Tuesday, September 24, 2013

More on "Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of the Grotesque"

We're releasing Tales of the Grotesque on Halloween, and I think we should do something rather special.
We shall throw a costume party called "the Masque." Brendan could be dressed as Hop-Frog, and I could be dressed as the Red Death. It would be at that party that we would release our triumph.

Grotesque means a lot to me. I really think people will like it. We just have to do it right. Admittedly, it is kinda gross - with Red Death. And I'm very nervous about what the kids are going to think about Berenice, which, if you didn't know, is a really disturbing horror story about teeth by Poe. The ending scene is just so shocking and the implied violence is something one doesn't want to think about.

We use mixed "tools" to craft our comic. For Bowling Ball, we used pen and colored pencil. But I want this to have different styles everywhere. So we have pen, pencil, crayon, and pastel. Who knows? We might paint something. But for now, Brendan sticks with pen and pencil because that is what he works best with.

I still haven't finished Red Death. I'm up to the part where Prince Prospero (who, by the way, is a satanist in the Rodger Corman movie) is yelling his brains out at the mysterious guest with the corpse-like mask. It's the hardest project I've ever done, really. I have a lot of pressure because the story has so many emotional ties (meaning that it was the first Poe story I read, and now he's my favorite author) and I want to get it right. I don't even know what to make the Red Death look like! Skull? Corpse? Some combination of the two (I think I'll do that)?

Just so many options. The rooms are harder to draw then you would think. So, in the end, they aren't very detailed. The allegorical meaning is shown by a statue in each room - which gets older as the rooms move on, and finally is a skull in the Black Room.

Victims of the Red Death were difficult, too. In the end, I put blood under the eyes and pores, put bloody red welts on the face, and had blood in the mouth. Some of the eyes were rolled over. It's pretty disgusting, now that I think of it.

Enough of The Masque of the Red Death. I'm about to type what I think of Brendan's adapted Hop-Frog.

Hop-Frog is one of Brendan's favorite Poe stories (whom I introduced him to. I'm the older sibling, after all). He was very clearly inspired by Gris Grimly - you see that when you look at the king. But the style is also very Burtonesque, and I know Brendan's art has been inspired by that famous director.

As for the adaptation, he pulls it off pretty well, although I think that Hop-Frog should have told the king and his courtiers about the eight chained orangutans in the throne room, like the original, rather then at the masquerade. Brendan simplifies the story very much, only keeping tiny pieces of the original text, so its probably going to be the easiest story for everyone to read. The Masque of the Red Death is different. Most of the text in there is from the original, and there are only three talk bubbles, while Brendan's Hop-Frog is filled with dialogue. So the adaptation is good for the people we're aiming at, but for me (who read Poe before ten) and other people who love Poe, we enjoy something on a higher standpoint, though ANYONE can enjoy Brendan's Hop-Frog.

I'm interested to see what he will do for The Tell-Tale Heart, one of the more...absurd stories. Even though it is a murder story, like Hop-Frog, a light, perverse kind of humour pervades the whole thing. That's the way I feel, anyway. It's no Fall of the House of Usher, which I'm also doing. In a way, I do the deeper stories - and Brendan does the lighter ones. It's an interesting duality that formed B & B Productions.

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