Crowdfunded Comics that deserve more attention: Olive and the Underworld

I normally do this every Wednesday but I was asked to take a look at this project and since I liked what I saw combined with the fact that the Kickstarter campaign only has seven days left, I decided to take a break from the normal schedule and do a write up on Saturday.

Kickstarter campaign link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1058532910/olive-and-the-underworld-volume-1-a-graphic-novel?ref=category_popular

Today we’re going to look at a Kickstarter campaign for a graphic novel called Olive and the Underworld.

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The comic follows an orphaned girl who has decided that the Goth identity suits her best as she struggles to fit in to her new home and school.

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It doesn’t go very well until one fateful day where she and several of her classmates perish in a bus accident and wind up in Purgatory.  The comic is about Olive as she attempts to navigate the underworld all well trying to discover who she really is and finding her purpose in life.  I should mention at this moment this is a story that’s meant for young adults.

Why I like it

Olive and the Underworld is a story about trying to be accepted for who you are while not fitting into the world around you very well.

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I like these kinds of stories.  Now I’m not going to sit here and complain about how the world doesn’t accept me for who I am (it’s actually quite the opposite, you’ll never find a more conforming soul than me) but I find that this kind of internal conflict usually provides the kind of drama that leads to great stories and interesting characters.

Speaking of characters, from what little I’ve seen of the comic book Olive is quickly shaping up to be one of the coolest protagonists ever.

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Granted, her absolute refusal to give in to societal norms in order to make a few friends does make her come off as a bit stubborn, but not wanting to change yourself in order to fit in is something we can all relate to and appreciate.  Plus, it seems that one of her foster families gave up on her after she tried sacrificing her foster brother’s teddy bears to Hades which is something I find absolutely hilarious.

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And then there’s the subject matter of the comic book itself.  The book is meant for a younger crowd but it isn’t afraid to deal with the really mature stuff.  Sure there’s the topic of identity and fitting in, but it also deals with death and the afterlife, something that a lot of people believe is “too mature” for anyone under the age of 21.

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To be fair, the comic isn’t nearly as serious about the subject matter as most media is with the afterlife.  Instead it opts for the “Heaven and Hell can be hilarious and people shouldn’t take it so seriously” route but any book that believes that young people can be responsible enough and smart enough to deal with something like this gets a gold star in my book.

Why you should donate

I am going to do something interesting here.  I am going to put before you that this book isn’t just an interesting take on the afterlife or a fun story about searching for your true identity, but it’s also one of the most subversive stories in literature.

Let me explain.  The idea that a protagonist in a story needs to journey to an otherworldly realm in order to perform a task or learn an important lesson is nothing new.  If fact, it’s as old as literature itself.  Gilgamesh journeyed to the Land of the Dead to rescue his friend Enkidu in the Epic of Gilgamesh, which was written almost 4000 years ago

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and Homer had his hero Odysseus travel to the Underworld in his epic The Odyssey in order to learn valuable information about how to get home.

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In more modern examples J.R.R Tolkien has Aragon journey to the ghostly White Mountains to recruit an army of the dead in order to assume his rightful place as High King.

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and in a less dark and depressing example, C.S Lewis has his four heroes and heroines travel to the other worldly realm of Narnia where they become kings and queens.

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However, all these stories have one thing in common, all the protagonists come back.  Their quest may take them to the land of the dead or some other place that isn’t our world, but they will always return to our reality.

Olive and the Underworld takes this idea of a journey to another world that has been around for thousands of years and turns it on its head.  See, when Olive and her classmates die and go to Purgatory they’re all justifiably freaked out.  The one exception is Olive.  She discovers that she actually likes Purgatory so much that she doesn’t want to leave.  By traveling to the Underworld, Olive discovers her true identity and spends the rest of story doing everything she can to stay there instead of returning.

That is what makes this story interesting and that is why it deserves your money.

Kickstarter campaign link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1058532910/olive-and-the-underworld-volume-1-a-graphic-novel?ref=category_popular

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