Come hang out with George O’Connor and his Olympians, Wednesday evening at 7:30 in the kids room at the Takoma Park Maryland Library. Talk process, research, story, characters, etc. with the artist. Plus he can sign for you, as our friends at Politics and Prose will be selling books on site.
All the gods, in one panoramic class picture.
George O’Connor broke into daylight with his graphic non-fiction work Journey into Mohawk Country, (First Second Press, 2006). Set in the 1600’s this meticulously researched book illustrated the journal entries of a 23 year old Dutchman who attempted to make contact with the Mohawk and Oneida tribes northwest of Albany in order to establish better trading relations.
The wry humor of O’Connor’s pen animated the dry prose of this travel diary and brought to life what must have been a mind-expanding life-changing journey for the author. In reading a fairly bland account O’Connor recognized the drama and absurdity of these three young men who sorta stumbled and blustered their way through the wilderness — despite being basically unprepared and armored chiefly with good-natured ignorance.
This love of history as a living thing serves O’Connor well in his retellings of the tales of the Hellenic deities. Projected to be a twelve issue series, these books depict the greater figures among the gods of ancient Greece. Faithful to the mythology, O’Connor nevertheless finds new angles to tell these stories, often from the perspective of the gods themselves.
The art is bright, clear, pastel colors and whimsical line. Dialogue is modern, but only rarely with a jarring anachronistic phrase (and hey, they’re immortal gods, clearly they can transcend time and learn a phrase or two from another era). Kids who discover the Greek gods via Rick Riordan’s ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ series, will get a good dose of the real thing in these slim light volumes.
O’Connor also gives a peep into his methodology in the back of each book, discussing various aspects of each myth, things he discovered in research, challenges of drawing certain characters, illustrating some difficulties or victories in his process. These paragraphs are as valuable as the rest of the book in teaching kids how the study of history can be approached as an opportunity for adventure and discovery.
Pretty good, each of them, a useful add to any library collection. Some volumes are in our All-ages collection, others promote themselves to our young adult shelves because, well you know, these Greeks did not always behave themselves all that well.