Category Archives: Hopeless

Welcome to Hopeless, Maine!

The Hopeless Vendetta started life as the newspaper for a fictional island. These days, the site is a mix of fiction, whimsy, and news about other Hopeless, Maine projects. 

Hopeless, Maine is a haunted island off the coast of America. It first put out its tentacles as a graphic novel series. The project now includes a live performance team – The Ominous Folk of Hopeless, Maine, a role play game, tarot deck, prose fiction, music, puppets, costumes and a film project. Check out the static pages for further information on those.

Making Night Potato Vodka

Human residents of the island make night potato vodka whenever they forget what a bad idea this turned out to be last time someone tried it. The usual method is to capture and kill night potatoes, then ferment them – usually in some sort of bucket. The bitterly cold weather in winter makes it easy enough to freeze off the excess water. What results is often excellent for starting fires, and likely to leave a drinker mad, blind, glowing, or all three. 

This is as nothing when compared to the night potato vodka made by night potatoes. Night potatoes are not known for eating each other. However, sometimes a night potato dies of natural causes, and this will go unnoticed by their comrades until decay starts to set in. There is a particular sort of fungi that grows on the eyes of decomposing night potatoes, and it is from this fungi that the night potatoes themselves brew their vodka in tiny receptacles.

Whether it is the naturally glowing eyes of the night potatoes that result in the fungi also glowing, or whether it is the fungi that glow and the night potatoes gain their eye glow through drinking it, is hard to say. My suspicion is that this is a more complex and circular relationship.

If a human has ever partaken of the vodka made by night potatoes, none has ever survived to tell the tale. It does not suggest itself as an especially survivable experience but no doubt at some point, someone will be willing to test this theory – either for science, for poetry or in the hopes of finally escaping from the island.

Werewolf love song

Werewolf love song

(Chorus)

The scent of you under the moon

your flower/salt tang in the air,

makes me so glad that it hurts,

makes fur stand.

I must taste again, your skin.

Your soul calls me always.

I would follow you into the sea.

We spoke on the bridge for an hour or more.

I waited there for you for most of the day,

to hear your soft voice and make it seem chance.

I do not touch you but hear you.

I hear you still in my mind.

The scent of you under the moon

your flower/salt tang in the air,

makes me so glad that it hurts,

makes fur stand.

I must taste again, your skin.

Your soul calls me always.

I would follow you into the sea.

We “chance” meet again in the morning near town,

Your dark eyes alive with finer feeling.

I offer my coat for your shoulders,

our hands touch as you thank me.

I hear you still in my mind.

The scent of you under the moon

your flower/salt tang in the air,

makes me so glad that it hurts,

makes fur stand.

I must taste again, your skin.

Your soul calls me always.

I would follow you into the sea.

I’ve asked you to meet in the evening at last,

We speak of the trees by the rising moonlight.

You share your dreams of the ocean,

Your head on my shoulder, you murmur.

I hear you still in my mind.

The scent of you under the moon

your flower/salt tang in the air,

makes me so glad that it hurts,

makes fur stand.

I must taste again, your skin.

Your soul calls me always.

I would follow you into the sea.

The light of the moon and your nearness,

make me feel as if i’ve lost my mind,

I howl my pleasure and madness

I must taste again, your skin.

I would follow you into the sea.

The scent of you under the moon

your flower/salt tang in the air,

makes me so glad that it hurts,

makes fur stand.

I must taste again, your skin.

Your soul calls me always.

I would follow you into the sea.

This is a new song featured in this year’s Hopeless, Maine show. It’s the first of our original songs to be written by Tom, and the tune for it was composed by Tom and his son Cormac – who is a fantastic musician.

The Queen of Crows

The Queen of Crows came into existence because, thanks to Laura Perry, we have a crows suit in the Hopeless, Maine tarot deck. The image of her is based on me. This led me to an idea for a song and that song is part of this year’s Hopeless, Maine show.

If you’d like to hear a recorded version, I’ve put that on Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/NimueB

Like most people in comics, we aren’t rolling in money. Patreon support helps keep us viable, and at the moment it’s the only predictable income we have! Life is an adventure. Being able to afford more time for Hopeless and no needing to chase paying gigs so much means more Hopeless things can happen.

The Queen of Crows

When you are broken

The queen of crows will come to you

The shattered last remains of you 

And all the empty places will be feathers.

When you are bleeding

Your life released into the dirt

When all you know is shame and hurt

Nothing else remains but bones and feathers.

When you are dying

Her darkness is your last embrace

Your only comfort is her face

Her gaze upon your bones, the touch of feathers.

