See it before it sees you
Hopeless is a small, gloomy, foggy island off the coast of Maine. You might enjoy visiting, although you might never make it home again. Tourists should be warned that some of the locals bite.
Fear not though, if you don’t want to risk a visit you can read all about Hopeless, Maine in a series of graphic novels by Stroud’s Tom and Nimue Brown. Illustrated in a unique rich, warm, style falling somewhere between manga and steampunk, the creepy atmosphere oozes from the pages and draws you deeper and deeper into this dark (but sneakily humourous) gothic horror. With two books out so far, another set for release in the spring/summer of next year, possibly a further two graphic novels to complete the story and some illustrated prose books set on the island, this is an epic tale of magic and evil.
I met up with Tom to find out how it all began…
How long have you been collaborating on Hopeless, Maine?
Nearly ten years! Nimue and I started working together back when I was living in the US. We are a couple at least partly because of Hopeless, Maine. We fell in love while on opposite sides of the Atlantic, and then I moved here to marry her.
What was your inspiration?
Many things! For me, growing up in Maine, for the two of us, our own “personal demons”. In terms of influences, Poe, Lovecraft, Miyazaki, Hawthorne and Edward Gorey.
Does your real life influence the story?
Sometimes, yes. We steal people’s faces for characters occasionally. It is more of a reflection of our inner lives though.
In addition to the books, I saw recently that there is an RPG game available. What other merchandise and tie-ins do you have?
The RPG is still digital only (we hope to bring out print copies early next year) but we have enamel badges (that glow in the dark!) and a small book called Lullabye for a Dustcat as well as Hopeless, Maine sea creatures which I have made. Nimue has also written a selection of Pagan titles and a new poetry book called Mapping the Contours. We’ll be selling all of these and the first two volumes of the graphic novels at our Goblin Market along with Hopeless, Maine themed Christmas cards and small art prints.
Where can we find the Goblin Market?
We’ll be at the Christmas Farmers Market in Cornhill 19th-21st December, or find us at hopelessmaine.com