Monday, December 16, 2013

The Jewel in the Snark

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, is going blackface

What better way to get into the genuine spirit of the holidays than to ogle this salacious image of Karl Marx in blackface, doing a Carrollian bump and grind?

Lesser-minded readers will reach for their politically correct smelling salts or even their attorneys but well-oiled Carrollians will heave a self-satisfied sigh of relief at all of this, for they know that in this, Fit the Seventh of our GN version of the Hunting of the Snark, the Banker has been transmogrified twice! First by this artist, who has been depicting him throughout this Snark as Karl Marx and second, by his nemesis, the Bandersnatch, who has reversed his various Caucasian, upper-crust British Victorian polarities into those of a rupee-less, paan-chomping Hindustani rickshaw wallah slumming his way through the salad days of the British Raj.

All of this is per the instruction of the Admirable Carroll, naturally, so don't look askance. He wrote it all down in black and white anapaestics, in a coded message entitled The Hunting of the Snark which this artist then de-ciphered into anapaestic, Protosurrealist crosshatchings of the darkest, inkiest splendor.

It is horrible and senseless and rather confusing, this Carrollian Multiverse we call the Snark and as the observant reader can see below, its gravitational perturbations are rippling through the very fabric of time and space as we speak. Observe this oddly-shelved copy of our Snark which was spotted at a bookstore, endeavouring to say what its tongue could no longer express

Thanks to my keen-eyed friend and poet Sommer Browning for alerting me to this curious incident and please, if the person responsible for this shelving is reading this, accept my heartfelt thanks. I salute your innate sense of Surrealist horror, your senseless grimace at the pigeon-holing, soul-crushing dictates of modern commerce.

Lewis Carroll rubbing his tweedy shoulders with Sappho and Ovid, the mind boggles deliciously.

NB. My essay on draftsmanship, Art Spiegelman and graphic novels is up at the Hooded Utilitarian. To tell the truth, the entire subject of draftsmanship wearies me … it seems immaterial to most readers and many artists and yet the literary equivalent of bad writing  is (mostly) unacceptable in print. Why are the public's standards for drawing so much lower than writing?

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