Monday, November 18, 2013

A snark for Mr. Biswas

THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK by Lewis Carroll, a graphic novel by this artist and explained here, page by page, panel by panel, squiggle by squiggle … right now we're in Fit the Seventh … the Banker, played by Karl Marx, will soon discover that a certain pesky specter haunting Europe is none other than the dreaded Hindustani Bandersnatch!

The Banker’s annihilation, or rather, impending deracination, at the hands of a Bandersnatch provides an excellent opportunity to shift the entire setting of this Snark into the farther reaches of the British Raj. We are in Old Delhi now and in the background of this Fit one can spot the distinctive silhouette of Delhi’s Red Fort, the last bastion of the Mughal emperors.

As for the Bandersnatch … modern Delhi is plagued by monkeys (they’ve even assassinated the deputy mayor) and the word for these sacred and homicidal creatures in Hindi, bander, combines perfectly with snatch for our deadly, Nonsensical purposes.
Was this deliberate on Carroll’s part? Who knows. Both the bander and his hookah have ensnared our Banker into playing the fatal role of the priest Laocoön, as immortalized in the immensely influential Greco-Roman sculpture of the same name.
The Laocoön: the marriage of rhetoric & draftsmanship … yow!

No scene of Carrollian tragedy would be complete without a pun of some sort and in this case, I’ve ensured that the cheque drawn to bearer really does bare her. Such a splendid specimen of well-inked feminine Snark-hunting pulchritude, eh, Carroll sahib?

NB. Apropos of nothing in particular except the desire to emphasize the importance of being paid to any young illustrators/writers/designers who happen to be reading this, Harlan Ellison has this to say:

… I did a very long, very interesting on-camera interview about the making of Babylon Five early on. So she calls me and she tells me they’d like to use it on the DVD, and can that be arranged? And I said, “Absolutely, all you gotta do is pay me,” and she said, “What?” And I said, “You gotta pay me!” She said, “Well, everybody else is, just, you know, doing it for nothing.”

There's more here and it's worth reading. If the suits are stiffing Harlan Ellison, what do you think they're going to do to the likes of you and me? And doesn't this imply that certain artists/writers with marquee value equivalent to Mr. Ellison must be doing it for free?

As Miss Cunegonde put it in my translation of Dr. Jacques O'Bean's classic satire of American politics and mores, American Candide:

“Doctor Pangloss  always said that the business of Freedonia is business … that means don’t do anything for free, unless you want everyone to disrespect you and call you a really cheap slut. And that kind of sucks.”

No comments:

Post a Comment