Edward Gorey (1925-2000) was a writer/illustrator best known for writing several short tales, often told in rhyme (usually couplets) and very surreal and macabre. The art was a very distinct style of ink drawing that was described as very Victorian. He admitted that his own professional art training was "negligible", but he was still known to have done illustration work for a wide variety of media, including the opening for the PBS show Mystery!.
Gorey had a fondness for anagrams, jumbling up his own name to make several pseudonyms. He also liked ballet, fur coats, tennis shoes and cats, all of which were featured in his work. He also had an affection for some of the darker TV shows during his time, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Batman: The Animated Series and The X-Files.
Some of his more notable works:
- The Doubtful Guest (1957): A strange penguin...thing takes up lodgings in a stately mansion and stays there for 17 years.
- The Gashleycrumb Tinies (1963): An alphabet book featuring the various gory deaths of 26 small children.
- The Epiplectic Bicycle (1969): Two children ride a strange and seemingly magical bicycle on a journey of gothic nonsense.
- The Headless Bust: A Melancholy Meditation on the False Millennium (1999): Gorey's last published work before his death, involving a giant Mind Screw look at the human condition that ends with the reader's brain dribbling out his ears as he tries to make sense of what he's just read.
Tropes exhibited in the works of Edward Gorey
- Author Existence Failure: The last compilation contains "The Izzard Book" (no relation), a collection of words beginning with Z. The pictures become rougher and sketchier until there's nothing but blank paper.
- Black Comedy: Even at his most depressing, Gorey is incredibly deadpan.
- Dada Comics: Arguably some of his stranger works veer into this territory. For instance, The Inanimate Tragedy is about a bunch of small objects committing suicide. The Blue Hour is about two dogs in bowler hats having bizarre conversations.
- Dead Baby Comedy: The Gashleycrumb Tinies is a fairly literal case.
- Meaningful Name: With a name like Edward GOREy, is no surprise that he wrote The Gashleycrumb Tinies.
- Retraux: Has the look of Victorian illustration.
- Reoccurring Prop: A small white index card appears in every story.
- To a lesser degree, the author's enormous fur coat often turns up.
- Shoehorned First Letter: Many of his alphabetical poems would often use, for X, words that actually begin with an E, such as "excited."
- Shotacon: In The Fatal Lozenge:
The Proctor buys a pupil ices
And hopes the boy will not resist
When he attempts to practise vices
Few people even know exist.
- The illustration accompanying this is also a fine demonstrator of Scary Shiny Glasses in action.
- Significant Anagram: "Ogdred Weary," "Dogear Wryde", "Regera Dowdy", "D. Awdrey-Gore", "Waredo Dyrge", "E.G. Deadworry"...
- The Thing That Would Not Leave: The titular Doubtful Guest.
- Walking the Earth: Three cousins, bored of their small town life, find an old pumpcart and decide to take it for a whirl. Their travels take them further out of the town, and they write back to their families, not sure of when they'll come back, and spend their time visiting odd curiosities before entering a train tunnel and never appearing from the other side.
- Word Salad Title: Several of Gorey's works bear titles with seemingly no relation to the work itself; The Blue Aspic, for example, is about a devious opera singer and her disturbed admirer, while The Fatal Lozenge is an alphabetical series of poems about people of various occupations and the dreadful things that they do.