Divine Intervention page 2 Picture

In which Hades and Persephone disagree about how to deal with meddling mortals, and Hermes introduces his comedy captions.

You may have noticed that I have a bit of a thing for chthonic deities, and Hades and Persephone in particular, so it saddens me how often they get lumped with weird modern/Christian visions of death. Writers have this lazy habit of turning Hades into a surrogate devil which is really, really unfair. The Hades of myth is a gloomy, lonely figure but he’s certainly not evil. In fact, at points he’s one of the most virtuous figures in the Greek pantheon. He fights with his brothers at the Titomachia; he helps Heracles in his labours by allowing him to take the three headed dog Cerberus; he offers the grieving Orpheus a chance to get his beloved Euridice back, and he may even have given Perseus his helmet (although this part of the myth is probably a mistranslation, but I wanted to draw out the contrast between cinema and myth). When the lapsed hero Theseus ventures into the Underworld to steal away Persephone, Hades has him imprisoned, and rightly so, but he happily gives him up to his friend Heracles later on.

Hades’ only real “crime” is the abduction of Persephone, a rash act that inadvertently causes the creation of winter. Depending on how you interpret (and translate) the myth, Hades can be seen as a cruel trickster or a frustrated, lonely lover. I tend towards the latter, it’s a bit more sympathetic. As for Persephone herself, she’s even more fascinating. She represents fertility and spring, but she’s also a cold and frightening figure of the Underworld. Her Roman name, Proserpina, literally translates as “the dove of destruction”, which really captures the dichotomy of her nature. She’s integral to the famous Mystery Cult of Eleusis and she may have been the inspiration for the archaic Kore style of statuary. Some writers and translators like to depict her as a gentle, mistreated maiden but to others she’s empowered and dynamic. In some versions, it’s her that gives Orpheus his second chance. In others, she deliberately eats the pomegranate seeds. Personally, I think this more active interpretation of her character fits her status, so in the comic she’s forceful and just a little cruel (in my original script she had a bit more to say, but I ran out of room). Hades, by contrast, is a bit more passive. He’s a bit grim but slightly too nice for his own good.

Art wise, the colour palette is based (loosely) on a painting of the Rape of Persephone from a tomb at Vergina, with a bit of underground gloom thrown in. I decided that since Hades doesn’t get out of the Underworld much, he would probably be pretty pale, and I gave him a slightly archaic costume (if you look really closely he has braids in his hair as well). Persephone is probably an older deity in that she’s probably Pre-Greek, but as goddess of spring and a familiar face on earth, I figured she should be a bit more up-to-date, so she has a more Classical costume with a peplos and unnecessarily complicated hairstyle. Since Hades ruled underground, he was also considered god of jewels and precious metals (or god of bling to put it in a shorter and more stupid way) so naturally both deities are wearing a lot of shiny trinkets. I’m actually very proud of how Persephone looks here. I’ve tried drawing her before and she never look quite right. Hades...eh...I'm not entirely happy with how he looks here, but there we go. Damn my inconsistent art style.

Anyway, enough rambling for now. As always, comedy fonts are from [link]

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