Move over, Hercules! One side, Athena! There's a whole new generation of Zeus's illegitimate offspring ready to take the comic world by storm in "Hybrid Bastards!," by writer Tom Pinchuk and artist Kate Glasheen…but this isn't your grandfather's mythology. Originally released in individual issues, the Greek mythology based epic is being collected as a full size hardcover from Archaia Studios Press in November.
With Zeus's reputation for lechery, his wife Hera finally snaps and puts together a scheme of epic proportions: she places a spell on Zeus that makes him lust for every inanimate object in sight! Walls, apples, cars, sweaters – nothing is safe from the lust of the god of thunder. Eighteen years later, Zeus's unnatural hybrid bastard children roam the Earth…and Zeus isn't happy. So he sends his agents to capture and eliminate these hybrids before they cause irreparable damage to his family name. What follows is an adventure with the full length and breadth of a Greek mythological tale – complete with twist ending.
Pinchuk came up with "Hybrid Bastards!" while struggling with high school level Latin. "I took Latin for four years, and I was really terrible at the language. I couldn't conjugate to save my life," he says. "Thankfully for me, a big component of the grade was also Roman culture and Mythology. I was reading a lot of the uncensored versions of the myths, and I really put a lot of effort into that to make up for what I was lacking in the language itself. What was funny about it was that I was familiar with all the Greco-Roman myths as a kid, but they were all bowdlerized versions of the myths. They made them safe for mainstream audiences and for kids, so when I read the uncensored versions of the myths, it was a real rude awaking. There's a lot of twisted sexuality in the Greek myths. Bestiality, incest, there was one story where one woman had two different babies from two different fathers in her womb at the same time."
"Zeus is always having these dalliances with mortal maidens. That's where you get all the heroes. That's where you get Hercules, Perseus, Theseus as well, and he's always trying to hide these affairs from Hera. He uses various disguises to do that. In one story, he's a Swan; in another he comes through the sails of her barge as a golden shower, which will raise anybody's eyebrows. When I was fourteen, I couldn't read that stuff without snickering; I don't think anybody really can. It's just that most people haven't been exposed to the original myths. Everybody we've talked to has been saying we haven't taken that much creative license with the original myth; it just seems to be a natural extension of that."
In order to further this idea of a classic mythological concept in modern times, Kate Glasheen pulled out all the stops to get a look that would better represent the concept of "Hybrid Bastards!"
"I pulled out all my art history books from school, and all the classical references I could get, and tried to infuse that with any history from the time," she says. "There's one scene where it's a flashback, and we both thought it would be a good idea to detail the design in black and tan. I didn't want to force it, I wanted the drawings to still look like mine, but I did do a lot of research looking back into my art history books and National Geographic fresh in my mind when I went to drawing the book."
In addition to penciling the project, Glasheen took on the inking, coloring and lettering as well. "I was a bit of a control freak. I took up about three jobs – penciling, inking and coloring – but then I thought it would be a great idea to teach myself how to letter," she says. "I ended up using this ridiculous program that came with my computer, which was a horrible mistake. A lot of things we fixed for the trade – the artwork is actually remastered. The lettering program actually really damaged the quality of the files when I pulled the image files into the program. We didn't get a proof of the single issues, and it turns out I screwed it up in the digital process, but it's all fixed in the hardcover."
For Pinchuk and Glasheen, no idea was too ridiculous, no bastard too outside the box to include. "My memory is terrible to begin with, but I really think for the most part that anything we came up with, we decided to do it," says Glasheen.
"It always started with a pun – whether it was clever or not," says Pinchuk. "The first idea I had for a bastard was if a guy humped a wall and the wall got pregnant, I had this image of a wall bulging. We were going to take the list and hopefully do more stories. I can't say whether or not we will, but hopefully we do. Early on, I was trying to think of a name for Corey [the apple bastard]. It seems like such an obvious thing. I was thinking about a bastard apple, but I couldn't think of a name for him. Originally, we were going to call him Milo because in Greek or Italian, Milo means apple. I thought that was the stupidest joke."
But at its core (no pun intended), "Hybrid Bastards!" is a story with a healthy connection to both humor and mythology that, according to Pinchuk, will appeal to all audiences. "For the tagline for the book, we were saying it was a weird, new take on Greek mythology, and I think people have been latching onto that," he says. "I'm a big fan of surrealism and earlier cartoons from the golden age, especially if you look at stuff in the comics world, they're making it up as they go along. There's this sense that there's a dreamy quality to the thing. There's a sense of freedom and unexpectedness with a really bizarre quality that I hope people are going to like when they look at the book. The worm is Greek mythology, but the hook is that freewheeling surrealism. I've made it accessible to people who are passably familiar with the myths, or maybe not even familiar with them at all. The service is to entertain, to be comedic, but not to get bogged down in the mythology of it."
Check out "Hybrid Bastards!" coming this November from Archaia Studios Press.