Princess Pricklepants Presents Hogula: Of Monkeys and Melancholy – A Closer Look


Today we present our fifth comic. We enjoyed making this one a lot, and hope you enjoyed it too. When we make a piece of art that we like and other folks like it as well, it’s such a nice feeling for us. Also, as Her Highness is both royalty and a superhero, any time we can bring even a small smile, we have scored a victory for the forces of good and justice. As defenders of the good and just, this must be our way. In addition to heroic efforts to amuse and delight, this issue has a big stylistic change since we use the drawing style of Edward Gorey for our comic, a style we’ll sometimes call Goreyesque. In case you missed it, here it is.

ppp-comic-1-5  We’ve used the Goreyesque style a lot since it’s awesome. If you like this style, this grants you rights to being a member of our favorite people club. Gorey is a great source for inspiration since his work’s brilliance runs deep. In fact, this piece below which we posted recently was what got us thinking about starting a webcomic. And now here we are.

gorey-pumpkin-spiceYou might have noticed that previously whenever Hogula was featured in an illustration, this is the style we used. If so, you’re quite astute. A big jump from ligne claire, but a wonderful style, and a rule we will follow with diligence and dedication unless it’s fun not to.

grave-detail1

We added a few tombstones with tiny print as a special treat since nobody will notice them unless pointed out, and the only place you can have that pointed out is here. So here we are, insiders with sort of inside joke. This makes you cool. So, cool friend, let’s behold the next detail.

grave-detail2

The Francis Xavier quote’s from the mock graves at the Haunted Mansion.  Quentin returns again, as is the way of Quentin. In case you’re not familiar with Quentin, here he is.

gorey-quentin

There are a number of other references to Quentin as he likes to write in, feel free to look in the archives to find fun old posts.

gorey-waiting

Initially you will have imagery of a hedgehog looking at something like a mirror. But intuitively you know vampires don’t have reflections in mirrors. A puzzling scene.  After looking more carefully it becomes clear that the hedgehog vampire is measuring out their life with coffee spoons while looking at a picture of a hedgehog vampire who is measuring out their life with coffee spoons.

We chose to introduce our comic with direct reference to T. S. Eliot’s Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock with an illustration intended to alienate the audience in a Brechtian move. This is why we’ll never be popular.

hogula-great-wait

If you look upon this comic panel and aren’t filled with a sense of awe and majesty, we recommend at least three hours a day of art immersion therapy for the rest of your life. Some quality time with an Art History Book, perhaps few great museum visits and your level of cheer and wonder will grow and ultimately you shall look upon our comic and giggle.

The panel itself focuses on the message.  Three caws of a raven which clearly is are the sign. Waited for, century by century, while staring at a painting of a hedgehog vampire with a spoon. What does the sign mean? What forces are at work here? Why would a presumably powerful hedgehog vampire endure such a thing? A panel that raises many more questions than it answers, but which guides you to the next panel.

hogula-crow

We will be honest here. We made this panel since we were practicing crosshatching on the crow and we just liked it so much that we tried out making the crow large enough that the details were easily seen, and nothing else we tried was as pleasing . And we also get to sneak in a reference to an awesome Twitter SciComm game, #CrowOrNo – you should check it out.

hogula-monkey-1

Look at that monkey. The direction of the narrative up to this point seemed as though it was aimlessly wandering through a series of vignettes, but now that we’ve found a monkey, the entire narrative has been transformed as we center on the monkey due to Monkey’s Law. Monkey’s Law is an interesting regulation that actually provides a very good, well justified reason for monkey-centrism, though sadly, Monkey’s Law forbids discussing much beyond this, so legally we won’t go into further detail.

The strong contrasts in this illustration, the clear simple line work to define the forms, the busy line work defining the lighting, the overall composition leading the eye to the monkey, just look at it. So much to see, but a quick glance still tells the story.

hogula-monkey-2

In this issue we even have a rarity – a very satisfying conclusion. It’s also a monkey-centric conclusion, as this final panel follows a monkey panel, and therefore by law must include a monkey (some interesting legal exceptions apply, but it’s illegal to list them, alas).

We hope you’ve enjoyed this little account from behind the scenes, thank so much for coming along. And now you know that if Hogula appears, we’ll be going into a nice scratchy, heavily crosshatched black and white Goresyesque style. You also know that if a monkey appears, the monkey will persist and the narrator/narrative’s attention will drift to it. We really liked a number of the panels here. Many of them are interesting if taken as individual works, and together they tell a tale that reveals a bit about Hogula. We’ll be returning to Hogula at some point –  we have Bat-Hog vs Hogula complete and waiting.

Thanks for reading, and please join us next week.

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