Punderworld Vol. 1 (Image Comics/Top Cow)
176 pgs. full color | $16.99 | W / A: Linda Sejic
I‘ll spare you having to ask: my favorite Greek myth is Persephone and Hades. I will generally jump at the chance to support it in any form it takes on, and this goes doubly when that form is a graphic novel or comic book or whatever. For example, I was a Kickstarter backer for Persephone: Hades’ Torment by Allison Shaw before it was called that—it comes out in November from Seven Seas Entertainment; you can preorder it now wherever books are sold—and looking at the cover now…Persephone looks skinnier, which makes me kinda really sad.
Before you ask: no, I haven’t read Rachel Smythe’s Lore Olympus yet. I’m really slow on the webcomic front—like, I feel like an old man. Luckily, it got popular enough that it got picked up by Penguin Random House and I can preorder Vol. 1 (coming in November) and Vol. 2 (coming next summer) of Lore Olympus and read it on paper.
I don’t want to talk about those, although with Persephone coming out as its own graphic novel, I may write about that eventually because I loved the Kickstarter story.
I was perusing Amazon when Punderworld Vol. 1 caught my eye. Another retelling of Hades and Persephone!? I didn’t even read into it, I preordered it and went about my merry way. Fast-forward to August 31st 2021, while I am in the throes of one of the worst creative depressions of my life and Punderworld arrives at my doorstep protected and wrapped in an Amazon delivery envelope.
Aside from it being another retelling of my favorite myth, Punderworld is by Linda Sejic, the wife of another amazing comics creator, Stjepan Sejic—but this isn’t about him or his graphic novel about Harley Quinn. (You should read it, though—it’s good). I only vaguely mention the existence of a husband because Linda Sejic’s art style of Punderworld has echoes of his.
And the art is to die for. It’s gorgeous and colorful and soft—and I love when Greek mythology is done in soft and curves because I feel like that strikes truer to what it would have been like in the time it was being written. Lore Olympus looks like it’s a lot of squares and angles and I’m already kind of like “ehhhh” about it.
When I think of Hades, I, of course, think back to the Hercules of my ‘90s childhood that I often reference when it comes to my temper: it is short and fiery and it vanishes as quickly as it gets here. What I will think of now is the dryly sarcastic, paperwork-faithful, soft ruler of the Underworld that Linda Sejic presents Hades as in Punderworld—he doesn’t want to get noticed at the party, he doesn’t even want to be at the party until he realizes that *she* might be there.
That she being the feisty, Ariel-like (Disney Ariel, not Shakespeare—I feel like I have to be specific about that here for some reason) Persephone who is drowning under the weight of Demeter’s expectations and harsh rules.
Spoiler alert: she wasn’t at the party.
My favorite part about Punderworld, however, is how Linda Sejic presents the romance between Hades and Persephone: ships passing in the night. They met by chance and have been smitten, pining, and hoping for another meeting since. And oh, when they do finally meet again… It’s so wonderful—and so awkward. And it’s… fun.
Punderworld is a fun and gorgeous retelling of Persephone and Hades’ mythical romance –especially bro Zeus. And I, for one, can’t wait for Volume 2. | Catherine Bathe
Sample Punderworld for yourself here, courtesy of Webtoons.