MYth is a webcomic written and illustrated by Zelda C. Wang, a Taiwanese artist who attended art school in the United States. She describes the series as a collection of short stories that are “based on” Greek myths, which she takes her own direction with, hence the title–MYth as in “My myth.” The style of the comic is unquestionably that of Japanese shoujo manga, or girl’s comics. All of the character designs are ethereally beautiful, with extremely expressive eyes rendered in delicate linework. Emphasis is placed on the character’s expressions instead of on rendering backgrounds or conveying actions from one panel to the next. Also, although the comic is written in English the story reads from right to left, as Japanese comics do. I found this a rather fascinating merging of Greek mythos with a style of art that is so endemic to Japanese comics.
The stories Wang depicts are also a far cry from the original mythsl; although the characters are similar, she gives them personalities and destinies that are only loosely based on their source. For example, the first story in the series is a retelling of Hades and Persephone. In Wang’s version of the tale, Hades is a deeply sympathetic character who suffers silently at the hands of his younger brother Zeus; the younger god has no greater pleasure than enacting emotional torture on his sibling. At the beginning of the story Hades and Demeter are deeply in love, but Zeus, knowing that if Demeter gives birth to a child she will “vanish,” rapes Demeter in order to hurt Hades. Demeter flees from her lover and presumably dies, because the flora of the mortal world begins to perish. Hades continues to search for her, and eventually comes across her daughter, Persephone. He promises to protect Persephone in order to honor Demeter, and the two eventually end up falling in love. In Wang’s version of the tale, that’s why Persephone eats the pomegranate seeds that tie her to the Underworld–so that she will have an excuse to return and see Hades again.
Obviously this is a far cry from the original tale, but it does maintain certain thematic elements from the Greek myths. Incest, violence, and rivalry among the gods was rampant in Greek mythology, and Wang manages to convey and retell those elements in a style that meshes quite well with motifs one often finds in shoujo manga, namely the passive heroine and the healing power of her innocent love.