A modern ‘rime’

One of the most pleasing publications to come through the Design Week post bag as of late is The Rime of the Modern Mariner by Nick Hayes.

As the name would suggest, it’s a contemporary retelling of Coleridge’s unnerving supernatural tale, which sees a ghostly mariner roam the earth telling all that that will listen about his plight following his foolish shooting of the sacred albatross.

The tale has been retold as a graphic novel by author and illustrator Nick Hayes, a political cartoonist for the Guardian and a founding editor of writing, illustration and comics periodical Meat Magazine. 

The cover by Nick Hayes
The cover by Nick Hayes

Hayes has switched Coleridge’s wedding guest – to whom the mariner presses to hear his tale – to a Blackberry-wielding divorcee, but has also made larger changes, combining the tale’s theme of violating nature with the modern-day pollution of our seas with plastics and other waste.

Hayes' distinctive illustration style
Hayes’ distinctive illustration style

Rendered in a palette of blue, black and white – not dissimilar to Craig Thompson’s critically acclaimed graphic novel Blankets, the book’s expressive illustration style fits the harrowing and fantastic nature of the story.

It’s a feast for the eyes, and an interesting retelling of Coleridge’s tale, sympathetic with the original themes of the book.

Hayes' distinctive illustration style
A page from the book

The Rime of the Modern Mariner by Nick Hayes is published by Jonathan Cape.

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