Sunday, 24 January 2010
Many Dead Things - The Art of Eldritch Horror
Thomas Theodore Merrilyn is an enigmatic figure, a 19th Century aristocrat and naturalist who spent his life scouring the earth for wonders forgotten by science.
In an exquisitely sinister book, he presents the specimens of his century-long search – the anatomical research cases of the werewolf, the remains of the vampire, the macabre equipment used by Doctor Moreau.
Found in 2006 in the sealed basement of a London Orphanage, the Merrilyn Cryptid Collection is a treasure trove of ephemera that defies our knowledge of nature. Each piece is linked by a story arc – a tale that encapsulates the mystery surrounding this odd figure and his compelling collection of things that never were.
The book described above is the work of artist Alex CF, something so ghoulishly creative that I was absolutely bowled over. It’s a beautiful fiction, ghastly and fascinating, thorough and believable – a mixture of eldritch horror, Darwinian biology and the willing, even eager, suspension of disbelief.
Featuring a foreword by Reece Shearsmith, himself a collector of Alex’s work, the book is meticulous, all-encompassing – detailed diaries, anatomical drawings, life-like specimens, microscope slides and mummified Pharaoh remains - all of it darkly, gloriously grotesque. Yet the pages turn and turn as if Merrilyn himself is reaching out to help them.
It's rare I'm sent something that renders me as speechless as the work of Lord Merrilyn – four years in the creation, it's beyond mind-blowing. This is a book that needs to do for exquisitely ghoulish biology what WETA’s Doctor Grordbort did for rayguns.
Alex is looking for a publisher - and something this beautiful needs to be shared.