Mr Unpronounceable: A Ruined Reflection Part 1
Hello! I'm pretty new to Steemit. It's nice to be here!
I haven't had much of a presence anywhere but Instagram recently, and it's interesting to be hanging around in a new, very different haunt. I've been inspired by what I've seen here to try my hand at something a bit longer then a picture and a string of hashtags.
Needless to say, I haven't done alot of writing lately, so please bear with me!
I have been making comics since since I was a kid but the last 17 years, especially the last decade or so, have been dominated by my character Mr Unpronounceable. His adventures are collected in three volumes published by Milk Shadow Books.
They are Mr Unpronounceable Adventures, Mr Unpronounceable and The Sect of The Bleeding Eye, and Mr Unpronounceable and The Infinity of Nightmares.
I'm done with him for the time being and it's only now, almost 2 years since finishing my last book that it occurs to me it might be time to reflect!
I thought it might be interesting to provide something of an introduction, and for the people who might be familiar with my Unpronounceable Adventures, an explanation (of sorts). If you've read them, you wouldn't be alone in finding them confounding. They are intentionally so, and as a long form experiment in surrealist narrative, they make my mind bend a bit too - that's the place that I've been trying to explore all these years, where the mind bends.
So who is Mr Unpronounceable?
I tend to describe him as a homeless, delusional Necromancer; although he is often housed, sometimes clear headed and occasionally cringes away from the dead. He's a Gutter Wizard, a prude, a howling madman and guilty murderer.
Mr Unpronounceable began as a just another random character in a comic among many, included amongst my weekly strips that were published in Auckland University's Craccum Magazine, New Zealand 2001.
I was 21 years old and obsessed with Carl Jung's concept of synchronicity, feverishly trying to achieve lucidity in my dreams (barring a couple of very interesting experiences, to little effect) and fascinated with the idea of a collective, occult consciousness. Like many young people do, I'd placed myself squarely at the centre of the Universe and convinced myself that there was a pattern to be discerned and a meaning to events that weren't really connected in any causal way.
My work had always been a little weird, but it was over the period of time that I was doing these weekly strips for the University Rag that I embraced fully-fledged Surrealism (or what I called Surrealism ) in my comics.
The strips were a collection of disjointed narratives that were connected by a symbolic element in the first and last panels, and I was under pressure to whip up a comic for the coming edition.
Around this point I'd been looking at alot of art by Helnwein, and I came across this image.
It's called 'The Free Spirit' and something about the feeling of intense repression I saw in the image, combined with the title set my mind running and in a very short time Mr Unpronounceable was born.
He was just a weird character, amongst other weird characters, but over time he began to feature more and more, until I was just doing Mr Unpronounceable strips. Some appeared in Craccum, others I self published. I ended up collecting them all in a a self published collection called Mr Unpronounceable Adventures.
The character of Mr U had become a lightning rod for all my ideas about surreal comics.
He had became my preferred way to express a lot of what I was going through as I dealt with with a slow climb out of a childhood Catholicism that I felt very deeply, into a young adulthood drenched in weird art, armchair occultism and paranoid conspiracy theory.
Mr Unpronounceable became a way for me to navigate these waters, without falling completely overboard. His insatiable craving for Occult Secrets became a way to self-parody my own journey through these often murky realms.
My love of Horror and Science fiction books and movies, and other surreal comics all coalesced into these early stories and formed the basis for what I went on to do in later years. Body horror, slapstick comedy, tentacles, black magic and rambling nonsense rolled out of me. Mr Unpronounceable writes himself alot of the time, and it feels like I'm just along for the ride.
By the time I'd moved to Australia I thought I might be done with Mr Unpronounceable, but that wasn't to be the case.
I was approached by James Andre, who had recently begun publishing as Milk Shadow Books
He wanted to put out my Mr Unpronounceable Strips in Australia. I had never been approached by a publisher before, so I was very flattered! We decided that first, he'd publish a collection of my silent comics that I called It Shines and Shakes and Laughs.
In the meantime I would see if I could pad out the 50 or so pages I had under my belt to a respectable 80 pages.
To my great surprise and delight, Mr Unpronounceable came back with a vengeance and I ended up with more than 200 pages in total that all ended up being collected in Mr Unpronounceable Adventures.
I dived back into the old stuff for inspiration too, and really began forming the tangled web of interweaving storylines that create the groaning, cohesive anti-narrative that ties this book and the following two volumes together.
I redrew pages that needed redrawing, and I found ways to connect new narrative strands to old material.
In 'Adventures' we’re introduced to Mr Unpronounceable and his supporting cast of ghouls, Shrivelled Homunculi, Demonic Uncles, Murderous Doppelgangers and Inter-Dimensional Ringmasters.
Most of the action takes place in The City Of The Ever Open Eye, a Dream City in an 'Uncharted Dimension in The Sub-Ethereal Heirarchy'.
Ruled over by an inscrutable Order of Silent Monks (kind of a combination of an old fashioned knights helmet, a scorched tree and a coarse black sheet) it's teeming and endless streets crawl with strange citizens and even stranger visitors washed up from dreams in an Infinity of Universes.
The stories take place across multiple timelines in multiple dimensions, with an infinitude of Mr Unpronounceables.
Mr Unpronounceable often meets his fate at the hands of a Doppelganger, many of whom are robots.
Not all these 'selves' are the same. Their actions and thought depends on how long they've existed and what parts of their bodies and souls they've had to lose in order to achieve mastery over whatever Occult Mysteries they've decided to pursue.
But Mostly, Mr Unpronounceable Adventures is a series of horrible, bizarre, ridiculous things befalling a horrible, bizarre and ridiculous man, as he stumbles from nightmare to self defeating nightmare.
Did I mention there are tentacles?
Well, the hour is getting late, and the lack of a draft function has actually meant that I've finished this in one sitting, for better or worse! I hope that this was interesting and if it was, please upvote, resteem, follow etc.
Also, please stay tuned for part 2, where I will tackle Mr Unpronounceable and the Sect of the Bleeding Eye, as well as Infinity of Nightmares, and explore some of the themes and dig a little deeper into the ideas and influences that went into the making of the next two volumes of Mr Unpronounceable's Adventures.
Beware the Skinless Ones!