Lore Olympus
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The banner art for Lore Olympus
Author(s)Rachel Smythe
WebsiteLore Olympus on WEBTOON
Current status/scheduleNew chapter every Saturday
Launch dateMarch 4, 2018
Publisher(s)Webtoon
Genre(s)Romance
Rating(s)9.73 Stars on Webtoon as of June 2021[1]

Lore Olympus is a romance webcomic created by New Zealand artist Rachel Smythe.[2] The comic is a modern retelling of the relationship between the Greek goddess and god Persephone and Hades. It began publishing weekly on the platform Webtoon in March 2018.[3] Lore Olympus is currently the most popular comic on Webtoon; as of June 2022 it has 1.1 billion views and 5.9 million subscribers.[4] The comic has won a Harvey Award,[5] an Eisner Award,[6][7] and received nominations for a Ringo Award.[8][9] It was announced in 2019 that a television adaptation was under development.[10]

Plot and themes

Lore Olympus is an adaptation of the classic Greek myth, ‘The Abduction of Persephone' in a mostly modern setting.[3][11] The webcomic includes modern technology such as smartphones, sports cars, and tabloids.[12][13] However, scenes in the realm of the mortals take place in the time of the original myths.[13] The comic deals with strong themes of rape, harassment, abuse, and trauma.[14][15]

The story begins with Hades attending a party of Zeus's after his partner Minthe stood him up.[16] Persephone has been allowed to leave the mortal realm and visit Olympus by her mother, Demeter.[17] Hades takes notice of Persephone and comments to his brothers, Zeus and Poseidon that Persephone's beauty rivals that of Aphrodite. Out of jealousy, Aphrodite calls her son, Eros, to get Persephone extremely intoxicated and they dumped her then in the back seat of Hades' car in an attempt to have her embarrass herself in front of Hades. After their initial encounter from this incident, Hades and Persephone both express an interest in each other but Persephone still struggles with this relationship due an earlier plot point that happened in the comic–she was raped by Apollo.[16] Aside from this rape being traumatizing, she struggles with her current association of being a prospective member and a recipient of an academic scholarship from The Goddesses of Eternal Maidenhood (TGOEM), a group of sacred virgin goddesses that consisted of Artemis, Athena, and Hestia.

Plots in season one of the webcomic include Persephone seeking Hades' help to bring back friends who died when mortals uprooted sacred plants; a scheme by Minthe, Thanatos and Thetis to ruin Persephone's reputation; the rape of Persephone by Apollo; and Persephone's conflicted thoughts over a college scholarship that requires her to refrain from sex.[18]

Plots in season two include Persephone going missing, the abduction of Persephone, and Hades and Persephone's growing relationship.

Characters

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The following characters are central to plot lines in the comic and make regular appearances:

The characters in Lore Olympus are each defined by a particular color. According to columnist Nahlia Bonfiglo, "Hades is depicted in dark colors—blues, purples, and blacks—that match his setting. The underworld is likewise illustrated in dark hues, making Persephone and all of her bold, bright colors pop even more."[3]

Publication

The webcomic updates weekly on Webtoon,[21] and readers with the "Webtoon Fast Pass" can access pages earlier. As of August 2022, over 200 episodes have been published, and Smythe said that she had an ending in mind for the series.[22]

Smythe creates Lore Olympus using Photoshop and a Wacom Cintiq Pro drawing tablet.[2]

On November 2, 2021 both hardcover and trade paperback versions consisting of chapters 1-25 of the webcomic were published by Del Rey Books. Volume 2, which contains chapters 26-49, was released July 5, 2022. Volume 3, which contains chapters 50-75, is set to be released October 11, 2022.[23]

Influences

On her website for Lore Olympus, Smythe lists some of the sources that she uses for the comic:[24]

Reception

In 2019, Webtoon announced that Lore Olympus had been viewed over 299 million times, making it the most viewed webcomic on the platform.[21][25][26] As of September 2021, Lore Olympus is the most popular webtoon on the platform, with over 5.4 million subscribers.[4]

