Queer Freakazoid Liberator Goddess: Dionysus for the 21st Century / Hyperallergic

The cover of Zak Plum’s forthcoming book “Rites of Dionysus, Act One: Whatever’s Clever” (all images courtesy of the artist unless otherwise noted)

The cover of Zak Plum’s forthcoming book “Rites of Dionysus, Act One: Whatever’s Clever” (all images courtesy of the artist unless otherwise noted)

You’ve probably heard of Dionysus, an Olympian god with a reputation for being a badass. What you didn’t know about him, however, is that he’s also your new androgynous goddess, ready to liberate all who grace his presence through the power of dance, ritual, magic, and music. When I happened upon Zak Plum’s forthcoming graphic novel Rites of Dionysus, I became fascinated by his contemporary interpretation of myth making and ritual practices. Plum’s tale is led by Dionysus, who frolics his way toward greener pastures, rainbow sunsets, and magic mountains. I caught up with Plum via Facebook and email and asked him some questions about the journey.

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Alicia Eler: In Greek mythology, Dionysus is the god of ritual madness, ecstasy, wine making, and, of course, wine! He’s also the only god of the 12 Olympians to have a mortal mother. And he’s like the runt of the litter. How did you choose him to be the center of your graphic novel?

Zak Plum: Well, really, I would say that he chose me. It all happened in a beautifully aligned way. When I discovered Dionysus, it was as though the book had been about him all along. I had conceived this story in which I knew there was this character who shows up as an outsider in this big city, a sort of post-apocalyptic Phoenix where there is a lot of suppression, and he essentially leads this group of people in liberation. The story initially contained no mention of Dionysus, but then I discovered this ancient Greek play called The Bacchae by Euripides, and it was uncanny how many parallels there were. In The Bacchae, the city Thebes is basically under the rule of this oppressive King Pentheus, towards the end of the Greek civilization, when things were starting to decay. Dionysus shows up and liberates all these people to the mountains, where they engage in ritual, dance, and music.

Read the full interview here: http://hyperallergic.com/83073/queer-freakazoid-liberator-goddess-dionysus-for-the-21st-century/