Lincoln’s forlorn early years as a struggling lawyer and neophyte politician are sympathetically depicted in this graphic novel. Arriving in Springfield in 1837, the 28-year-old Lincoln starts a law practice, meets the town’s lawyers and political figures, and becomes engaged to Mary Todd against her wealthy family’s wishes. But following a series of setbacks—his legal practice collapses, his debts accumulate, his roommate and closest friend leaves town, and he breaks the engagement—the melancholia, insecurity, and loneliness that had long plagued Lincoln spiral into a life-threatening nervous breakdown. Lincoln’s struggles to overcome the crippling depression he calls “the hypo” and set his life and his career back on track are no less heroic than the political courage he would display as president during the Civil War. Van Sciver’s heavily crosshatched drawing style, a bit reminiscent of early Crumb with a touch of Chester Brown, is well suited for the material, conveying a slight awkwardness that mirrors Lincoln’s personal discomfort and a rough-hewn, old-fashioned quality reflecting the story’s era. --Gordon Flagg
About the Author
Noah Van Sciver was born on July 7, 1984, and currently resides in Denver, CO. His work has appeared in Mad magazine, Sunstone, The Comics Journal, Mome, and numerous comics anthologies.