I recently received my complimentary copy of the “Active Teach Lighthouse Grade 5 Coursebook” a school textbook for English second language learners in India, published by Pearson India Education Services in Chennai. The textbook includes my 6-page comics adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee,” paired with a number of questions and assignments designed to verify and deepen the students’ understanding of the poem. Several of the questions refer back to my illustrations (ex. What can you see in the waves in the last panel of the comic? Why do you think the illustrator put that there? What are some of the lines that show the bond between the speaker of the poem and Annabel Lee? What are some ways the illustrator shows this same bond?). At the end students are also asked to create their own three-panel comic strip imagining the speaker in the poem speaking to Annabel Lee on her deathbed. This feature in “Lighthouse” seems to me a great example of how comics poetry could be effectively integrated into language learning and literature classes everywhere.
In honour of Valentine’s Day, an unintentionally sexually suggestive illustration of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. In setting out to depict this scene for a homework exercise in a watercolour class I’m taking, I purposefully set out to avoid the undercurrent of sexual tension with which this scene is often presented, and which by now has become more than a little bit of a cliche. Clearly, however, my subconscious was having nothing of it, and it dawned on me towards the completion of the image that I had only succeeded in switching the sexual metaphors, with Little Red Riding Hood in the role of a timid male erection confronting the wolf’s menacing vagina dentata. Once I realized this I of course went about heightening the effect somewhat (but not much, as it was almost all already there). Now I’m thinking I must return to this subject and explore consciously what after all seems to me like a promising approach to this over-illustrated scene.
“O Earth, how like to Heaven, if not preferred
More justly, seat worthier of gods, as built
With second thoughts, reforming what was old!
For what god, after better, worse would build? […]”
-Satan, upon stealing into Eden
John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 9.99-102
A selection of my watercolour paintings will be on display for all of the month of December at the cozy and charming Café Archibald & Alistair on Monk Boulevard: https://www.facebook.com/archibaldalistair/
The vernissage will take place tomorrow, Saturday, December 2nd, between 4 and 7pm. The paintings were mainly created during the course of the last year, and include a number of images inspired by the words of Leonard Cohen. Also on display will be some of the original art from my ongoing graphic novel project about the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, Each In His Narrow Cell. Hope to see you there!