When you are silent

She puts her beak between your lips

And from your throat the crow caw slips

You scream and in her gaze are bones and feathers.

When flesh falls from you

And all your life is stripped away

She comforts you in your decay

You are falling screaming bones dressed all in feathers.

When they forget you

And all your truth becomes their lies

The world seen only through her eyes

You are peaceful you are drifting, you are feathers.

And when the light within you dies

The crow queen comes to take your eyes

And when your soul has lost its grace

The crows will tear into your face

And when your heart can beat no more

The crows will find you on the shore

And when your life is torn away

The crows will come to make you stay

And when your breath you cannot bear

The crows will feed on your despair

And when your mortal time is through

The queen of crows is born anew.

Life after graphic novels

Those of you who follow us on Facebook may have noticed that we’re talking a lot there about the last graphic novel. This is Survivors, and we’re getting close to finishing it. Survivors is the last graphic novel in the story arc, and it’s the last Tom/Nimue graphic novel you are going to see. They’re just too time consuming, and we need more time to actually have a life and do other things. 

However, that’s not the final instalment for Hopeless, Maine, and a number of things come next.

We’re still working on making a film. We’ve been set back by the plague era, but not totally thwarted. Expect to see news on that as and when we have any.

We’re going out with live shows. You can find The Ominous Folk of Hopeless Maine at events in the UK. We want to do more events, which will be easier when we’re not also trying to make graphic novels. We’ve got some big ambitions for the performance side in 2023, big enough that we have to start working on that this summer. Please do suggest events we might throw ourselves at – we can go out as folk, steampunk and theatre. We’ve been to a Goblin Masquerade. We’re open to suggestions.

Otherwise, we’re moving into illustrated fiction. Both Sloth Comics and Outland Entertainment have already expressed a willingness to publish books that have more words in them. We’ve got a new story for you, set after the graphic novel series. It’s called Mirage, and Dr Abbey has been our co-creator for this. It’s a standalone novel, (we’ve tested it on the innocent) but it will probably be more amusing for people who already know the story to this point.

So long as we have ideas for stories, we’ll keep doing illustrated novels. We’ll likely have each of these stand alone, because that’s much less stressful for everyone. It’s also really important to us to only bring you new things if we feel like we have something worth sharing. We are not fans of things that are stretched out forever, recycling what few ideas they had in the hopes of milking every last drop from the cash cow!

There are also some not-Hopeless plans being explored, and we’ll point at those from here now and then when it makes sense to do so.

Survivors should be with you in 2023. Mirage should follow that in a smooth sort of way. Meanwhile we try and figure out a happily ever after for the creative team.

A Semblance of Truth

We’re delighted to announce that the Kickstarter for Hopeless, Maine Inheritance (Outland editions) has funded and we’re now in the exciting realm of stretch goals. If the project reaches $6k, everyone who backs it will also get a pdf of the novella A Semblance of Truth. Wander this way – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hopelessmaine/hopeless-maine-2-inheritance-by-tom-and-nimue-brown

Here’s a bit of that book to tempt you in…

This is not a diary. That would imply an inward focus and a degree of self obsession that I find distasteful. It is to be a record of impressions and insights. While my weekly newssheet, The Hopeless Vendetta permits me to share key moments of local life with my fellow citizens, I feel strongly a need to leave a more lasting and detailed record. There are things I do not know how to speak of publically, but there must be truth, somewhere. For weal or woe, this is my testament.

Why do the Jones’s chickens have three legs, more often than not? Other people’s chickens seem perfectly happy with two. Birds, I have observed, do not generally favour the three legged option and yet, on the Jones farm, there they are. I visited today to record events at their open farm day. Sadly the mutant goat has passed on, so I can no longer observe it. Is there some connection between the three eyes on the goat and the three legs upon the chickens? I cannot conceive of a way of making that connection unless perchance there is something in the air or the soil of that particular spot leading to extra features. However, to the best of my knowledge, that branch of the Jones family remains unafflicted by additional limbs or eyes. It troubles me that I can think of no way to better study or observe these curiosities.

I had considered studying the births and deaths of this island as a separate project, but paper is in short supply. I haven’t heard of a birth for weeks, and by my calculations at this rate we won’t have a population here at all in fifty years time unless a great many more people are shipwrecked. Then there is the matter of death. Millicent Cobbage, 84, dismembered. By whom? There is no apparent evidence, only the gruesome remains. Jobe Mathias, 26 ex-sanguinated . How? I have no idea. The doctor has examined him and there is a remarkable dearth of blood in his body. Regan Higsbottom, 42, missing for two weeks, declared dead. Too many questions and seldom any answers at all. I have published all, and perhaps someone will step forward with insight.

