story of “Jónas Blondal” is not authentic, nevertheless,
extensive research took place to back up the contents of the story.
The writing and illustrating of this story was preceded by six months
of enquiries and particularly as the plot is not authentic special
importance was attached to its integration into a realistic setting.
It is the combination of real elements with the fictional story,
which helps to underline the insistence of the message. The realism
in the story provides additional educational value. This is of particular
importance in the case of “Jónas Blondal”: The
comic relates the events of 1894, but the plot has strong references
to the whaling business of today. And this business is reality (please
note about the story › comic’s
The research focused on a large extent on background information
the Icelandic culture, customs, names and outward appearance
of the people, whaling on Iceland and historical whaling in general.
Also on the development
of whaling in our day, fishing grounds and
-seasons, dates and days of
the week, typical behaviour and appearance
of the whales, names and places
on Iceland etc.
In addition to the information taken from books, web sites, museums
and an exhibition about whales (organised by “Greenpeace”),
there was an opportunity to gain extra information by interviewing
an inhabitant of Iceland. The Hamburg Observatory and the German
Meteorological Service also freely helped out with information.
Thanks also go to “Modellbau Rettkowsky” in Hamburg
The result is “Jónas Blondal”, an illustrated
story, with high authenticity in every detail. When therefore Coffee
and “Skyr” (a fermented milk product) is being consumed
at the wake, or when whales “water”, “breach”
or are being “tied up”, when the “Draug”
(the Nordic equivalent of the ship’s kobold), the umbrella
or the binocular are mentioned, then these details are factual (for
info about whaling boats, please see about the
story › the age of steamboats).
The days of the week and their corresponding dates from the year
1894 are correct and so are the lunar phases. On Thursday, 16th
August 1894, there really was a full moon over Iceland.
The names of the characters mentioned in the story, were chosen
from a selection of 196 surnames, 10 female and 79 male first names.
They are both of Norwegian and Icelandic origin. To have a pleasant
ring was the main criteria for the selection and combination of
the names (for more info about the names, see special
At the end of the comic you will find a glossary, which gives a
short and concise explanation about the names and special terms
Photos: Jens F. Ehrenreich,
by kind permission of the Museum of Hamburg History
of Hamburg History:
Detailed models make whaling
come alive (above and below). The
pictures show a harpooner standing
on the fastened cadaver of a whale.
While he is cutting the blubber into
strips with the “flenser’s knife”, a
winch pulls the first “horse piece”
on the whaler’s deck