What is it with the Sci-Fi Channel? Last weekend, as I prepared to teach The Saga of the Volsungs, they re-aired Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King, a sweet Teutonic smoothie that blends the Volsungasaga, the Nibelungenlied, and Wagner’s Ring into one lumpy Gygaxian confection.
In the late 16th century, colonists on Roanoke Island, Virginia, found themselves under siege against evil spirits left behind by the Vikings. The Wraiths are hunting the innocent souls of the first-born children in order to get into Valhalla.
I’m delighted that even the story of the Roanoke colony can be infused with a heady dose of spooky, horn-helmed medievalism, however unlikely it may seem. But as I glance at the Sci-Fi Channel’s prodigious roster of monsters and heroes, I notice one glaring omission—one legendary figure whose ability to carry a formulaic, CGI-laden B-movie has been grievously overlooked.
I refer, of course, to Charlemagne.
And so, as I await the release of the Becoming Charlemagne trade paperback, I’ll also hope for that phone call from the Sci-Fi Channel. As a reasonable man, I’ll happily make…adjustments…to history, as long as every change is consistent with Sci-Fi’s famously stringent standards of accuracy.
After all, if Coolio can fight a pterodactyl, and if Beowulf can wield a crossbow that blows stuff up, then I see no reason why Charlemagne can’t fight a giant scorpion—nay, ride a giant scorpion—on the slopes of a fiery volcano while battling Nazi super-mutants with the aid of lethal anthropomorphic mosquitoes.
There’s nothing in the sources that says he didn’t. And believe me, I’ve looked.