Hundreds of years before The Impossible Trident there was …
William Hogarth’s Satire on False Perspective, engraved by Luke Sullivan, offers an Escher-like array of impossible lines and vanishing points: a man lights his pipe from a distant candle; a flock of sheep grow bigger as they recede round a corner; a foreground flag disappears behind a distant tree, and many more.
Master of the macabre, Edwardian enthusiast, unlikely style icon, cat lover – there’s no box the late illustrator and author Edward Gorey doesn’t tick for us … Gorey was a man whose work thrived at the intersection of the ghastly and the hilarious, the fantastic and the mundane, who paved his path decades before Tim Burton or Lemony Snicket (they of course took notes).
If we can shift our focus away for a moment, from the dark and grisly nature of his illustrations, we begin to discover Gorey’s work as an unexpected vault of endless fashion inspiration – from the characters’ flamboyant accessories to their surreal and intricately patterned clothing. Edward even dabbled in costume design for Broadway in the 1970s and won a Tony award for it.
While The Phantom has not been completely absent from US comic book stores, it is surprising how little content there is on the character in the US, particularly given that it is not only the birth country of The Phantom strip itself, but also of the modern comic book industry.
The question, of course, is why?
As we approach an Inauguration Day that will be at once subdued yet (ought to be) joyous, Simpleback Saturday marks the centennial of another such occasion, the inauguration of Warren Gamaliel Harding as President of the United States.
It will have occurred to the observant readers that Inauguration Day 1920 was not 100 years ago this week, but on March 4, 1921 ? and we must here pause to give thanks for the FDR-era Republicans who pushed the Inauguration Day up to January 20.