Eric Shanower’s Age of Bronze is epic story telling at its finest. Not only is it one of the best comics on the racks but it’s also highly educational and undoubtly one of the finest adaptations of Greek mythology in any medium.
Here’s the official description from Image Comics:
BETRAYAL Part 14
Diomedes wants to get into Cressida’s pants. Cressida’s father is doing everything he can to make that happen. Meanwhile on the Trojan city walls Troilus waits and waits . . . and waits . . . until his final battle with Diomedes
Eric Shanower started Age of Bronze nearly twenty five years ago. In that time only 33 issues have been produced. Each issue is painstakingly researched from the archaeology down to the proper dress and architecture of the Bronze Age. Shanower mines through all literary tradition—including Homer, Chaucer, and Shakespeare—to piece together the complete story of the Trojan War. As someone who majored in Classics, I can’t think of a better literary adaptation of Greek mythology than Age of Bronze. It never is boring like most Classical works of art, which admittedly are often a slog to get through. In Shanower’s adaptation of the Trojan War the Gods take a backseat to the humans. He manages to ground his adaptation in the real world, giving his story gravitas.
The latest storyline deals with the doomed love affair between Troilus and Cressida. Cressida has been taken from Troy to the Achaean camp and Troilus waits every night above the gates of Troy for her to return. Meanwhile, Diomedes has fallen for Cressida and wishes to marry her. It’s the classic love triangle. Shanower’s poetic narrative echoes the source material brilliantly. He perfectly manages to capture Troilus’ longing for Cressida. It’s certainly more fun to read than Chaucer or Shakespeare’s dry adaptations.
Shanower’s highly detailed, realistic art offers insight into the lifestyle, art, and religious customs of the ancient world. He’s great at panel layouts. For example, in this issue, there is a marvelous sequence which shows Troilus in three panels, watching the waning moon, over the course of a night, patiently awaiting the arrival of his true love. It’s both poetic and touching.
It doesn’t get any better than Age of Bronze. It’s easy to forget, due to the sporadic shipping, how wonderful this comic is. Do yourself a favor and pick up the first three trades, which should get you up to the latest storyline. I can only imagine how great a television show this serious would make. HBO, are you listening?