Monday, December 30, 2013

The Bellman rings twice





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 …

Leaving someone to their fate is all the rage in certain philosophical circles. The smart set calls it a feeble-minded tautology but we think it's a splendid excuse for yet another obsessively cross-hatched depiction of Karl Marx shaking his fat German booty in a tight-fitting Hindustani harem outfit.

Of course, if you just tuned in to this GN version of The Hunting of the Snark, you're probably eying the exit by now, eager to get away from all this eschatological psychobabble but if you're a regular habitue of these parts, you'll know that all of the above is just another example of this artist's singular inability to clearly explain whatever it is that he's up to.

The shehnai-playing monkey and the bewigged barrister-pig are window-dressing for the real "meat" of this stanzel is the squiggly, blobby bits of ink encrusted on the right-hand margin, the ones that spell out the word "BOO". This word's grim import will become clearer later on but for now, I suggest that you avoid making eye contact with it.

Snark drawings are the New York subway-riding winos and psychos of the illustration and comix world; reeking of strong ink and sour, week-old tautologies fished out of filth-ridden dumpsters, they spell nothing but trouble, especially of the B-O-O ilk.

So go ahead, give 'em your spare change if you want to but you know what they'll do with it, don't you? … far better to leave them to their fate while you scurry back to your cozy, safe home in the predestinarian suburbs …

Meanwhile, a propos of nothing in particular … here's Terry Gilliam's take on making a living in the arts:

"If I'd actually learned any of the lessons, I wouldn't be making films anymore. I try not to learn. I spend most of my life unlearning …"


Soyez zen, Mr. Gilliam!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Everywhere man is born free and everywhere man is snarked



You know that your professional life has taken a turn for the better when people will pay to see your drawings of The Banker, AKA Karl Marx, vamping his way through the British Raj in blackface (or brownface, to be precise). But I digress …

This stanzel is jam-packed with jolly bits of scrumptious, Nonsense-soaked Carrollian references. Would it interest you to know that:

1. Mimsy is a portmanteau of miserable and flimsy. The word is current throughout the Carrollian Multiverse, ranging from Snark Island to Looking Glass Land. Pessimistic linguists call this sort of thing a Grimm Shift, while their more psychologically attuned colleagues prefer to call it a Freudian Slip. The main thing is getting the word out of her knickers and into something a little more comfortable.

2. The Banker is rattling his bones and fingering his hair; the former is a reference to Mister Bones, a stock character in Victorian minstrel shows who would literally play himself, ie., play the bones … and the latter is a probably just the Banker luxuriating in his newly-minted, windswept locks.  Dialectical materialism works wonders on the dreaded Bed Head.
The Bone Player, by William Stanley Mount


3. The deliciously well-turned line, "words whose utter inanity proved his insanity," is a cleverly veiled jab at the letter "S", whose appearance inside a word, say inanity, seems sufficient here to render it unfit to operate heavy machinery or make major financial decisions. This petty defamation of the letter "S" is itself a classic example of the inability of most phonemes to just get along. Why can't they learn to live in peace with one another? It's utter insanity, their communal inanity.

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?

Monday, December 9, 2013

I am an Invisible 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

 In an earlier stanzel we subjected The Banker/Karl Marx to the indignities of vamping as a perfumed houri in the lascivious environs of a Turkish harem but that is nothing to his current employment in a Carrollian minstrel show.

Yes, the Bandersnatch has worked its magic at last, the hypnotic spell of the Orient has done its groovy hypno thing and both reader and Snarquista stand amazed at this climactic thing-um-a-bob at the heart of Fit the Seventh.

Reflexive readers will grasp that there is a bit of artistic commentary going on here, most of it focussed upon Victorian British attitudes towards their Indian subjects but lighter-hearted readers can just go ahead and spit up their mulligatawny soup whilst sitting in their bungalow, enjoying their calico pajamas and taking a good dekko at this latest instalment of The Hunting of the Snark.

And why not? It's all Nonsense and has hardly any bearing on anything at all except whatever I've surreptitiously meant it to have, ie. it's a wonderful thing to be seen!
Clear as rain, I should think.

NB. My memory is its usual swiss cheese holey thing but I remember reading somewhere of a minstrel show version of the Snark performed in the USA shortly after its publication … perhaps one of Doug Howick's more startling discoveries?

 The ultimate Christmas gift for the Adventure Time fan


… my original art for the cover/interiors of the NYT-best selling Adventure Time Encyclopaedia (2013, Abrams) … on sale at The Beguiling. This original art is unlike any other contemporary inking you’ll see: resembles copper-plate engraving on Japanese rice paper … extremely tight and delicate line-work floating above a translucent matrix … crosshatched like a dollar bill but TIGHTER, RETINA-CRUSHINGLY-TIGHT … no pro-white, no scraping. Just pure “mathematical”, psychotropically linear eye-candy. There's more description at The Beguiling's blog …

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Snark's Christmas in Wales





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

A sudden outbreak of paranoid Orientalism has overwhelmed every drop of precious ink spilled upon this stanzel. Where once we saw pleasantly buffoonish Snark Hunters disporting themselves against a backdrop of English garden parties and nursery room labyrinths, we are now confronted with the raw animal passions of … well, animals.

The role of animals in Marxism is only lightly touched upon in academia but thanks to our cunning stratagem of employing Karl Marx to play the role of the Banker in this GN version of the Snark, it's about time we put an end to all that sort of thing.

As always, it was the Italian supra-surrealist Alberto Savinio who first grasped the essence of the animal-proletariat's dilemma:

Totemism is a sign of the dignity animals once enjoyed, a testimony that the earth was once a paradise. But the memory of this paradise grows more and more dim.

