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 show Mystery!.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.
Tropes exhibited in the works of Edward Gorey:
- 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.
- Garden of Evil: The Evil Garden, obviously.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The really filthy parts of The Curious Sofa are all in your head; Gorey implies everything, without actually saying or showing anything in detail (much of it is hidden behind innocuous euphemisms), and the reader's mind does the rest.
- Good grief, the Lithuanian Typewriter!
- Infant Immortality: DOES NOT EXIST! To wit:
- The Gashlycrumb Tinies, in one famous example, comes up with a hilarious child death for every letter of the alphabet.
- "The Beastly Baby". When it finally meets its end, no one is sad to see it go.
- Meaningful Name: With a name like Edward GOREy, is no surprise that he wrote The Gashleycrumb Tinies.
- Reoccurring Prop: A small white visiting card appears in almost every book.
- To a lesser degree, the author's enormous fur coat often turns up.
- From time to time, a creepy faceless, armless black stuffed doll appears.
- Retraux: Has the look of Victorian or Edwardian illustration.
- Shoehorned First Letter: Many of his alphabetical poems would often use, for X, words that actually begin with an E, such as "excited."
- Shotacon: In The Fatal Lozenge:The Proctor buys a pupil ices,
And hopes the boy will not resist
When he attempts to practise vices
Few people even know exist.
- The illustration accompanying this is also a fine demonstrator of Scary Shiny Glasses in action.
- Significant Anagram: "Ogdred Weary," "Dogear Wryde", "Regera Dowdy", "D. Awdrey-Gore", "Waredo Dyrge", "E.G. Deadworry"...
- Combined with Bilingual Bonus at least once. The Evil Garden is credited to Eduard Blutig ("Edward Gory" in German), with translation by Mrs. Regera Dowdy and illustrations by O. Müde ("Ogdred Weary" in German).
- The Thing That Would Not Leave: The titular Doubtful Guest.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Parodied in "The Pious Infant".
- Walking the Earth: Three cousins, bored of their small town life, find an old pumpcart and decide to take it for a whirl. Their travels take them further out of the town, and they write back to their families, not sure of when they'll come back, and spend their time visiting odd curiosities before entering a train tunnel and never appearing from the other side.
- Word Salad Title: Several of Gorey's works bear titles with seemingly no relation to the work itself; The Blue Aspic, for example, is about a devious opera singer and her disturbed admirer, while The Fatal Lozenge is an alphabetical series of poems about people of various occupations and the dreadful things that they do.