Friday, August 03, 2018

Book-A-Day 2018 #215: Hermes by George O'Connor

Long-time Antick Musings readers know that I'm deeply in the tank for George O'Connor and his wonderful Olympians series of young-adult graphic novels about the Greek gods -- see my posts on ZeusAthenaHeraHadesPoseidon, Aphrodite and then the Ares/Apollo/Artemis trifecta last year. [1]

So you can take it as read that, once I realized he had a new one out this year, I got myself a copy of Hermes, ran through it quickly, and jumped up here to tell you about it. And you will probably be assuming that I'm going to be effusive in praise, as usual.


Of course I am! O'Connor still marries deep scholarship, snappy dialogue, believable characterization, and ace drawing skills to pull masses of semi-random mythic tales into sixty-six pages of story and about a dozen pages of sources, notes and full-page stats/bios for the major characters. Like most of the recent Olympians books, Hermes retells a bunch of different myths, and has a explicit structure that facilitates that.

In this case, one character whose real name I shouldn't reveal is telling stories of Hermes to another character whose real name I probably could reveal (because it's pretty obscure), as something like payment for hospitality. So we learn of Hermes' birth -- and how he stole a herd of cows from his brother Apollo, invented the lyre, and was accepted on Mount Olympus all the same night of the day he was born -- and then goes on to a mythic life only slightly less filled with incidents than first day.

They're mostly light stories, befitting Hermes's trickster nature, but O'Connor does break out the story of Typhon, the last and most monstrous son of Grandmother Earth, and his battles with Zeus -- which Hermes played an important part in. And, as usual, he gets a lot of mythology into his pages, and details his sources and side references in the extensive notes at the end.

These are great books: they're smart, well-researched, look gorgeous, and retell great stories in compelling ways. They should not be left to only younger readers.

[1] Particularly careful readers may be able to determine when I fell off the publicity lists for First Second, his publisher.

No comments:

Post a Comment