Title of the work
Country of the First Edition
Country/countries of popularity
First Edition Date
First Edition Details
Kathryn Griffiths, Icarus: The Boy who Flew too High, Birmingham and Shanghai: Gold World Publishing, 2013, 22 pp.
Comics (Graphic works)
Children (5-10 years)
We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.
Author of the Entry:
Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University, email@example.com
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Nkemleke, ENS University of Yaoundé 1, email@example.com
Kathryn Griffiths (Author, Illustrator)
Kathryn Griffiths is an English author and illustrator from Manchester.
Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar- Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an adaptation of the myth of Daedalus and Icarus and their attempts to escape Crete. The story is built similarly to a comic book, with illustration and word balloons. Daedalus devises wings for his son and himself, but Icarus flies too high to the sun and falls. His father then prays to the gods and Icarus becomes the sea spirit Icaria, which protects the sea.
This book depicts Icarus as a young boy who yearns for freedom and is bored on Crete. Daedalus refuses to work for King Minos and is threatened with execution. Icarus feels like he is wasting his life, because he has not done anything since he is locked in the tower in Crete. He wishes he could fly away. This sentiment is shared by many people who feel like their life is wasted without ever achieving anything substantial. The wish to fly away during difficult time is also understandable and common to many, in Icarus’ situation flying is the only option for him to regain his freedom. Icarus is depicted as simply having fun and mistakenly get close to the sun. He is not blamed for a reckless behavior, although he does appear restless and agitated prior to their flight, due to his incarceration.
While the duo fly a passerby sees them and notes that they are like the gods. Yet they are mere mortals and their mortality is soon harshly realized when Icarus falls. Although after his death he becomes a kind of divinity.
In many adaptations, the fall of Icarus marks the climatic tragedy of the myth and where the stories usually end, or with the addition of the sad and lonely Daedalus. Examples are Celina Elmi’s Ovid for Fun from 2012 or Jenny Oldfield’s Wings of Icarus (2007) and many more.
Here we have an attempt at creating a happy ending after all. Icarus becomes Icaria, the guardian spirit of the sea (an invention of the author) and he even meets his father and tells him that he shall wait until they meet in heaven above one day. This is a combination of a Greek myth and a Judeo-Christian influence, since there is no heaven above in the ancient Greek religion, only Olympus. Yet it appears as if the author wished to end the story on a happier note of a future reunion between the father and son, and their walking hand in hand is also the final illustration.