The Mighty 12: Superheroes of Greek Myth

Overview

Meet the most impressive of the gods and goddesses of Olympus—and even a few monsters—and see them revealed for what they really were: ancient superheroes with the power to shift shape, move mountains, and change fate. In this innovative introduction to Greek mythology, energetic poems and dynamic, comics-style illustrations create a seamless blend of the ancient and contemporary that depicts the gods in all their glory.

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Overview

Meet the most impressive of the gods and goddesses of Olympus—and even a few monsters—and see them revealed for what they really were: ancient superheroes with the power to shift shape, move mountains, and change fate. In this innovative introduction to Greek mythology, energetic poems and dynamic, comics-style illustrations create a seamless blend of the ancient and contemporary that depicts the gods in all their glory.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Future students of Homer get a handy checklist of muscle-bound Greek gods in this combo of mythology, comics and loose rhyme. Like a contemporary troubadour riffing on the ancients, Smith (Twelve Rounds to Glory) furnishes poems on 12 immortals, including Zeus, Apollo, Artemis and Athena. (A concluding "Who's Who" indexes the characters and explains why the Gorgon Medusa is included rather than, say, underworld goddess Persephone.) An uppercase comics typeface, peppered with bolds and italics, emphasizes Smith's parallel between jealous Greek gods and American mythic figures in the Superman mold. Graphic novel illustrator Russell, working in the relatively muted palette of his Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde series, pictures the heroes and villains with flowing hair, ripped bods and strategically draped togas—or, in Zeus's case, a well-placed eagle's wing. The characters' dramatic, pouty-lipped poses are undeniably mannered, and the loquacious rhymes can overstretch. Even with the excesses, however, Smith and Russell make the pairing of classical material and a comics-like format look completely natural, with a gee-why-didn't-we-think-of-that simplicity. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)

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Children's Literature - Monserrat Urena
This title introduces the reader to some of the many gods and goddesses in the Greek pantheon. It is illustrated in the style of comic books and graphic novels. Through this style the book attempts to capture the interest of those who love or may come to love comic books and graphic novels. I am a bit curious though about the decision to write long, rhyming poems to match the quick visual style of the illustrations. The language used in the poems is faux-archaic and falls short of the information contained within. In the end, the poems are long, tedious, and forced. Also, the information offered by this book is by no means detailed. Its superficial nature offers little to nothing for the avid mythology reader. All I can say is that it can be an alternative read for those who did not like Edith Hamilton's text or others like it. Personally, I though it flat and dull. There are better books out there. Reviewer: Monserrat Urena
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8- In Smith's odes, each Olympian is reminiscent of the superheroes in today's canon of graphic novel and film-adventure stories. Colorful illustrations drawn in classic comic-book style bring this connection vividly to life; men are mostly muscular, while women are presented with long hair, flowing gowns, etc. While sometimes awkwardly structured or confusingly verbose, the poems nevertheless succeed in their intent to present the most notable attributes of these larger-than-life figures. An appendix of "Who's Who" lists the gods or goddesses' parentage, other monikers, symbols, and brief details of their legendary acts. A bibliography notes both classic and newer references for further reading. Fans of fantasy, comic books, and adventure stories will be irresistibly drawn to The Mighty 12 for general reading. Despite some flaws, the accessible artwork and popular subject matter should generate circulation.-Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI

Kirkus Reviews
Writing in hip-hop cadences and with a fine disregard for exact rhymes, Smith introduces a dozen Olympians, plus Cerberus and Medusa, in verses paired to melodramatic, superhero-style portraits inked and colored by veteran comics-artist Russell. Between an opening overview ("Playing people like pawns / in a grand game of chess / the gods of Olympus / infinitely test / assorted mortals / while testing each other, / like Hades, / Zeus, / and Poseidon, / true blood brothers . . . ") and a closing Who's Who that lists Special Powers and other attributes, readers will get some oblique references to various myths. However, more clearly the repeated message is that they'd better behave and pray that they never draw any immortal's attention, amorous or otherwise. Discreetly positioned but at best scantily clad, the gods, from Zeus-posed in wrath like the God of Michelangelo's Last Judgment-to half-mortal Dionysus, have never looked so ripped, nor the goddesses Artemis, Aphrodite, Athena and Hera (the "Queen of Mean") so voluptuous. Still, an emphatic, beat-heavy read-aloud of the verses may provide the more memorable experience here for young audiences. (source list) (Mythology/poetry. 10-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316073660
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 7/15/2009
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 219,918
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles R. Smith, Jr. is the acclaimed creator of over 17 children's books for children. Some of his titles include the Baby Love series, I am America and Hoop Kings. He has been praised for both his stunning photography and his energetic poetry that appeals to kids. Charles maintains a Web site at www.charlesrsmithjr.com.

P. Craig Russell is a highly acclaimed comic and graphic novel artist. He has worked on many series with D.C. Comics, an illustrated series of the fairy tales of Oscar Wilde, and has collaborated with Neil Gaiman on several books, including The Sandman, Endless Nights, and a graphic novel version of Coraline, which is due out next year.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 30, 2010

    Just in time.

    This is just the thing to lead up to the new movie "Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief". It gives background on the Greek Gods in a non-lecturing, fun kind of way. My 9 year old son liked it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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