Moral watchdogs tend to think of pop-culture violence as a recent invention, with violent movies, TV, and video games being seen as signs of some newly developed moral decay. But violence (and hand-wringing about it) have been part of human culture since its inception, from the murder-obsessed penny gaffs detailing the crimes of Burke and Hare that shocked and titillated theater-goers in Victorian England, all the way back to some of our earliest recorded stories.
Laura Jenkinson, author of Greek Myth Comix, has provided a neat little infographic emphasizing that point, laying out all the deaths that occur in Homer’s Iliad, along with kill stats for each character.
It’s not exactly shocking that a story about an ancient war features violence, but the language on display is surprisingly lurid, as in this description of the death of the Trojan Erymas: “The metal point of the spear penetrated under his brain and smashed the white jaw bones. His teeth were knocked out; both his eyes filled with blood; and, gasping for breath, he blew blood through his mouth and nostrils.” Hardcore.
The stick-figure style and deep focus on nerdy trivia are kind of reminiscent of popular webcomic XKCD, but with a more faux-historical bent. The minimalist style works well with the material, keeping the focus on the violence of the language. You can view the whole thing over at Greek Myth Comix.