In an article for The Daily Dot, columnist Nahila Bonfiglio recommended the webcomic, saying: "There are many reasons to read Lore Olympus, but the simplest is to see Smythe's brilliant take on the myth. Her story is flawlessly enthralling, heartwarming, and painful. The characters confront timeless issues through a modern lens, breaking down the romanticization of rape and abduction with grace and intrigue. Smythe updates the series every Sunday, and new readers will find themselves awaiting that notification with bated breath." Bonfiglio also praised the art, saying: "[Smythe's] captivating way of telling her tale often involves carefully considered colors, panels completely without words and even—sometimes—music."[3]

The Beat declared Lore Olympus to be one of the 100 best comics of the 2010s, describing Smythe's art as "breathtaking" and making good use of the webtoon format, and saying that the modern setting made the story "feel as fresh and urgent as eavesdropping on your (very wealthy, very messy) neighbors."[11]

Critical Darlings reviewer Kaitlin Konecke said that "the drawings allow us to see how Persephone feels. It's a visceral way to tell a story, with graphics allowing us to see inside the mind of Persephone and convey the complicated array of emotions that follow a trauma such as sexual assault and rape." Konecke also praised the depiction of assault from a female writer, saying that Smythe and others "are not just telling us, but showing us. And in doing so, they make women and survivors feel seen."[17]

A reviewer for Love in Panels! praised the decision to give Persephone more agency than in the original story, saying that "it's that agency, her claiming of her own body and sexuality, that pulls me like a magnet to these tales."[16] Nicole Mejias of Crunchyroll said that while the story is a "bit mature and dramatic," the suspense and romance between Hades and Persephone is gripping, while the "art is colorful and gorgeous."[27]

Awards for Lore Olympus
Year Category Institution Result Note Ref.
2022 Best Graphic Story or Comic Hugo Awards Pending [28]
2021 Best Graphic Novels & Comics Goodreads Choice Awards Won [29]
Digital Book of the Year Harvey Awards Won [5]
2020 Best Webcomic Ringo Awards Nominated Lost to "Fried Rice" by Erica Eng [9]
2019 Best Webcomic Eisner Awards Nominated Lost to The Contradictions by Sophie Yanow [30][31]
Best Colorist Ringo Awards Nominated Lost to Tamra Bonvillain [8]

Television series

In October 2019, Deadline reported that the Jim Henson Company had entered into a partnership with Webtoon to create an animated series based on Lore Olympus. This partnership is Webtoon's first adaptation deal.[10][22][32][12] It is unclear whether Smythe would be involved in the adaptation.[22]

Author

Lore Olympus is written and illustrated by New Zealander Rachel Smythe (aged 36–37). Smythe graduated with a graphic design degree and sought to enter the creative industry without success, and went into marketing. Smythe learned about the Webtoon app in 2016 and began drawing Lore Olympus in April 2017. By late 2017, Webtoon offered to pay her for creating the comic. Smythe works 70-hour-weeks on the comic.[33]

