YARMOUTH, Maine —A Flatlander, by definition, is anyone not originally from Maine. We forgive them. Really, we do. In fact, we want to help. And so does Maine writer and illustrator Mark Ricketts, himself a recovering Flatlander. His desire to share what he has learned about the state in the past decade has led him to create the hilarious new book, “A Flatlander’s Guide to Maine,” which offers natives, visitors, transplants, wary guests, and native animal species an illustrated guide to the Pine Tree State.
The tongue-in-cheek, 104-page, fully-illustrated “guidebook” is officially slated for release on May 14. The book introduces readers to characters such as Ranger Dickie Todd, Earl Hornswaggle, and Ricketts’ own cartoon doppelganger who serve as the book’s “Maine guides.” The trio help lead readers through quizzes and puzzles about Maine, as well as a look at the state’s history, lingo, flora, fauna, culture, shopping, and tall tales.
“When I first moved to Maine, I became obsessed with the local storytellers and humorists,” Ricketts said. “After reading John Gould’s “The Fastest Hound Dog in the State of Maine,” I was inspired to incorporate Maine’s rich culture, characters, and landscape into my own work. Why not? Dodge and Bryan created Bert and I and they were from away. Figured it was time for another Flatlander to take a turn.”
An event to celebrate the book’s release will take place at the Isaac Farrar Mansion in Bangor on May 14 from 5 to 8 p.m. The event, in conjunction with Bangor Greendrinks’ May gathering sponsored by the Bangor YMCA, will feature live music, a digital slide show, a framed print raffle, and other surprises and fun goodies.
Ricketts, who is originally from Arkansas, has lived in Bangor, Maine, for seven years where he has provided illustrations and cartoons for a variety of local publications and companies, including Bangor Metro Magazine, Maine Ahead, and The Maine Edge. He has also written and illustrated for such national publishers as McGraw Hill, Marvel Comics, Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Nickelodeon Magazine, Playboy Magazine, August House Books, and others.
“Mark Ricketts is an extremely talented writer and illustrator who has worked for some of the largest magazines and publishers in the nation as well as for cool independent comic book companies,” said Dean L. Lunt, publisher of Islandport Press. “He has even written Iron Man comics! We are very excited to work with Mark not only on this clever and really funny guidebook, but also on a wonderful children’s book that we will release in 2014.”
Islandport Press is a dynamic, award-winning publisher dedicated to stories rooted in the essence and sensibilities of New England. For more information, please call 207-846-3344, visit www.islandportpress.com, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.