Twist on a Classic


"The Rime of the Modern Mariner" by Nick Hayes uses Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem about the ancient mariner to describe our environmental folly. Hayes' graphic novel is a worthy update and adequately infuses the tale with modern horrors like oil spills, sludge, floating garbage fields and rotting whales.

As a graphic novel, the art is very important. In this regard, Nick Hayes excels. The black ink on cream paper evokes wood cuts, connecting this new version to older arts. A judicious use of blue adds variety and depth which is needed because this is a long graphic novel. It is not too long, however.

Hayes also should be credited with clever word play. As an environmental cautionary tale, he has quite a challenge since the muck is made of polystyrene, neoprene, Tupperware, polymers and such. His rhyming, though not perfect, is clever. He rhymes "St. Elmo's eerie fire" with "North Atlantic gyre," for example. He's not Coleridge, but he's good.

--Julie C., Headquarters


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