Paradise is precisely what both capitalism (the Banker) and Marxism (Karl Marx) promise all humans foolish enough to check in their brains at the door whenever invited to warm themselves beside any sort of comfy, warm mental fire.

And what was Orientalism for the Victorians but just more of the same? A paradise peopled by commodified humans regarded as monkey-like primitives (the worst sort of totems) until they clapped you inside a Bandersnatch's basket.

Go ahead and threaten them with your mass-produced, rationalist's forks and hope and smiles and soap but it's just as you feared: ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee, just as you feared …
_______________________

 

The ultimate Christmas gift for the Adventure Time fan
… my original art for the cover/interiors of the NYT-best selling Adventure Time Encyclopaedia (2013, Abrams) … on sale at The Beguiling. This original art is unlike any other contemporary inking you’ll see: resembles copper-plate engraving on Japanese rice paper … extremely tight and delicate line-work floating above a translucent matrix … crosshatched like a dollar bill but TIGHTER, RETINA-CRUSHINGLY-TIGHT … no pro-white, no scraping. Just pure “mathematical”, psychotropically linear eye-candy. There's more description at The Beguiling's blog …

Monday, November 25, 2013

Good snark will hunting


 
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

There are times in one's life when one realizes that one has simply drawn too many lines for one's own good. Not in the above stanzel, of course, which has precisely the number of lines and squiggles necessary to evoke the horror of a fat, timorous Banker (played here by Karl Marx) being done away with by a snappy, savage Bandersnatch, played here by a Hindustani monkey who spends his spare time inside a snake charmer's basket.

This business of lines without rest or pause makes a middle-aged cross-hatcher wonder at times: what's it all about, eh? One skips and hops one's way across a page and once one is done, good lord, there's another page! And another and another.

To those readers who come here regularly for a bit of snappy analysis and pithy tomfoolery concerning whatever page of my GN Snark happens to be up for it this week, this must all come as a bit of a surprise.

There are no deep thoughts behind the above stanzel. There is no meaning, hidden or otherwise, nor any subtle message. It's genuine Nonsense of the highest, inkiest, most linear order.
It's just a bunch of subcontinental monkeys and a possessed hookah shanghaing a Banker dressed up to look like Karl Marx until, like this rather depleted illustrator, fainting he falls to the ground.

Next week: more lines! Who would have thought it?
________________________

NB. Saturnalia is fast approaching and smart shoppers know that no child's stocking is properly stuffed without a copy of this artist's GN version of the Snark. Not only is it the best thing Lewis Carroll ever wrote but this version goes all out to furnish the little tykes with what one reviewer called a "Surrealist version of Where's Waldo."

And why not lavish a fresh copy of Martin Olson's Encyclopaedia of Hell onto any disaffected, black-clad gothic teenagers you are compelled to know? The LA Weekly has an excellent review of it here and even better, you can buy the full-color poster here. It sure beats having Kurt Cobain on the wall, mom and dad. Available from Feral House or even Amazon.

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.”

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Snarkrunners of Bengal


 
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!

We've arrived at the central conceit of this particular Fit of the Snark. The Banker, played here by the Eminent Continental Steamer, Karl Marx, is about to be assaulted by his nemesis, the Bandersnatch. You can see the latter's oddly mishapen hand clutching at the rotund Teuton's bloated ankle.

Karl Marx never visited the Old Delhi Railway Station, nor did the Admirable Carroll but we can be fairly certain that if they did, the general tenor of their surroundings would have appeared much as this artist has depicted them. The animal and mannequin headed bystanders, the bazaar atmosphere of narghila-puffing loafers, complete with a snake-charmer awakening the mysterious inhabitant of his basket, it's all there.

Perhaps the less-travelled reader will be taken aback by this local color but those of you who ever wandered into Old Delhi will heave an appreciative, paan-fumed sigh. It's all there, the latter will confirm, and the artist has done a slap-up job of capturing the ineffable, nonsensical air of the place.

In short, thanks to a little judicious visual interpolation and conflation by yours truly, the poet Carroll has done a superb job — despite himself — of conveying the air of a place where he had never been and probably never wished to be. And that is the very essence of hunting a Snark, a beast which conceals itself by cleverly non-existing wherever you are — you need to be where you aren't to pick up its ineffable trail.

To be where you cannot possibly be, that is the Snark Hunter's essential dilemma and you might as well get over it right now. It's not logical, Carrollian Nonsense, so go ahead and heave out your pathetic shriek of despair as you understand — too late! — that it's useless to fly!

Take a locally crosshatched scooter rickshaw instead, sahib, and above all, don't drink the water.

Monday, November 4, 2013

By their Marx of the Snarks shall ye know them



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!

Framing devices are the very meat & drink of this illustrator's Snark, the very fritter-my-wig, as the Great One, Lewis Carroll, would have said. Careful examination of the above stanzel will reveal that the previous stanzel (72/1) is embedded within this one and that both of them are themselves the culmination of a 7-image train ride that departed an Old English Garden Party to arrive in an Old Delhi Railway Station, ca. 1876.

From whence comes this illustrator's penchant for the visual recursion of pictorial embedding? Was he lost as a child in a funhouse mirror? Was he reared by a family of Russian Matroushka dolls?

Or does he simply believe in giving his readers good value for money? So many illustrators today practice a sort of pictorial minimalism, cutting back on wasteful expenditures of either conceptual or visual complexity. Minimalism is all the rage these days with most commercial artists (understandably so when most of us are paid less than pizza delivery drivers) which means that this Snark's maximalism is the new minimalism.

The embedding of images within images and the dizzying vertigo induced by inflicting this unexpected pulling back of frames-within-frames allows the reader to rush madly ahead, like the Banker and even to be finally be lost to view if they so desire. And an unseen reader, that is the maximum desired effect of the genuine protosurrealist artist.

