Getting Wise at Dynamite: Doug Murray on Athena

In September, Dynamite brings some classical Greek themes to the present.

With the new series Athena, written by Doug Murray, with art by Paul Renaud and Fabiano Neves, the classical Greek goddess of wisdom begins her adventures on earth – but why? And how?

We spoke with Murray for more.

Newsarama: Doug, what brought you to this project in the first place? Was it something Dynamite had in place and was looking for a writer, or something that you developed and brought to them?

Doug Murray: Athena came direct from Dynamite--I think they were looking for a vehicle for a certain artist, and thought Athena would do. They asked if I would write it at a convention in Baltimore, and I was happy to do so.

NRAMA: What brings the goddess of wisdom to earth in this story?

DM: Actually, Athena has never left Earth--not for a moment--she's been here all the time--she just didn't know who she was or why she was there.

NRAMA: What can you tell us about the presentation itself? According to the solicitation, there will be two stories in each issue, a modern-day and a flashback story? Will they be connected?

DM: I have tried my best to connect the flashback to the modern-day story via a series of segues. In all cases, the flashback gives information and clarification to what's going on in the modern-day story--and, in a way, both are actually the same story as seen through the sensibilities of different eras.

NRAMA: We've seen many "gods come to earth" stories before, from Hercules at Marvel to The Last Olympian YA novel series. With a fairly saturated approach to this type of story, how do you make sure yours is fresh and has a new twist to it?

DM: I'm trying to do this as a modern-day story. Without giving too much away, Athena isn't a Goddess (or doesn't know she is) when we first meet her. She's just a normal woman. I'm not trying to have Hercules come to Earth and join the Avengers here--the concept is very different and deals with what happens to Gods when they begin to lose their believers.

NRAMA: So she’s clueless as to her own identity?

DM: She's extremely incognito--even within her own skin. She doesn't know she's the goddess of wisdom--at least, not at first...

NRAMA: Does she – or will the readers know why she’s on earth?

DM: She really doesn't have a goal--and to explain her mission would mean spilling the entire storyline--which I'd rather not do. Check it out as it develops through the really wonderful art that's being done.

NRAMA: Fair enough. But something else that has to be mentioned here - Athena comes from a big family. Will we be seeing other members in your story?

DM: Absolutely! We will see several of Athena's brothers and sisters--as well as Dad and an Uncle or two!

NRAMA: Speaking of families, the first issue mentions that it features the Obama Family? How does that work out?

DM: The President often comes to New York--which is where Athena now lives and works--they just happen to bump into one another when one of those relatives of Athena we just talked about creates a fuss.

NRAMA: To wrap up on a tease, what can you say about where things are going in your first arc?

DM: My first arc gives us some background as to who Athena is, why she is in our world, and what kind of life a Goddess can have in the modern world. I tell that story through a sort of retelling of a more ancient one that everyone is sort of familiar with (at least, I hope they are!).

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