Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sparkplug Highlights: Orchid, edited by Ben Catmull and Dylan Williams

Do you love tales of the macabre and Gothic fiction? Do you get a thrill from being subtly horrified, eerily unsettled? Do you like amazing black-and-white art, anthologies, and juxtapositions of the work of talented modern artists and classic authors?

You do?


Orchid, edited by Dylan Williams and Ben Catmull, brings together all of those things in a single beautifully bound volume. Featuring artists including Gabrielle Bell, Lark Pien, Jessie Reklaw, t edward bak, Kevin Huizenga, David Lasky, and both of the book's editors, Orchid is a masterful collection that breathes life into stories formerly consigned to dusty bookshelves and dry courses on Victorian Literature. These stories deserve to be seen by new eyes: from J. Sheridan Le Fanu's "The Little Red Man" (a ghost story rendered by Catmull in a xylographic style) and "Green Tea," (given a new framing story by Huizenga and featuring, seriously, a demonic monkey) to Rhoda Broughton's "The Man With the Nose" (the quiet horror of which Williams emphasizes with heavy shadows) to a powerful, minimalist adaptation by David Lasky of Poe's "The Raven." These and three other stories make the collection one that needs to be read by any self-respecting fan of Gothic literature -- and one that will seduce anyone who isn't yet. 

"Orchid. . .[is] a brilliant conceit by editors Ben Catmull and Dylan Williams. The most amusing of these is "Tobermory," adapted by Gabrielle Bell from a story by H.H. Munro, about a housecat who, upon being taught to speak, reveals its owner's most embarrassing secrets. "Orchid" splendidly mixes modern comix storytelling with a bygone era's mastery of prose and atmosphere." Andrew Arnold, Time.com

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