If you’re like me, then you probably learned about the Greek gods and goddesses in middle school. If you’re even more like me, you were probably enamored with the mythology.
Lore Olympus plays right into that old love of mythology. It is a weekly comic available through Webtoon and, like many comics before it, is completely free. It updates every Sunday and does a fantastic job of leaving readings wanting more every week.
Below, I’ve compiled the top five reasons as to why you should check it out. It just updated yesterday, too.
1. The art! The colors! The whimsy!
I will admit that when it comes to comics, I judge a book by its cover. It is probably the only time you can get away with doing so. If the art isn’t good, then I don’t engage as well with the story as I would like. When my buddy recommended Lore Olympus to me I was skeptical up until I saw the art for the first time.
The artist (and writer!) Rachel Smythe uses colors very deliberately in every panel. Color schemes become their own characters and reflect the tone of the story in a way that’s so simple somehow it conveys complexity.
Keeping with the pattern of contradiction, the art is simultaneously unfinished while being refined. Loose lines bleed into line-less colors which would typically drive me crazy. But somehow the art fits the way the story ebbs and flows. It, too, bleeds from loose lines into line-less, whimsical memories of the past.
2. It does modern-day classic really, really well.
Modern day retelling of old stories can either be really good, or really cheesy. Lore Olympus struck “really good” gold in blending together the trappings of a modern world with a very un-modern story. The Underworld exists, still maintaining some of its classic characteristics while also taking on the look of a dark metropolis.
To be honest, I bet I could find a neighborhood that looks just like it somewhere here in New York City. Yet it maintains its mythical status both in picture and in story, the characters all paying tribute to the very different partner realm that Hades hails from.
It is also a delight to see deities figure out things like phones and cars, devices and tools the Greeks who heard the stories originally could only dream of. It is fitting, somehow, to find the Greek gods occupying a space so similar to our own.
3. It doesn’t shy away from the darker nature of the original myths.
Lore Olympus is not a Disney production. This is an obvious statement, but it is worth emphasizing because the story is richer for it. Instead of the usual Disney treatment of myths, Smythe leans into the darker themes that emerge all throughout Greek mythology.
I can’t explain this more clearly without spoiling a huge plot point, but I will say that Smythe is a bold story teller and allows bad things to happen to the characters that give the story more depth. Just as the original myths were often about overcoming challenges, so is Lore Olympus.
4. Lore Olympus humanizes these mythological deities in interesting ways.
Tales as old as time tend to have a lot of versions. Look through cinematic and television history, let alone comic history, and this is pretty clear. It can be difficult at times to figure out how to put a new spin on something old. Now try putting a new spin on that same old thing when nine million others have already tried.
Nonetheless, Lore Olympus rises to the challenge and makes its story new and fresh through the way it explores the humanity of the gods. There’s heartbreak, there’s relationships, there is love, and lost-love. Lore Olympus explores all different facets of the human experience through these powerful, godly characters who somehow still fall victim to human folly.
I eat that kind of characterization for breakfast.
5. Finally, there’s a soft, kind love underneath everything else.
Lore Olympus isn’t the first to hint that the relationship between Persephone and Hades isn’t as terrible as they made it seem in middle school. Instead, there’s a blossoming love that comes from Smythe’s willingness to explore the softer, human side of the gods.
At the end of it all, Lore Olympus is a romance steeped in drama only eternal and all-powerful beings could muster. While I’m not the type to dive into most romances there is something novel, gentle, and kind about the steadily growing relationship between the two main characters that makes it addicting.
For all the pain that’s wrought, there’s a lot of love too.
You can catch up on Lore Olympus now on Webtoon. It is free! And wonderful! I cannot recommend it enough. If you’re looking for more web comic recommendations then you should check out our interview with Let’s Play creator Mongie.