Alongside stage musical HOAX My Lonely Heart, I worked with a further nine of my brother’s poems to create the graphic novel HOAX Psychosis Blues. This tells the story beyond the end of the musical stage performance, after my brother’s diagnosis as having schizophrenia, and the difficulties he faces over subsequent years.
In fact my brother wrote many hundreds of poems during his illness. As expressions of his varying state of mind – sometimes lucid, sometimes confused – they constitute a very honest portrayal of what it was like for him to live with schizophrenia at that time. My brother killed himself in May 2008, aged 31 years.
Illustrated by Hannah Berry, Karrie Fransman, Leonardo M. Giron, Julian Hanshaw, Rozi Hathaway, Rian Hughes, Ian Jones, Jade Moss, Mark Stafford and Bryan Talbot; designed by Wayne Marsden and Marysa de Veer; published by Ziggy’s Wish; supported by ARts Council England, The University of Nottingham and Ziggy’s Wish.
National Lottery Good Causes 2017 (nominated); Arts Councils England Strategic Touring Programme 2016 (awarded); Medicine Unboxed Creative Prize 2015 (longlisted); The People’s Book Prize 2014/15 (longlisted); Comics in Education Graphic Novel of the Year 2014 (winner); Medicine Unboxed Creative Prize 2014 (shortlisted); British Comic Awards Best Book 2014 (longlisted); Comica Top Ten British Graphic Novels 2014 (official selection); Critic’s Poll Publishers Weekly 2014 ((official selection); Arts Councils England Grants for the Arts 2014 (awarded); Arts Councils England Grants for the Arts 2013 (awarded).
Glen Downey, Sequart Organization: Why Ravi Thornton’s Graphic Memoir is an Early Candidate for the Year’s Best
Jules Valera, Mental health sufferer: HOAX Psychosis Blues
Jon Turner, Your Days Are Numbered, Issue 9: The foundation of this deeply personal project lies in a series of poems written by the late Rob and tied together into a loose biographical narrative by sister Ravi Thornton, which is an accompaniment to her similarly titled musical. HOAX is a poignant rendering and lovingly assembled graphic, and charts his struggle with schizophrenia, but not in a linear narrative order as such, more from the different emotions experienced through Rob’s mental state. The nine poems are illustrated by a list of artists that read like a who’s who of British indie publishing royalty; Hannah, Berry, Karrie Fransman, Julian Hanshaw, Rian Hughes, Mark Stafford, and Bryan Talbot. As expected with an ensemble as strong and varied, the results are extreme. One page we revel at Hughes stylish work on ‘Wallflower’, while on the next we wince at Stafford’s beautifully eerie paranoia tinged interpretation of ‘Roach Psychiatry’. Hoax acts as both a vehicle for expressing Ravi’s obvious feelings for her brother, and a powerful window showing the plight of a schizophrenic sufferer. A bold and necessary piece of storytelling indeed.
Rich Johnson, On the Shelf: HOAX Psychosis Blues
Jonathan Rigby, Page 45: HOAX Psychosis Blues
Jenny Neary, Mental health sufferer: HOAX Psychosis Blues. When I read “HOAX Psychosis Blues” by Ravi Thornton, I found it incredibly eye-opening and breathtakingly beautiful. Suffering from mental health issues myself, I know that there isn’t a lot of literature around about mental health problems, and the experiences of those suffering, but it’s an important tool that should be used more to educate people on these kinds of issues, and I feel like this wonderful graphic novel will contribute to that. The way that many artists have worked together to show their own interpretation on the poems and the protagonist’s feelings have worked very well to create such a moving and inspiring graphic novel, which many people from all backgrounds and situations will be able to appreciate. Rob’s poetry, which fits so well into the novel alongside the artwork, is used in such a way to make it a very personal account, and this will hopefully remind readers that real people are in similar situations. Each section is individually crafted, and it is both the beautiful artwork and amazing poetry that compliment each other so well which leaves an impression on the reader, and it is this which is most important of all, as this touching novel will hopefully help many people begin to understand the severity of mental health problems, and make many realise that they are not alone.
Eliza Lindsay, Mental health sufferer: HOAX
William Rycroft, JUST WILLIAM’S LUCK: Hoax
Joe Gorden, Forbidden Planet International: HOAX Psychosis Blues
Matthew Charlton, The Digital Fix Geeklife: HOAX Psychosis Blues
Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier: “Finding Beauty in the Dark” – Ravi Thornton Talks HOAX Psychosis Blues, Cross-Media Storytelling and ‘Brin & Bent’ Two Years On
Naomi Bridges, For Book’s Sake: 5 Reasons We’re Excited about Ravi Thornton’s Hoax