Last night, a bloodstorm swept the island. I saw the first of it fall as the light was fading, the violent red drops cascading from the sky, while the smell of iron hung in the air. I stayed out for as long as I could to make observations. My clothes were badly soiled and will bear the stains for some time to come, I fear. Fortunately I was not wearing my good suit. By dawn today, houses, windows and roads alike were stained with this most disquieting substance. It made for a strange spectacle with the pale orange of the sunlight. By the viscosity and the way in which the liquid soon crusted, I am confident this was indeed blood. I spoke with Doc Willoughby who confirmed my fears but he could not say if it was animal or human in origin. Where did all the blood come from? I think of ex-sanguinated Jobe Mathias and wonder if others shared his fate. But if so, then how was the blood transmitted? Why did it fall from the sky? Does this shocking event represent some unimaginable horror that has happened beyond the boundaries of our beloved island? How could so much blood have become airborne, with no trace of any body parts? Are there monsters in our skies? Perhaps time will present answers. I want to believe that it was no more than colourful dust swept up by a rain cloud, that the iron came from desert sands, a mere illusion of carnage, the horror a product of my own troubled mind. But surely such dust would have washed from my shirt? I cannot get the stains out, no matter how I try.

Hopeless on Youtube

Videos from our online festival are now on youtube!

Arrival

Finding Hopeless, Maine – Meredith Debonnaire

Upon Arrival in Hopeless – Craig Hallam

The Tentacoils – Penny Blake

Haul Away Joe – Ominous Folk

To Ride a Surf Horse – Pauline Pitchford

Interview with Tom & Nimue Brown,

Flora and Fauna

How it keeps you – written by Mark Lawrence and read by Adam Horovitz

Drawing a Spoonwalker – Cliff Cumber

Dust Moths at my Window / My Mind – Craig Hallam

Starfish Love – Ominous Folk

Flight of the Succubus Wasp / Dance of the Teaselheads – Craig Hallam Of Moon & Dust Cat – Fergus Ryan

Dustcat Puppet – Martin Hayward-Harris

Ode to Hopeless / An Ode to Pulvis – Craig Hallam

Hopeless, Maine Spoonwalker – Gregg McNeill/Nimue Brown

The Bridge of Bottles / The Mermaid’s Song – Craig Hallam

People and Places

Nightshade – Craig Hallam

Melisandra – Suna Dasi

Pallid Rock Orphanage – Craig Hallam

Hopeless Scientific Society – James Weaselgrease and Robin Treefellow

Beneath the Trees of Hopeless – Craig Hallam

The Cargo – written by Jason C Eckhart and read by Phoebe Briggenshaw

Others

The Arrival – written by Madeleine Holly-Rosing and read by Phoebe Briggenshaw

Ycenthwaite – Steve C Davis

Cthulhu Party Political Broadcast – Andy Arbon

Eldritch Artifact – Andy Arbon

HM Tarot – an interview with Laura Perry

The Picnic of Doom – Craig Hallam

Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys!

Into the night

Hopeless Aufhocher – Matt McCall

The Recipe – Professor Elemental

Huge thanks to everyone who took part! And especially hugest of thanks to The Keith Of Mystery who held it all together and did all the technical things.

A Hopeless Love Song

Starfish love song

The tide brings us back here once more
Starcrossed starfish lovers
Cast up on the shore
Amidst things that are broken
And washed up and drowned
Battered unwanted and strewn all around
I find you aren’t quite out of reach
Here we are, yet again on this beach.

How can we go forward,
Sweetest love of my heart
Five arms, and five directions
Anatomy keeps us apart.

When we’re apart I dream of you
I’d call out your name if I could
A starfish can’t shout we just mumble
And none of it does any good.

I’d give you my bony ossicles
I’d take all your arms in my arms
We could extrude our stomachs together
Oh darling one show me your charms.

I’d bring you the pearls of these waters
The bright shining lumps of sea glass
Fragments of bones horns of gramophones
A bite from a dead sailor’s ass.

Sometimes we cling to a boulder
The sea comes in and goes out
Sometimes we are torn from each other
To languish in fear and doubt.

Love is the tide that we swim in
That drops us so often on land
Fate brings us back to each other
As we slowly dry out in the sand.

The tide brings us back here once more
Starcrossed starfish lovers
Cast up on the shore
Amidst things that are broken
And washed up and drowned
Battered unwanted and strewn all around
I find you aren’t quite out of reach
Here we are, yet again on this beach.

(It has a tune, but I haven’t recorded it yet. All being well it will be in Hopeless Maine’s Ominous Folk show next year. Starfish doodles also by me.)