying the land of birth of his wife and his best friend, making his dads sword magical all of a sudden, killing that many of his friends. There were indeed grounds for an intense mutual dislike. Erwin, who got his own series with guest appearances by Eric, was depicted with the same attitude towards their creator.
As newspaper comic it was a text comic, but some parts have been reworked into a normal comic with text balloons. Erwin's series was entirely a "normal" one. Eric's adventure's are still available, but very expensive now.
Profile by Theodoor Westerhof. Thanks to Conrad Wolters for corrections.
Dutch site about Eric here, link provided by Klaas de Vries.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
Erik de Noorman, which is a beer.
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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