Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Odyssey

The story of The Odyssey is an ancient one, often retold. Odysseus, a wily general and tactician who is involved with the sacking of Troy, is waylaid multiple times as he tries to return home to the island of Ithaca. Because he tricked and blinded the cyclops Polyphemus he earned the wrath of the one-eyed monster's father, Poseidon, and he was doomed to fall into many pitfalls. He is held captive by the nymph Calypso who seeks to keep him with her for eternity as her mate. He and his crew have to deal with adversaries such as the witch Circe, the monsters Scylla and Charybdis, in addition to the treacherous sea. Finally, he arrives home, old, haggard, and alone, to find that his home is overrun with suitors who have been abusing his hospitality and seeking to marry his wife, the faithful Penelope.

This beautiful adaptation was rendered by MC Pop member Gareth Hinds, who has a number of literary graphic novel adaptations under his belt. He has already done The Merchant of Venice, Beowulf, and King Lear, but in my opinion this one is his best yet. The watercolor paintings, framing, pacing, and language all combine to portray vivid scenes and emotional moments in fine fashion. The book seems very much a labor of love. Hinds speaks about the creation of this book in this interview with John Hogan at the Graphic Novel Reporter. This article by Publishers Weekly's Kate Culkin extensively covers the book and its promotion.

As far as I can see, this book has been universally praised. The normally harsh critics at Kirkus Reviews called it "magnificent," "stunning," and "big, bold, beautiful." They also named it one of their 2010 Best for Teens books. Publishers Weekly concluded that The Odyssey is a "work that both honors the epic's long tradition and helps readers see these characters in a new light." There's a Book's the1stdaughter wrote that the book was "gorgeous" and "one of my absolute favorite graphic novel reads to date."

The Odyssey was published by Candlewick Press. Previews, reviews, and more links can be found here at Hinds' official site.

No comments:

Post a Comment