In short, if you can lose yourself in my Snark whilst seeking that very same Snark, my work in this Carrollian Multiverse will have been done and I can go to other worlds and places where illustrators are desperately needed to take naps on their readers' sofas, drink up all their readers' scotch, and borrow their readers' cars without permission. QED and all that, huh?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sturgeon General's Warning: Hunting Snark May be Hazardous to Your Wealth

 
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 … 

For five panels now we've been tootling merrily along on our Snarkic Soul Train, through English garden parties and homunculi-haunted jungles into the depths of Page 72, where our train has debouched at last into the jumbled contents of a cigar box.

These contents are nothing less than the raw materials of the Snarkic Galdor which has resonated throughout this poem to such hypnagogic effect: soap, a thimble, hope (personified as an anchor), smiles (a Dali-esque sofa) and a railway share. But where's the care, more petty-minded Carrollians might ask?

To which this illustrator replies: care? You dare to question the care I've taken over this drawing? Go ahead and count the lines, squiggles, blobs and crochets of inky care I've lavished on this Snarkic semioglyph … even better, peruse the various labels & inscriptions embellishing the cigar box into which I've heaped up the raw stuff of our verse … all of 'em scraps torn from a larger whole:

Lo buscaron con dedales, con cuidado lo buscaron,
lo persiguieron con tenedores y con esperanza.
con acciones del ferrocarril lo amenarazon
y lo hechizaron con sonrisas y jabón.

Indeed, it is our Snark Hunter's Galdor-Refrain cast in the language of Castile, the language of Don Quixote, who must surely qualify as the Snark Hunter par excellence!

The cigars which once occupied this box were manufactured, as the upper label notes, in the manner of the Indians. Naturally, the Indians referred to here are the now-extinct Caribs & Arawaks who first introduced the Conquistadores to the joys of the evil weed, tobacco.

But we Snarquistadores are more literal-minded fellows and prefer a bit of geographic veracity with our cigars & porto; the Indians we refer to shall be the 100% genuine, curry-inflected East Indians of Uttar Pradesh and the Punjab, the Indians of Old Delhi, to be precise.

All shall become clear in good time, dear reader, for now, just remember that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, even in the increasingly Orientalist labyrinths of our geographically discombobulated Snarkian Multiverse!

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Snark takes Manhattan



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 Snark Hunters' Express continues its wordless journey into the jungles of Fit the 7th and the inquiring reader is already growing impatient with all this 19th-century transportation technology put at the service of 19th-century Nonsense Verse by a 21st-century illustrator wallowing in his 20th-century obsessions. Sure, it looks cool but in the immortal words of Flakey Foont: what does it all mean?

Indeed! Ideas are the bane of the more fashionable modern hipster and most of 'em avoid that sort of thing like the plague. It's hard to have an idea and listen to one's iPod and update the world on one's various bodily eructations on Twitter, it simply cannot be done without incurring the risk of stopping to think. Especially if one has nothing to think about besides oneself and one's accessorized relationship to other consumer units.

But this illustrator is brimming with ideas, both visual and verbal. He keeps them in a mental swipe file which he can access at any moment by merely lying on a comfy sofa, having a really good cup of tea and then taking a nice nap. Whilst asleep, the thousands of books, paintings, sculptures, drawings and movies he's seen and read do their mysterious mojo thing inside his cinematically furnished mind and when he awakes, bingo! An idea is born!


Richard Muller (German, 1874-1952) “Miracle of Training”, 1911

Our drawing of a Snark Hunting train in the jungle was spawned by a vague visual memory I had, an image which I later discovered to be a drypoint by Richard Muller, an obscure yet quite talented German artist from Dresden. The basic idea of training something to do the impossible was the starting point that Muller furnished me; it led me to eventually depict the training of a train by a jungle homunculus magician, a personage which fit perfectly into the earlier depiction of the same homunculus-magician luring the train out his snake-charmer's basket.

Muller's style of German Symbolism was similar to that of the better-known Max Klinger and eventually this style would merge into what we call Surrealism. There is a subtle difference between the precursor and its more celebrated descendant: the former depicted the reality of dreams by using the reality of waking, while the latter was a far more ad hoc business which eventually trafficked mostly in solipsism and amateurism.

Young illustrators take note! The technical rigor of the Symbolists' training and their conceptual precision came from a careful study and understanding of all the arts, ie., they did not reject the past as un-hip nor did they wallow in self-expression without self-analysis and self-correction. This precursor of Surrealism is not only a rich vein to mine for ideas but more importantly, a perfect example of the usefulness of learning draftsmanship to better depict that which cannot be seen.

Zen-like, huh? But don't worry, most art directors today could care less about all this and in fact, you'll get more work doing the exact opposite of what I just recommended. Double-Plus Zen-like, dude!

___________________



NB. Last week's signing tour of NYC for the Adventure Time Encyclopaedia was a smash success for all concerned, both fans and artists. Besides getting to hobnob with Martin Olson and his daughter, the talented Celeste Moreno and all the great people at Abrams, this illustrator was able to parade his moustache all over Manhattan and Brooklyn without once being asked to autograph a pre-war Iraqi dinar …


From left to right: Mahendra Singh, Martin Olson, Celeste Moreno, Olivia Olson, Jessica DiCicco
Many thanks to the great folks at Forbidden Planet, who furnished us with a NYC-block's worth of Adventure Time fans … and also Bergen Street Comics, a venue which was so crammed with great comix that it was hard to leave.

