Hopeless, Maine: Personal Demons

Nimue Brown, Author, Tom Brown, Author, Tom Brown, Illustrator
Tom and Nimue Brown. Archaia Entertainment (www.archaia.com), $19.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-936393-57-2
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Although a dark fantasy, this Web comic collection is suitable for odler teens, particularly fans of such series as Courtney Crumrin. The art is similarly gothic and moody, often in murky, sepia shades, without much color variation. The images provide an air of enlightened decay, suitable to the story setting. Hopeless is an isolated island off the coast of Maine, where the orphan girl Salamandra comes to terms with her powers. She can do magic, but refuses to be called a witch, and her solitary nature marks her out from the other children at the orphanage. Her first friend turns out to be unusual in more than one way, and not particularly friendly, but Salamandra bonds with an older boy named Owen. The characters have an affected, ethereal air, and the art concentrates more on showcase panels than action. The spooky tone, with monster demons and ghosts, would be well-suited to a Halloween read. The message—that those who say they’re your friends may not be, friendship should be judged by actions, and to have faith in yourself—will especially appeal to younger readers. (Dec.)
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