You think YOUR mother sometimes acts crazy or irrationally–maybe you’ll think she’s not so bad when you compare her with Hera, the mother of all the gods, in the First Second (0:1) graphic novel by George O’Connor Hera: The Goddess and Her Glory! If you like reading about the myths of the gods and goddesses of Olympus, and great heroes like Hercules and Jason and the Argonauts, then this latest graphic novel from First Second (0:1) is just for you! It’s got all you could want in a graphic novel–a great story, awesome illustrations, and eye-popping colors to make the gods and goddesses and heroes of the Greek and Roman myths come alive for you in your imagination. You might even learn a thing or two….
There were beings before the Father of the Gods, Zeus, and his “cow-eyed” wife, the Mother of the Gods, Hera. These were the Fates, Gaea, Ouranos, and the Titans, and George O’Connor provides a convenient family tree in the inside cover of the graphic novel. Today we are most familiar with Zeus and Hera and their children, like Hades, Aphrodite, and Ares, to name just three; and, of course, children Zeus had with mortal women, like Alecides or Heracles (whom we know as Hercules). Though Hera was extremely jealous of any attention that her husband, Zeus, paid towards any other women, Heracles was known as “the Glory of Hera,” and in some ways, it appears that she had a genuine affection for him (that is, when she wasn’t trying to have him killed).
It’s interesting to read about how Zeus first met and fell in love with Hera. You might already already have an idea about how all of the gods and goddesses often act out of jealousy or anger. They are motivated by very human sorts of emotions, which must have made them easy to identify with for the Greeks and Romans who worshipped them.
The author, Goerge O’Connor, has written that “Hera is my favorite goddess.” This might seem a little strange, as Hera is often depicted as being not the nicest goddess around. Yet, O’Connor manages to show another side of Hera, the side that Zeus fell in love with, and he reasons that Hera had every right to feel jealous, because Zeus couldn’t seem to be able to stop himself from fooling around with other goddesses and mortal women. Also, O’Connor says Hera is his favorite goddess “because she’s the one person that Zeus well and truly fears,” and he “likes her style.”
If you’re at all like me, you’ll probably most enjoy reading about how Hera’s jealousy leads to her imposing the twelve labors of Hercules on this famous hero, and about how Hercules somehow manages to accomplish the impossible and is successful at each of the labors. There were supposed to be just ten labors, but his cousin, Eurytheus, who became a king instead of Hercules because of Hera’s interference, claimed he cheated on accomplishing two of the labors, so he added two additional ones. Of course, this didn’t seem at all fair to Hercules, or to most people who read about the twelve labors. Both the parts of Hera: The Goddess and Her Glory about the labors and about Hercules’ brief meeting with Jason of the myth Jason and the Aronauts and his joining with them were highlights of the graphic novel for me.
Hera: The Goddess and Her Glory! is a fantastic addition to First Second’s (0:1) Olympians series of graphic novels. It’s the third one in the series, and I’m sure if you like reading about ancient myths, legends, and heroes, you’ll want to get and read the entire series. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who loves great graphic novels and tales of the gods and goddess of ancient Greece and Rome.