A Modern Fantasy Take On An Underworld Myth: Persephone From Archaia

by Hannah Means Shannon

Boom! Studios has announced that their Archaia imprint will be publishing the first English language edition of a graphic novel that takes on ancient mythological themes in a modern way in Persephone, by Loïc Locatelli-Kournwsky.

In Persephone, a young girl searches for the truth about her identity and this leads her on a journey deep into the Underworld. Inspired by the Greek myth of Demeter and her daughter, Persephone, this OGN will debut in May 2018.

For enthusiasts of mythology, you’ll recognize that Persephone as a character is tied to seasonal associations of the Spring and rebirth and her relationship with her mother, who simply will not let her go, is one of the most emotionally compelling depictions of family relationships in Western myth.

Creator Locatelli-Kournwsky was born in France but now lives in Japan.

He explains:

For a long time I wanted to write a story that speaks to the bond between a mother and daughter, as well as this timeless theme we call ‘the quest for identity.’ This is something really important to me—it was already the main subject of my previous book about Pocahontas, and something I experience in my everyday life as an expatriate. I’ve read Greek mythology stories many times and grew fond of Persephone and Demeter, so I decided to make a book about it.

Locatelli-Kournwsky brings in modern elements and other fantasy techniques for the book by presenting Persephone as the daughter of a famous magician in Demeter, but someone who has a hard time finding her place alongside such a powerful matriarch. She finds that secrets surrounding her birth give her recurring nightmares, so she attempts to explore them and go far into the Underworld if necessary.

Regarding artistic inspiration for the OGN, Locatelli-Kournwsky cites Hayao Miyazaki films, also noting that Demeter is modelled on “Kate Winslet from her film The Dressmaker, mixed with the Witch of the Waste from Howl’s Moving Castle.”

Sierra Hahn, Senior Editor at Boom! Studios says that Locatelli-Kournwsky’s previous graphic novel, Pocahontas: Princess of the New World caught the publisher’s attention, as well as the themes of  “a beautiful mother-daughter story, plus themes of finding your identity and having the courage to persist”.

Look out for Persephone in May 2018.