A Penny Dreadful
In nineteenth-century England the penny dreadful was a form of popular literature, lavishly illustrated with garish and grotesque pictures depicting lurid crimes and shocking romance, circulating cheaply among the lower classes. A century and half later, this motif is revisited metaphorically in Gustave Morin's 'A Penny Dreadful'. This time around, the crimes remain the same but all the romance is gone. A decade in the making, 'A Penny Dreadful' is a large suite of works that are neither literature nor graphic art, but a hybrid of the two. Informed by several marginal strains of literary activity. This is ultimately a blueprint for 'borderblur'. As the reader meanders through the nine chapters, a crazy quilt of twentieth-century imagery collides with mongrel semiotics to produce a dizzying, culminant effect achieved all too rarely in graphic literature. A species of flip-book that invites multiple readings and a veritable newsreel of possibility for the uninitiated, this is both a comic book for shit disturbers and a tour through the margins where personal and social collapse are filtered through the lens of political impotence.
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