Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Book Review: Olympians- Aphrodite, Goddess of Love

  George O'Connor has taken on quite an undertaking in creating a series of graphic novels on the Greek pantheon, each book focusing on a different deity. His latest book is perhaps his boldest to date, tackling the story of the goddess of love. Previously featured characters like Zeus, Hera and Athena figure prominently in the story adding consistency and familiarity to the book for those who have read the series.
  While she is a late-comer to Olympus when compared to the other gods, Aphrodite's origin story goes back before the time of even the Titans. Even so, finding acceptance and equal footing among the gods is not easy, but the goddess of love is a wily manipulator who isn't just another pretty face but someone who is smart and confident. And speaking of pretty faces, Aphrodite is a stand-out beauty compared to the other goddesses. With her tan skin, piercing green eyes and flowing brown hair, O'Connor captures a goddess who is beautiful, feminine and exotic.
  All of the previous entries in the Olympians series have been able to tell their stories effectively while still managing to be kid-friendly, but can a story about a goddess who is unfaithful to her husband and who embodies all aspects of love- spiritual, emotional and physical- still be appropriate for all ages? Amazingly, O'Connor pulls off the feat tactfully without dumbing down the material. Aphrodite's hair is long enough to fall strategically across her body  as she emerges from the sea, and Aphrodite's marriage to Hephaistos is described as more of a political tool by Zeus to prevent the gods from squabbling over her and not something either part of the couple wanted. Despite their flaws, Hephaistos tries hard to make Aphrodite happy and she seems to value him at times despite being repulsed by his appearance and his workplace.
 As part of Aphrodite's narrative, readers are treated to the story of Pygmalion, a sculptor who crafts a statue so beautiful her falls in love with it and begs Aphrodite to bring her to life. The marriage of Thetis and the antics of Cupid are also included. Maybe most important of all, we are introduced to a man named Paris, the apple of discord and the beginnings of the Trojan War.

  Hermes is a character that really emerges in this story and he seems to stand out with his casual attitude and anachronistic speech. Hopefully, O'Connor will be doing the messenger god's story soon.

Early cover concept. Go to for George O'Connors tale of the cover(s).
 Overall, Aphrodite continues the solid work done by O'Connor, with tight clean art with bright, vibrant, contrasting colors and witty dialogue.  There is 66 pages of full color story, followed by 10 pages of background information on key mythical figures in the story, asides on Greek culture and notes on selected panels in the book that help to add further meaning to the story. Aphrodite is published by :01 Books and carries a cover price of $9.99.

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