Author Archive

Pictures of Dorian Gray, Images of Oscar Wilde; Part Seven: Victorian Cameos

Posted by on May 25th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
Dave Sim's Wilde is a sympathetic figure — intelligent, amusing, affectionate and pitiable. He is also physically gross in both senses of the word: he is very fat, and his body is producing symptoms that are undeniably disgusting. As Sim draws him, Wilde's face is so massive and slack that it seems almost to melt onto his shoulders. But the real masterpiece of this book is the haunting, yet strangely noble, portrait of Wilde on the cover. The image shows an open bottle of wine and a near-empty glass in the foreground, ornamental wallpaper in the background. Wilde is in between, almost entirely in shadow. Half of his face — the half away from us — looks tired and gaunt. In the other half we see the outline of a skull.

Melmoth (Cerebus, Volume 6)

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six.

Pictures of Dorian Gray, Images of Oscar Wilde; Part Six: Actor and Image

Posted by on May 24th, 2010 at 12:01 AM

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five.

Pictures of Dorian Gray, Images of Oscar Wilde; Part Five: Revealing Corruption

Posted by on May 21st, 2010 at 12:01 AM
Internal illustrations for The Picture of Dorian Gray face challenges similar to those of the cover designs, plus the added need to portray gradual corruption in the painted image.

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four.

Pictures of Dorian Gray, Images of Oscar Wilde; Part Four: The Double Image

Posted by on May 20th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
It takes a special audacity to try to illustrate The Picture of Dorian Gray.

The Picture of Dorian Gray and Other Writings

Part One, Part Two, Part Three.

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Pictures of Dorian Gray, Images of Oscar Wilde; Part Three: Beardsley, Russell and Salomé

Posted by on May 19th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
The artist who has, without rival, done the most to bring Wilde's work into comics is P. Craig Russell. He has adapted four volumes of Wilde's fairy tales, including The Happy Prince and The Selfish Giant. Russell's adaptations are really very good, and they demonstrate his range as a comics artist. His images are elegant and subtle, with careful detail and even weight, when it's called for; and they are rounder and more playful, more cartoonish, when that suits the story better. He quietly shifts along this scale, finding just the right pitch, and adjusting the visual style frequently within a given story, or sometimes, even, on a single page. Russell also did a version of Salomé for the third volume of his Opera Adaptations. Part One, Part Two.

Pictures of Dorian Gray, Images of Oscar Wilde; Part Two: The Cartoons of Dorian Gray

Posted by on May 18th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
The last couple years have given us four comics adaptations of The Picture of Dorian Gray. The first is a French volume, Le Portrait de Dorian Gray, d’Oscar Wilde, adapted by Stanislas Gros and published by Delcourt in June 2008. The second, the Marvel Illustrated edition, scripted by Roy Thomas and drawn by Sebastian Fiumara, appeared in hardcover later that year. The third, adapted by Ian Edginton and illustrated by I.N.J. Culbard, was published by Sterling just a few weeks after the Marvel edition. The fourth, appearing in a Graphic Classics collection of Wilde stories, was scripted by Alex Burrows with art by Lisa K. Weber. It was published by Eureka in early 2009. Part One.

Pictures of Dorian Gray, Images of Oscar Wilde; Part One: The Power of Image

Posted by on May 17th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
oscar_wilde_portraitIn this nine-part essay, I examine various efforts to visually represent Dorian Gray, especially in comics, and I consider the multiple depictions of Wilde in cartoons going back as far as 1882. These two projects have more in common than it might first seem. Wilde was especially interested in the idea of "image"—that is, in visual and narrative presentations of the self. Hence his emphasis on surface, style and physical beauty: but also, his fascination with secrecy, concealment and double lives. These themes, which occupy so prominent a role in Wilde's fiction and drama, were also the dominant notes of his life. And in both spheres he played freely, dangerously, with the distinction between reality and representation, between life and art.

Kids Vs. Nazis: Resistance: Book 1

Posted by on May 5th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
Resistance in Resistance is not so direct. The protagonists, the Tessier children, do not attack the Germans. Instead, they help a Jewish friend evade them: they hide him in a cave, they smuggle him to Paris to reunite with his family. And they serve as couriers for an unnamed underground group. No slingshots, in other words, but plenty of heroism nonetheless.

Border Horror, Part Two of Two: 30 Days of Night: Juarez

Posted by on February 4th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
Vampires symbolically represent our fear and hatred of the aristocracy — the undying, hereditary, parasitic elite. They view the rest of us as a separate, inferior species, like cattle. They feed on us as a natural right. Serial killers, on the other hand, embody the logical extension of capitalist individualism — selfish, cruel, driven by the lust for power.

Border Horror, Part One of Two: Infestación: The Mythology

Posted by on February 3rd, 2010 at 12:01 AM
A border town is, in some respects, the perfect setting for a zombie tale. The living dead already inhabit a kind of no-man's-land.

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