If you want a new, horrific, and excellent twist on the star-crossed lovers trope, look no further than Sink Your Hookteeth by Eli Mead, a.k.a. Boogeymadam. This “cosmic horror/love story” follows body-snatching eldritch merfolk who fall for a pair of humans seeking to catch and study them in order to cure a supernatural illness. As noted on the Hookteeth website, this comic contains violence, strong language, upper body nudity, and “disastrous meet-cutes.”
“Disastrous” is almost an understatement. When we first meet scientists Fallon and Mordecai (Mo for short), the pair are studying the eldritch merfolk together. Fallon, an engineer and mechanic, and Mo, a scientist, are lifelong friends; when the eldritch appear in their world, Thalassa, native sea monsters and people start getting very sick, and Fallon is among them. Thus, the pair start on a path to discover whether the merfolk are spreading Barnacle Breath, as well as how to stop it before it’s too late.
Fallon and Mo each meet the eldritch at different points in their lives, but those encounters inform everything; in particular, Mo’s complicated relationship with and feelings for Nenmye alter his whole world.
It’s hard to articulate just how horrible of an idea it is for humans to fall for body-snatching creatures whose real names can literally split skulls, but what’s the fun of falling for a monster if there isn’t any danger to it? And it’s not just the humans who have feelings for the merfolk, as mentioned above. Feelings flow both ways, which of course just makes everything even more complicated.
In addition to gorgeous, painted panels with great mood lighting and well-rendered facial expressions, Sink Your Hookteeth also features an occasional animated panel, which is really unique. Mead’s dialogue is sharp and the story exposition is laid out through narration, flashback, and conversation, which keeps up the pacing. Though this comic is just getting started, it’s already an excellent read.
If you loved The Shape of Water or even Splash and want to read something that examines some of the gore and horror of falling in love with a creature who could (and probably would) literally kill you, Sink Your Hookteeth is the comic for you. You can follow along at hookteethcomic.com, or on Tapas or Webtoon. You can follow creator Eli Mead on Twitter @Boogeymadam.