Artist Edward Gorey, shown in 1987, had a deep love of the macabre. His morbid black-and-white illustrations had a huge fan following. (Associated Press)Link
Edward Gorey's handiwork was seen in "Mystery!" on PBS. The image was on display at the Edward Gorey House in Yarmouth Port, Mass., in 2002. (Associated Press)Link
Another image from Gorey's work featured on "Mystery!" (Associated Press)Link
A drawing by Edward Gorey from "The Other Statue," included in the collection "Amphigorey Again." (Harcourt Inc.)Link
This pen-and-ink drawing is from "The Gashlycrumb Tinies." (Associated Press)Link
This image shows a pen-and-ink drawing from the "Osbick Bird," and was part of the exhibition "Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey" at the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pa. (Associated Press)Link
The cover of "Thoughtful Alphabets: The Just Dessert & The Deadly Blotter" by Edward Gorey. (The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust)Link
A page from "Thoughtful Alphabets: The Just Dessert & The Deadly Blotter" by Edward Gorey. (The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust)Link
Another page from "Thoughtful Alphabets: The Just Dessert & The Deadly Blotter" by Edward Gorey. (The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust)Link
Edward Gorey, an artist who injected glee into gruesome and mirth into the macabre, is the recipient of a Google Doodle.
Gorey, who would have been 88, was known for his offbeat artistry — he won a cult following with his eerie, yet droll pen-and-ink drawings, writing and illustrating dozens of his own books. Animation of his work introduced the PBS show “Mystery!” for decades, and he won a Tony for costume design in 1977 for a Broadway production of “Dracula.”
Gorey was also known for his eccentricities — which began at an early age.
As a 5-year-old, he read Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” he told author Ron Miller in 1996. As a youngster, he also taught himself how to draw. From a young age, “his passion was creating his own bizarre stories and illustrating them.”
Gorey was an admitted fan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “The X-Files,” among other shows. And he was known for his love of cats, sneakers and ballet.
As the Los Angeles Times wrote in Gorey’s obituary in 2000, for 35 years he attended every performance of the New York Ballet wearing his signature fur coat, ski scarf and high-topped tennis shoes.
Among Gorey’s best-known works was his rhyming alphabet book, “The Gashlycrumb Tinies,” which featured a childhood death for each letter: “A is for Amy who fell down the stairs / B is for Basil assaulted by bears.”
Horror writer Clive Barker, of “Hellraiser” fame, has honored Gorey with his own take on “Gashlycrumb,” reportedly created in conjunction with artist Paulo Andreas Orca. Barker ratchets up the gruesome in his version. “C is for Claus who was born with no bowels.”
Barker has unveiled the cartoons slowly, and from his Facebook account he appears to be up to “O.” “O is for Otto, who had a thirst hard to slake, thus Otto got blotto and drowned in a lake.”
Gorey, when interviewed in 1998 by the Los Angeles Times, was asked why so many children met untimely ends in his works.
“Oh well,” he said, “children are the easiest targets.”
He also once said: “To take my work seriously would be the height of folly.”
His work lives on in such posthumous books as “Amphigorey Again” and “Thoughtful Alphabets: The Just Dessert and The Deadly Blotter.”
– Amy Hubbard