“These mortals do love to blame their sorrows on us, don’t they? But they cause most of their own troubles!”
One of the first classics that I ever bought was Homer’s masterpiece epic The Odyssey. I remember reading it in high school and enjoying this story that featured love and war along with Gods and monsters. Since making this purchase, the book has sat on my bookshelves. And sat. And collected dust. It has followed me through numerous moves, only to be touched for a brief moment as it is thrown in a box and subsequently removed to be placed back on the shelf. Earlier this year, I found the graphic novel adaptation from Gareth Hinds. I had no idea such a thing existed! It made sense to buy it though as it combines two of my favorite genres, classic literature and graphic novels.
Publisher’s Summary: Fresh from his triumphs in the Trojan War, Odysseus, King of Ithaca, wants nothing more than to return home to his family. Instead, he offends the sea god, Poseidon, who dooms him to years of shipwreck and wandering. Battling man-eating monsters, violent storms, and the supernatural seductions of sirens and sorceresses, Odysseus will need all his strength and cunning–and a little help from Mount Olympus–to make his way home and seize his kingdom from the schemers who seek to wed his queen and usurp his throne. Award-winning graphic artist Gareth Hinds masterfully reinterprets a story of heroism, adventure, and high action that has been told and retold for more than 2,500 years–though never quite like this.
With bold imagery and an ear tuned to the music of Homer’s epic poem, Gareth Hinds reinterprets the ancient classic as it’s never been told before.
Odysseus has been having a rather tough time of it. Enslaved by Calypso, all he wants is to return home to his loving wife and family. What Odysseus doesn’t know is that a horde of men are trying to romance his wife in order to gain control of his kingdom and all of his riches. Thus begins an epic journey as Odysseus must face the God Poseidon along with all manner of evils in order to prove that he truly is the King of Ithaca. Gareth Hinds has taken a centuries-old epic and has made a great adaptation to enthrall a new generation of readers. The illustrations are gorgeous, particularly the water scenes that literally come to life. I also really enjoyed the scenes with the Cyclops and the journey into the Underworld. The coloring for each of these sections is fantastic. Here are some pages from the opening.
The best praise I can give Hinds is on how he makes The Odyssey so accessible. Through using the graphic novel format, he has made this a great read for both classic literature veterans as well as younger readers.
This is a story that has it all. It makes me laugh though in how much of a “victim” Odysseus is when we first encounter him in the story. Although he is a captive of Calypso, he certainly doesn’t need his arm twisted in order to bed her while his wife is pining for his return. However, he does possess all the qualities of an epic hero of his time: strength, cunning, bravery, and nobility. There is never a dull moment as Hinds takes the best and most thrilling parts of Homer’s epic. Despite being unsure about the character at first, I found myself cheering for Odysseus by the end. Perhaps, he is a character that developed after all. Hinds definitely does not hold back on the violence either. There is a very modern feel to the story that really made this appealing for me.
I will definitely be acquiring further graphic novels of classic books in the future. I might even dust off my original version and give it a read now….
“Here ends the story of Odysseus, as it has been passed down since the age of gods and monsters.”
What are your thoughts on the review or this book?