Photo courtesy of Vida Shi
 And finally, imagine my delight when I discovered that three of the young people in the gargantuan ATE signing line at the NYCC were Snark Hunters! Yes, bona fide Snarkistas, brimming with good cheer and reeking ever so slightly of forks, hope, smiles and soap. They called themselves the Snarky Geeks and they made this somewhat jaded and semi-surly illustrator's heart soar! It's nice to know that even in the hurly-burly of the pop-culture world, there are still those who search for the Snark! The kids are all right!

In any case, the overwhelming success of the NYT-best-selling Adventure Time Encyclopaedia has changed this artist's life. Put the banana peels on ice, Mrs. Singh, tonight we dine on … soylent green!




Monday, October 7, 2013

Iron Man vs. Lewis Carroll … Snark-down!



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!
Attentive readers (shut-ins, penitentiary inmates, nursing home loafers, etc.) will have noticed by now that these last four panels share a common motif: a miniature train packed to bursting with all 10 of our Snark Hunting B-Boyz.

This is not an accident, this is what literary critics call a TRANSITIONAL MOTIF. You see, this illustrator needed to solve the problem of bridging two entirely different Fits; Fit the Sixth, which was set in a vaguely Gilbert & Sullivanesque inflected version of Pepperland and Fit the Seventh, which will eventually disembark into the British Raj of the Old Delhi Railway Station.

Lesser illustrators would have simply hired a charabanc or a palanquin or even a scooter rickshaw to schlepp their characters from one scene to another but this illustrator is made of sterner (and cheaper) stuff. In fact, if there's anything which makes this illustrator wax extra-wroth, it's the all-too-common phenomenon of artists choosing vague or irrelevant symbology to bind their pictures to their words. Just as the punishment must fit the crime, so must the conveyance fit the time!

Well-oiled Carrollians will sigh with appreciation at all of the above, for they are well aware that the Great One, Lewis Carroll, was fond of playing at trains in his youth, so much so that his undeservedly obscure puppet play, La Guida di Bragia, is set in a train station and features two station masters whose resemblance in manner & bearing to Vladimir and Estragon cannot be coincidental …

But more to the point, the very first time that the name of Lewis Carroll ever appeared in print was in a magazine entitled The Train. It was with that small poem, "Solitude", that Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (prompted by the editor Edmund Yates) hit upon the happy device of latinizing his name into Lewis Carroll. The year was 1853 and curiously enough, (1+8+5)x3=42 … and as all Carrollians know, the number 42 is the cabalistic key to the entire Snarkian Multiverse. And you thought I was making it all up as I went along, didn't you, admit it! Ha!

Of course, there are some other, equally pesky readers who are asking: from whence come these urbanite, minaret-and-souk-bedecked camels seen in the above picture? Is this another example of the dreaded Orientalism run amuck?

Perhaps it is, but I must also draw such readers' attention to the fact that from the Oriental point of view of the unseen inhabitants of these Camel-Cities, a point of view blighted by the sudden appearance of a steam-locomotive with various Victorian gentlemen aboard it, it's a case of the dreaded Occidentalism run amuck.

Occidentalism is the persistent belief shared by many Orientals that the West is crammed to the gills with purring, blonde sex kittens, gun-wielding Christian mullahs and shamelessly easy credit.

If only, huh?
 ___________________________________

NB. Along with several other illustrators, voice talents and the book's author, Martin Olson, I'll be appearing this week at the New York Comic Con — and other comix venues in NYC/Brooklyn — to promote the Adventure Time Encyclopaedia! 

This Adventure Time thingie has made it onto the NYT best-seller list … this will be a rare chance to catch a glimpse of various illustrators, actors, writers and editors basking in the glow of success as opposed to our usual glow of abject fear and loathing. Come and see us interact with the hoi polloi … you won't be disappointed.



• Thursday, 10 October, 2013, at Forbidden Planet, 832 Broadway, Manhattan, 6-8 PM

• Friday, 11 October, 2013, Bergen StreetComics, 470 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, 6-8 PM

• Saturday, 12 October, 2013, New York Comic Con at the Javits Center, New York … The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia Panel, Room 1A08, 5:30 PM-6:30 PM and …
a signing immediately following the panel from 6:45-7:45 in autographing area at table 21


 In this panel, editor Eric Klopfer will moderate a conversation between Martin Olson (a.k.a The Lord of Evil) Olivia Olson (a.k.a Marceline the Vampire Queen), Jessica DiCicco (a.k.a Flame Princess), and evil illustrators Celeste Moreno and Mahendra Singh about the recent release of Martin's new book The Adventure Time Encyclopedia. Events include a slide show and a theatrical reading from the book. Hunson Abadeer will make an appearance, there will be a possible surprise premier of a great new music video from the Nightosphere and the official book trailer will be screened.
 

Monday, September 30, 2013

The heart is a lonely snark-hunter



Fit the Seventh of my GN version of The Hunting of the Snark … the Banker, played by Karl Marx, will soon discover that a certain pesky specter haunting Europe is none other than the dreaded Hindustani Bandersnatch! Meanwhile, back at the paan-shop …

See the Snark Hunters run.
Run, Snark Hunters, run.
See the Snark Hunters on the train.
The train goes choo choo choo.
See Henry Holiday turned to stone.
Crumble, Henry, crumble.

Let's go to Fit the Seventh, said the Bellman.
Let's leave this basket for Fit the Seventh.
And the train went choo-choo.
And the snake-charmer tooted his flute.
And the Bellman rang his bell.

See the fetid Indian jungle.
See the freaky snake-charmer.
See the frightful choo-choo-train.
See the Banker's Fate.
Run, Banker, run!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Let them eat snark!



THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK by Lewis Carroll, a graphic novel by this artist (for sale here) and explained here, page by page, panel by panel, squiggle by squiggle  …

 At last, we've reached Fit the Seventh of this graphic novel version of Lewis Carroll's Hunting of the Snark. I drew a frontispiece for the first page of each Fit, each one usually involving a feeble pun and all of them concealing in some manner the All-Seeing Eye which I chose to represent the Snark.


Karl Marx, the working man's Marx Brother

This Fit concerns the Banker and I chose Karl Marx to depict the Banker for simple reasons of poetic justice. This canto of the poem will prove to be his downfall, his well-deserved sweeping into the dustbin of history, the ol' coot. Imagine that, doubting our capitalist masters.


The Sleeping Odalisque by J.A.D. Ingres
For the moment though, his Fate is being depicted as his fête, or birthday party, in French. His cake has the requisite 42 candles and the charming Alexandra “Xie” Kitchin is playing the violin for his amusement, just as she did in Carroll’s photo. Xie was one of the poet’s favorite child friends although I doubt that he would have approved of her presence in this Snarky up-date of the French painter Ingres’ famous harem scene.


Alexandra "Xie" Kitchin as photographed by Lewis Carroll

No matter, the Banker’s fan-waving monkey will soon restore some decorum. His name in Hindi, bander, summons up the spirit of the Carrollian Bandersnatch, the Banker’s soon-to-appear nemesis. His hookah will also figure in his downfall, a Marxist reminder that opium is the religion of the masses.

Just say nein, Karl!

Next week: The Gang of Four take five

Monday, September 16, 2013

Snark Fishing in the Yemen



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 Sixth, where the Barrister (played by Martin Heidegger) is dreaming of prosecuting a pig …
We've been wandering the Carrollian Dreamtime of Fit the Sixth for quite a while, exploring the fascinating connections between Victorian Nonsense and the legal profession. This illustrator has seen fit to expand the nightmarish implications of all of the above by ensuring that the Barrister, Snark, Judge, Jury, Witnesses and even Defendant all possess the features of Martin Heidegger, the eminent Continental brain-and-nitpicker.

But perhaps now is as good a time as any to awaken from this dream, to ignore the bellowing and wake up to face the ringing in one's ears. And there's the rub, it seems, for awakening from one dream does not automatically guarantee one a safe berth in whatever reality that is assumed to enfold both dream and dreamer.

In short, when we awake, do we awake into reality or merely another dream? Perhaps such questions do not trouble the sleep of most readers but for those of us who Hunt the Snark, such enigmas are pure catnip, knowing as we do that Nonsense is the dream of Logic.

Like so many of the broad, unverified statements with which this blog is littered, I'll not bother with the piddling details behind it. It's all a question of recursion, really, and the very mention of that word gives most Occidentals a bad case of ontological hives.

From whence comes this fear? Eastern philosophy is brimming with the mind-addling fumes of recursion, it's the cat's pyjamas of classical Hindu metaphysics and for good reason: once one accepts recursion as a valid foundation for one's world view, reality starts looking a lot, well … more fun. All of which is a rather giggle-inducing poke-in-the-eye of what those stodgy old Aristotelians once called the First Cause.

All of which confirms this Snarkista's growing suspicion that for the High Anglican-cum-logician Carroll, Nonsense was the inflammatory reaction of a logician's mind plagued by the chronic affliction of Belief …

Whether you call it the First Cause or the Author or even the Illustrator, it's clear as mud that something is going on here, something fiendishly similar to a funhouse hall of mirrors haunted by a genuinely tricksy Boojum.

Of such mind-mangling quiddities are the recursive arabesques of Snarkish ontology constructed, dear readers. Now discuss amongst yourselves, please. And keep it down, I'm going back to sleep.

NB. The train hovering in the background is actually a wretchedly clumsy drawing of a 1967 Hindustan Ambassador, a sturdy vehicle whose chauffeur is puttin' the pedal to the medal in response to his passengers' request to "take us out of this picture." Poor sods, little do they know, eh?

Monday, September 9, 2013

The joy of snarking



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 Sixth, where the Barrister (played by Martin Heidegger) is dreaming of prosecuting a pig …
Fit the Sixth has reached an apotheosis of sorts in this stanzel. The swinish defendant has evaded his just desserts by revealing himself to be dead and thus safely beyond the reach of any earthly verdict — and all attendant legal fees, the cunning cheapster!

This artist has cleverly furnished Le Cochon with a small lyre and a spare set of wings to indicate his après-vie status. Naturally, this assumes that our pig is going to heaven, the jolly, winged, lyre-strumming place, as opposed to hell, the overcrowded, forked-tail and burning-flesh place.

Of such niceties are all of our after-life dining and entertainment plans based upon. One makes reservations for one's impending eternity based upon one's individual life choices. Some of us will be nibbling tapas in air-conditioned Elysian Fields while some of us will have to dress for hot weather and dine al fresco, ad infinitum.

Some readers may be shaking their heads in dismay at this conflation of eschatology and the food-services industry but such are the grim exigencies of the modern Snark Hunter. When one's entire day has been spent pursuing a non-existent, annihilating beast, one simply doesn't have the time to prepare for the afterlife, much less prepare a healthy supper for the entire family.

Which is why this artist is pleased to share the following Snark recipe with his fellow Snark Hunters. As befits the dead-pig motif vaguely binding together this aleatory posting, it can be prepared with either Snark or Pig …

Cuban-Style Roast Snark
• a large Snark roast, 2-4 kgs (if snark is unavailable, substitute pork)
• head of garlic minced
• 2 tsp. cumin
• 2 tsp. oregano
• 2 tbsp. salt
• 1 tbsp. black pepper
• 4 bay leaves
• 1-2 cups of freshly squeezed orange juice
• 3 medium onions, sliced thinly into rings
• 2 cups of white wine

Score the Snark/pork roast diagonally. Combine all other ingredients together and then add meat to marinade. One need not be too fussy or precise with measurements. Refrigerate meat & marinade for at least 12 hours. I find that the simplest way to do this is to combine everything in a large freezer zip-lock type bag and then leave it in the fridge.

