Lore Olympus, arguably one of the most popular comics in the world, returned this week from a brief hiatus to kick off its second season. Last night, thousands of fans rejoiced when Lore Olympus posted four new episodes to WEBTOON, the popular mobile app owned by Korean Naver Corporation. Lore Olympus is arguably the crown jewel for the WEBTOON app, a massive webcomic platform that receives over 100 billion views annually and contains thousands of webseries. Lore Olympus is the most popular comic on WEBTOON, with over 4.1 million subscribers and hundreds of millions of views.
Written and illustrated by Rachel Smythe, Lore Olympus is a modern reinterpretation of the Greek gods, focused on Hades and Persephone. The Greek gods are compelling figures in any setting, but Smythe infuses them with modern sentimentality and personalities, turning them into relatable but still fundamentally flawed characters. These aren't toned down versions seen in movies like Disney's Hercules- Zeus is a philanderer with temper issues, Apollo is a smarmy rich boy who enjoys the benefits and lack of consequences that comes with great wealth, and Aphrodite is undoubtedly beautiful but shallow and cruel. And while their exaggerated personalities are often played for laughs, Lore Olympus takes great pain to show off the often harmful and painful consequences of the gods' actions.
The heart of Lore Olympus is the complicated relationship between Hades and Persephone. Persephone is depicted in Lore Olympus as a young and naive spring goddess with a hidden dark side and a desire to get away from her mother's stifling and overbearing rules. Hades, meanwhile, is the brooding but secretly gentle Lord of the Underworld, still bearing the physical and emotional scars from the Olympians' revolt from their parents thousands of years ago. Their relationship, while consensual, skirts the line of appropriateness. Although the pair have undeniable physical and personal chemistry, Persephone is still a 19-year old girl (albeit one with fantastic powers) and Hades is still the ancient ruler of the Underworld and brother of Persephone's mother. The complicated nature of their relationship at a slow burn throughout the course of the webcomic's first 100 or so episodes, with plenty of obstacles thrown in their way at seemingly every turn. And while there is a feeling of inevitability as to how Lore Olympus will end (after all, the Fates themselves appear as seers in the comic), the journey Lore Olympus is taking readers is a truly fantastic one with plenty of unexpected twists.
Lore Olympus is one of today's best comics series, and has a cross-demographic appeal that most publishers would drool over. The art is phenomenal (creator Rachel Smythe earned a Ringo Award nomination last year for her coloring work), the drama is delectable, and its use of Greek myths will delight anyone who has ever read books like D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths or Ovid's Metamorphoses. With new chapters posted weekly and available for free on WEBTOON, there's no reason why you shouldn't give this amazing comic a try today.
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