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The story behind creating our Odinforce comic series

How our Super Bowl Commercial turned into a comic book series

In 2015, Death Wish Coffee Company became the smallest company ever to have a commercial in the Super Bowl after winning the Intuit Quickbooks Small Business Big Game competition.

Four panels of a comic book with art depicting Vikings at the bottom of a waterfall

That commercial followed a mighty band of Vikings navigating their ship through a storm and over a waterfall. But we wanted to know what happened next. So we enlisted the creative superpowers of comic book writer Ron Marz (Green Lantern, Silver Surfer), and comic book artist Rick Leonardi (Spider-Man, Uncanny X-Men) to tell the tale and legendary comic book artist Joe Jusko painted epic covers for the issues.  And just like that, the Odinforce comic series was born.

"When we talked about it, Mike just said, "Just do something cool." And so that's what we've done, and it's grown into this now, sort of, ongoing story that we have a chapter every year, and we actually know what we're doing." said comic book writer Ron Marz "We're telling an overall story that will all, in the last issue...everything will come together, and you'll see some of the seeds that we planted in the other issues. I approached this with the same storytelling sensibility that I do anything else that I write. So I'm very proud of what we've been able to do."

Our Odinforce comic series, with three issues, follows the journey of Viking Halfdan and his crew. Viking culture has consistently played a role in our branding, from our Super Bowl commercial to our partnership with world-renowned guitarist Zakk Wylde.  

"In 2013, we partnered with Zakk Wylde, the guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne and Black Label Society, to create a coffee called Valhalla Java," Mike Brown, our founder and CEO, said. "We used a picture of the Norse god Odin in the logo and on the bag."

The idea for a Viking-based comic book came after our Super Bowl commercial, where a Viking crew is shown going over a waterfall, and the waterfall is really coffee pouring out of a mug and into a consumer's mouth. And our first comic picks up right after Halfdan and his crew survive going over a waterfall.

 In each issue, Viking Halfdan and his crew experience fantastic beasts, epic battles, a meeting with the wise Father Zakk (you can guess who he's based on), and terrifying creatures of the deep. Can Halfdan triumph against Death? What do these revelations mean for the crew?

 Each comic book tackles a different adventure for the Viking crew, so sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and enjoy.

"We've always tried to market toward different kinds of communities, not necessarily just coffee drinkers," Kane Grogan, director of procurement, said. "The comic community made sense because they are heavy coffee drinkers, and seemed to really relate to our brand and ideals."  

Download issues 1 and 2 from our website, and stay tuned for a downloadable copy of issue 3. Praise Odin! 

Related: Listen to our second podcast interview with comic writer Ron Marz

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