History bet big when it greenlit an epic series about a tribe of Norse marauders who plunder and kill for sport—but who also somehow win us over with their devotion to each other and a sacred (and brutal) honor code. That combination of intrigue, action and violent conflict is of course nothing new to the Comic-Con crowd, which has been there and done that. Yet History was able to churn out enormous buzz that turned Vikings into the #1 trending topic on social media at this year’s confab. Case in point: “The All Hail Vikings Waterway Experience” stayed true to its subject matter’s rebellious roots by staking out space across from the convention center and inviting anyone (including those not credentialed for Comic-Con) to race miniature replicas of Viking ships on a 50-foot, custom made waterway. The plunder? A shield autographed by the cast. History also handed out 22,000 limited edition Vikings comic books to fans. It was all followed by a panel, screening and party. In the end, some 15,000 fans visted the experience, with more than 2,400 participating in the boat races. We think the Vikings would have been proud.

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