Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mini-Interview: Fan Jessica Lee asks me some questions about Olympians

Way back in May, I received a very well-thought out letter from a young lady named Jessica Lee which asked me a slew of questions about Olympians. As you will see, she invited me to publish it here on this blog, and after what I deemed to be a suitably long period of where she had the exclusive answers, I did just that. Enjoy!

First, why is Hades's book going to be "The Wealthy One"? When I think Hades, I think "Lord of the Underworld", "King of the Damned", other overly-cliche titles like those. Hades is the God of Wealth, but it's just not the first thing that comes to mind. Think of it this way, if someone who knows NOTHING at all about Greek mythology picks up the Hades book, they might think that it's about some immortalized form of Midas or Scrooge.

Also, this is just my opinion, but I think that "Lord of the Underworld" sounds so much cooler than "The Wealthy One."

ooh, I better not show this to my editor. He's been wanting me to call Hades' book "Lord of the Underworld" for the longest time now. You know Hades is the god of wealth, so you probably also know that "the wealthy one" is a translation of his other name, Pluto. While he wasn't an evil god, the ancients felt it was probably a bad idea to attract the attention of the Lord of the Dead so they created euphemistic nicknames for him, like Pluto. His aspect of wealth is going to be a major component of my telling of his story, but you may be right, I may have to change the title. We've been fighting over the title for Hera's book for months now.(note: At this time, we've settled on Hera: The Goddess and Her Glory)

And I have a question about Hestia. In the book, she's this vaguely humanoid form that's lit on fire...Are you going to include the myth about Poseidon and Apollo fighting for her hand? If you are, then how's that going to work out?

I will be including Poseidon and Apollo's pursuit of Hestia in the final book, number twelve, which she will share with Dionysos. Since you know the story, you also know there's not much written about it-- it's just a mention or two. I will tell it almost as an aside as I explore the character of Hestia. As for how it will work, well, gods are a weird sort who take all sorts of strange forms for their pursuits of one another. Fire can still be very beautiful, after all, and Poseidon has been known to assume the form of a horse or bull for his trysts, so I don't think he'd mind.

Why does Persephone already look...Underworldian? She's still only the Goddess of Spring as of now.

As for Persephone, yes, she's just Kore ("young girl") right now. She's only made two appearances so far that I can think of, as a child both times (unless you count the cover of Hades). I think of her as a seed right now-- she has to go under ground first before she can blossom. I'm still working on her post-underworld Persephone incarnation's design. (Note: It's done now. If you all ask nicely, I may even post a sketch)

Oh, yes, before I forget - in the family tree in the front of the book, why does Dionysus have grapes beside his name? I know that it's because he's the God of Wine, but how come he's the only one who gets a picture?

The designer for the first book, Danica Novgorodoff, came up with the grapes. I had talked about in a meeting of how Dionysos is a bit different and removed from the other Olympians, what with his mortal half, and the outsider quality to his cult. I suggested that maybe he should be marked a little differently than the rest, and that's what she came up with. As the final Olympian, he will close out the series with a big finish.

Alright, I think I'm done with my questions. I'm really looking forward to the next book, about Hera. When I was a little kid, I used to hate her because she just seemed so mean, but now I quite like her. It's not her fault that Zeus has problems with commitment, but I wish that she wouldn't unleash her wrath on the wrong people. And I know that you're planning on making her hair in that little bun, but I personally like it better when you draw her hair down. My favorite pictures of her in your books are the second one last of her in Zeus, where she and Hestia are meeting with the Titanesses, and one of the first in Athena, when she and Demeter are walking by Zeus and Metis. She looks really nice in those panels.

Hera is my favorite goddess (Hermes is my favorite god), and it drives me nuts when people don't like her. I think she's very justified in behaving the way she does! Good attention on the bun-- it's actually a pretty important story element in her book. We even see that same scene you mentioned, of her and Demeter, thru Hera's viewpoint. Her bun is also meant to be evocative of a peacock's head, which is, of course, her sacred bird.

Are you going to include Cupid (Eros) and Psyche in Aphrodite's book? I really do like the story. And are you going to make Aphrodite the Greek Aphrodite, (flighty, flirty, never takes anything seriously) the Roman Aphrodite, (compassionate, actually cares about love) or a combination of both? It annoys me when people write Aphrodite v.1, but it is the "original" version of Aphrodite, so I can see why they write her like that.

I will be including Eros and Psyche in Aphrodite's book (#6), but probably not the whole story, as it's pretty long. I'm still working on that. My Aphrodite will be a combo of both versions you mentioned, as I'm telling both Greek and Roman stories about her in her book. She will definitely be treated with dignity however. In her own way, she can be dangerous to the established order as Ares is, but is also very compassionate at times as well. The gods are very capricious, wouldn't you agree?

Which book are Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Pandora going to be in?

Book 11, Hephaistos, will feature the stories of Pandora and the -metheus brothers.

And I must know - which book is the Trojan War going to be in? Are you going to talk about the Trojan War? I'm assuming that it's going in the last book of the series, but I'm also assuming that the last book is about Dionysus (too much assuming -.-), and Dionysus doesn't really tie in with the Trojan War very well.

The Trojan War will be covered in various books, but primarily in book 7, Ares. It will be my retelling of the Iliad, with a focus on the godly bits (Eric Shanower is doing a very nice version with his Age of Bronze series, but he leaves out all the gods!). You'll also be seeing some of it in book 5, Poseidon. You already know that you guessed correctly that Dionysos (and Hestia) will be closing out the series.

I've actually written my own book about Greek mythology, but it's not a graphic novel. I'm a perfectionist. Can you imagine how long it would take me to complete a single panel, let alone a whole book?

Please, please, please, hurry up with the next book!


P.S. My favorite gods/goddesses are Hades, Hera, Apollo, and Hermes.
P.P.S. You can publish this on your blog, except for the first paragraph :P

Left it out as per your request, Jessica! Looking forward to seeing your book.


  1. wow. Lot of stuff on there to comment on. So... first of all, I really don't like that whole "King of the Damned" thing. I think Disney really took it over the top by making Haides evil and devilish. I know they were trying to make it more Christian, but for the love of God, Hercules is a Roman myth, not a Bible story. Plus I really like the title "The Wealthy One". It's unique, and like she said not something you'd think of on first thought.

  2. That's one "yea" for The Wealthy One, and one "nay".

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