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A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
One hundred years ago. On the foggy Hudson River, a riverboat captain rescues an injured mermaid from the waters of the busiest port in the United States. A wildly popular--and notoriously reclusive--author makes a public debut. A French nobleman seeks a remedy for a curse. As three lives twine together and race to an unexpected collision, the mystery of the Mermaid of the Hudson deepens.
A mysterious and beguiling love story with elements of Poe, Twain, Hemingway, and Greek mythology, drawn in moody black-and-white charcoal, Sailor Twain is a study in romance, atmosphere, and suspense.
Sailor Twain is one of The Washington Post's Top 10 Graphic/Comic Reads of 2012
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A Q&A WITH SAILOR TWAIN AUTHOR MARK SIEGEL
What drew you to New York in 1887?
New York in the Gilded Age sits on the cusp of two eras. Steamboats ruled the Hudson and the Mississippi, but the train was about to overtake them. To me, this time period is on a border between old and new, myth and history -- it's an age of discovery, but also great misery, all bathed in an atmosphere of steam, steel, smoke and fog. The seeds of what would become the Civil Rights were being sown. Women were struggling for equality. Top hats, bustles, corsets, bustles, but Manhattan was at its most dangerous and violent. It's right between the ebbing age of the Civil War, the romance of the Victorian Era, and the industrial fog of our modern age.
Why a mermaid story?
The mermaid sings and the compulsion is more than any man can resist. To my mind, a mermaid's song isn't the sweet melody of Disney's Ariel, it's something sad and beautiful that overwhelms anyone who hears it. Like some addictions, passions, obsessions overtake our reason. Originally I didn't start Sailor Twain for anyone but myself. My early notes and doodles were a way to give form to some of these overpowering creative obsessions I couldn't handle otherwise. What appeared was a gallery of characters, a steamboat captain, a frenchman wearing 18th century clothes, a famous and reclusive author—and a mermaid. Later they wanted their own lives, and had to grow beyond just voices from my head; the characters wanted their own lives, their own voices. The mermaid wanted the story to be seen through her eyes, too, not just the doomed captain's.
Is charcoal a good medium for comics?
Not really, no. It's very messy, and you have to work large because it doesn't lend itself to small detail. But for the mood of Sailor Twain it was perfect—things come and go, and vanish in the mist. Not everything has to be said; you can hint at things, suggest them, half-show them. Combined with a greasy pencil for the lettering and a Conté Pierre-Noire for some of the line work, it allowed me to mix styles—sometimes cartoony, sometimes realistic—without losing a certain believability.
Sailor Twain was first offered as an online serial; why?
It was an experiment in returning to the old fashioned 19th century serial—Twain, Melville, Dickens, Austen. People read some of them in Harpers Monthly and old broadsheets. Now that tradition has reincarnated as the webcomic. There's so much great work coming out in webcomics these days. Before I started, I didn't really know what I was doing, putting out a page every Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I really wasn't too sure if anyone would go for a slow-building plot with intertwined love stories, and stick with it over a couple years. As it turns out many did. And best of all, I had a fascinating interaction all along the journey, with some smart, attentive readers, some of whom became friends.
Is the Hudson River romantic?
Supremely romantic. There's beauty, tragedy, mystery there—and the North River still has many a deep secret.
Before Sailor Twain your published books were for young readers. This latest work is for adults and contains nudity, sex and adult themes. Is this a career change?
I'm still working on picture books and other things for younger readers, I always will. But this book is an adult story. Captain Twain is a thirty-seven year old man, and everything can be quite different for a man at that age, different from his twenties or his teenage years; so that's what I was exploring. In that mid-life period, there's a singular potency and intensity. Some people find themselves, others completely lose themselves at that time in life -- depending on what kind of mermaid is singing to them.About the Author:
Mark Siegel was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and grew up in France. He is the editorial director of First Second and an accomplished writer and illustrator. He is the illustrator of To Dance: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel, a Robert F. Sibert Award Honor Book, written by his wife, Siena Cherson Siegel; and author and illustrator of the picture book Moving House, published by Roaring Brook Press.
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Book Description First Second, 2012. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P111596436360
Book Description First Second, 2012. Condition: New. Mark Siegel (illustrator). book. Seller Inventory # M1596436360
Book Description First Second. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1596436360 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.0726647