Olympia: From Comic Book Pages To A Hero For The Ages

Feb 6, 2021
Cover of Olympia #1 Image comics

What’s the first thing you do when a hero lands right in your back garden? That’s what young Elon finds himself up against when he discovers the body of the mighty Olympian, star of his favourite comic series, in the woods.

From the mind of Curt Pires (The Tomorrows, WYRD) and his father, Tony Pires, Olympia follows the unfortunately named outcast Elon. Alienated at school and raised by a busy single mother, Elon escapes his latchkey life like many of us do: into the glorious world of comics. While out on a ride in the woods, Elon comes across the body of The Olympian, his favourite comic hero, and leaps at the chance to help. Sensibly, he heads to the source of the story: the comic’s washed-up and disenfranchised author, Kirby.

Our three protagonists, though alien to each other (quite literally in Olympian’s case), blend their stories with ease. Elon refuses to be beaten down by life, while Kirby has had a good few decades of harsh living under his belt. Olympian himself hits all the beats of good heroes: a dash of the Mighty Thor, a glug of Conan and a suggestion of Superman, without coming off as cheesy or spending too much time as a temporal fish-out-of-water. However, all is not as simple as getting the hero back into his story when it emerges that something has followed him out…

Interior page from Olympia #1 - a comic book within a comic book

There are multiple nods to Pires’ own heroes: Brian Bendis, Mark Millar, Art Spiegelman and, of course, Jack Kirby (Olympian’s father is, tellingly, one Kirby Spiegelman), and Alex Diotto and colourist Dee Cunniffe create a distinct visual difference between our reality and Olympian’s: bold action and colours and quiet attention to detail merge to meet each other as the two worlds collide. 

Pires and his father collaborate remarkably well: in Elon, we see a young man without much of a future forced to confront the fallibility of heroes both fictional and real, and in Kirby and Elon’s mother we see the lengths guardians will go to in order to defend the ideals of their youth and their own wards. Each chapter ends with a satisfying hook, and issue #5 stretches out the action to comfortably fit a bumper sized edition.

Sadly, Tony Pires passed away before he could see the completed work, though I don’t doubt he would have been very pleased. If you’ve ever loved a hero – real or fictional – you would definitely enjoy Olympia.

Olympia (#1-5 2019/TPB 2020)
Publisher: Image Comics
Writers: Curt Pires, Tony Pires
Art: Alex Diotto, Dee Cunniffe 

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