I already mentioned in this post how I've been obsessed with Greek Mythology for a while now. I believe it started with this book:
And then it grew into an uncontrollable gorging every time I went to a thrift shop with a book section:
And peaked when I tagged along with my college's Ancient Studies Club to go to a trip to Greece in 2000.
Why was I so obsessed? Here's the thing. I was raised Catholic. Holy communion, weekly Mass, confirmation, awkward Sunday School taught by my father - the whole bit. And I knew I wanted to believe in some aspect of religion and myth and legend - just not all of it. Some parts were fun and story-tastic and awesome. Others, not so much. What I was really lacking in my religion was variety. All I saw were contradictions - think this way but act another, strive for this even though you'll never ever get there, hate yourself, love everyone in theory but also judge them, etc. etc.
Then middle school and sixth grade English and Greek Mythology entered my life. Two elements getting it on, twelve titans, twelve Olympians, nine muses, three fates, three graces, three furies ... and a plethora of combinations and gods for every possible thing you were into. The more books and epic poems I read, the more I established my own opinion on what each of the gods were like. I kept trying to rationalize their behavior and give them personalities beyond what I'd read, so they'd fit into what I wanted them to be. It wasn't very difficult, which proves why they've stuck around in modern culture for so long.
- Zeus - the lecherous dad. All-powerful, but also full of heart. Has a lot of trouble saying no - to women, children, and humans. The stepfather you'd like to have.
- Hera - the politician's wife. Established and wise on her own, but continually forced to react to her husband's distracting and obvious affairs.
- Poseidon - the brother who disowns his family. The stories say Zeus split up the world and gave Poseidon the seas and Hades the Underworld - I say he chose so he could cultivate his own world. He basically packed up and moved to the opposite coast from the rest of his family, so he could use that as an excuse for never visiting.
- Hades - the younger brother who wants to do something "different" with his life. Hades is often painted as evil, bitter, and jealous of Zeus and Poseidon. In my mind, he made it seem like he got the short end of the stick when all he really wanted was to explore his dark side and be feared.
- Athena - the daughter Zeus is so glad he had. Burdened with being the responsible one all the time, never allowed to cut loose and randomly murder a bunch of people like her siblings.
- Ares - the son who's belligerent and starved for attention. He makes sure everything he does is loud and noticeable.
- Hestia - the quiet homebody. She tends the fire, she respects home life. Therefore, no one wants to talk to her.
- Demeter - the hippie mom. So distraught by what happens to her daughter Persephone that she's forced to become the overprotective mom she always had in her.
- Apollo - the golden child. Zeus is eternally proud of him and he manages to rock the poet/artist that every woman (and man) lusts after. Chill, bright, his life is golden.
- Artemis - Apollo's realistic twin, she sees shit how it really is, and knew long ago to pull the cord and go live in the forest with a bunch of ladies. Lesbian to the core.
- Hermes - the fun-loving gossip. Got to deliver everyone's news and was clever enough to pull practical jokes on the other gods and not get murdered for it.
- Aphrodite - everyone's favorite. Cynical, business-minded, but also kind of a sap.
So what do you do with all this lovely subject matter, which has already been tackled to death in every possible form wayyyy before you were born? You find some way to express your love and interest in it, using the tools at your disposal.
Tomorrow! Turning ideas and wishful thinking and a love of comics into story.