Webcomic: Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe
Reviewer: Rebeca Anderson
Preferred Reading Environment: Relaxing in a cozy chair, comfort is key for binge reading a good webcomic.
Reading Accoutrements: All of the snacks and a beer/soda of choice.
Content Notes: Shit gets real, dealing with a lot of sensitive subjects!
I first heard of Lore Olympus while I was reading updates on a handful of Webtoons that I was already reading, and quite frankly, anything inspired by mythology piques my interest! For those unfamiliar with Webtoons, they are a form of webcomic exclusive to the Line Webtoon app and website, and update on set schedules. Lore Olympus updates every Sunday.
Lore Olympus is a modern retelling of “The Taking of Persephone,” set in a world where the victories and woes of the gods are presented with a far more human element to them. They have their ups and downs, as well as the physical, mental and emotional issues that come along with those ups and downs.
If you are unfamiliar with the myth, the two main characters that everything circles back to are Hades, king of the underworld, and Persephone, the goddess of spring. Hades deals with some self-esteem issues, as well as some level of mental and emotional abuse from almost everyone around him, due to the fact that he is surrounded by death. He deals with it to the best of his ability by immersing himself in his work ruling the underworld and surrounding himself with his adorable and loving dogs. Everything in his life is a routine until his whole world is turned upside down by meeting Persephone. The young goddess of Spring is attending the university on Olympus as an exchange student, after spending her entire life up to that point on earth, and is what a lot of Webtoon readers refer to as a “cinnamon roll,” one who is too pure for the ugliness of the world around them. This exchange program is Persephone’s first taste of freedom, as beforehand she was kept under the watchful eye of her suffocatingly overprotective mother, Demeter. She lacks a lot in the self-confidence department and struggles to find her own voice in most situations, until she meets Hades. They both find the other to be surprisingly easy to talk to and become fast friends.
As the story progresses, you are introduced to many new elements in both Hades and Persephone’s lives, including family and friends. My favorite thing about this Webtoon is that the characters have a way of taking on a life of their own; as you read the main story, you get so many backstories along the way for each new face you encounter throughout. Hades has the stigma of being related to the two biggest womanizers in all of Greek mythology, Zeus and Poseidon, all the while being more of a one woman kind of man. He tends to be all business around his family because he is really the only one of the bunch who can keep his head on straight for longer than a millisecond.
A perfect example is a family brunch, ordered by none other than Zeus and, of course, where better to host such an occasion than a strip club?(Insert eyeroll.) You learn that all three brothers are banned from the establishment for different offenses. Zeus was banned for getting too handsy with the girls, in classic fashion for the king of Olympus; Poseidon, in a drunken moment, decided to “liberate” the mermaids from their tank, causing major damage to the building (both situations being completely understandable reasons for being banned); Hades had been working on a few important documents during one of Zeus’s mandatory family brunches there and received some proofreading assistance from one of the girls. He offered her a job on the spot, seeing potential in her, and apparently poaching their best dancer. It is one of many comedic moments in the story that also gives you a glimpse into the dynamic of how their family functions.
On Persephone’s side of things, you meet a handful of friends she has made and see how their influence affects her outlook. Whether she realizes it herself, Persephone has quite the support system surrounding her. She is friends with minor gods such as Hermes and Eros, and has a family friend and role model in the queen herself, Hera. All of these friends bring a little something to the table, though the most notable is her housemate. While studying on Olympus, Persephone lives with Artemis, the goddess of the hunt. She’s a bit of a force to be reckoned with, having a fiery temper and some badass bow skills to boot. She tries her best to respect Demeter’s wishes for Persephone to be kept away from the perceived debauchery that she’s worked hard to keep her daughter sheltered from, while also trying to help Persephone find herself in this new phase of adulthood. Unfortunately, Artemis comes with a bit of familial baggage of her own in the form of Apollo, her frat house playboy of a brother, who seems to have tunnel vision when it comes to possessing our young goddess of Spring. Of course, there is much more to the story, but I won’t spoil it for you.
As this is an ongoing series, I look forward to reading new updates every weekend. It has a refreshing outlook on an ancient tale and takes time to address societal issues as well as many personal issues that a lot of us face.
Do you enjoy Webtoons or comics that can bring a new perspective on an older tale? Let us know in the comments!