If my almost comically-long name didn’t tip you off, I come from a Greek background, I’ve actually lived there for a spell even when I was a wee lad. Greek mythology’s always held a spot in my heart since I was a kid. Later on in life reading actual ancient Greek history, I found some of that as fascinating if not moreso, but the classic myths and monsters have always been there.
My exposure to classic Greek storytelling, however, didn’t really start until I started college. And it was then that I really started to appreciate the cultural impact of my ethnic background.
You ever get that speech from your high school English teachers about how Shakespeare and operas were actually cool because most of them are full of sex, violence, and death? Yeah, they got that from the Greeks. Plays like Medea and Oedipus Rex have places in history as being increidbly tragic and vicious, where no one wins, not even the gods who pull the strings for their own bloody amusement.
In th end, everyone loses big.
Peter Milligan’s got an interesting take here. While the idea of setting classic mythology and literature into modern/different settings is not really a groundbreaking concept (shit, one of my favorite samurai movies is just a retelling of a Shakespeare play), here it’s interesting in that this is actually a combination of different works and worlds, all intertwining to form a new story, a new myth.
Greek Street is a less a location and more a stage setting, as we meet Eddie (Oedipus), Memnon (Agamemnon), the Fureys (the Furies), and more and they take their places on the stage, while our barely-clothed, all-seeing Greek Chorus of an “exotic dancer” tells us to sit back, listen to the tales of crime families, betrayal, corruption, a horrific mistake that sends a young man running for his life and his sanity…but whatever you do, don’t relax. Because holy shit, things are going down on Greek Street from both sides of the veil, real and mythological, that are probably gonna make you go HOLY FUCKING SHIT several times.
I’ve had to sit down, no distractions, and re-read this a few times because like I said, it not being a retelling of a single story but rather a fusion of several into a new one makes it a little confusing. I’m not 100% sold on Greek Street, but like any good Vertigo series, you have to give it a little bit of time to get its claws into you…pun intended.