Creator: Rachel Smythe (@used_bandaid)
Publisher: Del Rey (@DelReyBooks)
WHAT IS IT?
Lore Olympus is a vividly stunning take on the myth of Hades and Persephone. The lives of the gods are filled with drama, gossip, and risqué moments in this powerful first collection of the beloved webcomic.
Think Percy Jackson meets Mad Men.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
When fledgling spring Goddess Persephone finally makes her way to Olympus on a scholarship to train as a sacred virgin, she discovers the world of the gods is much more risqué than she ever could have imagined. Lavish parties, whispered secrets, and fast-moving social lives filled with gossip and glamor rule the nightlife-centered realm she now calls home.
While at a party with Artemis, innocent Persephone catches the eye of the king of the underworld and infuriates Aphrodite in the process. Aphrodite sets into motion a plan to try and sabotage the young Goddess’ reputation and prove her beauty to the others. Unbeknownst to her, the jealousy-fueled actions only heighten Hades’ infatuation and curiosity, and the mighty residents of Olympus are set on a path that will shift their way of life forever. The charming and misunderstood king of the damned ignites something dangerous within her, and Persephone’s journey of self-discovery is set into motion with dramatic flair.
Lavish and provocative, this reimagining of antiquity honors the original story but allows Smythe’s creativity to shine. It expands on the source material in a way that captures the prominent moments and themes, but truly becomes a legend in and of itself with the changes chosen to make it a unique and powerful tale.
The writing is steamy, provocative, and witty. The cast is complex, with larger-than-life personalities that are immediately recognizable in the way Smythe handles the dialogue. The humor is charming and appropriate for the tone, while the overarching narrative is a slow-burn that allows the cast to develop in a meaningful way.
The heavily detailed, watercolor-style artwork is breathtaking. Every panel is a menagerie of swirling colors and textures. It feels hand-painted, the color palettes chosen for each character enhance their personalities/styles, and the mixture of traditional garb and modern fashion allows for a variety of aesthetics to be shown throughout the story.
The lettering is exquisite. Warped and blurry text helps emphasize moments of unease or anxiety, scratchy-looking font to showcase anger, and varying sizes to help showcase tone change all bring the dialogue and sound effects to life in a way that’s impactful.
Smythe's art style has a uniqueness to its anatomy. The features are exaggerated enough to lean into a cartoonish style while still showcasing the sensuality of their frames that helps accentuate the more mature-leaning storyline.
The formatting used to translate the original scrolling webcomic style to print is perfect. Filling in empty space with drops of color and allowing the panels to still flow in a way that showcases motion allowed the original style to be felt prominently.
Smythe has reinvigorated the timeless wonder of mythology in a contemporary way that makes it accessible to modern audiences while still capturing the nuances of myth. A heavy amount of research and care was put into ensuring that the proper themes and components were present to satisfy both the experts and newcomers.
The comic does not simply focus on just Hades and Persephone, but the whole of Olympus. It breathes life into the world and allows for a richer narrative. The supporting cast does more than simply push the plot along, which is appreciated in a story with as much history in its origins as this.
One of the most notable pieces of Lore Olympus is the fashion. Stunning dresses, sharp suits, and high-end pieces that are worthy of a red carpet walk help emphasize the lavish aesthetic of the series.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
CW: Strong language, use of alcohol, nudity, themes of a sexual nature include distressing scenes of sexual trauma, mental and physical abuse, and toxicity in relationships. It is recommended for a maturer audience.
Some of the darker tones and colors come across as too opaque in the first episode. A few facial features and details are a bit lost, but the palettes used in the first ten or so chapters are quite heavier compared to the majority of the series.
The cast of Lore Olympus is quite large, so those unfamiliar with the broader scope of Greek mythology may get a bit lost as to who is who, as a lot of characters are introduced quite quickly.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
The award-winning and globally loved webtoon is available for the first time in print in this stunning, full-color volume that masterfully translates the vertical scrolling webcomic into a seamless page-to-page experience. A collection of chapters 1-25, this is a perfect introduction for new readers and an exciting addition to collections of longtime fans. Lore Olympus is a powerful narrative that stands high above its peers in the recent wave of Greek mythology-focused media.
With its contemporary setting, steamy romances, and honest look at the emotions and humanity that even overcome the gods of myth, this introductory volume will capture the hearts and imagination of readers of all kinds. Fans of media like Hades and Hadestown who long to delve deeper into their romance, as well as fans of Percy Jackson who enjoyed the modern approach and setting, will have a hard time putting this book down.
Featuring a brand new bonus short story and stunning hardcover format, this update on an ages-old legend brings Hades and Persephone into the spotlight in a way that’s never been done before. The charming cast, painterly illustration style, and masterful use of color make Lore Olympus a tale worthy of the pantheon.
Come witness what the gods do after dark.
HOW DO I READ IT?
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