This comic probably works better if you’ve read the letters Melville wrote to Hawthorne, which in places are so passionate as to be a bit creepy. Particularly creepy is that Melville had a Thing about cannibalism, which in his writing is often linked with the idea of love, specifically love between men. Melville’s letters to Hawthorne often make reference to eating and drinking, and sometimes explicitly to people consuming each other, as in, “Whence come you, Hawthorne? By what right do you drink from my flagon of life?” And Melville was a person who had personally known cannibals; this was not a theoretical idea to him. No wonder that Hawthorne eventually backed off from the intensity of Melville’s friendship. Regardless, or perhaps as a result, Melville wrote an anguished poem for him after his death, referring to Hawthorne as “the shyest grape.” What a strange and intriguing—and gustatory—way to describe someone.