A fanfic sent me to this series–a pretty explicit one, at that. I don’t think I needed much convincing though. Along with Beauty and the Beast, and Pride and Prejudice, Hades/Persephone is probably one of my favorite stories to read retellings of. And much like BatB, modern retellings fix a fundamental issue you have to overcome in the original, i.e. Stockholm Syndrome.
So far the usual affair: Hades, infamous grump but lord of the underworld and therefore filthy wealthy, sees Persephone god of spring and falls head over heels in love with her. She is the much beloved, much cosseted daughter of Demeter. She’s unhappy to be kidnapped, eventually makes a mistake and eats 6 pomegranate seeds, and is forced to live half her life in the underworld forever, which is when we see winter.
The modern day retellings: give Persephone some agency, and recast Demeter in the role of overprotective parent. Persephone either wants to be away from her mother so much that she’s willing to go with/to anyone, or wants Hades in particular and secrets herself away to his lair and frankly foists herself onto him. Hades is stripped of his dickish kidnap-y tendencies and a standard issue Damaged Goods Hero, God Version.
There’s a reason why Hades/Persephone is the best storyline in Hadestown.
IN ANY CASE, Smythe has clearly made a beautifully sketched retelling of this story from the little I have read so far. I get a lot of hints of Katee Robert’s Olympus retelling (which, coincidentally, also started with Hades/Persphone in the form of the scorchingly hot Electric Idol). Demeter has a very Mother Gothel vibe. All the art is beautiful and detailed without being overly so–there’s a real sense of movement and vitality in the characters, who literally stretch but not cartoonishly so. Sometimes it’s hard to follow the action, but not so hard that you can’t figure it out on second glance.
I’ll definitely be reading all of the available cartoons when I get a chance and then grumpily have to wait week to week for the next installment…although I’m curious how long the main OG plotline will last, and if Smythe has moved past it already.