By Robert Johnson Jr.
Oh, Lore. It’s been a long time coming.
In a first for this column, I am going to ask you, the reader, to take yourself back to elementary school – say, fifth grade.
At that point in your life, you knew that one kid who had an unusual obsession with Greek mythology and would try to befriend anyone who just so happened to be named after a Greek god or goddess.
I’m sorry to break this to you, but I was that kid – when one of your best friends at the time was named after the Greek goddess of war, you had to be.
“Robbie, that’s nice and all, but what does any of that have to do with comics?”
Glad you asked, for I am about to introduce you to Rachel Smythe’s “Lore Olympus,” a webcomic that puts two of my favorite interests together: comics and Greek mythology.
“Lore Olympus” is a story that deals with mythological themes in the same way that Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen’s “The Wicked and The Divine” does, modernizing the ancient stories of Greece for a modern audience, complete with fast cars and smartphones to boot.
The story primarily focuses on my favorite god of the underworld, Hades, and his trials and tribulations through life, of which there are many. He’s a Bruce Wayne-like character in the sense that he’s always wearing some nice piece of attire, making Smythe’s interpretation of Hades extra fashionable, which is always a big plus.
If anything, I like my Hades interpretations to be sharp-dressed and cool-looking.
Aside from Hades, all your favorite gods and goddesses are here, and if they are not “here” on the page, they are, at the very least, mentioned. Poseidon, Hera, Artemis, Aphrodite … the list, just like actual Greek mythology, goes on for ages.
And Zeus fans, don’t you worry – there’s a lot of him to go around, with his womanizing personality in tow. (I’m not sure why you would like that, though, but you do you.)
The main draw of “Lore Olympus,” despite the abundance of the larger-than-life cast, is the relationship between Hades and Persephone.
OK, more like, “Hades’ efforts to woo Persephone to love him, transforming the god of the underworld into a clumsy dork,” but the buildup and the payoff is absolutely worth the wait.
Persephone also has to deal with her own problems, namely Aphrodite.
If you’re familiar with Greek mythology as much as I am, you would know Aphrodite does not like being second-best when it comes down to being beautiful.
The story is not only alluring and sexy, but it is unusually full of its humorous moments, too, so if you need a good laugh after a tough day, “Lore Olympus” will scratch that itch.
Smythe’s art style is minimalistic, yet colorful at the same time. There is not a lot of attention to the backgrounds within the panels, with characters interacting in front of a gradient with the occasional outline of a scene-specific object, but what the backgrounds lack in detail, the character designs make up for.
Speaking of the characters in terms of design, everyone looks elegant as all get-out, dressed to the nines, living up to the history behind each godly presence. Smythe does an immaculate job making sure they look just right.
If you’re interested in Greek mythology or just need a new webcomic in your life – that is conveniently on hiatus until one of these Sundays in March – you should read “Lore Olympus,” for I cannot recommend it enough.
It is available on LINE’s Webtoon app and website for free, so get reading!