Monday, May 16, 2011

In Xanadu did Kublai Khan a stately pleasure-snark decree

I have to change the frequency of my blog postings, from now on I'll post once a week on Mondays, at least until I devise a system for earning more money by doing less work for less money.

THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK by Lewis Carroll, a graphic novel by this artist and here explained page by page, panel by panel. Today's posting is the frontispiece of Fit the Sixth, the so-called Dialectical-Materialism Fit …

With a nightmarish fanfare of snores and snorts, Fit the Sixth of Lewis Carroll’s cri-de-cœur, AKA The Hunting of the Snark, now heaves into view. This Fit is devoted to the Barrister's adventures and since he's depicted throughout my version of the Snark in the guise of Martin Heidegger, expect some snappy legal and ontological hijinks to ensue!

This page, a little number which I call The Barrister’s Dream, is an illustrative poke-in-the-snoot aimed squarely at the grand English tradition of Oneiric Verse, ie., such yawn-inducing showstoppers as the Dream of the Rood, Bill Blake’s Dream and Christina "Sister Wombat" Rossetti’s Dream Land.

The well-read reader, and perhaps even the ill-read reader, will note that in this Fit of his Snark, Carroll successfully introduced the nightmarish element of potential litigation into the English Dream Poem, thus bringing to light the adversarial relationship twixt Dreamer and Dream.

We all of us dream and yet none of us truly know why, nor, more to the point, what our dreams might mean. If this is not an apt metaphor for the relationship twixt the Average Citizen and the Law, I’m a frittered-cheese-wig! Hence, our need for barristers and all their jolly legal ilk cluttering the land, and hence we find that even whilst asleep, Carroll has seen fit to provide you, the d.r., with qualified legal assistance at affordable rates.

If you are so inclined, it might occur to you that the Entire Meaning of the Snark is a similar enigma, impervious to explanation save by employing the services of a picture-wallah such as my ever-so-‘umble self. It might even occur to you that my tactic of employing Martin Heidegger as our Snarkic Barrister bodes ill for any useful solution to any of the above questions. Heidegger was a notorious Teutonic chatterbox and utterly useless for any explanation more complex than obtaining the directions to the nearest washroom, in short, prime material for any barrister’s office wishing to pad their billable hours beyond all human endurance.

Alas, you are not so inclined. You are, like the Barrister Heidegger, comfortably reclined and fast asleep on company time, amazed by this Snark-hunter’s dream which we call life.


  1. I really like this illustration. The hedge maze is wonderful.

  2. Thanks, Benjamin! Working out the perspective was a hassle but one of the neat things about this technique of inking is that organic surfaces, such as hedges, etc, always look lush and yummy.

    Plus, this is the world's only picture of Heidegger taking a nap in a hedge maze. Another poke in his snoot, yes! Let's see Marty wake up and weasel his way out of this maze, ha!

  3. Love the opening salvo on this post Mahendra! Just started blogging again myself : ) Mariellen

  4. Thanks, Mariellen. Looking forward to seeing some new, cool mosaics from you. Why don't you give us your URL? I think a lot visitors here would enjoy your work.

    It would be nice, as we age, to finally have some minimum of security but it seems a slippery, elusive thing. At least we're not bored! ;)

  5. Thanks old friend for your fine compliments. Here is my site:

  6. This is truly amazing stuff! You have mastered the 19th-century hatched line technique so well that the drawings could pass for being from that era, but as we look closer, the surrealist edge quickly becomes apparent. And the drawing style is so inherently literary,each one is really like a classic little poem in itself Do you have any other poetry adaptations in the works? "Kubla Khan", come to think of it, would be really fun to illustrate. Coincidentally, I am also a Montreal artist who has been working on comic book poetry adaptations of famous classic poems for the last couple of years. You can check them out at if you're interested. Nothing quite as refined as this stuff, however.

  7. Thanks, Julian! Your work is good, and I'm pretty impressed by how you've pursued this rather arcane sub-genre of BDs. Making poetry comix is demanding, much more than regular scripts.

    My dream would be do an entire blank-verse tragedy or something like Hero & Leander. Stuff that will really obliterate my finances.

    Send me an email, I'll send you some other samples.

  8. Hero & Leander, eh? Certainly no one could accuse you of pandering to commercial tastes. I do think the idea of a comic book in which all the characters spoke in verse would be a terrific innovation. Kind of like the visual equivalent of an opera. And there could be occasional interludes in rhymed verse that would be the equivalent of arias.
    I'd delighted to see a few more examples of your work. My e-mail is

  9. Leander don't pander. I really am working on another comix in blank verse and alliterative chant verse, a more commercial subject matter though, an Indian folk tale … more details to come.

    I'll send you something when I'm back at the studio. Something baroque!