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Age of Bronze: A Thousand Ships

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Shanower took the Illiad and made it, or at least the first part of it, into a graphic novel. I love the heroic epic, and comic book format is a perfect medium to use for its re-interpretation.

I confess, I’ve started the Illiad, but not finished it. I know the story, but I’m shaky on some of the details. Really, the poetic language of the original can obscure some of the more prosaic details.

Also, the different Gods require interpretation. Maybe the Greek listeners knew who everyone was and what their ‘powers’ were, but had a little trouble keeping the dieties sorted out.

This novel was great in showing the action of the story. Naturally, the incredible beauty of the poetry can’t be shown to the same advantage in a comic book. But Shanower wasn’t trying to go there. He has a huge Bibliography in the back, which impressed me. I feel pretty confident that he stayed true to the facts.

I could already tell the he had kept to the characters of the people. Oddyseus had the arrogant and sales-pitch kind of conversational skills i remember from the original. Achilles and his mother interacted on their comic cell the same way they did in the stanzas.

Also, Shanower pointed out some of the political implications I had missed. Somehow, I hadn’t realized that Troy was such an important trade route. It made more sense that the battle be fought from political and monetary reasons than just that Helen was such a hottie.

The drawings were wonderful, too. The decorations and clothing of the people were interesting to see. Also, Shanower employed a range of graphical devices for his storytelling that kept things very interesting. He uses his drawing in ‘shots’ like a movie camera, sometimes. It gives a greater perspective.

This is a worthwhile book.

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  • jadester

    interesting. As something of a comic/graphic novel fan, i think i’ll have to check this one out…