The Envious Siblings: and Other Morbid Nursery Rhymes by Landis Blair
My rating: 4/5 cats
this book is an all-new addition to the wonderful world of darkcute graphic novelry; eight short singsongy illustrated poemstories reading like a mishmash of roman dirge meeting edward gorey meeting shel silverstein.
the artwork is wonderful
with many animal shenanigans
and the stories—the situations—are great, including the wordless The Awful Underground, which is about monsters wandering onto the rush hour subway and eating commuters one by one, unnoticed by all but one little girl, who soon finds herself outnumbered.
another favorite offers up new uses for playground equipment for
budding psychopaths children.
the writing of the stories is the book’s weakest link. it’s by no means bad, but of the three components: concept, art, and writing, the writing ranks last.
on the one hand, he manages his rhyme scheme with far more consistency and skill than lang leav, but there are only so many rhyming couplets one wishes to read in a single sitting, and sometimes the rhyme seems forced (I have an older sister, we rode the train one day/But she didn’t like it ‘cause it made her joints all splay) that’s probably just a personal gripe—for the most part, the poems “work,” and they’re funny, and if your aim is to write in the gorey/silverstein tradition, you’re gonna be using a lot of rhyming couplets and that’s what nursery rhymes are and who am i &etc.
on a positive note, The Envious Siblings is my favorite poem, and, not coincidentally, the most silverstein-y of them all; a tale of rapidly escalating jealous dismemberment, but—you know—in a fun way: Angie envied Abby’s feet, Sawed them down and ate the meat/Abby envied Angie’s lips, Sliced them thin and made some whips.
also – blair gets commitment points for writing the acknowledgments page in rhyming couplets, which ends with a special thank you to the man himself
To him my last grateful remark,
For coaxing me into the dark
and for those of you who love endpapers the way that i do—here are some!
a fun and morbid book whose accompanying merch i would gladly buy. TAKE ME TO YOUR MERCH!