Creator / Edward Gorey
Edward Gorey (1925-2000) was a writer/illustrator best known for writing several short tales, often told in rhyme (usually couplets) and very surreal and macabre. The art was a very distinct style of ink drawing that was described as very Victorian or Edwardian. He admitted that his own professional art training was "negligible", but he was still known to have done illustration work for a wide variety of media, including the opening for the PBS
.Gorey had a fondness for anagrams, jumbling up his own name to make several pseudonyms. He also liked ballet, fur coats, tennis shoes and cats, all of which were featured in his work
. He also had an affection for some of the darker TV shows during his time
, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer
, Batman: The Animated Series
and The X-Files
Some of his more notable works:
- The Unstrung Harp (1953): A look into the tortured creative mind, as a neurotic Edwardian-era author struggles through the process of writing, editing, and publishing his latest novel.
- The Doubtful Guest (1957): A strange penguin...thing takes up lodgings in a stately mansion and stays there for 17 years.
- The Gashlycrumb Tinies (1963): An alphabet book featuring the various gory deaths of 26 small children.
- The Epiplectic Bicycle (1969): Two children ride a strange and seemingly magical bicycle on a journey of gothic nonsense.
- The Headless Bust: A Melancholy Meditation on the False Millennium (1999): Gorey's last published work before his death, involving a giant Mind Screw look at the human condition that ends with the reader's brain dribbling out his ears as he tries to make sense of what he's just read.
Many of his works are available in the "Amphigorey" anthology collections.
Tropes exhibited in the works of Edward Gorey:
- Adult Fear: All his books run on the adult fear of ennui, loneliness, and the fears of children unprotected by the world and adults around them.
- Affectionate Parody: The D. Awdrey-Gore Legacy is one for the works of Agatha Christie.
- Animalistic Abomination: There's something... not quite right about the title character of The Doubtful Guest.
- Author Existence Failure: The last compilation contains The Izzard Book (no relation), a collection of words beginning with Z. The pictures become rougher and sketchier until there's nothing but blank paper.
- Babies Make Everything Better: Inverted with the aptly-named "Beastly Baby". Gorey goes out of his way to make the thing as unpleasant as possible: aside from being physically repulsive, it's smelly, whiny, and cruel (one of the illustrations shows it killing a kitten, which Gorey would have considered a Moral Event Horizon), and no one is particularly concerned when it is snatched up by an eagle one day and falls to earth with a very audible splat (or rather, a "wet sort of explosion") when the eagle loses its grip.
- Bilingual Bonus: Frequently. The Blue Aspic (a story about opera) and The Gilded Bat (about ballet) are filled with names and titles that turn out to be hilarious to anyone who knows the languages or can look them up.
- The protagonists of The Blue Aspic, Jasper Ankle and Ortenzia Caviglia, are linked by their names — caviglia is "ankle" in Italian.
- Black Comedy: Much like Charles Addams, Gorey was an expert at finding humor in even the grisliest situations.
- Creator Cameo: He drew himself into his comics from time to time, most notably "He wrote it all down Zealously."
- In fact, he kills himself off in The Chinese Obelisks, or a person who looks alarmingly similar to him (long beard, fur coat, white shoes).
- Dada Comics: Arguably some of his stranger works veer into this territory. For instance, The Inanimate Tragedy is about a bunch of small objects committing suicide. L'Heure Bleue (The Blue Hour) is about two dogs in sweaters having bizarre conversations.
- Dragged Off to Hell: The fate of the protagonist of The Disrespectful Summons.
- Feathered Fiend: The title character of The Doubtful Guest is an Animalistic Abomination that looks vaguely like a penguin. Downplayed in that it's more of a nuisance than a threat, but that doesn't stop it from being creepy.
- Garden of Evil: The Evil Garden, obviously.
- Harmless Villain: The title character of The Doubtful Guest is more creepy and annoying than truly malicious.