cover image Lore Olympus, Vol. 1

Lore Olympus, Vol. 1

Rachel Smythe. Del Rey, $26.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-593-16029-9

The Greek gods get cast as Kardashian-types in Smythe’s addictive soap opera, her trade debut that was originally a hit online comic. Hades, king of the underworld, meets newbie spring goddess Persephone at a swanky party and sparks fly. But divine forces assemble to keep the couple apart, including jealous love goddess Aphrodite, rapacious leather-jacketed bro Apollo, and Persephone’s protective roomie Artemis. The gods inhabit a modern world of luxury cars, cell phones, and espresso machines. Persephone is chased by paparazzi and Hades is in therapy over nearly being eaten by his father Kronos (an Oedipal complex predating Oedipus). Smythe draws curvy confetti-colored characters against misty backgrounds that suggest opulence but lack detail. The softly glowing artwork, influenced more by children’s illustration and animation concept art than traditional comics, unfurls like a sexy update of The D’aulaires Book of Greek Myths. It’s hard not to argue when Eros declares of Persephone, “She’s like the personification of a friggin cinnamon roll!” Though Smythe plays with the comedy potential of her premise, she takes the characters’ internal dramas seriously and deals directly with the problematic elements of Greek mythology, with its gods forever abducting and coercing hapless mortals. As rich as baklava but snacky as a bag of potato chips, this romance is hard to resist. (Oct.)