Hopeless, Maine Volume 2: Inheritance
by Tom Brown and Nimue Brown
Cover Artist: Tom Brown; Lettered by Deron Bennett
Review by Gayle Surrette
Archaia Entertainment, LLC Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781939867032
Date: 29 October 2013 List Price $19.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Hopeless, Maine: Inheritance by Tom and Nimue Brown is a lovely volume about a small community on an island that seems to be cut off from all connections with the mainland. The drawings show some truly strange plants and animals, giving a true fantastical, and a bit horrifying, feel to the landscape, the town, and its people. Personally, I couldn't help feeling like some of Lovecraft's more seafaring creatures were going to come out in the night as I read the story -- that was the feeling of eerie, quiet horror that the story achieved for me.
Salamandra lives in the orphanage. Her parents have disappeared but she doesn't miss them for she's glad they're gone and hopes never to see them again. Her best friend is Owen. When Owen's mother tells her she may have a grandfather and where to find him, Salamandra is curious to find out about him.
Everyone in town seems just a bit off in one way or another. Owen believes the doctor is really killing people instead of saving them. His very ill mother refuses to allow the local witch to help her. His father seems aloof and yet, very strict with Owen and the others living under his roof.
Owen and Salamadra want to escape the island and see the rest of the world. However, it turns out that only one of them can leave as the other must stay behind to give the person leaving a chance at survival. Who will stay and who will go? What will staying mean for the person left behind?
The art work is beautifully rendered and people are differentiated, though many look similar. The color palette as you can see from the cover image is muted and soft -- these shades appeal to me, especially in such a creepy story. Often there are strange faces, creatures, or other items in the background making the panels ones you want to study closely.
Hopeless, Maine is also a webcomic and you can find it by following the link at the top of this review.
Enjoy the weirdness.