Bake at 350 degrees, check periodically to baste roast with juices. If using a meat thermometer, roast till interior is 160-185 degrees, a nice crust will form by then, especially if you basted diligently. Remove from oven when done, remaining juices can be whipped up in a blender to provide a gravy. If necessary, remove fat from juices first by chilling in fridge & skimming.

Serve with forks and hope, or if unavailable, black beans and rice. And of course, bellow on to the last.

Ad astra per alas snarqui!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Twerking Heidegger



THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK by Lewis Carroll, a graphic novel by this artist and explained here, page by page, panel by panel … right now we're in Fit the Sixth, where the Barrister (played by Martin Heidegger) is dreaming of prosecuting a pig …
Transportation for life … it's not a pretty sentence, not even a pretty sentence fragment. Has the Defendant Pig been deprived of his Lexus and condemned to using the subway for the rest of his life? Has he been reduced to riding a bicycle to and from his sty? A skateboard with obligatory tattooes and iPod prostheses?

Gosh, no, he's been deported to one of the British penal colonies, such as Australia, where he can endure the agony of fresh air, sunshine and limitless social and business opportunities instead of the customary Victorian British urban pollution, pouring rain and stifling class system. Although, to be honest, I don't think that by the time the Snark was composed (1874-1876) the British were deporting felons to Australia anymore but I think you get the picture … or even better, you don't get the picture!




Cue evil laughter here, and meanwhile, peruse carefully the above picture. Now compare it to the one at the very top of this posting, the version which appeared in print.

Would it surprise you to learn that this artist often draws that-which-is-not-to-be-seen by the reader, ie., he goes to the bother of drawing whatever it is that the word-panel will obscure when it is positioned later in the production process?

I didn't think you did, smarty pants. Frankly, how could you? How could you guess that I would go to such ridiculous, creepily epistemological lengths to subject various players in my Snark to the dreaded … transportation for life!

The more thoughtful reader will quickly grasp that this curious graphic practice is the visual equivalent of the literary "softly and suddenly vanishing away" which the poet has utilized as the First Cause of his Snarkish plot engine. Pictures aping words aping pictures aping words, and all that. Such complex and delicately crafted levels of conceptual meaning have proved to be a reliable turn-off for the general book-buying public, I can assure you.

Lazier (and faster breeding) readers will content themselves with observing that various members of the jury have themselves been transported for life and that it serves them right. They might even exclaim aloud: This is not a legal system, it's utter Nonsense, I mean, good lord, look at them! Everyone resembles Martin Heidegger. That's not justice and it's certainly not legally sound nor even a legal sound.

Say it slowly, to yourself … Heidegger … Heidegger … it's more of a sneezy ejaculation, a snorty, snirty, snarky clearing of the upper respiratory system with viscous, Flemish connotations … it won't hold up in any court of law, much less a dream court populated by somatic body doubles.

Next week: a cease and desist letter from the Heidegger estate and a hearty thanks from the North American Swine Producers Council.

Monday, August 26, 2013

To have no time for snark is to be a true snark hunter



THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK by Lewis Carroll, a graphic novel by this artist and explained here, page by page, panel by panel … right now we're in Fit the Sixth, where the Barrister (played by Martin Heidegger) is dreaming of prosecuting a pig …
When drawing a dream in which the dreamer not only plays the part of every character in his dream, but is himself being played by the Eminent Continental Steamer, Martin Heidegger, the prudent illustrator pauses for thought.

From whence comes this illustrator's antipathy for Marty Heidegger? Is it the blathery philosophical drivel? The penchant for racist careerism? The beady, piggy eyes?

Perhaps the above stanzel can furnish some answers, for it is intimately concerned with "finding a verdict", ie., a quest for the truth, forensic and otherwise. The truth in this case is GUILTY, a blanket existential statement which Marty would have approved of, appealing as it does to the winsome young co-eds that Marty preferred to rummage through after classes.



But we Snark Hunters are made of sterner stuff. We take our philosophical marching orders from none other than Diogenes the Cynic (as shown here in Gerome's splendid painting), the bane of bloviating professors and politicians alike!

Diogenes was very much the Boojum of Western philosophy's Snark Hunt, preferring as he did to simplify things by cogitating in public while naked. He was a jolly rascal who often wandered through Athens with a lantern in daylight, claiming to be searching for an honest man. In case no one got the joke, he also preferred to live in a large barrel in which he would roll through the agora during moments of national crisis, a political tactic in need of revival in our troubled times.

His philosophy was simple, literally, and this simplification has earned him the eternal disdain of more practical-minded people, the kind of people who prefer the more comforting truths of money, religion, consumerism and groupthink.

In our Snark Hunt, we've replaced his barrel with the Bellman's Bell and we've clothed him in the garb of an English Barrister so as not to frighten the kiddies, but I think you get the general idea.

The truth, dear readers, is the very last thing one wishes to entrust to Barristers or Philosophers, unless, of course, they are furnished with a lantern, smelling of raw onions (oh yes, I've included them) and blessed with a dog-like sense of fidelity to the tenets of Cynicism.

Of course, we're all guilty of something or the other in this Snark Hunt, alas.

