Wednesday, August 17, 2022

What if Rick Riordan and Eddie Campbell met in a bar?

I recently read Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods and Bacchus Volume Three: Doing the Islands with Bacchus. Rick Riordan and Eddie Campbell ended up in very similar places by going in completely opposite directions.

Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods is a retelling of classic mythology in the voice of Rick Riordan’s most prominent character. So, lots of postmodern comments and teenage snark.

One touch that I found amusing is that Riordan glosses over the rape and sexual violence that is so prominent in Greek mythology by having Percy openly admit that he’s glossing over it. Percy actively  describes Zeus as a creepy sexual stalker. 

Eddie Camobell’s Bacchus/Deadface graphic novels are a bit tough to summarize. They are set in modern times about the ragged, seedy remnants of the Greek gods and legends. They are much darker and grittier than Rick Riordan, particularly when Joe Theseus shows up. (The guy is literally a walking tragedy)

Volume Three may be the lightest volume of the lot, having Bacchus who is now an ancient, one-eyed barfly bum around the Greek islands and tell stories. And many of those stories are retellings of myths. With lots of postmodern commentary and snark.

There have been times when I wonder if both their approaches are more authentic than Thomas Bullfinch. They approach the mythology as living works and the ancient Greeks are the ones who had to live with them.

Both are worth reading, although I won’t be recommending Eddie Campbell to any students. Both are also terribly well researched.

I do wonder if Rick Riordan read any Eddie Campbell.

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