BERKELEY, CA -- 12 March, 2007 -- Award-winning cartoonist EricShanower will discuss Age of Bronze, his graphic novel retelling ofthe Trojan War, in his keynote speech for Illinois WesleyanUniversity's Greek and Roman Studies Program on March 15 at 4 PM. Inwords and pictures Shanower will demonstrate how he uses both theliterary and archaeological traditions to create a new version of thestory for today's readers.
The continuing graphic novel series, Age of Bronze, encompasses thecomplete story of the Trojan War, from the abduction of Helen, themost beautiful woman in the world, through the fall of Troy when theGreeks used the Wooden Horse to gain entrance to the city. Age ofBronze began publication in 1998 from Image Comics, Inc. Since thenit has won major comic book industry awards, including the EisnerAward for Best Writer/Artist in both 2001 and 2003. The second volumeof the series, Age of Bronze: Sacrifice, was selected as one of theBest Books of 2004 by the editors of Publishers Weekly. Last year,the Italian edition, titled La Eta del Bronzo, won the Gran Guinigi,the highest Italian comics award.
Shanower draws upon a wide variety of sources for Age of Bronze, topresent what he hopes is a definitive version of the Trojan Warstory. The earliest versions of the Trojan War were The Iliad and TheOdyssey, composed by Homer sometime around the 8th century BCE. Thesetwo epic poems formed the foundation of Western literature and havebeen famous for centuries around the world. Many of the greatestwriters and artists in history have used Trojan War themes andepisodes in their work -- fleshing out the story, adding newcharacters and events, and retelling the ancient story in modernways. These include the Roman poet Virgil, Chaucer, Shakespeare,James Joyce, and Eugene O'Neill, among many others. All theseversions of the Trojan War story provide material for Age of Bronze.
In addition to written and artistic sources, Shanower also delvesinto the archaeology of Late Bronze Age Greece and the surroundingareas. Of particular interest is the ancient city of Troy itself. Inthe summer of 2006 Shanower traveled to the archaeological site forthe first time. He spent eleven days in Troy and the surroundingarea, sketching, photographing, and talking to the archaeologistscurrently digging at Troy. Says Shanower, "I was grateful for theopportunity to finally visit the place I'd been drawing for so manyyears. Hiking across the plain where Achilles and Hektor might havebattled, standing on the ruins of the walls where Helen may once havestood was inspirational."
Eric Shanower will be speaking about Troy and Age of Bronze onThursday, March 15, at 4 PM at Illinois Wesleyan University, 1312Park Street, Bloomington, IL 61701. The general public is welcome.There is no charge.