Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Money can't buy you love but it can buy you this attractively illustrated Snark …

Melville House (the publishers behind MobyLives, a CBC inamorata) chose this drawing as the cover for their edition of my forthcoming BD version of Lewis Carroll's Hunting of the Snark, a drawing which can be hummed aloud to this jolly tune called "The Fifth and Final Mark of a Snark":

"The fifth is ambition. It next will be right
To describe each particular batch:
Distinguishing those that have feathers, and bite,
From those that have whiskers, and scratch.

Some of you might read the above verses (which cohabitate in the same panel as this drawing) and assume that we are seeing here a mis-toed Snark lounging around the house between Fits, pursuing his usual dampened reverie of the bathing-machine variety, taking afternoon tiffin whilst the rising morning tide goes about its daily business of lifting and moistening him in all those scratchy, hard-to-bite places, etc.

Some of you might prefer instead to just order a copy of my comixed Snark and find out for yourselves without all this pesky, messy business of me telling you what to think!

The book will appear this November and believe me, you won't be disappointed — in the book, that is, not in being able to think clearly for a change — considering that mine is the only graphic poem/sequential-art/comic book version of the Snark yet known to mankind and hence qualifies as a distinguishing feature in the better sort of police line-up.

NB. 42% of your purchase money will vaguely go towards the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Snarks, a theoretically charitable organization almost entirely dissimilar to the less ambitious RSPCA.

Elsewhere on The Hunting of the Snark …
• Truly, my Snark, thou art still the son of morn in weary night’s decline, the lost traveller’s dream under the hill

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Arma snarkumque cano …

It’s easy for us to snicker at the Snark’s bathing-machinephilia from the security of our 21st century beach cabana but such is life …

Oh, the times, oh, the customs, as the Poet once said, when gaudily tattooed youngsters bedecked in fashionable Bangladeshi slave-factory rags and sporting expensive university degrees that have rendered them unable to recognize the identity of the poet quoted above gather on the beaches to hoot at our modest Snark emerging from her bathing machine, clutching only her unfashionable sewing machine, umbrella and dissecting table!

Elsewhere on
The Hunting of the Snark …

Most of life’s evils arise from man's inability to sit still in a bathing-machine

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Conqueror Snark!

It appears that our Snark is a humorless beast, an embarrassing situation for the eponymous hero of a comic epic. Yes, I did say hero, for I firmly believe that the Snark is that, and not the Baker as so many others think.

It was the genius of the Admirable Carroll to construct an entire comic epic upon the tragic premise of Inevitable Annihilation. This sort of mash-up, so beloved of present-day hipsters, is an ancient device practised by such masters as Cervantes, Shakespeare and Mozart, it is the hallmark of a certain sophistication in regarding Things As They Are and also requires a visceral commingling of humility and craftsmanship which goes far beyond mere technical bravado.

It is also one of the unquestionable marks of true Modernism (regardless of the actual date of creation) and leads us to a final enigma : is the Snark a comic poem with a tragic motif or a tragic poem with a comic motif? Frankly, I have no idea, and in place of one I’ll pilfer and then mangle Henri Michaux’s admonition to never jest with a dead man.

Elsewhere on The Hunting of the Snark …
Belgium, Man, Belgium!


Attention illustrators/photogs/sculptors/etc!
Eternal glory and neat prizes!

MobyLives is holding a contest to see who can best summarize the contents of any Melville House title into one page/image. Some of the prizes being offered are quite compelling. Since one of the titles eligible for the contest could be The Hunting of the Snark (I assume since pub date is very soon), regular readers of this blog should have a good head start upon the competition … I'll give you an extra clue for summarization … 42, man, 42 …

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Joy of Snarking

Anyone interested in the official explanation of the above stanzel is urged to consult an earlier posting of mine, Tiffin at Breakfasties

Those readers who are too slothful to do so will have to make do with the following, hastily concocted tissue of lies, half-truths and evasions : I couldn’t help myself.

How much of modern art springs from artists’ lethargy? When Salvador « Avida Dollars » Dalí left his watch outside in the torrid Catalonian sun to melt into a gelatinous bolus, was he really trying to express the existential despair of pre-war Surrealism or was he just being lazy?

Only Missus Dalí knows for sure and like the creator of the Snark, Lewis Carroll, she’s no longer talking to reporters. I have several other really clever thoughts upon the entire subject of Snarks and Sloth but I think I’ll just go back inside for tiffin and a long nap.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Smack Your Lips (Clap Your Snark)

This stanzel is a crispy, hollow sort of illustration endowed with a zen-like mojo which lesser artists are well-advised to handle with care, to wit: depicting a sensory impression entirely through the medium of another, totally different sensory impression.

In this case, the idea of Taste has traveled down my brain, through my hand, past my trusty 1950 Gillot pen nib, dripped onto a conveniently positioned sheet of Denril and then lain there, like a squiggly blobby pool of FW Steig's India ink which almost, but not entirely, doesn’t encapsulate the Idea of the Snark’s Flavor.

If you don’t believe me, go ahead and take a taste, dab a little of this drawing onto your tongue and see where that gets you. Or if you prefer, refer to an earlier recipe for this stanzel (the infamous Assamese Snark Curry posting) a mixing of art and verse which tastes far better than Lewis Carroll’s dreary concoction of will-o-the-wisps and tight-waisted coats, I assure you!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Seven Snarks for Seven Brothers

Some more faux-cabbalah numerological teasing from the Admirable Carroll. In this case seven days-to-a-week and five marks-of-the-Snarks are being bandied about with an alarming insouciance. The Bellman is explicating all of this with his steam-powered magic lantern, a Victorian ancestor of the modern-day petrol-driven flatscreen TV.

