My essays were already about close readings of comic books before I even started higher education. The Sandman. Watchmen. Dark Knight Returns. They all made it as “Independent Study Projects” in my last days of high school. But during my time in the hallowed halls of post secondary education, I was reading the literary classics by Dante Alighieri, Sir Thomas More and Homer and, more than ever, I realized that university had come to comics long, long ago.
By the time I finished my first stint of higher education, I saw that comics had now come to the university. The bookstore was full of the titles that made up the content of all those essays I had written and were now part of course curriculums.
Today, we see another example of the university fiction-comic book relationship.
Ladies and gentlemen, after the jump, let’s go on an ODY-C.
Written by: Matt Fraction
Illustrated by: Christian Ward
Published by: Image Comics
Everyone knows (or should know) Homer’s The Odyssey. You remember it – the story about Odysseus, the Sean Bean character from that Brad Pitt movie?
But for those that can’t quite recall, The Odyssey told the story of Odysseus and his ten-year journey home to Ithaca after the fall of Troy. It’s a road trip stroy, really. Only on sea. It’s also one of the oldest works of western literature, a classic that has influenced countless pieces of fiction, let alone lives – and vacation plans!
ODY-C, written by fan-favourite Matt Fraction (Casanova, Sex Criminals, FF) and lavishly illustrated by Christian Ward (Infinite Vacation, Olympus), is a sci-fi take on the classic Greek tale. With a peculiar twist, of course.
Not only is this comic book tale told in the far-flung future, but the main roles are gender-swapped. Fraction wanted to write a story starring a strong woman. Here, in ODY-C, Odysseus becomes Odyssia, the Clever Champion, as she and her crew begin travelling a long road home after a galactic war.
Expected to be told in 24 issues, ODY-C should follow Homer’s version quite closely, adding new elements to the mythology where appropriate. Having the story set in a sci-fi setting should not only open eyes to the original source material, but also reflect the trials, tribulations, and human experiences we all face in the here and now. The Lotus Eaters will be here as will Calypso, the Cyclops Polyphemus, the men-eating Laestrygonians, the monster Scylla and the giant whirlpool called Charybdis. All with a crazed science fiction bent, naturally.
Learn or re-learn your epic Greek poems! Make the run to your local comic book shop today and pick up ODY-C #1. Let’s all travel the galactic waves together!