Wow. Wow wow wow. This is gorgeous. I cannot think of another word to describe this graphic novel other than GORGEOUS.
Lore Olympus is part of the current huge mythology surge in popular culture, especially literature, but I can easily say that it’s one of the best examples up there with Madeline Miller’s novels. It also uses the trope everyone seems to be all about right now: Hades and Persephone.
As a public library librarian, I cannot express how often I am asked for recommendations for Hades and Persephone related work. From graphic novels to erotic fiction, there is a plentiful amount of word regarding these characters, so I wasn’t surprised to see this graphic novel followed that same path. What did surprise me was just how beautifully done their story is in Lore Olympus.
We follow the basic tenants of a current Greek Mythology retelling here. Hades, Zeus and Poseidon are brothers and Zeus is an asshole. Actually, most of the male characters in this are assholes, so the author is being true to the Greek lore I suppose! A lot of the women are shitty too, so again, very accurate. What Lore Olympus does well is updates the characters in a more contemporary way without it feeling forced and out of place. It’s not some erotic novel where Hades is a hot rich dude, or some weepy fictionalized retelling of love lost. This is a graphic novel about characters with fucked up families who are trying to not be the scummiest person within that family. They’re not perfect, they make mistakes, but Hades and Persephone are actively not trying to be dicks, which sets them apart from most of the people they associate with.
Also, in making this a contemporary tale, the author puts them in realistic settings for our world, such as clubs, high end apartments and sadly, in the throes of sexual assault. It’s awful and angering but something that happens to women daily, so I understood the inclusion here. Persephone, while naïve, is given a real character with depth in Lore Olympus, and Hades, despite being more standoffish, isn’t an outward asshole or weird dominant. He’s just a rich dude surrounded by other rich dudes who have expectations he’s not sure if he wants to fulfill. There’s a lot of characters in this but I LOVED how the author/artist gave every character their own color palette, so it was easy to distinguish who was who.
Beyond the story itself, the real winning piece of this is the art. I wish I could get prints of this book to frame my walls. The almost watercolor style of this is so intriguing and adds so much to the book. The novel feels more like a dream sequence as you read because of the medium used, and I found myself pausing after reading a page just to take in the immaculate color palette and feelings I would get while soaking in the art. It’s a triumph. I’m so glad I found out this is a webcomic so I can continue to read ahead. I absolutely adored this, and I cannot wait for the next installment. Also, what a gorgeous hardcover for any shelf or as a gift!
Title: Lore Olympus (Vol. 1)
Author: Rachel Smythe
Three Descriptors: High-Drama, Colorful, Complex
Punderworld by Linda Sejic
The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg
Neon Gods by Katee Robert
The Wicked and the Divine by Kieron Gillen