‘Hopeless is a strange, gothic island off the coast of Maine, cut off from the rest of reality for the greater part.’ So write Tom and Nimue Brown, the authors of Hopeless, Maine, a unique series of graphic novels. The world of Hopeless takes inspiration from the tentacled monstrosities of H.P. Lovecraft, transformed into a lighter, ironic vein in which the horrific becomes wistful and cute. The writing is understated and elliptical. The artwork is quite simply superb; its obsessive attention to detail transcends the norms of expectation in comics and puts me in mind of the Pre-Raphaelites.
Originally published by Archaia, the first two volumes of Hopeless, Maine have just been republished as a glorious omnibus edition by Sloth Comics. The authors, being very right on, are keen to encourage readers to order the book from local shops, but it can also be sourced directly from the distributor: https://www.turnaround-uk.com/hopeless-maine.html
Here’s what the authors have to say about this particular monstrosity from Hopeless, Maine:
‘The tides around the coast of Hopeless, Maine are infamously dangerous, tending to break anything caught up in them. However, there are pockets of still depths, where the wave song cannot be heard. Deep, dark waters where little moves, and nothing changes over unthinkable stretches of time. This is not to say that the depths are lifeless. Only that those humans who enter the hidden kingdom do not return to tell any tales.
‘Every now and then, some ancient horror of the deep succumbs to time. It rises, and the waves dutifully dash it against the rocks. Only broken fragments wash ashore, to alarm and bewilder those who find them.
‘Cooking instructions: Pry open the hard outer shell if you can. If this isn’t possible, just give up, there’s no point continuing. Soak and rinse whatever you find, repeatedly over several days. Cook over a low heat for more than a day. Proceed with caution. Unsuitable for invalids.’