Journalist and comics writer Anthony N Castle contributed "Julie Ditrich: On Mermaids and Momentum". The images are used beautifully in the piece. One of our favourite Hyfus panels features at the top of the page.
Here is an excerpt on what relationship we have as readers and as comics creators to The Little Mermaid.
Andersen’s The Little Mermaid was a great influence in our cultural upbringing. As with all great literature, many points of view can be overlaid on the work to allow it to make sense to its audience’s needs. One angle of the story of the little mermaid can also be allegorical to the speculated life of Hans Christian Andersen as a gay man, who wrote passionate love letters to significant men in his life. Like the mute little mermaid, Andersen could not tell the world of his own homosexual love for the people of the world, but the original manuscripts showed his feelings clearly. The Little Mermaid story may have deeper pathos than its story context.
Yes, the tale is tragic and we always wanted to plunge in and change the ending, and one day we may, but it can be hard with such a powerful and well-distributed Disneyfied interpretation anchored out there with the masses as the perceived new originating source of this story. There’s another wonderful version by US novelist Carolyn Turgeon who reinvented the story in her book Mermaid. (Carolyn very kindly endorsed Elf~Fin: Hyfus & Tilaweed for us on the back cover of the first issue.)
As you’ve identified, Elf~Fin does contain similar themes of longing, which features in the first issue, as well as burgeoning sexuality and a sense of displacement which ripple through the story from the second issue. However, Elf~Fin doesn’t have the sensibility of The Little Mermaid. The latter is a delicate fragile story: Elf~Fin is more epic and has a different energy that traverses multiple plotlines over at least three books. Ultimately we will be exploring contemporary themes about human nature albeit skewed through mermaid characters in an oceanic world.
Thanks to Jozef also for his wonderful insights into Hans Christian Andersen's secret world.