But you can buy a copy of this graphic novel and thus expunge some of your guilt in enjoying this free Carrollian exegesis whilst I shiver in my barrel-like garret. I shall expunge my own guilt by emulating Diogenes and doing some naked inking whilst my faithful King Charles Cavalier Spaniel lies at my feet, dreaming of chasing the squirrelly Boojums which plague her sleep.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Twelve Angry Snarks


THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK by Lewis Carroll, a graphic novel by this artist and explained here, page by page, panel by panel … right now we're in Fit the Sixth, where the Barrister (played by Martin Heidegger) is dreaming of prosecuting a pig …
If you've ever had the pleasure of a boozy, slobbering confabulation with a magistrate or judge in mufti, you'll know that they're well equipped to sum things up, no matter the circs. Of course, the present situation is rather mind-taxing for even the keenest legal mind and in such cases a quick supplementary evidence-collecting trip to the corner liquor store is indicated. Snappy legal thinkery is best done with one's mind defragmented by pure, wholesome gin and tonic substances and milord agrees whole-heartedly.

Since these legal proceedings occur entirely inside the mind of the dreaming Barrister, all the characters involved are depicted with the Barrister's features, all of 'em, judge, jury, witnesses, the whole gang. And since the dreaming Barrister is played here by Martin Heidegger, we have a superfluity of Heideggers to contend with.

Tossing a martini olive at our idly gyrating Assamese nautch girl-cum-paralegal, we delve deeper into the facts of this case. How does one sum up a case in which everyone involved is indistinguishable? It makes one's head ache, just thinking through the metaphysical ramifications, the layers of boozy double-think involved in sifting through evidence and testimony which is all of it, a priori, stemming from the same person multiplied twenty-fold.

Ergo, all the facts in this trial are equivalent and hence, ultimately identical. If one sums up all the perfectly identical elements of a closed set, one is left with the overwhelming impression of having created a logical, spinning, looping thing-um-a-jig, rather like bed-spin after a particularly boisterous judicial Saturday night. This is because the summing up is being done by one of the very elements being summed up.

College-educated bar-maids and nautch-girls call this "recursion" and it's always been the secret tipple of the Great One, Lewis Carroll. He considered it to be the lime juice in the gin of logic and metaphysics and liberally doused all of his Nonsense works with it.

In any case, to sum up the summing up, the judge in this case deferred to the Snark because the latter was (and is) a creature of pure Nonsense, and hence, a thing of undiluted 100-proof recursive purity.

And the above drawing shows that the Snark has acted with Alexandrian-Gordian decisiveness — by cheating! His gnarly finger tips the scales of justice ever so slightly towards his porcine defendant and leaves us all with the customary bad taste of purchased justice in one's mouth.

It's a heady tipple, this Nonsense vintage we call The Hunting of the Snark and best left to professionals like judges, illustrators and poets!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Snarktor resnarktus



Wipe the smirk from your face, dear reader, stifle the groan in your throat … yes, we are punning today and the punnee is a legal suit and the punnor is a gentleman’s suit, size 42.

Of course, you already know that puns are the bittersweet linguistic memory of that long-ago time when any word meant anything, and some of ‘em meant as much as six different things before breakfast.

In those prelapsarian times when language was first evolving from the sonic ooze of grunts and snorts into more upright, ambulatory fricatives and uvular trills, the assignment of one particular sound to one particular object was a slapdash, fritter-my-wig sort of business. In truth, we might say that once upon a time all words were puns and Nonsense reigned upon the land.

All of this came to a sticky end with the invention of reeling and writhing, as I’m sure you’ve heard before. Equipped with such skills, even circus and theater folk could interpret the written marx of contract law and stymie the Pig and his legal Snark, all by invoking the Sanity Clause.

What’s this, the Judge sputters! Sanity Clause? You can’t fool me, there ain’t no Sanity Clause! Exactly, milord, 'tis the perfect Christmas Alibi, the Snark replies!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Everytime it rains, it rains snarkish shekels from heaven

The coin of the realm these postlapsarian days seems to be the last and greatest bastion of that very same unblinking faith-in-the-unseen which characterized the salad days of the Middle Ages. Nowadays, most governments print and mint the stuff by the bushel with nothing more to back it up save a vague promise of an tattered xerox of a smudged fax of a unfocussed photograph of a crude drawing of a shifty rumour of someone, somewhere, actually doing something of value sufficient to prop up the coin in question.

However, in the Nonsense world of Lewis Carroll, and more to the point, in the Barrister’s Dream of The Hunting of the Snark, we find a refreshingly hard-nosed, Victorian mentality vis-a-vis whatever coin of the realm you might be trying to palm off on the locals. Messers Carroll & Dodgson had a healthy respect for money, struggling as they did to support various spinster sisters (AKA spinsisters in certain musical circles) and even the odd charity case on an academic’s meager salary. Hence, it is with heavy heart (and light kidney, groan) that they would have regarded the Snark’s pooh-poohing of the charge of Insolvency on the part of his piggish client.

The Snark’s defense of "never indebted" must come as a vindication of sorts to the Pig, whose depiction here as a piggy bank will no doubt amuse the simpler-minded reader. Giant, auspicious pigs with financial and psychic clout were once all the rage in certain mythical, Celtic quarters and such cheap visual sleights-of-hand are this artist’s inky stock-in-trade.

But the Barrister would also like to draw your attention to the chorus line of Martin Heideggers who are shimmying seductively to the delightful tune of When it Rains, It Rains Pennies From Heaven. It’s a comforting melody composed to allay the Judge’s crypto-Calvinist suspicions of any rumored pay-offs emanating from Upstairs and to also lull the Jury into contemplating the possibility that the Pig isn’t responsible for his actions since Society Made Him Do It Anyway (a legal defense employed, curiously enough, by the real Martin Heidegger).

