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House of the Muses: The Later Days of Sappho of Lesbos
Words, Story and Concept: Pam Harrison
Sword and Labrys Productions, 2007


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House of the Muses: The Later Days of Sappho of Lesbos
by Megan Rose Gedris
[Print-ready Version]

Some say the Muses are nine: how careless!
Look, there's Sappho too, from Lesbos, the tenth.

-From an epigram attributed to Plato

In today's society, the word “lesbian” is synonymous with a woman who loves women. But House of the Muses: The Later Days of Sappho of Lesbos takes us back, thousands of years, to when “Lesbian” included all the inhabitants of the large Greek island of Lesbos. This is where Sappho lived.

The first book of six does not feature Sappho at all. We follow the story of Mnasidika of Sparta, a girl with a stolen destiny, and how she made her journey to Lesbos. We hear the tale told from her perspective, through flashbacks of her life. This is Dika's journey from being a slave girl in Sparta to her adoption into the house of Athenaios to become an upper class woman with a slave of her own.

She is betrothed to Euripates (a man), but finds the fair Timas of Phokaia to be far more in her taste. This is not a story that merely hints at lesbianism. Dika has had previous relationships with women, and takes action to make Timas her own.

The author and illustrator, Pam Harrison, has had this in the works for over 20 years. It is obvious that this story means a lot to her. A lot of time has gone into both the writing and art for this comic, and her efforts were well noticed!

This isn't the kind of comic book that you read at the end of a long day, half-awake and looking for something simple to read with lots of pretty pictures. There is a lot of story here. As is the case with many first books, the story gets a little wordy at times as it tries to tell us the entire history of this character. And I was very glad I knew my ancient Greek history. But I have high hopes that, with the history established, the next books will feature more dialog and interaction between the characters, which is this book's strong suit.

The art is absolutely remarkable. I've seen CG rendered 3-dimensional comics before, but they usually end up looking like someone took some screenshots while playing a game of "The Sims". Pam Harrison is skilled in CG, and her characters are all gorgeous (my only criticism is that they are, perhaps, too pretty). The characters are all designed with different features, making it easy to recognize them as individuals.

For anyone who is a fan of historical drama, lesbian romance, and gorgeously rendered CG art, this story was made for you. This is a book that demands your full attention.


Editor's note: Buy House of the Muses at Pam Harrison's website, Amazon.com or IndyPlanet.


Megan Rose Gedris is a webcomic artist and creator of YU+ME and Lesbian Pirates From Outer Space!!!. To keep herself from living in a cardboard box, she also works as a graphic designer for WXMI in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

House of the Muses: The Later Days of Sappho of Lesbos © 2008 Pam Harrison. Review © 2008 Megan Rose Gedris.

Prism Comics promotes the works of the LGBT community in comics. It does not implicitly endorse any other material or products associated with those works. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s).


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