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Showing posts with label Young Zeus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Young Zeus. Show all posts


Young Zeus (2010)

Young Zeus by G. Brian Karas
By G. Brian Karas

15-Point Neutra Text Demi

Gouache and pencil on Canson Ingres paper

Scholastic Press

Do not judge a book by its cover, so they say. But I still do it - knowingly and often. The cover of this one looks eminently saccharine, does it not? The young, precocious child, holding aloft the lightning bolt, looking real proud of himself. I was pleasantly surprised. The text is rather thick with mythological nuance and detail.

"Throughout my research, I kept looking for the earliest accounts, and so largely drew from Hesiod's Theogony and The Library of Apollodorus," writes the author in a short introduction. He clearly did his homework, and it shows. This is no simple tale.

Young Zeus
"...Cronos had one weakness - the fear of being overthrown
by one of his own children. To make sure that could  never
happen, he ate up all his babies."

We begin with the ghostly form of the Goddess Rhea, floating through inky depths of space and time, toward the tiny Island of Crete, and there to keep her infant son, Zeus, hid from his murderous father, Cronus.

Zeus grows up alone, excepting for a she-goat named Amaltheia, and wishes more than anything that he had brothers and sisters to play with. So Amaltheia tells him the tale - a tale which begins not with his parents, Rhea and Cronus, but well before, with his grandparents, Uranus and Gaia and their many, many children.

In addition to Zeus' father, they had also given birth to twelve magnificent giants, known as the Titans. Then there were three Cyclopes (I appreciate him using this plural form of Cyclops) and three Hundred-Handers, alarmingly surreal and disturbing creatures with fifty heads and one hundred arms. These latter six monsters - due to the fact that they were monsters - were then unjustly cast into the Underworld. But more about them later.

Young Zeus

The story continues with young Cronus, at his mother's behest, taking up sickle in hand and battling and banishing his wicked father to the bottom of a deep sea. He then took his place upon his father's throne and commenced to eatin' his own offspring, lest they one day toss him into the same sea!

Karas even paints a nice picture of Cronus devouring one of his siblings, legs and bare bottom disappearing in his gaping maw. Quite a contrast to the cover art.

Young Zeus

Before everything is said and done, Zeus will poison his father, face dragons in a fiery, inverted underworld, and take part in a climactic battle between the enormous Titans, the Cyclopes, the Hundred-Handers, and a few dozen lightning bolts.

Young Zeus
"Enough!" shouted Zeus. "From now on, we do things my way."
"Who made you boss?"
"I did!" said Zeus.

Read my exclusive interview with G. Brian Karas.

Part of the Greek Mythology series

Links: G. Brian Karas, Scholastic Press
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