Saturday, January 10, 2009

Goth-y Gorey goodness

A friend and I were discussing one of Edward Gorey's books yesterday, which got me thinking about Gorey in general. Edward Gorey was known for his macabre sense of humor and for the sometimes jarring juxtaposition of the elegant and the grotesque in his drawings. He drew a number of creepy illustrations in his day. But for me personally, this one will always take the cake:

Here's why:

(A bit of background: our hero, Lewis, and his rather sketchy friend, Tarby, have sneaked out into the local graveyard so they can perform a spell to raise someone from the dead. They just happen to choose the resting place of an evil sorceress.)
From deep within the tomb came a sound. Boom! A deep hollow sound. The iron doors jolted, as if they had been struck a blow from inside. The chain rattled, and there was a clunk on the pavement. The padlock had fallen off. And now, as the boys knelt, terrified, two small spots of freezing gray light appeared. They hovered and danced before the doors of the tomb, which now stood ajar. And something black -- blacker than the night, blacker than ink spilled into water -- was oozing from the space between the doors...
--from The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs

I first read this book as a pre-teen, and I found that I couldn't look at this particular illustration for more than a few seconds at a time. The blackness oozing from the doors is a bit creepy, yes, but the thing that still haunts me is Gorey's simple, straightforward depiction of those eyes -- the "spots of freezing gray light" as described in the text. Brr.

So now I'm going to bed. Happy dreams for me!


tlc illustration said...

He be creepy all right! (I gave a stack of Gorey books to my brother in law for Christmas. Just cuz he's so *festive*!!)

natural attrill said...

Happy New year Soozcat!