There’s something about Greek mythology that is so interesting to me. Oddly I didn’t find the original tales about the gods and their shenanigans very relatable, but they were fascinating nonetheless. I don’t generally seek out different interpretations of Greek mythology, but this Wednesday’s webcomic, Olympus Overdrive, took a very different turn than I was expecting and I couldn’t stop myself from reading every page. I stumbled upon it as an ad while checking Homestuck for updates, and I continue to read it to this day. From the progressive characters to the idea of Greek gods being rebooted, there’s so much to like about this comic.
Olympus Overdrive doesn’t really have a main character. The story shifts from God to God, set in locations around the world. The main plot follows the reboot of all the Gods from Mount Olympus, where they no longer have a domain/title, their physical appearance changes, and their powers/weapons also change. One day Zeus decided that he wanted to have a battle of the Gods/Goddesses to crown a new leader. Each God is randomly paired with a human, who then decides how that God will reboot by how they answer a pop up questionnaire. Every human is physically chained to their God from sunset to sunrise, and can overcome a specific personal problem (they vary from psychological to physical) to expand/strengthen their chain. The goal of every battle is to sever your opponent’s chain, therefore sending that God back to Olympus to watch the results of their fellow contestants. Whoever wins in the end will be the new heir of Olympus, and will also grant any wish their human companion desires.
What I love about this comic is the diversity. There are a variety of races in this comic, from all parts of the globe. The first human companion, Maxwell Dodson, is a nineteen-year-old Black man who helps his sickly mother at home. Park Bong-Cha is a seventeen-year-old Asian girl, and while it hasn’t been confirmed, may be bisexual or lesbian. There’s even diversity in age between all of the human companions, from an eleven-year-old boy to a 60–70 year old woman. It’s an impressive cast that continues to grow.
What really impresses me is how the Gods/Goddesses have been rebooted so far. Three of the most powerful Gods from Olympus, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, have been changed drastically. Two are now female, while the other has been essentially changed into a little boy. To my delight, having changed so much has not changed their personalities or their interests. They still act like they did in the past instead of becoming moe/sexual/kawaii characters. It’s refreshing to see some well-written female characters, and even better to see a character not be repulsed or terrified by being turned into a woman.
One of my favorite Goddesses, Artemis, appears to be androgynous (hasn’t been verified unfortunately). We haven’t seen much of this character to learn, but she does prefer female pronouns. Another character, Apollo, can swap from female to male on a whim. It’s unclear whether this God is genderqueer or non-binary, but it’s nice to know the writers are considering having more than just genderbent Gods/Goddesses. I’m astounded that there is such care put into each of these characters.
Another of my favorite characters in Olympus Overdrive is Persephone. She was never really one of my favorite Goddesses from the original Greek myths, but I love how she changed according to her human companion’s culture. While we don’t learn a whole lot about her companion, we do learn that she speaks Spanish. The writing even follows this by having Persephone fluently speak Spanish. Her powers haven’t been revealed, but her Goddess form garbs her in a traditional Día de los Muertos ensemble. I’m excited to see more culturally diverse characters appear in the comic as well!
Sadly, Olympus Overdrive has a sporadic update schedule, so it hasn’t gotten very far yet. Overall I love the direction it’s taking, and the different styles there have been (flash, pixel art, and traditional, among others). Most of the characters are progressive, either in their point of view on gender, or the variety of races in the webcomic. I definitely recommend checking it out for a modern style of the Gods of old. You can reach the writer & artist, Oskar, on Tumblr, DeviantArt, or the offical Tumblr blog for Olympus Overdrive.
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