Lore Olympus: Volume One is a perfect entry point into the world of the popular web comic

Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe. Image courtesy Penguin Random House
Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe. Image courtesy Penguin Random House /

Many of you may well already be fans of Lore Olympus, the megapopular Webtoon comic by Rachel Smythe which has currently racked up over 180 episodes online and won an Eisner Award. So, why, you might be asking yourself, do I need this print edition, which only encompasses the first twenty-five episodes of what is obviously a much larger story?

Simple, it’s just that good. And let’s face it, this book isn’t really for us already existing dedicated fans, the folks who religiously refresh waiting for new Webtoon installments each week. (Though, as one of those people, I have to admit that having a physical copy of this gorgeous story that exists outside of the iPad screen is a nice touch, even if it can’t quite recreate some of the fun scrolling features of the original digital version despite its best efforts.)

No, this Lore Olympus is for everyone else, for folks that have never heard of Webtoon, don’t consider webcomics something worthy of their time, or simply would never consume a piece of media in the way this story is originally presented. And you know what? I’m as excited for them as I am to reread this tale for myself.

Lore Olympus is, in the most basic sense, is a retelling of the story of Hades and Persephone, King of the Underworld and the Goddess of Spring, where the world of the gods is set in our present, complete with cell phones, luxury cars, and corporate email. He’s a secret softie with seven dogs and a standing therapy appointment to work through his feelings about almost getting eaten by his father Kronos. She’s a wide-eyed ingenue who trusts too easily and, having been essentially kept prisoner for most of her life by her mother Demeter, is struggling to fit in in the world of the gods.

The primary draw of the story is the agonizingly slow-burn romance between Hades and Persephone, who meet at a swanky party and are then thrown together afterward as part of a cruel prank. But there are at least a dozen other subplots going on, involving everyone from Persephone’s man-hating roommate Artemis to Hade’s nymph sort-of girlfriend Minthe.  Love goddess Aphrodite is jealous of Persephone’s beauty, her son Eros longs for human girl Psyche and bro-y leather jacket-sporting Apollo is a monster, despite his amazing good looks.

The art is striking throughout, full of cotton candy colors and soft, misty backgrounds and hilarious adept takes on the specific imagery that’s often associated with these gods and goddesses. (Don’t ask me how many screenshots of specific panels I have saved on my laptop is what I’m saying.) The story is emotionally rich and full of satisfying twists that will surprise even those who feel like the know the myths. It’s a true joy from start to finish – and the best is yet to come. Looking forward to revisiting Volume Two.

dark. Next. The Crescent City: House of Sky and Breath cover is gorgeous

Lore Olympus: Volume One is available now.