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The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln Hardcover – October 19, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics; 1 edition (October 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606996193
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606996195
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #625,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've been reading Noah Van Sciver's comics for a number of years now, and the step forward he takes with 'The Hypo' is quite a large one.

This story, which deals with Abraham Lincoln's depression and self confidence issues in the 1830's, is very well written and shockingly well researched. If you're even a casual fan of the president, this book will really open your eyes to a whole new person. The content here really shows you Lincoln before he became the president who restored the nation, and a man who is both relatable and inspirational.

The artwork is superb, and you can you really see Van Sciver's development into a very very confident cartoonist.

I strongly recommend this book. Everyone I've shown it too has loved it, even folks who don't normally read comics or graphic novels.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I though this book was great. Von Scrivener's black and white ink drawings that appear so simple at first seem to swell with emotion as the book goes on, conveying a profound pathos and humanity. The story is told with excellent restraint and attention to detail. I did not anticipate being emotionally affected by a graphic novel, but I was, and I even found myself relating to young Lincoln's struggle to realize his own potential in the face of crippling self-doubt. I highly recommend this read.
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Format: Hardcover
The Hypo is an original graphic novel by Noah Van Sciver about the early life of Abraham Lincoln during his inner bouts with depression, his love life and his career as a lawyer. The main draw to this book is that, as far as I'm aware of, this is the first comic book depiction of these moments in Lincoln's life and Van Sciver does not disappoint. Each plot in the story is engaging, from Lincoln's depression, his floundering career as a lawyer and, his relationships with Mary Todd & Joshua Speed, all of these are wonderfully crafted by Van Sciver's storytelling abilities as a cartoonist and his wondrous use of cross hatching which become heavier throughout the book as Lincoln becomes more and more consumed by his inner struggles. The Hypo is a fantastic graphic novel debut and is one of the better graphic novels to come out this year.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really had no idea Lincoln suffered from depression and this graphic novel did an excellent job with the character of Lincoln, the people he lived with and his relationship with Mary Todd. She was also depressed but it was manifested in the form of migraines. I wanted this for the high school library but thought better when one of the first chapters deals with Lincoln being set up with a prostitute. The author was impressive in his rendering of Lincoln, his southern personality and respect for others, and delving into the depths of despair Lincoln sunk to; alarming many who came to his aid.
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Format: Hardcover
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I've been telling people for a while that this Noah Van Sciver kid is a major talent primed to explode. And even though I only recently realized this book had been finished and released, HE HAS OFFICIALLY EXPLODED.

Noah's tale of the melancholic young Lincoln captures the place and era in a way I just haven't seen elsewhere. The pathos young Lincoln carries on his face---the way he ages over the 200 pages of story---this is a powerful piece of work. From his series of failures to finding a fellow damaged soul to spend his life with---from suffering under frontier medicine to using hyperbole and humor (and a bit of luck) to escape a duel---from changing his mind in a whore's bedroom to his reason for doing so---Noah's young Lincoln is a complex and powerful characterization. And it doesn't play any of the postmodern games many of the better comics (and aspiring-to-be-better) of our era are getting caught up in.

The book finishes with an addendum with an illustrated version of the almost-certainly-by Lincoln poem on suicide. It's not a bad bit of verse. I've taught it before.

Anyway, the pacing is both stolid and rapid. The art has, in my controversial opinion, not only gone beyond its Crumby origins but quite arguably surpassed Crumb.

Noah Van Sciver has unquestionably arrived.
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