Rachel Smythe


Rachel Smythe: Pioneering Modern Mythology in Webcomics

Rachel Smythe is a New Zealand-based comic artist and a standout folklorist of the digital age. Her most acclaimed work, “Lore Olympus,” is an Eisner Award-nominated webcomic celebrated for its fresh take on Greek mythology. Launched on the WEBTOON platform in March 2018, Smythe’s series quickly amassed a vast readership, distinguished by its unique blend of modern storytelling and classical themes.

“Lore Olympus” transcends the boundaries of traditional comic art through its striking visuals and character-driven narratives. Smythe’s artistry shines through the comic’s stylized characters and vibrant palettes, bringing the ancient myth of Persephone and Hades into a contemporary context. The webcomic’s success has not only captivated millions of readers worldwide but has also been instrumental in propelling WEBTOON to international fame.

Smythe’s innovative approach to retelling the abduction of Persephone story demonstrates her deep understanding of the source material and her skillful adaptation of it for a modern audience. “Lore Olympus” stands out as a cultural phenomenon, intertwining comedy, drama, and romance, thus showcasing Smythe’s talents as both a creator and an artist. Her contribution to the medium has made her a prominent figure in the world of webcomics.

Career Highlights and Achievements

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Rachel Smythe has distinguished herself as a prominent figure in the webcomic industry through her successful series “Lore Olympus” and has garnered numerous prestigious awards in recognition of her work.

Acclaimed Webcomic Lore Olympus

Rachel Smythe is the creator behind the hit webcomic Lore Olympus, distributed by Webtoon Entertainment Inc. The series, which began in 2018, reimagines the classic Greek tales of gods and goddesses with a modern twist. Lore Olympus has not only amassed a vast readership online but has also caught the attention of the entertainment industry, leading to an animation adaptation currently in development with Jim Henson Studios.

Awards and Recognition

Smythe’s Lore Olympus has achieved significant acclaim, earning her several industry accolades:

  • Eisner Award
    2022 & 2023: Best Webcomic
  • Ringo Awards
    Smythe’s work has been acknowledged at the Ringo Awards, although specifics from the search results were not provided.

Furthermore, Lore Olympus has been lauded by prominent reviewers:

  • New York Times Book Review
    Referred to Lore Olympus as a feast for the eyes.
  • Recognition from Goodreads Choice Awards, Harvey Award, and the Will Eisner Comic Industry Award is suggested, though details were not explicitly stated in the search results provided.

Smythe’s skill in storytelling and artistry has firmly established her as an influential creator in the realm of webcomics.

Artistic Style and Influences

Rachel Smythe’s work on her webcomic “Lore Olympus” showcases a distinctive artistic style, which is characterized by a blend of design elements, color palettes, and thematic influences from Greek mythology. Her work as an illustrator reflects a modern and innovative approach to storytelling through art.

Unique Artwork and Design

Smythe’s illustrative techniques combine various comic and animation styles, which are enhanced by her utilization of watercolor textures and vivid colors. Her design approach helps in creating a visibly unique and engaging aesthetic that stands out in the digital medium. The characters she crafts are not mere representations but are visually expressive entities that resonate with audiences on an emotional level due to their relatable design and the color themes that accompany their narratives.

Interweaving Greek Mythology

The essence of Greek myth is deeply embedded in Smythe’s work. “Lore Olympus” is not only a retelling but also a deconstruction of Greek mythology, specifically the tale of Persephone and Hades. Smythe reimagines these classical myths with a contemporary lens, making ancient stories accessible and fresh to a modern audience. By drawing from folklore and mythology, she ensures that while the themes may be timeless, the representation is anything but traditional, creating a bridge between the old and the new.

Major Works and Publications

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Rachel Smythe has made a significant contribution to the graphic novel genre through her compelling adaptation of ancient myth into a modern narrative. Her work, primarily through the series “Lore Olympus,” demonstrates a deft blend of fiction and fantasy.

From Webcomic to Graphic Novel

“Lore Olympus” began as a popular webcomic and swiftly transitioned into a graphic novel series. Penguin Random House, through their Del Rey imprint, worked to bring Smythe’s work from the digital domain to the tangible world in both hardcover and paperback formats. To date, the series has expanded beyond its initial installment, releasing several volumes, with Volume 1 marking the transition from an online phenomenon to a physical bookshelf presence.

  • Volume 1
    • Format: Hardcover, Paperback
    • Publisher: Del Rey, an imprint of Penguin Random House

Expanding the Story

With the series’ growth, Smythe has not only continued the narrative but also deepened the exploration of the characters and settings. The story has been developed across multiple volumes, with the release of Volume 5 ensuring readers are engaged with the evolving fiction and fantasy elements. This successful adaptation and expansion keep “Lore Olympus” at the forefront of its genre.

  • Latest Release
    • Title: Lore Olympus, Volume 5
    • Format: Hardcover, Paperback
    • Publisher: Del Rey, an imprint of Penguin Random House

Rachel Smythe’s transformation of “Lore Olympus” from a webcomic into a full-fledged graphic novel series exemplifies her prowess as a storyteller within the fantasy and fiction genres. Her works continue to captivate audiences and cement her status as a key figure in modern adaptations of classical myths.

Lore Olympus Universe

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Rachel Smythe’s “Lore Olympus” is a creative reimagining of Greek mythology set in a world where the gods of old navigate life within a framework of modernity. Integral themes of love, betrayal, and identity crisply unfold in a narrative rich with drama and emotion, centered upon its dynamic characters.

Central Characters and Themes

Characters: At the heart of “Lore Olympus” are the protagonist Persephone, a goddess of spring embarking on a journey of self-discovery, and Hades, ruler of the Underworld, whose interactions with Persephone overturn their lives and perceptions. Their relationship grounds the story, drawing readers into a complex web of emotions.

Themes: Apart from the budding romance between the leads, the webcomic delves into the traumatic experiences of characters, presenting issues such as trauma and consent with sensitivity and depth. The personal growth of Persephone and the maturity of the divine characters embody central themes of the narrative.

Modern Adaptation of Classic Tales

Greek Myths: Smythe places these ancient deities in a modern setting, retaining their mythological roots but bestowing them with contemporary issues and societal roles. “Lore Olympus” particularly reinterprets The Abduction of Persephone, exploring the emotional complexities of the characters far beyond their mythic origins.

Modern Setting: This innovative setting provides a unique backdrop that juxtaposes current-day societal norms with the grandeur and intrigue of Greek mythology. In doing so, “Lore Olympus” bridges the gap between the ancient and present, engaging a new generation with timeless tales.