Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everybody (those of you on the Julian calendar, at least)! Fun fact: Zeus's father, the Titan Kronos, is the origin of the familiar figure of Father Time. Think about it: big guy, flowing beard, carries a sickle-- they're the same guy! Every December in Ancient Rome, Kronos (under his Latin name, Saturn) was celebrated with a huge festival called the Saturnalia, wherein people exchanged gifts and made merry. Sound familiar? With his major festival coming so close to the end of the year, and as a god of time already, is it any wonder that Kronos became Father Time?

Hope you all have a wonderful and prosperous New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sketchbook Sneak Peek: Minotaur

As a kid, I was OBSESSED with the Minotaur. It'll be a while until he makes his appearance in Olympians, but here's a sketchbook sneak peek of good old Asterios himself.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Myth Manners- On Refusing the Gods

Plagued by jealous gods? Bedeviled by man-eating monsters? In love with a centaur but you're allergic to fur? Maybe Myth Manners can help you!

Dear Myth Manners,

I’m a priestess of the goddess Artemis. One day, when I was in a forest on the edge of the ocean, Poseidon came up to me and started flirting. He’s super strong and handsome, and I like him a lot! But I know that Artemis won’t be happy about that. My first instinct is to risk all for love, but I’m not sure what I’m risking! Can you tell me how Artemis might react if I start dating Poseidon?

Sincerely, Aquatically Attracted

Dear Attracted,

When you make a commitment to one of the gods, it’s hard to get out of it – even with a commitment to another god. Something similar happened to one of my friends a few years ago, except she was a priestess of Athena, and when Athena caught her dating Poseidon, she ended up being turned into a monster (snakes for hair and everything!) for the rest of her life. But if you turn down Poseidon – well, drowning might be the least of your problems. I’m afraid this is not a situation you have any hope of getting out of safely.

Sketchbook Sneak Peek: Hera

Today's Sketchbook Sneak Peek is this little portrait of Hera, Queen of the Gods(not to mention my own personal favorite goddess). One of Hera's sacred animals is the peacock, and I tried to make her design evocative of the bird, with her long graceful neck and the tight bun of her hair, like the tuft of feathers atop a peacocks head.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sketchbook Sneak Peek: A Very Strange Poseidon

It's a Poseidon-y kind of day around here, so I thought I'd share this strange little drawing I uncovered from my sketchbooks of the Earth-Shaker himself. There's more things wrong with this drawing than I can count, yet, oddly, I still find it very compelling. Enjoy!

Antique(s) of the Week: The Temples at Paestum, formerly Poseidonia

Since last week we dealt with a statue that has been attributed as being either Zeus or Poseidon, I thought I might continue the theme of mis-attributions of the sea god with a look at the ancient Greek temples at Paestum, in Italy. Paestum began its life as a Greek colony called Poseidonis in about the 7th century BCE. On the left, we have the large structure identified as a temple to Hera. On the right, we have another temple, for years believed to be a temple to Poseidon. Makes sense, to have a temple to Poseidon, given the fact that the town was named Poseidonis, right?

Turns out, however, that this temple was yet another temple to Hera. What? Another temple? I mean, I know Hera was a very important Goddess, but she got two temples, right next to each other, and poor Poseidon gets none?

I find this very interesting, especially because there are many myths wherein Poseidon vies with another god for dominion over a particular place, and strangely, he always seems to lose. He famously competed with Athena to be the patron god of Athens (and lost), and he similarly alternately flooded or dried up Argos when they chose Hera as their patron deity over him.

The above, by the way, is a shot of the full moon taken by yours truly from the altar of the contested temple. Pretty cool, huh?

Finally, a sculptural representation of Poseidon himself, or rather his Roman counterpart Neptune, as sculpted by the great Baroque artist Giovanni Bernini. This image was sent in by reader R. Clancy, who photographed it himself at the Victoria & Albert Museum in the UK where this sculpture resides. Special thanks to Mr. Clancy for providing the inspiration for this installment of Antique of the Week.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Progress report: The Glory of Hera

So, the third book in Olympians is the story of the Queen of the gods, Hera. Hera is my favorite of the Goddesses, and I hope to paint a more fair portrait of her than the jealous, vindictive wife we often see. From time to time I'll be giving you updates on my progress on her story. I've recently finished thumbnailing the book, which for me is the most difficult part. Thumbnails are tiny little rough drawings of what the finished pages of the book will eventually look like. I've attached some scans of my thumbnails for The Glory of Hera so you can see what they look like. I'll admit, they're not too much to look at right now. Check back soon for a more exciting update.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sketchbook Sneak Peek: Medusa

In honor of the new trailer just released today for the remake of Clash of the Titans, here's a page from my sketchbooks of my own conception of Medusa. Just be careful not to look too long, or, you know... stone city.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sketchbook Sneak Peek: Zeus and Kronos

Periodically I'll be cracking open the literally dozens of sketchbooks I've filled while working on Olympians and giving you a peek inside. This is a sketch I did of Zeus facing off against his father, the Titan Kronos.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Antique of the Week: The God from the Sea

From my own trip to the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

This is one of the most famous bronze statues that have come to us from ancient Greece. It avoided the fate of most ancient bronzes (being melted down) by being lost at sea-- it wasn't rediscovered until the 1920's! Most scholars believe that this statue represents Zeus, but others believe it be his brother, Poseidon (which would be cool, given how it was dramatically rescued from the Mediterranean sea). Notice that his right hand was obviously meant to be holding something-- like maybe a lightning bolt, or perhaps a trident. It's too bad it's empty, because whatever he once held would undoubtedly have told us the secret of the God from the Sea!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Welcome to the official Olympians Rule Blog!

We are live! My name is George O'Connor, and I'm the author and Illustrator of the new graphic novel series Olympians, from First Second. I'm also the official blog-upkeeper of this very blog you're reading now, a companion to the website. I'll be sharing behind the scene sketches and artwork, thoughts, answering your questions and more, so check back often.