Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The eternal sunshine of the jubjub's mind

In his genial way he proceeded to say
(Forgetting all laws of propriety,
And that giving instruction, without introduction,
Would have caused quite a thrill in Society),
“As to temper the Jubjub’s a desperate bird,
Since it lives in perpetual passion:
Its taste in costume is entirely absurd —
It is ages ahead of the fashion:

We are very pleased to bring you this startling mental picture of a Jubjub, fleshed out, as it were, from the tattered blueprints provided to us by the engineering firm of Dodgson, Carroll & Associates. This once reputable British firm of snarkwrights, headquartered in Guildford, Surrey, had utterly cornered both the domestic and export trade in British Nonsense by the end of the 19th century.

Their patented Jubjub Bird, shown above, started out as a commoner’s garden-variety hoopoe-cum-popinjay but Carroll, a mad and impulsive boy at heart, kept adding on a bit here and bit there until he had invented what came to be known as "the bird of perpetual passion". Too spicy for staid British tastes, it enjoyed a certain vogue in France until the advent of lurid mass-produced, paperback novels rendered it obsolete.

This particular example is a fine example of the classic Victorian penchant for thick-ankled avians swaddled in the finest watered gutta-percha silk. It was discovered by this artist, roosting in the most meager, luxury suite of the Ritz-Carleton, subsisting on a paltry diet of sugar daddies and hot buttered toffs until it was lovingly restored to its original bird-brained splendor by a poultice of blank checks and a strict regimen of breakfast at Tiffanys.

I think it would look rather fetching hanging on your arm, whenever you appear at the Drones Club or wherever it is that you roost at night.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Brother Sun, Sister Snark

“The method employed I would gladly explain,
While I have it so clear in my head,
If I had but the time and you had but the brain —
But much yet remains to be said.
“In one moment I’ve seen what has hitherto been
Enveloped in absolute mystery,
And without extra charge I will give you at large
A Lesson in Natural History.”

Lewis Carroll is too polite to say so but I’m going to give the kiddies a scare by telling ‘em that Natural History is an unnatural construct. It’s a False Boojum hatched by the machinations of a power-hungry 19th-century bourgeois patriarchy determined to crush the legitimate political and social aspirations of a downtrodden proletariat animal, vegetable and mineral kingdom.

Just look at ‘em, this riffraff of the finest art museums of Europe and the Americas, the lumpenproletariat of Bosch’s crypto-Christo-Malthusian nightmares forced to rub shoulders with the decadent, antisocial pictosemiotic propaganda of René Magritte! Scandalous! And has anyone noticed that both of these so-called artistes hailed from the Low Countries? Coincidence? I think not!

It is indeed low, ‘tis very low indeed when the legitimate hopes and aspirations of an entire roomful of creepy-crawly delirium tremens-type habitues must get a snootful of this kind of pseudoscience at the sweaty hands of a boisterously glandular, Polynesian moai afflicted with a pseudoclerical penchant for faith-based crossdressing.

Boo, hiss, boo! Have you ever heard such a thing? This is not the sort of Hunting of the Snark for which our gallant forefathers shed their precious blood on distant, foreign shores! It’s something else entirely and if I had but the time and you had but the brain, we’d sort it out, you betcha!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

French-fried snark … les pommes frites snarkaises

The roar of the deadlines, the smell of the publishers, all these combine today to leave this over-worked illustrator no time for the usual Snark posting … so instead, I'll leave you with some links to recent reviews of my Snark GN, plus a really cool blog devoted to J.-H. Rosny aîné! Sorry, they're in French, so you'll have to stick a babelfish in your ear and carry on as best as you can. Don't panic, just suck on your towel …

Pour mes lecteurs francais … aujourd'hui, les travaux snarkaises me laissent enervé, epuisé … la puanteur d'encre et l'enfer blanche des planches vides me fatiguent. Au lieu de cela, je vous offre quelques bonnes critiques de mon BD Snark et aussi, un blog très interessant, dévoué à J.-H. Rosny aîné, avec les échantillons de mes dessins science-fiction.

• Soli Loci
• Echos Art
• J.-H. Rosny aîné

And by the way, the Slusser/Chatelaine translation of Rosny's SF novellas (Wesleyan Press) is available here. These are truly amazing and avant-garde works of SF, a must-read for anyone who wishes to blow their minds with a genuinely alien point-of-view in story-telling. Curious how little SF is really avant-garde … most authors' vision of alternate realities and futures is depressingly small-minded.

NB. If the Québec language police are reading this, they'll probably revoke my licence to write French, so order my Snark now before I'm buried alive under a thick, gooey mountain of maple-syrup saturated pasta.