We’re now firmly into the Saturnalian period (17-24 December), and continue our series of Saturnalian surprises with Sonya Nevin’s discovery of George O’Connor’s Olympians graphic novels. Sonya is an ancient historian at the University of Roehampton (her book, Military Leaders and Sacred Space in Classical Greek Warfare: Temples, Sanctuaries and Conflict in Antiquity was published by I.B. Tauris late last year), and with her partner Steve K. Simons is the team behind the wonderful Panoply Vase Animation Project. Through the Our Mythical Childhood project, they’ll be animating vases held at the National Museum in Warsaw (we can’t wait to see what they do!)
My favourite Mythical discovery this year was ‘Olympians’ – George O’Connor’s series of graphic novels about the Greek gods. Each volume is dedicated to a different deity, with O’Connor carefully selecting the myths he will retell for that figure. I love the look of these books; the settings and character designs are very stylish, steeped in superhero comic culture and the full use of the genre.
Even so, the thing I like most about them is the sophistication of the storytelling. There is a lot of creativity in the narration and the myths have been retold with great sensitivity – particularly in the way that cruel or pervy aspects of myths are dealt with. Graphic novels and comics are rife with sexism and sexual violence, yet here is a set of graphic novels that manages to tell Greek myths without endorsing either of those things – amazing. O’Connor has done myth and young people a great service by taking such care over this supercool series.
ps, Check out Olympians Rule here at their brilliant website. http://olympiansrule.com/