I love this concept of telling the story of the Iliad using a graphic novel, but I confess that I did still struggle to push through this, often caught myself skimming, and probably didn’t absorb much of it. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, as it has very text heavy panels and the art is a bit rough around the edges, with an almost biblical feel.
It can be a challenging read in its original format, with all of the different characters. They did a good job of trying to include identifiers to help you recognize certain characters, and they even included a character key/chart at the start. However, if you aren’t the type to just memorize all the names, facts, and pictures, it’s a bit like information overload. You aren’t going to remember any of it when you actually need it.
In other words, they did everything they could to help me successfully read this graphic novel, but I still fought against the archaic language and overwhelmingly quick introduction of characters whom I was just expected to know.
The panels are very text heavy, and while I understand why, it became tiring. I think this is like a retelling of the Iliad with pictures, and I wanted a true graphic novel format, which might have been unreasonable of me. What I really hoped for, when I opened this one, was for the story to be broken down into easy to follow scenes and everyday language. But maybe I was asking for and expecting too much from this particular piece of literature. The original is a bear, and on some level, this graphic novel does make the story more readable and interesting. However, I’ve come to realize I’m just not that interested in reading this story again. It was painful and confusing enough the first time I read it in the full text version.
I think what they did was try to stay true to the original, and while this would be handy in a school or research setting, when you are forced to read or study the original version, I didn’t enjoy revisiting this story as an adult. I just wanted to really be able to wrap my mind around it and enjoy the story, but I found it tedious and often confusing. Most of the time, I wasn’t sure who was who or what was really happening and why, which I hate to confess, since I’ve studied the original Iliad before (sorry, mom!).
Thank you to Netgalley, and the publisher, for allowing me to read an advanced copy. This graphic novel will be available tomorrow, on March 12, 2019. If you are currently reading or studying The Iliad, then I definitely recommend this as a tool to help you better understand the literature. It would be absolutely great for that purpose. For all others, this one is for either big fans of ancient lit, or those who love to bury themselves in overwhelming details about characters and Gods. It’s definitely not for your average graphic novel reader, who will likely find this version to be tiresome.