References

  1. ^ "Lore Olympus". Archived from the original on 2021-06-14.
  2. ^ a b Downes, Siobhan (2019-11-11). "Kiwi artist's web comic to be made into series by The Jim Henson Company". Stuff. Retrieved 2020-10-20.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Bonfiglio, Nahila (2020-02-21). "Why You Should Drop Everything And Start Reading 'Lore Olympus'". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 2020-03-24.
  4. ^ a b "Lore Olympus". WEBTOON. Retrieved 2022-01-13.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ a b Grunenwald, Joe (8 October 2021). "NYCC '21: Presenting the 2021 Harvey Awards winners". The Beat. Retrieved 9 October 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Rachel Smythe's Global WEBTOON Sensation Lore Olympus Wins 2022 Eisner Award for Best Webcomic". www.businesswire.com. 2022-07-23. Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  7. ^ "Rachel Smythe's Global WEBTOON Sensation Lore Olympus Wins 2022 Eisner Award for Best Webcomic". Financial Post. 2022-07-23. Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  8. ^ a b "2019 Ringo Awards". RingoAwards.com. Retrieved 2020-08-20.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ a b "Webtoon Celebrates 12 Creators on Ringo Award Nominations". Good Nerd, Bad Nerd. 2019-08-21. Retrieved 20 August 2020.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ a b "'Lore Olympus': Webtoon And The Jim Henson Company Will Partner For YA Animated Series'". Deadline Hollywood. October 10, 2019. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  11. ^ a b Beat Staff (2019-12-11). "The 100 Best Comics of the Decade". The Beat. Retrieved 2020-08-27.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ a b Kaplan, Avery (2019-10-11). "Webtoon and Jim Henson Company partner for LORE OLYMPUS series". The Beat. Retrieved 2020-08-27.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ a b Kaplan, Avery (2019-08-13). "A Year of Free Comics: Drama for the gods in LORE OLYMPUS". The Beat. Retrieved 2020-08-27.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ "Lore Olympus Improves the Myths by Tackling Problematic Themes Head On". Comic Book Resources. 2020-06-21. Retrieved 2020-08-28.
  15. ^ Kennedy, Caitlin (2021-04-26). "Rachel Smythe's Lore Olympus Webcomic Reclaims Trauma and Allows It to Transform". The Mary Sue. Retrieved 2021-07-20.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ a b c d e Suzanne (September 19, 2018). "Review: Lore Olympus, by Rachel Smythe". Love in Panels!. Retrieved 2020-08-31.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ a b Konecke, Kaitlin (November 3, 2019). "Women Are Using Animation and Comics to Tell Stories of Assault". Critical Darlings. Retrieved 2020-08-31.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ Chappell, Caitlin (2020-08-02). "Lore Olympus: What You Missed in Season 1 of the Webtoon Comic". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2020-08-28.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. ^ "Story FAQ". Masterlist. Retrieved 2020-03-28.
  20. ^ Smythe, Rachel (2021). Lore Olympus. Volume one (1st ed.). New York. ISBN 978-0-593-35607-4. OCLC 1262790716.
  21. ^ a b Adams, Tim (20 January 2020). "Webtoon Announces Over 100 Billion Views in 2019, Lore Olympus Ranks #1". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  22. ^ a b c "Greek Myth-Based Lore Olympus Webtoon Becoming YA Animated Series". ScreenRant. 2019-10-10. Retrieved 2020-08-27.
  23. ^ "Lore Olympus Books". sites.prh.com. Retrieved 2022-07-06.
  24. ^ "Basic FAQ". Masterlist. Retrieved 2020-03-28.
  25. ^ MacDonald, Heidi (2020-01-17). "Sales Charts: The Top 30 comics on Webtoon in 2019". The Beat. Retrieved 2020-08-27.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  26. ^ Tantimedh, Adi (2019-09-02). "WEBTOON is the World's Most Successful Comics Publisher – And You Hadn't Heard of it Till Now". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 2020-08-27.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  27. ^ Mejias, Nicole (June 6, 2020). "The Wild and Wonderful World of WEBTOON Series". Crunchyroll. Archived from the original on June 6, 2020. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  28. ^ "2022 Hugo Awards". World Science Fiction Society. Retrieved 2022-04-09.
  29. ^ "Announcing the Winners of the 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards!". Goodreads. Retrieved 2021-12-20.
  30. ^ McMillan, Graeme (20 July 2019). "Eisner Awards: The Complete Winners List". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 August 2020.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  31. ^ McMillan, Graeme (26 April 2019). "Eisner Award Nominees Revealed". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 August 2020.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  32. ^ Williams, Tommy (October 2019). "Webtoon's Popular Comic LORE OLYMPUS is Being Adapted into an Animated Series". GeekTyrant. Retrieved 2020-08-27.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  33. ^ Russon, Mary-Ann (2021-09-20). "How 'nerd' culture powered through the pandemic". BBC News. Retrieved 2021-09-28.