Rummanah Aasi
  In April I attended a graphic novel seminar at Northwestern University that was hosted by Reading With Pictures, a nonprofit organization that advocates the use of comics in schools. The seminar was attended by graphic novel writers and illustrators along with teachers and librarians. I learned so much from the seminar as well as walked away with lots of graphic novels that I need to read. The Age of Bronze series by Eric Shanower is one of the series that was on the top of my list. The Age of Bronze is a seven volume series on the Trojan War. Shanower combines both mythology and recent archaeological findings in his graphic novels. The series has been nominated for an Eisner Award, a prestigious award for graphic novelists. The first volume in the series is called Age of Bronze Volume 1: A Thousand Ships.

Description: A Thousand Ships collects the first nine issues of the comic book saga, beginning with Paris herding cattle on the slopes of Mount Ida and ending with the thousand ships of the Achean fleet supposedly sailing off to Troy to rescue Helen. The first part of the volume tells of how Paris learned that he was really Alexander, Prince of Troy, the dark omen surrounding his birth, and how he abducts Helen. The second half of the volume tells the Achean army was assembled, including cunning Odysseus and the strong, young Achilles.

Review: I was blown away by A Thousand Ships. At first I was skeptical about the series, especially when I learned that the Greek gods are not present in the series at all. I already witnessed the failure of that deletion in the awful movie Troy and was expecting the same thing in the graphic novel, but that didn't happen at all. The Greek gods are indirectly present in the dreams, visions, and sacrifices made by the various cast of characters in the graphic novel. In Shanower's rendition of the Trojan War, the supernatural is downplayed and the human element is emphasized.
  I was in awe on how Shanower seamlessly blends the various myths surrounding the Trojan War, including the judgement of Paris, Helen's abduction, and the discovery of Achilles amongst Nestor's children, with the culture and customs of Ancient Greece. Those familiar with Greek mythology will pick up these myths early on. I also found new myths that I wasn't familiar with before in this volume too. It is evident that Shanower has well researched his subject and provides a thorough bibliography at the end of the volume along with a glossary of names of all the characters as well as two family trees.
  Shanower makes all of his main characters stay true to themselves. Teachers and students who are struggling to make sense out of Homer's Illiad will find A Thousand Ships a very useful resource. This series is a must read for all Greek mythology fans. I will definitely be reading this entire series.

Rating: 5 stars

Words of Caution: There are some sex scenes in the graphic novel that follow the mythology and culture of Ancient Greece. There is also frontal and dorsal nudity of women and men in these scenes. There are animal sacrifices in the novel too. For the reasons listed above, I would recommend this series to mature teens and adults only.

Curriculum Connections: Social Studies and English- Greek Mythology

If you like book, try: The Age of Bronze Volume 2: The Sacrifice by Eric Shanower
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