Three goddesses once approached Paris, Prince of Troy, to determine which of them was the most beautiful. Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, was chosen to be the most fair above Hera and Athena. In exchange, she helped Paris obtain Helen of Sparta, the most beautiful woman in the world. Her kidnapping launched the ten-year-long Trojan war, in which the Spartans, along with an army assorted of many Greek city-states, mount a siege against the Trojans. Rendered here is the later part of the epic, in which the Greek army is splintered when Agamemnon offends Achilles, and the events that take place thereafter.
Gareth Hinds’ newest adaptation, this one of part of Homer’s epic, is well-researched and rendered beautifully. Even in graphic novel form, it is not light reading, so plan ahead accordingly! There is appropriate white space between panels and it’s broken into “books”, or chapters, to keep things simpler. The character guide at the very beginning was extremely helpful in keeping everyone straight. I kept it bookmarked while reading so I could refer back to it easily when I inevitably got confused. Throughout the story, there are footnotes with more context where appropriate. At the back of the book, there are expanded notes, maps, a bibliography, and more.
Once again, the art is excellent. It appears to be rendered in watercolor, but the softness of the medium does not take away from the brutality of the war or emotional turmoil of the characters in any way. Hinds doesn’t hold back on the blood and gore, nor shy away from showing appropriate intense emotions in the characters. Having read the epic before, I found it very helpful to see the characters’ expressions, and made it easier to understand what they were going through than reading the text alone did.
I have not yet been disappointed with a Hinds adaptation, but this one exceeded even my high expectations! I have a deeper understanding of the famous epic having read it in graphic novel form. It would serve well as a companion while reading the original text. Looking forward to more from this creator, though I am hoping his next adaptation has a lighter source material =P
Hinds, Gareth. The Iliad. 2019.
From the author of Honor Girl comes another graphic memoir – this time, about Maggie’s time in the eleventh grade, after the events of Honor Girl.
Maggie’s an only child now that her brother moved away for college. She lives in a huge house with a dad who’s absorbed in his work and a mom who’s busy with everyone but her daughter. Teetering on the brink of failing eleventh grade and dyeing her hair purple can’t make them notice her. The only one Maggie can rely on is her cat, Thomasina. Tommi for short. Except when Tommi disappears inside their own house, that support disappears as well. Maggie searches top to bottom and finds nothing but a door to nowhere and a ghost of a boy named Tommy – but no sign of her grey cat. Tommy is searching too – but he’s not sure what for. Together, Maggie and Tommy search for her cat, his past, and the meaning of growing up.
It’s been a long time since I read Honor Girl, and I think the art style has changed a bit. I remember Honor Girl looking slightly fuzzy, unfinished almost, to convey the uncertainty of young love and teenage girlhood. Lost Soul, Be at Peace‘s characters are a bit more manga-like than I remember, but overall is a bit more polished. That’s funny when you take into consideration the supernatural elements – but at the same time, it doesn’t feel supernatural. It feels, in fact, quite natural for Maggie to be talking to a ghost! This is more about coming to terms with your history and realizing that you’re not a child anymore. It’s a quiet but powerful sentiment, one we all come to at some point. I look forward to more from Maggie Thrash, who manages to convey such complex emotions so succinctly and elegantly.
Thrash, Maggie. Lost Soul, Be at Peace. 2018.
Every summer, Maggie Thrash goes to Camp Bellflower. The languid days pass each as they did the day before, even the same year before. But this year… something’s different. No, it’s not the explosion of boy bands (though none are worth mentioning save the Backstreet Boys, at least in Maggie’s opinion). Nor is it the Potter craze, with everyone passing the books around and dying for the girl in front of her to finish it. No, Maggie… feels differently. Towards a counselor in the camp, specifically. What’s weird is, her name is Erin. Her feelings are sending Maggie into a huge tailspin. Could Erin possibly feel the same way? She lives in the South, and the camp is in Appalachia, where homophobia is very real and could be harmful… but she’s not a lesbian, is she?
I read the whole thing in one sitting… and was late coming back from lunch at work because of it. The brutally honest portrayal of teenage feeling sucked me in and held me until the abrupt, painful conclusion. Maggie’s dilemma is every teenager’s dilemma of first love… whomever you’re attracted to. The art was simple, almost childish, as it was rendered in what looked like colored pencil and watercolor. Yet somehow it conveyed all the confusion, uncertainty, and melodrama of teenage girlhood flawlessly. This is a story that wouldn’t have worked in any other format.
Thrash, Maggie. Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir. 2015.