But what’s this, the Judge sputters in dismay! These are no pennies cascading into the Heidegger-Pig, these are — gasp! — shekels! Even more suspicious, these are Tyrian shekels! These notorious coins, adorned with the likeness of the Phoenician god Melqart or Baal, were the favored form of payment for the most infamous act of Treason ever done, yes, they were the fee earned by Judas when he threw his lot in with you-know-who — Beelzebub & Assoc., Esq.! This same Beelzebub, associated in Jewish legal circles with the afore-mentioned Baal (and both of 'em B-Boyz like our entire Snark-Hunting crew, eh?), has also been seen in company with that pesky Lord of the Flies so memorably depicted by William Golding as a big, fat pig’s head impaled on a stick for the amusement of a crowd of hooting under-age lager louts on holiday.

To sum up, milord and dear readers, this tragic descent of a benevolent, well-moneyed Celtic pig into a satanic, treasonous Judeo-Christian pig is no mere question of fudge, as my learned Snark colleague would have it. No, it is even worse, it is a prime example of Gresham’s Law — bad pigs drive out good!

The defense rests in a crouched, fetal position, as ever, till next week …

Monday, July 29, 2013

A snark for Mr. Biswas

The late, great Strother Martin (probably one of the Heiddeger Martins from Heidelberg, back in the old country) once noted, in a similar situation involving some other dunderheads messing about with the law, phenomenology and life’s problems in general, that what we have here is a failure to communicate.

But how to illustrate such a situation without in turn failing to communicate one’s own self? How can we avoid the relentless, downward spiral of miscommunication, and distrust which so plagues modern youth?

Such logical intricacies were a sort of busman’s holiday for a certain class of Hindu (and Buddhist) philosophers and sages of yore whose otherwise innocuous turbans concealed brains possessed with a fiendish capacity for splitting hairs. The very antithesis of the plain-talking Strother Martin, these learned gentlemen delighted in concocting the metaphysical equivalent of the blazing hot curries on which they subsisted; arguments possessed of such piquancy that they were often disguised as bland, easy-to-swallow parables lest they frighten the kiddies or scare the livestock.

The most famous of such parables describes the misguided attempt by a group of blind brahmins to describe what an elephant is like through touch alone. One brahmin, grasping the trunk, thinks the elephant is rope-like, the other hugs a leg and finds the elephant to be tree-like, and so on until you, the befuddled reader trapped in your occidental web of illusion, get the point and purchase another round of curry for the house.

Needless to say, this illusion business (better known as maya in the finer sort of new — and old — deli) is further compounded by this artist with the addition of a really top-knotch epistemological corker: the multivalent confusion generated by having everyone concerned being the same person.

In such a case, when observer and observed are one and the same, one can truly say that anything anyone might have to say about anything will be best classified as everyone speaking at once and hence no one knowing what is said (pauses to wipe forehead with a tea-dampened dosa). Or as a certain neologizing German thinkwallah might have put it, what we have here is a failure to überselbstzeichnungangstgemachen.

Stay tuned, tolerant reader, for next week’s exciting, hijacked episode of Lewis Carroll’s Hunting of the Snark … or something like that …

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Trumpeter and the Snark

 
If you’ve been assiduously following our nonsensical res publica, The Hunting of the Snark, you might have noticed that there has been a steady accumulation of visual details as the story progresses. Such a gradual amplification of things is what the critics call fritter-my-wig or even what-you-may-call-um and believe me, it’s all the rage in the right sort of literary circles.

However, we ‘umble visual artists, (fixated as always on more alimentary matters) call such an accumulation of visual tchotchkes "chicken fat". The late, great Will Elder coined the term whilst inking a drowned fly into a late night rendering of Harvey Kurtzman’s matzoh-ball soup as a practical joke. After a bit of the usual overheated vaudeville cross-talk-cum-haberule®-brandishing and some soft-shoeing with the Pro-White on Elder’s part, the moniker stuck and generations of artists have been ladling the chicken fat (or even schmalz if it’s germane to the proceedings) into their more soup-like drawings ever since.

All of which is a very convoluted and uselessly byzantine way of saying that you should keep a close eye on the progression of our Snark Hunt for it’s growing ever richer in unsaturated animal lipids such as chicken fat and Martin Heidegger. Naturally, one wonders what Lewis Carroll would have made of all our messing about with his otherwise perfectly normal recipe for a bowl of soup … would he have smacked his lips appreciatively at the our addition of the accurately-besmocked and bestyed pigherder Witnesses demonstrating the swineless vacuity of this comic operetta of a legal farce? Would he have slurped greedily at the tasty bits of the timeless humour of Mister Piggy’s magnum opus hoisted aloft before the proceedings like some sort of philosophical pearls before swine?

Or would Mister Carroll have paused in mid-luncheon, his spoon poised at his lips, and angrily demanded this artist to explain post haste what this other bird, this nonchicken and perhaps even swan-like bird masquerading as a legal bagpipe is doing in our collation of a Snark Hunt?

Alas, for Mr. Carroll and his delicate Victorian sense and sensibilities! This unexpectedly swannish creature is probably the grotesque and unexpected consequence of this artist using second-grade-fresh chicken fat in his cheapster drawings, a fly-by-night chicken fat cunningly adulterated with etymological preservatives of unknown provenance.

Yes, dear reader, this sudden outbreak of swans and bagpipes is no accident, on the contrary, it is a Significant Detail! Curiously, the word "sound", deriving as it does from the Old English word "swan," (properly, the sounding bird) seems to provide a perfect excuse for this artist to wreak further havoc on the entire chicken fat paradigm and perhaps even clear the way for a future swan-fat thing-um-a-jig. Or something along these metaphorically miscegenated lines of reasoning which so bedevil this production of the Snark

Without error or flaw indeed, eh?