Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Herakles Graphic Novel Plot, Part 2: How Do You Make 12 Labors One Story?

How do you tell a story crafted more than 25 centuries ago, told, and retold many times over? For the Twelve Labors of Hercules (or Herakles), you could choose the "safe" route, and find a generally accepted traditional sequence. Such a sequence exists in the version presented by Apollodorus of Athens (ca. 180 - 120 BC). However, the challenge with telling the story of Herakles' 12 Labors is to avoid its episodic nature. It can become a very choppy read, where the only connecting agent is a large muscular guy with a lion's hide on his back. Instead, our version is about one key conflict: a bitterly hurt wife, Hera, who takes out her anger on a naive, yet dutiful (and illegitimate) son, Herakles.

So here's our sequence of the first 6 labors:

1. Confronting the Nemean Lion
2. Expelling the Symphalian Birds
3. Trapping the Erymanthian Boar
4. Catching the Ceryneian Stag
5. Fighting the Hydra of Lerna
6. Cleaning the Stables of Augeas

What's the logic behind this sequence? It's tight and solid. And we'll share it in an upcoming post.

No comments: