Review – Marathon
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  • Posted:
  • December 30, 2012
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After being lured into a haunted castle, Bibliopunkk pricked her finger on a spinning wheel. It just hurt a lot, but then a wombat or something ran under it and knocked the  whole damn thing onto her foot. Fortunately Greg Baldino the scrivener was lodged in her manor house, and was able to pen an update for her blog in between eating up all her pub cheese and cheering on Royston Vasey FC.

SPORTS! The greatest challenge of man against man that doesn’t involve battle axes or Black Friday shopping. When last we left I was talking about a modern day story about a culture’s classic athletic tradition; today I’m going to talk about the beginning of one such tradition.

 I’m not a runner but I know a lot of them, and we often find there’s a lot in common between being a writer and being a runner. The discipline, the dedication, the early mornings, and the wool socks. That said, the similarities stop at the point where actual running is required. I really only ever run for the 84 bus and the only marathon I ever train for is a marathon of Mystery Science Theater reruns.

 Boaz Yakin and Joe Infurnari have put together a really outstanding graphic novel about the origins of the marathon called simply Marathon, which presents an interesting fiction about how the name of a Greek coastal town came to refer to a 26 mile race.

 The Persians are coming, and Athens is going to be screwed seven ways from Sunday unless they can get the Spartans to join them in stopping their fleet. Only trouble is this invasion is happening NOW and Sparta, Athens, and Marathon are separated by hundreds of miles. The Athenians send Eucles, a former slave now a free citizen, to petition the Spartan king to aid Athens in defending all of Greece from the Persians. It’s a personal task for Eucles, as the invaders are led by the traitorous Greek exile Hippias who had Eucles’ parents put to death. It’s not enough for Eucles to do the impossible; the might of Darius of Persia’s fleet still outnumbers the Greeks five-to-one, and Hippias has more than a few devious tricks up his sleeve.

The story is a merging of several myths and legends about that battle, combining several different accounts from that periods to make a sharp and gripping narrative. The military engagements are epically epic but it’s Eucles’ story from beginning to end. There are numerous moments of heroism and betrayal throughout, giving all of the main characters and even some of the supporting players great scenes. Yakin and Infurnari have put together one of the best retellings of Classical history that I’ve ever seen.

 

NEXT: Will Bibliopunkk return? Is @gregbaldino going to review something that doesn’t involve sports? Shouldn’t he be writing things for those fancy big city papers? Has the world seen the last of Fu Manchu?

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