The Envious Siblings: And Other Morbid Nursery Rhymes

Landis Blair. W.W. Norton, $20 (240p) ISBN 978-0-393-65162-1
Blair (The Hunting Accident) unveils a gruesome collection of eight repellent Gothic faux–nursery rhymes. Each tale follows anachronistic youths along their sinister, often violent paths. “The Malicious Playground” stars a gaggle of children who gleefully torture one another at recess, while “Honourable Beasts” features a young girl enticed by gentlemanly wild animals to join them for dinner—where her mother is to be eaten. Blair wears his adoration for Edward Gorey and Tim Burton on his sleeve, but it never moves past homage; some segments are difficult to evaluate beyond their riffs on Gorey originals (his monster-infested “Awful Underground,” for instance, closely recalls elements of “The Wuggly Ump”) with the gross-out factor dialed up. Blair’s skill is evident, but there’s an overall flatness to his cross-hatched preening figures. Though some of his poetry elicits a chuckle or a startled gasp, Blair’s debut solo collection mostly mirrors his inspirations, drenched in shock value. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/25/2019
Release date: 10/08/2019
Genre: Comics
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