The Sorrows of Young Abraham Lincoln

Reading between the lines.
Nov. 2 2012 11:00 PM

The Sorrows of Young Lincoln

A debut graphic novel explores the 16th president’s depressive early years as a lawyer in Springfield, Ill.

Page from The Hypo
An image from The Hypo

Illustration by Noah Van Sciver.

Springfield, Ill., 1837. Young Abraham Lincoln arrives to practice law after a successful term in the state legislature. Bedeviled by social and financial hardship, engaged to a woman he’s sure he does not love, alone in a bleak law office during a harsh Midwestern winter, Lincoln experiences a deep depression—which he calls “The Hypo”—that threatens his sanity and his future.

Noah Van Sciver is a Denver cartoonist whose comic book, Blammo, was nominated for an Ignatz award. In his first graphic novel, The Hypo, Van Sciver’s dense, detailed pen-and-ink drawings offer a vivid portrait of a little-explored part of Lincoln’s past. His Lincoln is a thoughtful misfit, a young man gripped by despair who has no idea he will one day become one of our greatest leaders.


We’re very pleased to feature Noah Van Sciver as the Slate Book Review illustrator for our November issue.


The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln by Noah Van Sciver. Fantagraphics Books.

The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln

~ Noah Van Sciver (author) More about this product
List Price: $24.99
Price: $16.49
You Save: $8.50 (34%)

Dan Kois is Slate's culture editor and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine.



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.


Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 16 2014 11:46 PM The Scariest Campfire Story More horrifying than bears, snakes, or hook-handed killers.
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.