The attentive reader plucking at my ink-sodden sleeve with his pesky insistence that I explain the previous cabbalistic reference is to be ignored. Focus your eyes instead on my horse-driven pencil as I divide 42 (the Ur-Number of The Hunting of the Snark) by the product of 7 and 5 to obtain the number 1.2, which I them multiply by 7, and then multiply by 5, to obtain … 42!

Of such inexplicable yet amazing coincidences have entire religions (and even financial systems) been built upon, as Bertrand Russell once pointed out, far more succinctly than I.

Snark Film Updatesome art and an interview with a matte painter (named Matt, what else?) on the soon-to-be-released-somewhere McNeff live-action version of the Snark. Share and enjoy!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Under the Boojum Tree I sold you & you sold me (reprise)

Pressing deadlines required a quick visit into the mouldering archives at Snark Central, where we found these crypto-Orwellian musings to pad out today’s posting …

There are those who might quibble and look askance at my rather ideologically vacant interpretation of this stanza. Yes, it is a trifle irrelevant … perhaps even mendacious to illustrate a purported lack of Snarks with a veritable snathe of Snarks. The concerned reader might well ask : by whose leave do you have artistic license to mangle the words of Lewis Carroll so? Have you no decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

The eminent Oxford don and man-about-town, Charles Dodgson, was probably the only person who could genuinely claim to be intimate with Lewis Carroll. Mr. Dodgson had this to say about the so-called sanctity of Carrollian texts, their meaning and interpretation:

... I maintain that any writer of a book is fully authorised in attaching any meaning he likes to any word or phrase he intends to use. If I find an author saying, at the beginning of his book, "Let it be understood that by the word black I shall always mean white, and that by the word white I shall always mean black," I meekly accept his ruling, however injudicious I may think it.

Well, that’s pretty much QED, I should think. Simply substitute the word "illustrator" for "writer"; it’s a mere sneesh of semantic and orthographic difference and expressly allowed for by the above-mentioned axiom. In fact, upon further reflection, we can see that the vast bulk of modern art, philosophy, politics and commerce is based upon Dodgson’s diabolically simple postulate.

So stop fussing over these drawings and rest a spell under the ole Boojum tree with me. Goshdarned wordpeople, always making trouble for poor picturefolk …

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nasty, snarkish and short

This stanzel is the only overtly political stanzel in the entire Hunting of the Snark and as such, affords us a rare glimpse into the political workings of Lewis Carroll’s mind. Unfortunately, the oddly menacing figure of the mono-eared Dutch painter, Vincent van Gogh, is somewhat obscuring our political view of Carroll, who is shown here vamping as the White Knight doing an off-hand impersonation of Sir John Tenniel channeling the Bellman.

Concealment is the holy grail of all political discourse and as we’ve shown earlier, this stanzel is doing a splendid job in that direction. The Bellman’s offer of free booze to his constituency is in the jolly tradition of democratic alcoholism through the ages, whilst Van Gogh’s cue card is a splendid summation of the Pavlovian tendencies of the Common Man, and yet no one seems the wiser.

And how could we? How could the electorate get any wiser, in this, the most perfect of all possible political worlds?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Beware of snarks baring greeks

This stanzel has already had its fair share of analytical pummeling (go ahead, I know you like to watch), but we artists know that it’s best to kick a drawing when it’s down and so I present you with this tasteless, additional bit of post-pummeling pudding :

This stanzel is a perfectly cooked example of a big-shot Greek philosopher, So-crates as he’s known to Bill & Ted, being roasted and basted on the spit of my crowquill until he cries out « Μπάρμπας » and admits that he is the Father of Nonsense and not Philosophy, the big faker!

I’ll leave the expository details of my cunning argument to whomever is in need of an quickie thesis for their doctoral dissertation. Let’s just say for now that all this Socratic business of Forms, all this wordy confusion between meaning and structure, first begat Plato (seen here in the Form of Charles Darwin seen here in the Form of the Boots) and then begat all of Western Philosophy — and then begat Nonsense, the idiot man-child cowering in the linguistic basement of that slum-lord Plato’s grubby cave!

Words, words, words, they mean nothing and everything at once and let’s face it, in a wrestling match between Ontology and Nonsense, who are you really going to put your money on? Yow!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Our previous view of the HMS Snark rounding Cape Nietzsche has now been clarified to reveal a striking scene of disembarkation, a full complement of rather displeased Snarkonauts with accompanying baggage, unceremoniously dumped in the less-fashionable suburbs of Fit the Second.

And what is this baggage they carry? It is the expectation that they would enjoy the view, a great expectation to be sure but sadly unfulfilled in this stanzel.

No one likes to be confronted with chasms and crags after a long sea voyage, even if they are nothing more than a painted backdrop. In fact, the painted backdrop only makes things worse, it reminds the viewer that they are participating in a communal illusion and that their feelings of discomfort are thus self-inflicted.

‘Tis all a matter of that Good Ol’ Maya, that world-spinning dance of grand illusions and also further proof of Lewis Carroll’s crypto-Hindu sympathies, sympathies which he kept well-hidden in his customized Samsaronite® portmanteaux.